Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unexpected

There are two words that I used to cling to. Really, I still cling to them. Comfort zone. That may seem strange considering all of our moves and all of the different transitions across multiple states, new cities, new friends. But still, there's that sense of "home" and I cling to it with all of my might, wherever it may be.

This past year (2013), I thought I was finding a new home - a home that, while temporary, would allow me to relax and enjoy being close to family. That was going to be my "comfort zone," I had decided. I would stay home, work on some projects, enjoy some time with my little girl, and do some college classes.

God had other plans.

My year looked nothing like I expected. I travelled some 90,000 miles, across 14 states and two continents with a toddler in tow. I lugged 25lbs of luggage through the airport while holding a stroller. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning trying to finish homework before a deadline. I did all kinds of crazy, random things.

But my year was good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Choose Joy

There are moments when no one wants to worship. Moments that are so heartbreaking, so devastating that all we want to do is weep. I've been there. Last November held one of the darkest moments of my life, a moment that I wish I could erase. And the very last thing I wanted to do in the midst of my pain was raise my hands heavenward and worship my Maker.

Yet all I could think about was the incredibly beautiful moment I witnessed on Oct 20, 2012. We were at the funeral for a dear friend, Colonel Gary Herchenroeder, who had passed away suddenly at the age of 49. He and his wife had only been married for three years and were one of the most beautiful, radiant couples I have ever known.

At the funeral, one of the songs we sang was "10,000 Reasons". I don't thing I'll ever be able to sing that song without thinking of the Colonel because it perfectly describes the way he lived. During the song, I happened to glance over at Colonel's wife, Lisa. I wouldn't have thought twice if she had been sitting in tears, but I was awed instead - for she stood with her hands raised, face radiant - praising her King. Worshipping in the moment of saying goodbye to her husband. Worshipping when it had to hurt incredibly deeply.

I was so moved by her response, but I had questions too. How could she worship in the midst of all that? How could her response be praise - not anger or hurt?

It didn't make sense to me.

Then, last September, I found myself at another funeral - this time for Caleb's Uncle Randy ("Ranj") who passed away at the age of 51 after battling cancer. Another special man, transferred to glory long before expected.

As I watched Aunt Teresa at the funeral, I saw the very same thing I had seen almost a year before - hands outstretched in worship. Wow. Beautiful, incredible, and amazing all at the same time.

And as I watched, I realized something. These incredible women were not worshipping because it's what they felt like doing or because they weren't hurting deeply.

They chose to worship. 

They chose to say, "You know what, I don't know why, God. But I trust You."

As I walked through deployment the past year, these beautiful moments of worship lingered in my thoughts often. When I wondered how I could continue, how I could find the strength, how I could find any sense of joy in such a difficult season - I thought of how they had offered their worship as a sacrifice in so much harder circumstances than mine. And I realized that if they could worship in their darkest hour, so could I.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wonderful.

It was just two words - two words that meant the world to me. You've said them before, but tonight, I needed them so much.

You're wonderful.

You couldn't know just how much my heart has been aching of late, how much pain has been stirring that I haven't known what to do with or even known how to share. You didn't know how I have wrestled in my faith walk, trying to figure out who I am and who He is and wrap my head around it all.

This last day or two, in my heart I have been crying out - begging my Abba to reveal Himself to me. I couldn't form the words; my heart is too raw. But He knew. He could hear the deep cries, the words that just couldn't spill from my lips.

And then, your words came. You told me I was wonderful. You meant it just as a little encouragement after a rough day.

But for me? They were words from Him - tender whispers of who I am, of what He thinks of me. And when you pulled me close and held me, it was His arms that I felt, enfolding me in His love.

So thank you - thank you for showing me a little more of who He is. Thank you for bringing just a little taste of healing.

"In the darkness, 
I can feel Your light,
Wrap around me
In my suffering, 
I can feel Your joy,
Rising in me now
And I wait, 
flooded with the strength of Your peace."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nightmares

It happened again last night - demons dragging me from my sleep. They torment me...pulling up vivid memories from my past and crafting new stories, stories that while not true, are based around reality. I wake and my husband holds me close and whispers, "It's okay, it's over now."

