Expectant: a story of birth and surrender

In the early hours of 2021, God handed me the word Expectant and I told Him to take it back.

Expectant. The word twisted into my aching, empty womb with all the mercilessness of a knife. I couldn’t claim it as a promise because what if it didn’t mean what I wanted it to mean? What if I couldn’t get pregnant again? Or worse, what if I did get pregnant again and my body failed that child, too?

But God persisted, so I set out to expect good things (maybe not a baby, but good things) from 2021.

Then it happened. The month I started to feel alive again—the month before my husband and I had determined would be the month we start trying to create a new life together—a baby appeared in my womb.

An unexpected gift.

A miracle.


And still so very afraid to claim it.

I scheduled an appointment to get my progesterone checked. I prolonged trips to the bathroom, afraid of what I would find in the toilet every time. I grieved, rather than celebrated, the day I realized I was the most pregnant I had ever been.

I loved my new baby, but I missed her siblings something awful.

Still, we made it through the majority of the year Expectant. Then my January baby decided December was more her style and announced her impending arrival a week early.

The morning my water broke, I was such a hopeful fool. The end was near. Things were happening. My baby would be here tomorrow.

Contractions kicked in late that night. I was up at 3am, bursting with excitement. With Expectancy. But I remembered my midwife’s warning to sleep when I could, so I stretched out on the couch and closed my eyes.

I awoke two hours later to complete stillness. No contractions and, even more disconcerting, no baby kicks.

I placed a hand on my stomach, lifted and jiggled and whispered, “Come on, Blue.” I drank some water. Ate a nutrigrain bar. Still, my baby didn’t respond.

I hadn’t felt this kind of emptiness since the morning after I lost the twins. The morning when I woke up and pressed a hand to my flat stomach and lamented (despite my husband’s insistence to keep hoping we still had a survivor in there) that they were gone.

In this instance, my stomach was far from flat. There was a seven and a half pound human in there, after all. But the stillness… Oh, the stillness.

I called the midwife, paced the halls, climbed the stairs. My husband put his hands on my belly, lifting and shaking and begging our child to move.


I bounced softly on my birth ball, clutching my stomach, sniffling through tears, reminding God that He promised.

Except He didn’t.

Not really.

What He promised me was an Expectancy. A hope. A sense of anticipation…

But He never promised me my desired outcome. He never guaranteed me a living, breathing baby in the end.

And what then? What happens when your Expectancy ends in heartache? What happens when your dreams turn to ash around you?

Is God still faithful? And good? And worthy of adoration? Are you still thankful for this gift, even if it will soon be ripped from your hands?

These are the things I pondered for the longest hour and a half. In those quiet hours before dawn, I was forced to surrender the thing I cherished most in the world—the child I had craved and carried and expected.

Then the midwife arrived and the heartbeat sang strong and I choked out a cry of relief while demanding, “What the hell, Blue?”

My baby was alive. Stubbornly silent, but alive.

The day went on, laborless, until the midwife fed me some kind of miracle milkshake and the contractions kicked in non-stop.

Ten hours of labor (mostly spent in the bathroom thanks to the ingredients of that milkshake). Ten hours of clinging to my husband’s neck while simultaneously snapping at him not to touch me as each contraction raged. Ten hours of craving rest but also being afraid to sleep because what if labor stopped again?

Somehow I did manage to sleep, albeit a minute at a time. Then I got up to use the bathroom and it all went wrong.

“We’re going to get ready to transfer for a c-section…”

A c-section. The worst case scenario. A baby in distress and a mama who didn’t even get a chance to deliver her.

The midwife helped me back to bed. She had been mostly hands off at that point, respecting my broken water bag and the risk of infection that came with it. But it didn’t matter now. The baby was coming out soon and she needed to know what was happening in my body.

“You’re fully dilated. Do you feel like pushing?”

“No, but I could.”

“Well, the baby is breech—“


My baby? The one who has been in perfect position since Week 28? Breech? How?

(Reader, this likely happened while her father and I were shaking my uterus in sheer desperation, but I like to think my clever little girl is already halfway potty trained as, moments before I got up to use the toilet, she turned her little butt to my cervix and promptly pooped my bed.)

“Can you give me a push?”

My husband and the midwife’s daughter were currently packing for the hospital trip and she wanted me to push? It seemed a little counterproductive, but I obliged. I pushed, and I pushed, and I pushed one more time…

And then I heard the most beautiful words I could imagine in that moment: “You’re moving this baby, so we can do this here, but we have to do it now.”

Wait, no c-section? No c-section!

Levi scrambled into bed behind me, supporting me as I pushed our daughter’s body into the world. But she was breech, and her head got lodged in the birth canal with no weight behind it to help guide it into the world.

