Tuesday, October 26, 2010


All appears normal, but I weep
Darkness hovers on the street
An overwhelming presence of sin
The homes are sad and broken within

My heart breaks for those inside
Do they know for their sin You died?
Oppression claws at their doors
Your light and hope they ignore

Possessions mask their sadness
I'm weary of the madness
What breaks Your heart is breaking mine
I plead for their souls one more time

Monday, October 25, 2010


In the homeschooling process, I've learned something about my children: they want me to give them the answers instead of studying and figuring things out. They want to take the easy route. But I insist that they keep trying and keep searching. I usually sit and watch. I guide them in the right direction. Sometimes I'll give them a little hint. But mostly I just silently watch them. They look at me to make sure I'm still there. They sometimes beg me for the answer. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they get angry with me. If they write a wrong answer out of frustration, I make them try again. When they reach their absolute breaking points, and still don't know the answer, I'll work patiently with them to show them how to find the answer. And, at that point, they are usually grateful.

I've found out the same thing about myself. I want God to speak to me, to give me answers. To hand me the easy way. And, sometimes He just doesn't. Sometimes He is absolutely silent. And I find myself begging Him. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry with Him. I've figured out that He's not silent because I've done something wrong. That's what I've always thought. I've had the mentality that if God's not speaking to me, I must've done something to make Him mad. Isn't that absurd? Sometimes He just wants me to sit quietly with Him, with my eyes on Him. He wants me to meditate upon His Word. To keep asking for guidance. To wait. And when He does finally speak with an answer, to thank Him. For in that process, I learn to trust Him...to wait on Him.

Psalm 62:5a - My soul, wait in silence for God only. (NASB)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Capable of Anything

We are capable of ANYTHING! We are capable of any fall. Of any moral failure, i.e., sin. We can and should expect the best from ourselves, and from those around us, BUT we are capable of anything. You either know this about yourself, or you deny it. I know.

I thought I wasn't capable of doing what I did. In fact, I'm not sure I ever said it aloud, but definitely in my mind I thought I'd never do "that." I just wouldn't allow myself to sink that low, even if I wanted to. But I did. And because of it, I am stronger today. I am more aware of God's grace. I am more aware of the hurting. I am more aware.

You might read this and think that you've had no moral failures, and you plan to keep it that way. Let me ask you this: do you categorize sins? You know...big ones, small ones, etc. Before 2006, I did. Let me show you how I categorized sins and those who commit them:

Big sins (the ones I never thought myself capable of):
Drug Addiction

Small sins (the ones I knew I was capable of, and sometimes guilty):
White lies
Quick temper

Closet sins (the ones I knew I committed, but didn't dare discuss):

Your lists may be different from mine, but if you categorize them, you are as wrong as I was. And if you sit in pious judgment, you are also as wrong as I was. And if you've committed one of them, or one similar (and you have if you're alive and breathing), then you are capable of any of them.

Galatians 6:1-2 says, Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV) I could just about write a book on these two verses, but I'll suffice it to say that we are responsible for our brothers' spiritual restoration. We are not to categorize sin, or the sinner. We are to love them back to a place of repentance and restoration.

I Peter 4:8 says, Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (NASB) Like Peter, I know the power of the love which covers a multitude of sins. First and foremost, it is the love of Jesus. Secondly, it is the love of others who look beyond the sin to see how God can restore the sinner.

I am thankful for the few who gently led me to a place of restoration...who bore my burdens...who loved me.

Are there people in your life who offered you grace, love and restoration?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Planning Rest

I learned several years ago that when I am exhausted, I am no good to anyone. I have a hard time focusing my attention on God. I can't meditate on His Word. I am cranky with my family. And I tend to be overly sensitive. I am there. I am tired. For the past two weeks, I've been pushing myself just to maintain the daily routine. And it has caught up with me. I need rest.

Tonight my husband took the kids and went to his parents' so I could have a break. I so need this break. I went to a movie...alone! I've never been to a movie alone. It was nice. I didn't have to share my popcorn or coke. I sat through the credits. Then I went to Target and meandered through the clothes and shoes...just because I could. I wasn't on anyone's schedule.

Now I sit here, alone, and attempt to write. I've not written a blog post in over a week. I've been empty. I sit down to write, attempt a few sentences, and end up walking away. I realize I don't have much to say when I haven't spent time meditating on God's Word.