But in my heart, it's not okay.

It's not okay, because it's not over. The dream is over, but the feelings are not - the feelings of powerlessness, of fear, of being controlled. The feelings of utter worthlessness, of deep hurt. But intertwined with them are new feelings - anger, sorrow, sadness deeper than I can describe.

I wish I could wish it away - this torment that seems to loom over me. I wish I could "just" forgive and let it all go. But I have forgiven, and it's still here, still lingering in my life. The pain doesn't hurt any less, maybe it even hurts more.

I long for restoration, for peace, to not have to look to others to fill that role in my life. I long for things to be different, for my reality to be different. But I think at this point, I am realistically realizing it may never happen. Until he chooses otherwise, our relationship is broken.

I've forgiven. I've tried so hard to forget. I've thrown myself at his mercy and hoped for some beautiful kind of restoration to come. I've made myself vulnerable.

And each time, it gets thrown back in my face.

You're never good enough.

You can't please me. 

You are not smart enough. 

You haven't done enough.

And it all just seems to boil down to this: You aren't enough.

So I get up and try again - try to become who he wants me to be, try so desperately to, just for one moment, feel like I am worthy of his acceptance as a person.

But I fail. I do something silly. And the words spew out yet again - you're not enough.

I'm tired of trying, of wishing, of hoping. I'm tired of trying to be something or someone I'm not in hopes of receiving acceptance and love. If it hasn't come in twenty-seven years, I am starting to doubt it will ever come.

The pressure is gone. I don't have to be who he wants me to be any more. I can be me.

I just wish the nightmares, the past, could be gone too. Someday - I hold on to that hope.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A gift?

I think we all do it - we determine what, who we're going to be. We make plans, we choose a career path, we think we've got life figured out.

And then comes the curveball.

Mine was infertility. I'd always planned on having a bunch of kids. Of course, I cloaked that under the phrase "however many God gives me," but at the end of the day, the plan was not one kiddo in six years.

These six years have brought so much heartache as I have wrestled with how my reality meshes with my dream. How to make the two work?

Maybe God's timing was a little slower than mine, I thought. Another month, another six months, another year, passed by - no baby. Maybe He was just testing me. Maybe I needed to become "more spiritual." Maybe there was too much sin in my life. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I tormented myself with "maybe's."

But I never once considered this: that maybe my plan was wrong. Maybe my plan was just that: mine. Maybe I had never really taken the time to seek my Abba's plan for our family, for how many children He wanted us to have.

Maybe my infertility was a gift.


It sounds strange, bizarre even. How could infertility - something that brings so much emptiness, so much grief and pain - be a gift - something wonderful and special and treasured that is given out of love?

It was a thought that randomly ran through my mind several weeks ago, totally unprompted. I was trying to sleep and then, there it was, in all of its confusing-ness.

Yet, as I look back over my life to this point, I see a principle ringing true - that often the twists and turns my life has taken have been for my best, even when I couldn't see them at the time.

Take, the guy I was interested in, back in 2005. I was extremely courtship-minded and was definitely heart-invested with him. He had a pretty major accident and stopped writing for several months, but I waited. After all, he fit "my" plan, right? He must be the one. One February afternoon, I discovered he was not. He was married, and I have reason to believe he was married the entire time we were communicating, though he led me to believe otherwise.

I was crushed. How could this happen? I'd tried to be so careful, involving my parents during the process and trying to stick to spiritual conversations. I didn't understand.

It was only a short time after that that I met my husband. Over the months that we spent getting to know each other, all I could think was just how thankful I was that things hadn't worked out with this other guy. Sure, it was painful. But the end result - falling in love with a man who truly loved me, who helped me to heal and grow in ways I didn't know I needed - was so much more beautiful than my plan.

And so, I look at my infertility, in all of its ugliness, and have to wonder - can He make something beautiful out of even this? Can this become a gift?

It's hard to imagine. It's hard to believe. But I cling to the truth that my Abba can take even the ugliest of things, even the hardest struggles, and make something radiantly beautiful out of them.

I can't wait to catch a glimpse.