My mother-in-law had told me that birth is hard on husbands because there is literally nothing they can do to help. “It’s all on you, Mama,” she said, as if that was the most exciting, empowering thing in the world.

And while (in hindsight) there is an overwhelming sense of empowerment in delivering a breech baby in ten minutes, in that moment of birth… in those two and a half minutes that stretch into an eternity while your baby’s head is stuck in your pelvis… when you push with everything within you and it is not enough…

I have never felt so powerless in my life. It was all on me, but it also wasn’t.

Because I could not will my child into the world the instant I needed her to be there. I could not help the fact that she was desperately in need of an intervention. I could not make her live by hope alone.

All I could do was push to no avail and worry that I had come this far only to lose her in the end. All I could do was strain and pray and tell God that I couldn’t do this again. I couldn’t lose another baby, especially like this.

Thank God for a midwife who knew to put her finger in my child’s mouth and guide her the rest of the way. For the breath she pumped into my daughter’s unresponsive lungs. For the eyes that fluttered open and the cry that came after four long minutes of desperate pleas to heaven.

Expectancy: The state of thinking or hoping that something, especially something pleasant, will happen or be the case.

The hope, but not the promise.

Thankfully, I got both this time and, like any mother who knows the sting of loss, I do not take it for granted.

We were on the fence about our girl name the entire pregnancy, debating between two and deciding that we would know which one she was when we saw her.

She made it easy for us. No child who put us through all of that uncertainty was befitting of a whimsical, fairy-like name.

No, this child was our Elise Abrielle.

“Consecrated to God.”

“Open, Secure, and Protected.”

Our daughter is alive and well…

And we are still Expectant of good things for her future.

An Ode to Joy

The word Joy keeps resurfacing in my life. All throughout the month of February, that pesky little word kept invading my grief as if to say, “Get up, get up and keep moving forward.”

You see, Joy took a little vacation from my life starting back in November. I checked out of Thanksgiving. I cried through Christmas. And for the entire month of January I just sort of existed in a perpetual state of sadness.

Then along comes February, singing its infuriating little song: “Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy…”

Where? I wonder.

“Down in your heart, silly,” Joy says with a giggle.

If I have any trace of that Sunday School Joy remaining deep down in my heart, I think it’s safe to say it’s buried beneath quite the pile of rubble right now. Yet the words that keep haunting me at every turn are those of James:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

I don’t know about you, but Joy isn’t exactly my natural response to troubling situations. I prefer to wallow in my misery, mourning deeply and artistically. I like to give Grief time to do its work and devastate me properly. I don’t want to think about how the testing of my faith produces perseverance; I just want to cry, dang it.

But this verse just kept on playing peekaboo with my heart. So I read the entire book of James and followed that up with the more sensible solution of searching my Bible’s concordance for other references to Joy, and that’s when I found this little gem tucked within the pages of Ecclesiastes 7:

“Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other…”

I love how well those words parallel the words of James (while leaving room for deep, artistic grieving).

Consider it pure joy…

Be joyful… consider…

Prosperity and Adversity both have stories to tell. And while Joy may come as a result of the trial, it doesn’t actually show up until later. Sometimes much later.

I’m learning that Joy is cyclical, like everything else under the sun. Adversity will always take a swing at it, Trials will often tackle it to the mat, and Grief may sometimes hold it down for the count. And that’s okay.

Maybe I don’t have to feel guilty that Joy isn’t currently the reigning champion in my heart, so long as I’m willing to let her back in the ring.

The blows just keep on coming, but Peace is surprisingly holding her own, and Joy? Well, I think she has a fighting chance. That’s all that I can give her right now. I hope it’s enough.

Here’s to New Beginnings

I was set up to believe that my wedding day would be a much bigger deal than it actually was. Sure, some of that was due to COVID-19 and realizing we would have to downsize (while also realizing that a small, intimate wedding in our backyard suited us better than the big production ever would).

But still…

I was waiting for that moment—anticipating the pre-wedding jitters as the magnitude of this decision sunk in. That moment never happened, because really the ceremony was little more than an official confirmation of a decision that had already been made, slowly, over the past two years.

On the day I read Levi Roper my vows, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. That was not the case two years ago.

I remember that night so clearly. After three months of fighting feelings I did not wish to have, I found myself losing the battle. I had to address what was happening between us. I had to know.

And yet…

I had an entire list of reasons I shouldn’t pursue this. I imagined a hundred scenarios of things going wrong. In fact, I had only one reason to consider having this conversation at all.

I wanted this. Despite Logic’s attempts to reason me out of it. Despite everything I risked losing. Despite the easy path being to continue on with my life as it was before I ever heard the name Levi Roper.

Yes, despite all of that, one thought rang clear in my mind on the night of July 14, 2018:

“Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.”

So I brought forth my questions and uncertainties and, one by one, he dismantled them all.