Tomorrow I plan to rest. I plan to sleep late. I might go to the park for a run. I'll probably have coffee with my best friend. And I hope to have a nice, long, uninterrupted nap. I have a multitude of projects running through my head that I should tackle while I am without children, but I won't. I plan to be quiet, and let God speak to me. I don't hear Him when I am tired. I don't actually know if it's that He's not speaking, or if it's that I'm so intent on just getting through the day that I don't hear Him. I plan to find out tomorrow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Being Vulnerable: Regret

Sometimes I question this path of vulnerability I'm on. Sometimes I so badly want to retreat. To not let anyone know what's going on inside of me. To hide. But God has called me to expose the vulnerable parts of myself. I think one reason He is leading me on this journey is to help others in similar situations. I'm so blessed to have been able to share my story with several people over the past several years.

When I was going through the healing process I had no one to talk to who could identify with what I was experiencing. I hope I am that person for those who need someone.

I believe it's one small way that I can give God glory from what was otherwise a sad situation.

So today I question regret. I live with regret. I wonder if it is a lifelong sentence. I posted that as a comment on my Facebook page, and received quite a few comments. And I wonder how many of us understand regret. I'm not sure I do, so I've done a little research on it today. I researched it because the comments I received were similar in content, yet different. And different from what I interpret regret to be.The subjects of the comments ranged from guilt to repentance to bondage and condemnation. See what I mean? I think all of those may be somehow intertwined with regret at some point, but not in the sense I feel regret.

I know I'm being about as clear as mud, so let me just explain what I'm not experiencing.

I'm NOT experiencing:
guilt, shame, bondage, condemnation, anger at myself, deep sorrow, lack of faith

Good golly...I look at that list and think how sad it is. Yet, there was a time when I felt every one of those (at the same time!). But that's no longer the case.

What I AM experiencing is: an occasional passing desire to be able to change the decisions I made in the past

Had I not made the decisions I did, I might not experience some of the things I now experience (i.e., consequences). While I've made peace with my consequences, I occasionally have the thought that I wouldn't have those consequences if I'd made right choices. On the other hand, I often think about how much things have changed, and how God has used my actions and my consequences to bring glory to Himself.

Okay, with all that said, here are definitions for regret and guilt:
Regret - to think with a sense of loss
Guilt - remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence

While the definitions are similar, they are different. For example, I experience a sense of loss when I think about the people who are no longer my friends because of the choices I made. I wish I had not made those choices. I wish I had not lost those friends. But I no longer experience the the feelings of "remorse or self-reproach" over the actions that led to my loss.

With all that said, I do occasionally experience regret. Every once in a while, something triggers a realization of how much my life has changed. How much I lost, as well as how much I've gained (and, NO, I am NOT talking weight!!). How different things are. How all those changes can be traced back to my decisions. And, for a few moments, I wish I could have the chance to go back and make different decisions. And, because I do experience triggers, and I do have memories, I believe there's a good chance that regret may be a lifelong sentence...something I will always have to deal with from time to time.

I'm not sure I've made any sense at all to anyone (including myself) in this post; but maybe you got something out of it...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Right Words

You know those people who always have the right words at just the right time? My best friend is one of those people. I, on the other hand, am not one of those.

I blabber and blunder my way through almost every day. I'm almost always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to having the right words. After a conversation, I usually mull it over in my head, thinking of things I should've said, or shouldn't have said. Most of the time, I get angry at myself for not having said the "right" thing. I miss opportunities to say things, or I say the wrong things. But it's rare that I say the appropriate thing.

But give me time, and the ability to write what needs to be said, and I'm all good. I like to analyze words (which often gets me in trouble because I read into things that are said). As much as I dislike tossing words around carelessly, that's what happens when they come out of my mouth. But when given the opportunity to write words, I'm particularly careful.

I'm pretty sure Jesus was particularly careful with the words He spoke, and those words were carefully recorded in written form. So when He said in Luke 7:48, "Your sins have been forgiven," and again in verse 50, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace," I have no doubt those are the exact words He intended to speak. Those are life-changing words from the only One who can speak them. Those precious words have been spoken straight into my heart. And I will never be the same again because of them and the One who spoke them.

