21 Days… Tuesday, Apr 19 2011 

March 28, 2011 – April 17, 2011

21 Days of fasting.  21 days of prayer.  21 days of self-discovery.

What began as a journey for the church family, became a journey that tested my faith, and led me to a destination of self-discovery.

My pastor asked that we write our prayers, the ones we most desired to seek answers for, on our hearts.

March 28th my fast began.  It began with “break” week.

Break to destroy the completeness of; to force one’s way out of; to put an end to; to become fractured or broken; to stop abruptly; to yield or submit to.

I, first, had to break down MY will, so that I could seek after HIS will.

I began to pray, “God you know what my will is.  You know what I hope for and what I desire, but my will matters NOTHING compared to YOUR will.  God, I seek YOUR will.”

As I began to break down, I also began to break in.  I had to allow myself to be adapted for HIS purpose…HIS will.  I had to become broken of all of me, so I could focus on HIM.

When I allowed myself to break in, it became possible for me to break out.  This means that I was “ready for action.”  I was ready for GOD to move in, as my flesh moved aside.

April 4th started “bring” week.

Bring – to carry to another place; to get the attention of.

I began to bring forward everything that I had written on my heart.  I began to present to GOD all of my concerns and all of the situations that have been burdening my heart.

I began to bring forth my prayers….prayers not for myself….but prayers for three people who I have had a burden for since the end of 2010.

During this week, the sacrifices that I chose began to take a toll on my body.  I started questioning, “Why am I even doing this?  Will anything even come out of this?”

My Faith had become tested.

When we fast, we exercise our faith.  Fasting strengthens and deepens our faith.

Fasting requires Faith.

Fasting is a test of faith.  Faith helps us take that step towards something that we cannot see.  At the end of the fast, maybe only one prayer will be answered; maybe none.

Even still, by Faith we believe.  By Faith, we sacrifice.  By Faith, we trust.

On April 10th, my Faith was strengthened.  One of my prayers had been answered.

The perfect example of Faith, in my life, was able to regain strength and share a seat next to her husband during the morning service.

To some, that may seem like nothing, but to me that was everything.  If no other prayer would be answered, the 14 days that I had already sacrificed was indeed worth it.

This lady of Christ, who has had EVERY opportunity to lose her Faith, has instead chosen to HOLD ON to it….through EVERY storm.

It was as if GOD was reminding me….

2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:10 ~ for when I am weak, then am I strong.

It was then and there that I decided, though I cannot see the end….I do not know that I will see any other prayers answered…..but I will continue…..I will complete this sacrifice.

April 10th began “break forth” week.

This was the week that all the prayers that had been brought forth, and all that had been sacrificed would stand revealed.

I began to thank HIM, to praise HIM, to glorify HIM for all HE had done, and all HE will continue to do.

Although my prayers were not for myself, through my sacrifice, things in my life, that I have struggled with, have begun to break.

Because these things have begun to break, I have discovered a new truth and a new acceptance of myself.

For years, I have lived with insecurities.

These insecurities have caused me to lose out on things that I truly desired.

These insecurities have caused pain.

 These insecurities have caused me to miss out on opportunities.

I have come to accept the fact that I am not perfect; BUT I am created in the image of GOD who is PERFECT.

GOD makes no mistakes.  I was created the person I am for a reason.

It does not matter what others think of me.

I am who I am.  I live how I live.  I love who I love. I pray how I pray.

They have not walked in my shoes.

It does not matter if I have been in love and lost.

To have been in love and to have lost is better than to have never truly been in love at all.

It does not matter what I choose to do.

It does not matter who or what I choose to become.

I am not perfect.  I am just me.

I am GOD’s creation.  HE loves me for me.

“I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden I am unaware  of these afflictions,

eclipsed by glory and I realize how beautiful You are

and how Your affections are for me.”

The chains of insecurities, surrounding my life, are broken.

New doors, in my life, have begun to open.