"Unless a grain of wheat that falls to the ground dies, it stays just a grain; but if it dies, it produces a big harvest." (John 12:24)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Raindrops

Abba,

There are so many moments when I don't understand. When I hurt, more deeply than I ever imagined. When I wish things could be different. When I look at others and wish my life could be easy. When I wish I wasn't called to this faith journey.

But, this is the life You have given me.

There must be purpose. You have a plan.

So, my Abba, I come to You, with the empty and the broken that is inside...hoping and trusting and believing that you can fill me up to overflowing. That Your joy can fill this heart again.

And as I open up these tightly clenched hands and raise them in surrender, I see it - the rain is coming.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jump

For healing to come, I must be willing to receive. If my hands are filled with my plans and my pain, You cannot pour out blessing - until I let go.

So, I'm unbuckling my seatbelt,

I'm letting go of my security blanket,

And I'm gonna jump in faith.


It can't be about my plans anymore; they keep failing. It has to be all about You.

No more Rebekah "helping."

No more looking and thinking and wondering and planning.


It's Yours.


I lay my future, our future, at Your feet. Do with it as You will.

We will praise You.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day One

I think it's high time for a confession. Recently I was looking through some of my old posts, and noticed one from forever ago that I guess I'd forgotten about. As I reviewed my post, I must admit, I felt a little ashamed. I was so gung-ho in my post about getting fit and staying that way, and lately...well, let's just say I've fallen off the bandwagon. 

Right before my hubby returned home from Afghanistan, I hit my goal weight - the first time I've been that weight in almost six years. I felt amazing - so much more trim, without a baby belly, and my clothes were starting to fit better. In fact, some of my clothes were starting to get too big.

But, after my hubby returned home, we were on vacation for a week, then home briefly, then away again for 10 days, and then home to pack and prepare for our cross country move. I tried to stick with eating well, but with all of the craziness, I slipped up. Food options that were fast and easy often meant unhealthy, and being gone constantly meant that my time to work out was slim to none. Without really meaning to, the exercising stopped completely and the bad eating habits started.

Ugh.

Anyway. That's the past, and I'm not going to constantly rake myself over the coals about it. It's time to make a change - again - and get back where I was. So, today is my day one - my first day "back". I can't promise I'll never have a bad food or exercise day, but I will pick myself up and keep going.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Broken

It's a Saturday morning, and it's my birthday. And I wake up so excited to jump out of bed, because it's the day that I will hopefully get the best birthday present ever: the news that our next child is on his/her way. I bound out of bed, so much anticipation in every step. My cycle is seven days late, and with every fiber of my being, I expect to see a positive result.

I walk out, and I am crushed. Another month, another negative test. Infertility has won again. All I want to do is go back to bed, curl up, and forget. Forget what it's like to want children. Forget how much the negative tests hurt. Forget that infertility is a part of my life. I want to just stop this crazy rollercoaster ride of emotions and pretend like I don't care any more.

But I can't. It does hurt. I hate hoping and getting disappointed, over and over and over again.

And then the questions come.

"Do you want more children?"

"When are you having another one?"

"Don't you think Selah would like a brother or sister?"

I wish they knew how much the questions hurt. How much they remind me over and over of the pain that I am desperately trying to block out, trying to exist in spite of. I wish I could find some words that would make the questions stop, to somehow explain that they are some of the most difficult words anyone could ever say to me.

But I have no answers. I have no words to explain the deep pain in my heart - the hole that I cannot fill. And I am empty and broken and left wondering if things will ever change.

All I can do is hold on to hope that maybe, someday, things will be different. But for now, this is my reality.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Why Move?

Argh, I hate how long it has taken me to get back to writing on here. Between reintegration, a week-long trip away with my love, coming home, spending time with friends and family here in Georgia before our move, a six day trip to Missouri, and packing up our house...well, let's just say life has been a little busy. But, I wanted to take some time to explain a bunch of random "bits" relating to our move that several people have been asking about.

First of all, the big question: Why are you moving?