What about you? Has the Peacespeaker whispered words into your heart that have changed you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From the Archives...

Well, try as I might...there are no words from my heart tonight. So, here's a poem I wrote a while back:

For Such A Time As This

You think your world a scary place to be
Nation fighting nation, man killing man
It's all over the news for you to see
The world has chosen not to follow My plan

But I have placed you there for such a time as this

Your nation revels in sin
Your leaders have silenced voiced prayers
The church has numerous problems within
The lost are wondering if anybody cares

And I have placed you there for such a time as this

Your community is searching for the answer
Your neighbors are strangers in their homes
Abuse and addiction are spreading like cancer
Orphaned children are left to wander and roam

And I have placed you there for such a time as this

Your house is a home which I created
You've allowed chaos to enter in
All the busyness for My peace you have traded
Where, dear one, have you been?

I have placed you there for such a time as this

In your life, be My hands and feet
I will be Your ever-present Guide
Allow me through your voice to speak
Then under the shelter of My wings you may hide

For I have placed you there for such a time as this

Monday, October 11, 2010

Redeeming Love

I held the secret, I had no rest
When you asked, I nodded yes
I watched you fall to your knees
The tears stream down your cheeks

I'd never seen you in pain like once you knew
I'd never before been the one to hurt you
Time stopped in that moment on the floor
It never went back to the way before

The days stretched out before us with pain
It seemed like a never-ending rain
We didn't know which way to run
It would've been easier to come undone

I watched you suffer all alone
We reaped the consequences of what I'd sown
Your mercy became my comfort place
You showered me with undeserved grace

Our healing was hard and slow
We both had places we had to stretch and grow
Throughout all the shame, the push and shove
One constant remained: your redeeming love

Sunday, October 10, 2010

False Guilt

Guilt. I've spent most of my life well-acquantainted with that feeling. Whether I'd done something to validate that feeling wasn't a question. The only thing that mattered was doing whatever it took to rid myself of the feeling.

My earliest childhood memories are interspersed with memories of guilt. If my parents, sisters, teachers, or anyone really, even hinted that I'd done something wrong, or something to hurt them, the feelings of guilt were instantaneous. To even suggest that I'd done something mean or hurtful would send me into a tailspin of guilt. I was judge and jury, and would always deliver myself a guilty verdict. Even if I knew in the deepest part of my heart that I'd done absolutely nothing wrong, I would eventually find myself apologizing to assuage my feelings of guilt. Then I'd be angry at myself for apologizing when I'd done nothing wrong. This has been a continuous cylce in my life...until January 2009.

I believe Americans are a loaded down with false guilt. Advertising and propaganda leave us feeling guilty about everything from parenting to politics. And, I believe many American Christians (those who have an intimate relationship with Jesus) are almost buried with feelings of false guilt. Society tells us we're not sensitive enough or loving enough if we're not tolerant and politically correct (and for some reason, we buy into the lie and feel guilty, leaving ourselves completely incapable of sharing the Gospel!!). The burden of legalism prevalent in so many churches leaves us feeling guilty for everything we do, or don't do, according to the standards they've set.

Recently, after reading some of my posts, I've had two friends apologize to me for different reasons. And, interestly enough, neither apology was necessary...AT ALL! But they assumed the subjects of my posts were about something they'd done. (Maybe I'm a little too open in these posts...) Not wanting to be the guilty parties, they apologized for things they thought were hurtful to me. I applaud their willingness to apologize when necessary; however, in these cases, their feelings of guilt were unfounded. That's when I began to think about how often I've done the very same thing.

In 2006, I became disgusted with feeling guilty all the time. I felt guilty for feeling guilty. That's when I decided that I wanted freedom from the stronghold of guilt that had held me captive my entire life. Rather than seeking that freedom at the foot of the cross, I went in the opposite direction. I sought freedom in a place that only loaded me down with more guilt...real guilt.