I am being remade.

Is not this the fast that I have chosen?  to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? ~ Isaiah 58:6

Though these 21 days are gone, I will continue to cleave to Faith. I will continue to pray.

I will continue to trust in HIM.

“If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear Your voice,
I hold onto what is true, though I cannot see.
If the storms of life they come, and the road ahead
gets steep, I will lift these hands in faith, I will believe.”

BREAK.  BRING.  BREAK FORTH.

 21 days of sacrifice.

One prayer answered.

Worth it all.

~Bek~

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Created Broken Saturday, Mar 5 2011 

I am broken….

…..broken in my thoughts

…..broken in my joy

…..broken in my hopes and dreams

…..broken in my heart….

….I am broken.

 

I began to question, am I broken beyond repair?  Am I restorable?

Then I realized….

I am not just a broken creation….I was created broken.

 

 Yes, my flesh is broken…

but in order for me to be whole….

my SPIRIT must also be broken.

 

Psalms 51:17 ~ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:  a broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.

Psalms 34:18 ~ The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Isaiah 57:15 ~ I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite heart and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

 

“I’m falling apart.  I’m barely breathing.  With a broken heart.  That’s still beating.  In the pain.  Is there healing.  In your name.  I find meaning.  So I’m holding on.  I’m barely holding on to you.”

 

 

I am broken….

…..broken before You, O God

…..broken in my spirit

…..broken in humility

…..broken of my own will….

….I am broken.

 

I no longer see myself as a broken creation.  I was created broken for a purpose.

I was created broken….broken so I might be made whole in Him.

 

~Bek~

Be mine? Infatuation vs. Love Tuesday, Feb 15 2011 

Valentines Day 2011

Today, I read many Facebook posts saying “I Love You” – between married couples, dating couples, the old, and the young.  I sat there contemplating how many of these posts were really based on love or just infatuation.

Infatuation

“foolish or all-absorbing passion or instance of this; foolish or extravagant passion”

 

LOVE

“a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm, personal attachment or deep affection; affectionate concern for the well-being of another”

 

Too many times, I see people, both young and old, abusing the word “LOVE.”  It’s meaning becomes diminished by infatuation, instead of the REAL THING.

 

THE SIMILARITIES:

Infatuation and Love, both, typically begin with attraction.  They both give the feeling of excitement and happiness.  They both leave you desiring more.

 

THE DIFFERENCES:

 

Infatuation

carried by attraction; physical desire; crush; lust……based solely on emotions (attraction)……focused on outward beauty……blind to flaws…..avoid problems……anxiety…..insecure and jealous…..fear of loneliness…..you compromise yourself and change who you are for that person….focused on the physical relationship……”I would die if you left me”…..mainly interested in satisfying your needs or wants….you want what you are feeling to be reciprocated above all else…..you aren’t aware of what you are getting yourself in, but rather act on impulse…..”in love” with the idea of being in love……when the excitement has worn off, you begin to see the person differently……weakened by time and separation

 

LOVE

romance; passion; attachment; commitment…..communication and devotion outweigh physical intimacy and emotions…..open and honest to flaws, but accept the person for everything they are……and without trying to change them for you, encourage them to be everything they can be……willing to work through all problems…..compromise through decisions……trusting…..feeling your soul connected with another……you work together as one…….without compromising principles and convictions, because you share common goals, morals, faith, interests……you respect each other….and even though you continue to grow within yourselves, allow yourselves to grow within each other and with GOD…..your emotions deepen with time, even through misunderstandings and conflicts…..you do not expect anything in return……wanting the best for the other person, whether or not you get hurt in the end……you want the other person to be completely happy with our without you…..you are very aware of what you are getting yourself into and you want it with everything you have……you stop and think about it, yet still want it…..when the excitement has worn off, you still feel for that person like you did in the very beginning….you still want to be with that person through thick and thin….strengthened by time and separation….even through the pain…..