Now here we are—one month into a life I never dreamed possible. Mere weeks into a lifetime I almost never had.

All because I was afraid of new beginnings.

I still am. I have a hard time plunging into things where I cannot predict the outcome.

I’m practical, is all. You may not think a trait so simple and seemingly helpful as practicality would be the death of me, but it is, you see. Because pouring all that energy into something that isn’t going to last seems decidedly unpractical to me.

That’s why I find beginnings to be so daunting. Because choosing something worthy of cultivating is a challenge. Starting out and forcing myself into a rhythm is a chore. And knowing that I could work my hardest for naught… Well, that is disheartening, to say the least.

It is so easy, two years down the road, to look back on that pivotal moment and romanticize it:

Silly girl. Look at how things turned out. What did you ever have to be afraid of?

But I was afraid. Looking back on it now, knowing the ending, doesn’t take that fear away; it simply transformed it into something I can cherish with the gift of hindsight.

My favorite part of our story is that I chose him despite myself. Despite my fears. Despite the story I was trying to write for my life.

Levi was (and is) a new beginning. And I didn’t think I was ready for that.

The word God whispered to me as a theme for this year is Becoming. I am all too aware that I am in transition—that God is shifting me into a new season, despite my own plans.

Something new is beginning in my life and it scares me. It scares me because it is unknown and unfamiliar and not in the plan. It scares me because I can’t make out the shape of it quite yet and I feel like I’m walking helplessly into the dark. It scares me because everything I thought I wanted suddenly doesn’t feel like enough.

And I haven’t felt this afraid in two years, when I whispered my confession that, yes, I wanted this into the dark.

I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m becoming. And I could think of a hundred things that could go wrong. I can think of a hundred reasons to stay the same—to cling to the familiar. Still, I find myself whispering into the darkness, “I want this. I don’t know what it’s going to look like or how long it’s going to last, but I want this. Despite everything.”

So here’s to new beginnings and the adventures they hold in store.

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Rewriting My Life

It was one of those silly online quizzes—the kind you blaze through instinctively. Simple questions with simple answers.

For anyone else, it may have been that easy, but as 2018 drew to a close, I found myself staring at a screen, feeling my whole life unravel.

“Do you prefer being single?”

Until that moment, the answer had always been, “Yes, of course!” But that was before I was five months deep in a relationship that was making me question everything I thought I wanted.

For nearly a decade, Singleness had not only been my state of being, but my calling. I found purpose in validating Singleness as a way of life. I read all the books. I championed the cause. I didn’t hold back. I made sure everyone who asked knew that I was whole and happy on my own, and that everyone deserved the freedom to feel that way.

I didn’t realize it then, but I had hung my identity on a relationship status. So it should come as no surprise, really, that God felt the need to rip that rug from under my feet.

“Do you prefer being single?”

My fingers itched to click “yes,” but I realized the honest answer was “no.”

Not anymore.

I remember confessing to my friend Brett that I felt like I was cheating on myself. I worried all over her inbox that maybe I was giving up too much by becoming something I had once scorned.

She lovingly and gently talked me down until I came to my own conclusion that, while I was perfectly capable of functioning independently, I wasn’t certain that I wanted to anymore.

“There it is,” she wrote.

And I knew she was right about that being the clincher, but I still didn’t know where that left me and the complicated mess I had made of my goals.

I felt like Rapunzel, drifting on the lake as she awaited the culmination of her lifelong dream.

“What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?” Or worse… “What if it is? What do I do then?”

Let me tell you, Flynn Rider was lying when he said the good part was finding a new dream. At least for me, it has not been quite so enjoyable.

Because unlike our perfect little storybook characters, I wrestle with the idea of a person being my new dream.

Lately, I’ve been quoting The Little Rascals to Levi, playfully reminding him that “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is ours.” But I think maybe I am more selfish than that. Maybe I want something that is still entirely mine.

I realize this isn’t fair of me since I have already wholeheartedly staked a claim in his dreams, but in my defense, he made it too easy, having been carving a space for me in his story all along.

There was no room for him in my story. He was never a character who was meant to play a role in my tale. But he showed up anyway, and when he did, it felt like there wasn’t a place for me in some of the pages.

I’ve missed blogging, but how could I continue writing Beyond Waiting from this side of Once Upon a Time? I never wanted to be the person who wrote about Singleness after being removed from it, but I’m also not quite ready to surrender this calling just yet.

So I don’t know where that leaves me. I don’t know what shape this story will take. I feel like a messy first draft with gaping plot holes, but I’m still here, claiming ownership of my story. I hope that counts for something.

Heart vs. Will

The words “not my will” have been singing through my mind since my manager stated them so eloquently about a month ago. So it comes as no surprise that my most recent Bible Study book would lead me to the scene at the Garden of Gethsemane.