In January of 2009, God freed me from the stronghold of false guilt. I no longer experience the battles that come from false guilt. I no longer feel the need to apologize when I know I've done nothing wrong or hurtful. I no longer confess the same sins repeatedly, asking for forgiveness over and over again. Don't get me wrong...I do experience conviction and guilt when I have done something wrong or hurtful. And I make a point to apologize. And I seek God's forgiveness. (See Psalm 51) But I no longer daily walk in a state of false guilt. In fact, I almost never experience false guilt now. Because of the freedom I found in Christ, that is one burden that I laid down at the foot of the cross, and haven't picked back up!

btw...I'll approach the subject of real guilt at another time! I'm well acquainted with that one too!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Poll Question

Please take a moment to answer my poll question. I'm interested in your answers before I write a post on the subject. If you'd like to elaborate on your answer, please email me at gilbert.rebekah@gmail.com, or send me a FB message. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Singing...An Act of Worship

I love to sing. I don't just like to sing. I L.O.V.E. to sing. It's a deep-down-inside-of-me passion.

There was a period two years ago when I thought I was done singing. I really thought my years of singing had been a season, and that season was over. I was devastated. But, I didn't see a way around it. I was living with a weight of guilt and shame upon me, and I didn't see how God would ever allow me to be used again, especially in a way that I so dearly love. I would sit in the church pew and listen intently to the choir. Sometimes I would sing along...loudly, I might add. Sometimes I would listen and cry silently. But, I really didn't believe I'd ever be part of a choir again. I felt as if a part of me had died. And I was in mourning. And I was guilty.

I've referred before to a sermon my pastor preached in January, 2009. He talked about how Peter had been a follower of Christ, an adamant one who said he'd never deny Him. Only He did deny Him...three times. But, Peter's story didn't end there. God went on to use Peter again! My healing came during that sermon, and so did my freedom to sing again! God not only redeemed me, but He restored me. He restored the use of my love of singing. He allows me to stand before Him publicly to sing. He allows me to embrace the words I sing and use them as an act of worship to Him. He allows me to sing with a big, cheesy smile on my face...because He knows that smile is one tiny way of telling others how much I love the One I sing about.

I'm so thankful to sing as though I never did before my healing. I'm so thankful God loves for me to sing to Him.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The One-up Game

I used to be part of a drama ministry. In rehearsals, we would sometimes play a game (of course, I can't remember the name of it) that went something like this: you tell a story, the next person tries to one-up you, and so on. For example, I might say, "I have a papercut on my finger." The next person might say they had hit their finger with a hammer. The scenario would go on until someone's finger had been chopped off or fallen off from some hideous disease. Quite a fun game!

The past four years, I think I've sort of been in hiding. I've not allowed myself to get too close to anyone, or anyone too close to me. I've recently started to emerge from hiding, and have been opening myself up to the possibilities of close friendships again, and getting to know people. What I'm finding is that, in general, people play the one-up game in real life. I don't think it's done intentionally or with malice. And, I'm quite certain I've been plenty guilty of it myself. But I'm trying to make myself aware of it so I no longer do it.

Here's an example of how it goes in real life: "I'm so tired from work lately." Instead of your pal asking what's going on at work, and encouraging you to relax, get some rest, and take the matter to God, the response is usually something like this: "Well, you can't be as tired as I am...let me tell you why..." And, so it goes. I think this is the easy button! It's easier to focus on how much worse our situation is than to be an encourager. I think it's easier because those conversation usually only involve surface talk.

Encouraging someone takes a bit of work and some commitment. It requires us to pray for our friends, check in to see how they're doing, maybe even take some time out of our busy lives to lend a listening ear. It requires that we not judge them. Yep, I said it. We need to realize that we don't walk in their shoes, and we don't know how we would react or respond to situations until we're in them. So instead of one-upping someone today, take the time and make the effort to be an encourager.

Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Easy To Be Fake

I have to fight the urge to be fake. It's easy to be fake, to say everything is fine when it's not. Because, let's admit it...not every day is a great, or even a good, day. We all have days when nothing goes right, whether they be big or small issues. Some are dealing with circumstances in which just getting through the day takes all the physical or emotional energy they have. And, it's usually easier to pretend the issue doesn't exist than to address it.

I'm not saying that it's okay to be Betty or Bob Bummer all the time. But it's important to recognize and address the source of a problem, and sometimes it's okay to admit it to others. From my personal experience, I know how destructive it can be to keep things tucked away, building one upon another. Sometimes, it's best to be an open book, and allow others to be an encouragement to us. To point us back in the right direction. To remind us of our blessings. To lead us back to the foot of the cross. To lead us to find healing.