 

Infatuation is based on attraction and impulse.  Infatuated with the idea of romance and love.  When infatuation transcends beyond these things….it grows into love.

Love is based on attraction, communication, attachment, passion, commitment.  Love is patient.  Love is understanding.  Love is seeing the person for EVERYTHING they are.  Love is looking into a person’s heart and soul.  Love is trust, not jealousy.  Love is based on mutual respect.  Love, though it involves compromise and effort, is held together because you truly want it to.  Love means having the desire to wake up every morning to that person beside you.  Love means, after time, you are still able to look at that person and say, “This feeling I’m feeling is something I’ve never known and I just can’t take my eyes off of you.”  “For it was not  into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.  It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”  Love means loving the little things, the things that most would never see.  Love means giving everything you have to it, because you know it’s worth it.  “To love unconditionally, you give them your whole heart, not just bits and pieces from behind a wall with limits and conditions.”  And love…. LOVE….TRUE LOVE….means wanting happiness for the other person…and there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to make them feel your love….even if it means letting them go.

 

The first time I said “I love you,” it was based on infatuation…..infatuation with the idea of love….the idea of relationship…..the idea of never again being alone.  I spent part of my life in a relationship that was primarily based on that infatuation.  Sure, I grew to care, which grew to love.  But LOVE and being IN LOVE are two different things.  That relationship ended.   I vowed that I would never again say the words “I LOVE YOU,” unless I truly meant it with every part of my body, mind, heart, and soul.  When you know it’s right, you just know it.  When the infatuation, the excitement, the newness has worn off….throughout difficulties and setbacks….and you still feel that nothing will ever change how you see that person……and that you still feel in your heart what you did when it was all brand new…..when you want to wake up to their messy hair every morning….when you want to fall asleep to their warm body and occasional sweet little snores…..when you want to watch them slide across the floor in their socks and listen to them sing to the top of their lungs…..when you think it’s cute when they get sidetracked…..when nothing they say gets old and all you want to do is listen to everything they say and take it all in….when you want their eyes to be the last eyes you look into…..when you want their lips to be the last ones you ever kiss….when you want their hand to be the last one you ever hold….when you want to comfort them when they’re in need….to wipe away their tears….when you want to take away all their pain….when you want their smile to be the last smile you see…when you want their face to be the last face you touch…..when you can see yourself with them and are willing to take it slow to see where things go…..when you can picture yourself starting a family with them…..when you always want to work through complications and misunderstandings…..when you are faced with trials and separations and you feel more for them than you did in the beginning……when you want to wait for the time to be right for them……and when all you want is for your special someone to be completely happy in every single way….even if you must put your heart and feelings aside…… when you feel all these things…..infatuation ceases and LOVE begins….LOVE exists……LOVE…..

SELFLESS LOVE……

 

“To love is to risk not being loved in return….but risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

 

You can risk saying those three powerful words, before knowing if it is infatuation or love….that is your choice.

I choose to take a risk……not for infatuation….but a risk……for LOVE!!!

 

~Bek~

How WILLING is your HEART? Wednesday, Jan 12 2011 

Two weeks ago, a friend and I had lunch at one of our local Asian restaurants.  Just as the tradition always is, at the end of the meal, the waitress handed us our ticket along with our fortune cookies.  I, for one, never eat the fortune cookie, but I love to read them.  I carefully squeezed the cookie until it split, revealing a small slip of paper.  I slowly removed it from its crumbled shell and unfolded it.  On this tiny piece of paper, read these profound words:

“Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.”

The literal meaning of this proverb is that nothing is impossible to someone who sets their mind to a particular thing, for it will be achieved.  While this is true, my inquisitive mind began analyzing this phrase to find a deeper meaning.  I carefully repeated this phrase in my mind, “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.  NOTHING is impossible to a willing heart.”  The more that I said it over and over, the more I realized that the focus should not be on the words ‘nothing’ or ‘impossible,’ but rather on ‘A WILLING HEART.’