It's a complicated question, because there are lots of reasons. The biggest one is tied into reintegration. For those who may not be familiar with the term, this is the process whereby a soldier and his family readjust to each other after a period of separation. It is usually used in reference to deployments, but in reality, reintegration (to a much lesser extent) can be a factor even with short-term separation. Basically, there are lots of changes that happen to a person in a year - growth, struggles, etc. I've changed, and Caleb has too - especially to meet the demands of the last year.

Anyway, as we contemplated this move (prior to Caleb's return), we felt it would be the best thing for our family - considering some of the potential struggles of reintegration - to go ahead and get moved as soon as possible after Caleb's return. Having the stability of a house we would be in awhile would allow all of us to settle into a new normal after his return. We could get into routines and life would be predictable for Selah.

Also, our Georgia house (which we are renting) was foreclosed on last March, and the bank is eager to sell. They wanted to put the house on the market in January, but graciously waited until Caleb's return to do so. Even if we were not moving out of state, it is very likely that we would need to move locally before too long. It just didn't make sense to have to move twice just to stay in the area a little longer.

But we want you to stay!

I know - and we wish we could stay! We love being close to family and have really enjoyed being a part of the body at Beth Yeshua. There are so many things we will miss. But, we need to move.

Do you have a job? What will you be doing?

The short answer is no, we don't have a job - we're waiting and praying over several applications Caleb has put in. But, being local allows us better chances of finding a job. If nothing works out, April is when the tourist season starts in Branson, so he will work on getting something seasonal until we can find something more permanent.

How long will Caleb be home?

I don't know for sure. But it is likely to be several years.

Is he getting out of the military?

No, he is planning to stay in, and I fully support him in that. :)

Hope that helps answer some questions. If you have more, leave me a comment and I'll try to answer them soon.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Closer

I take the pillows off our bed, the same way I have done more times than I remember. But it's different now - now it represents one less night of going to bed by myself.

I hang my towel up after a shower and my heart is filled with joy when I think that it won't be long until there are two towels hanging together again - towels that will mean my love is back.

I brush my teeth and think how wonderful it'll be to get in each other's way as we rinse out our toothbrushes, because it'll mean we are together.

I wake up and smile because it's one morning closer to seeing my hubby waking up on the pillow beside me. It's another day closer to him telling me that I once again stole the blankets and us laughing about how mean I can be in my sleep.

I lay Selah down for her nap and whisper that Mama and Daddy love her very much, and I am thrilled because I know soon her Daddy can whisper "I love you's" to her as well.

I stay up late and finally drag myself off to sleep, and smile because I know soon, my love will be saying "Let's go to bed" when he sees me drifting off.

These days are so exciting as we get ever closer to our homecoming. Each new day is exciting because it's one less that my husband will be so far away. I can't wait!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Precious "Lasts"

There are many precious firsts in my life that I will never forget. Meeting my husband for the first time. Our first hug. Our first kiss. Our wedding day. Graduating from (community) college. Finding out we were pregnant. Meeting our little girl.

But right now, I'm in a season where I am holding dear something a little different - "lasts" - moments that will not come again because my love's return is drawing ever closer. Things like last oil changes, last haircuts, last trips away. Just like our "firsts," these too are sacred. They represent this season apart drawing to a close. And, well, I don't think there's anything more special than that, at least right now.

I look ahead and see exciting days ahead - moving beyond these "lasts" to more "firsts" - homecoming, seeing our daughter's face when she sees her daddy, figuring out all of the in's and out's of reintegration. And there's a part of me that just wants these "last's" to be over with so that I can have my hubby home. The time is drawing so near, and after almost a year apart, I am so ready for our family to be complete again.

But at the same time, I don't want to rush the present. There are still lessons for me to learn - patience for one. There are still moments to savor - snuggles with my girl, my heart skipping a beat when my phone rings and it's my sweetheart, putting together little gifts for my family's belated Christmas. I don't want to miss those.

So, resolution #1 for 2014 is this: breathe. In the stressful moments or in the moments when I don't know every detail about the next step and it's driving me nuts or I really want time to hurry up so my hubby is home....even then, I need to learn how to breathe and savor the present. I don't "breathe" very well. So, this year I am going to try to purposefully do that, knowing that my Abba has all of my "firsts" and "lasts" in His hands.