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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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~

walk by FAITH….not by FEAR Wednesday, Jan 19 2011 

In life, we all face many uncertainties – those that require choices, chances, and changes.  At times, we become completely afraid….afraid of how our choices, chances, and changes we make will affect our future….and possibly the future of others.  In these moments, we struggle with doubt, with worry, with fear.  In these moments, we lose our faith.  We pray….we seek answers….but yet, we are walking by fear and not by faith.  Fear causes us to close the doors that have been opened for us, because we are too afraid to walk through them.  In order for us to move forward with our lives….in order for us to allow God to lead us….we must listen….we must follow….we must walk by FAITH.

“Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future, it’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.” ~ Joni Erickson Tada

We live in the season of uncertainty…. the season of questions….the season of doubt.  The Bible tells us to “fear not.”  In fact, Jesus told us to “FEAR NOT” 365 times throughout the Bible.  Three-hundred and sixty-five times!!  Because of that, His Words cover 365 days of each year.  That means that each day we wake up….we know that before we even begin our day….come what may…. God said “FEAR NOT!!”

The Bible specifically tells us that God is not the author of fear.  When God opens the door….when he gives you direction….hold on to your faith…it will get you through.  Doubt, worry, confusion, fear….these are not of Him.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…  1 Corinthians 14:33

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

When we pray….when we seek God’s face….when we cry out to Him for answers…. when we ask for direction……. He will give us strength…. He will give us peace.  At times of peace, we still question…we still worry….we still doubt….though we shouldn’t…   BECAUSE as HE said…FEAR NOT!!!!!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1

For we walk by Faith, not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5:7

Faith means that we have to step out into the unknown…..holding fast and holding strong to the hand of GOD…..HE will lead and guide us….HE WILL catch us if we fall…

Feels like I’ve been here forever,

why can’t you just intervene?

Do you see the tears keep falling?

And I’m falling apart at the seams.

But you never said the road would be easy,

But you said that you would never leave.

And you never promised that this life wasn’t hard,

But you promised you’d take care of me…..

I’ll trust you God….

and believe you will have your way…

It’s time to take the step of FAITH………and FEAR NOT!!

 

~Bek~

 

“To get to the rainbow, you have to get through the rain.” Monday, Jan 10 2011 

Each day, I usually post one facebook status.  It always pertains to something that is occurring in my life…my thoughts…my feelings…or what I believe could “hit home” with someone else.  I do not anticipate my statuses to be read by many, nor do I expect them to be this life-changing message.  Most are not my own, but all correlate with me and my life.

Earlier this week, I posted a quote that I read somewhere.  It said:  “To get to the rainbow, you have to get through the rain.”

I do not know the dictator of this quote.  I do not know the mindset, nor the situation that this person may have been in, when this statement was quoted.  What I do know is what went through my mind, when I read it.

2010, for me, was a life-changing year.  The life I had been living for almost six years, was no longer existent.  Everything that I had known….Everything that I had become….Everything that I tried to make the best of through the struggles, fake smiles, and the little hope that was left in that life.  Thoughts of what ifs and regrets.  Worried that I would never make it on my own.  Worried that I would never find myself again, in a whole new world….a new life that was about to begin for me.  The stress of the change overwhelmed my mind and my body.  Struggling with major change in my home and life…..struggling with a tough semester of college….struggling with feelings of uncertainty….and struggling with not knowing how to find ME!!

I am 25 years old and I have been a legal adult for quite some time now.  I had made decisions and choices that were, what I thought at that time, hard.  But it wasn’t until I was faced with the “disassembling” of my life that I truly understood how hard adulthood, and the seriousness of the choices I would be forced to make, can be.  I had tried everything I could to KNOW the answers BEFORE making these decisions.  I did not want to be faced with uncertainty.  I wanted to know what my outcome would be.  I was wrong!!

Our lives are not meant to be lived on OUR terms.  They are meant to be lived on GOD’s terms!!  It was a life that I had chosen to live, but was now a life that I was completely unfamiliar with. My life had become just something that I woke up every morning to, knowing the routine I had to complete just to get through the each day.  I will never know why I began a journey just to watch it end.  Only MY GOD does.  He has a plan and a purpose in every person’s life.  Though we may never understand, we have to hold on to the knowledge that GOD is in control.  We just have to completely SURRENDER ourselves to HIM.  Once I realized that, I fell on my knees and cried out to Him.  I prayed that He would clear my mind from all the fear, all the uncertainty, all the what ifs that would be confronting me in this new chapter of my life.  I prayed for strength and determination.  I prayed that I would, again, find me….not just the me that I once was….but the me that wants more of HIM.  In that moment of tears, of prayers, of renewing my relationship with my Heavenly Father….I began to grow.

His Word says that He will never put more on us than we can bear.  I held on, and am still holding on to that Truth!!  I cannot see the destination that He has for me, but  I have begun my journey, into my new life, with my hand holding on tight to Christ’s.  I no longer want to try and make my life what I want it to be.  I only want God’s will in my life.  I want to follow Him and allow Him to lead me.  His plan, His purpose, is greater than anything that I could ever make for myself.  It is in Him where I find my strength, my hope, my faith; in Him is where I will find MYSELF!!

In 2010, my change…my new life…my journey began.  I have no regrets of the past.  It has helped me become who I am today.

I made it through the rain…..

At the end of 2010, I had the privilege of spending time with three of the most amazing women I know.  Each of these women, in one way or another, have suffered through pain, fear, acceptance, and heartache.  After the small amount of time I was able to share with them, listening to their stories, becoming immersed in their emotions, and witnessing their sweet spirits, filled with the presence of GOD…..I realized that through their pain, they gained strength; through their fear, they gained courage; through their struggle with acceptance, they held on to faith in what they could not see, and became true to themselves; and through their heartache, they truly learned to LOVE.

Their examples….their faith….their trust in GOD…..their lives……THEIR rainbows….    Those things and more, inspired and motivated my desire to be true to ME and follow after God….. and HIS plan for my life……

I closed a chapter of my life in 2010.  My new chapter…my “reconstruction” has begun in 2011.

…..I am chasing after my rainbow

~Bek~

 

2010’s song for my life….