The word willing, means ‘cheerfully consenting.’  Heart is defined as the ‘center of total personality, especially with reference to feeling or emotion; capacity for compassion and affection; the vital, or essential core.’

WOW!  Right there, in the definitions of those two words, is the deeper meaning to this profound statement. 

We tend to only look at this proverb as something considered meant for ourselves.  We read it and say, “I can set my mind to something and accomplish it.”  But as I read these words and plugged in these definitions, I realized what I was actually reading.  Nothing is impossible to a WILLING HEART.

Today, in this world, most have forgotten what it means to be a Christian and to love.  We look at people and immediately judge them, not knowing what situation they may be faced with, or how far they have come in life after overcoming struggles.  We have never walked in their shoes, why should we be given the right to judge?  I am guilty of this very thing. 

Just the other day, a man, who I assumed to be homeless, walked up to my friend and I asking for money.  I, cold-heartedly, turned away, while my friend reached into her pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill.  After he walked away, I asked her why she gave him ten dollars….after all, money is hard to come by and my only concern was what he would do with it.  She then asked me why I chose to turn away and not even consider the fact that out of all the people asking for money, this one might actually be wise with the money she gave him.  It was like a slap in the face to me.  I was put in my place.  In just two seconds, with only a few words from his mouth, I judged him.  Because of her WILLING HEART, she opened a window of possibilites for that man.  IF ONLY I had a willing heart, could it have been possible that he would have taken my ten dollars and used it to buy a hamburger or a new shirt? 

Everyone, I am sure, has heard the phrase, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”  If we know that, then why does it happen all the time?  Why is it that when someone walks up and introduces themselves, some people think right then and there that the person in front of them isn’t worth their time?  Why is it that assumptions are made, that hinder what could become the greatest friendship, or the greatest love that someone could ever have?  Assumption – taken for granted.  Judgement – the forming of an opinion or conclusion.  How can we just make an assumption or a judgement from only the first impression we get from someone?  Shouldn’t we allow a little time to get to know that person, to hear their story, to know their dreams for their future?  We can choose our friends, and the people we are associated with, but we must first have a WILLING HEART to give them a chance.  It is not our place to judge….It is ALMIGHTY GOD’s!!! 

As Christians, we need to remember that Jesus does not look at us for what we look like, or what and who we are.  He looks inside of each and every one of us.  He looks deep within our hearts.  We, as human beings, should follow after Him and His example.  Even some churches push people away.  Discrimination is a major part of this problem.  A church is a haven…..a hospital…..a place that is supposed to show mercy, care,  and love.  It is not a place that determines who can be there because of the color of their skin or the lifestyle they might lead.  Cliques in the church also drive people away.  There are those who no longer feel accepted or wanted by people.  Although it is not intended that a person go to church for others, to feel unaccepted in a place where God wants EVERYONE to be welcome, is not of WILLING HEARTS.  We should see others as God sees them…….a soul.  It is our purpose, as Christians, to show others the love of Christ.  If we choose to judge others, to make assumptions about others, and to immediately turn our backs towards them….what kind of Christians would we be?  Do you think that God would be pleased?  If you judge someone else, then you should stop and judge yourself for judging them.  Most of all, think about how God is judging you.  Judging is a sin.  No sin is greater than another.  Remember that the next time you assume that someone has great sins upon them….for if you are wrong, you will be the only one with sin.  Have a WILLING HEART, that you might show someone God’s love.  Endless possibilities might open for not only them, but also for you; and because of your WILLING HEART, your light will shine…and you will be blessed. 

By having a WILLING HEART, we become less judgemental, more caring, more thoughtful, more loving, and more understanding.  It is time that we look at others, through the eyes of Christ, just as my friend did.  May our WILLING HEARTS be open….to possibilities….

“Nothing is impossible to a cheerful consenting, vital core of compassion and affection.”

~Bek~