When faced with his own battle of “not my will,” author Gregory Hunt dissected the difference between willfulness and willingness.

“Without willfulness,” he states, “we would never get anything done. Willfulness is gumption, and gumption is good.”

But willfulness, he claims, only works until we get that that place where we can’t say for sure that there’s an alignment between our will and God’s. That is where willingness comes into play. Where willfulness may drive our lives, it is willingness that will give us the peace and rest our hearts so desperately crave.

As my rather unsettled heart skimmed over these pages, I realized that I have come to a point in my life where I’m trying to follow after God using willfulness rather than willingness. I find myself constantly striving to hold myself to a standard that used to come easily. While I am still all sorts of stubborn and determined enough to keep my feet on the right track, my heart has gone on hiatus.

My relationship with God these days reminds me, sadly, of that scene in First Knight after Arthur catches Guinevere with Lancelot.

“You love him!” Arthur accuses.

“I choose you,” Guinevere replies.

“Your will chooses me, but your heart chooses him.”


I find myself offering the same determined albeit feeble excuses as Guinevere about my will being stronger than my heart. (It is! It really is! Don’t you feel fortunate to be on the winning side of this battle?)

But God isn’t satisfied with my divided love. Or, as King Arthur would say, He doesn’t want me to love Him “in slices.” I may think my will is strong enough to hold this together, but when He asks me to look upon Him as I look upon my other loves… I can’t.

Because my will may be strong, but there are certain things only a heart can conjure.

So for the time being, I’ll be over here relearning how to fall in love will both my heart and my will.

The Word That Might Undo Me

You may be familiar with the Word of the Year trend (aka #OneWord365) where people choose a theme for the year to come. That word may be Thankful, Fearless, Rest, or Focus—to name a few.

To me, this spin on the popular New Year’s Resolution has always sounded a lot like counting your chickens before they hatch. How can one possibly know what her Word of the Year should be if the year hasn’t even begun? Me, I’ve mostly chosen my words in retrospect. At some point during the month of December, I sit down and evaluate where the past year has taken me. Only then do I determine the overarching theme.

But despite my doubts, I have a word for 2017.

I did not choose this word, mind you. On this I wish to be abundantly clear. Had the choice been up to me, I would have picked any one of those lovely words I listed above. At the very least I might have gone with Wander, Lost, or even Wrecked. (I was wrecked one year and there was something wonderfully poetic about it.) Basically, I would accept almost anything besides the word that was forced, quite unwillingly, upon me.

Yet the word that sunk its talons into my heart that cold, January morning was Together.

You were probably expecting something much worse. After all, Together is a word most people crave. The opposite of together, you realize, is alone. And no one wants to be alone.

I beg to differ.

Alone has worked quite well for me these last twenty-five years. I’ve grown comfortable there in my solitude. In fact, my mother’s chief concern about me moving into my own apartment was exactly that—she feared I would isolate. She warned it wasn’t healthy, practically begged me to intentionally seek people out. And I have, as best as I know how.

But I still crave the solitude.

Maybe it’s a gift; maybe it’s a curse, but I have long been able to do life well alone. I legitimately thrive at this solo gig. But along comes this word, threatening to turn my entire world upside down.


To be honest, I scarcely know what it means. Sure, I know the dictionary definition. Together means being with or in proximity to another person or people. Together, as an adverb, strikes fear into the heart of many an introvert, and I wish I could say my kind of Together was more of an adjective. I could handle a year of becoming more self-confident, level-headed, or well organized.

But I get the feeling I’m not meant to become the kind of woman who has everything together. I think my journey to Together is more likely to make me fall apart. I can already feel myself unraveling.

A lesson I learned long ago is that you can surround yourself with people and still be all alone. I’m practically an expert at isolating myself within a group of people. Every now and again someone sees right through me and the walls I have built so high, and I’m thankful for the effort the devote to my cause. But mostly I spend my life walking the delicate balance between the inside and the outside. Here, but not present. Involved, but not connected.

I may be in proximity to other people, but I don’t know how to be with them very well.

While browsing through the anonymous confessions left on If You Find This Email, I encountered one that made me want to wrap the author up in my arms and say, “Me too. I feel you, girl. Next time you’re feeling down, you can hit me up.”

Because she talked about being the person everyone comes to when they need to know that they are not alone, and how she still cannot find a single person among her thousand contacts that she could be that vulnerable with. She laments that she has no one to tell that she is not okay.

While I am certain that this is a lie we tell ourselves, it is the burden of the girl who thinks she can carry the weight of the world on her own.

It has been my burden for far too long.

I’m realizing that Together means showing up with your presence and not just your body. Sometimes it means showing up with those pieces of you that aren’t all that pretty. So I’m showing up on this blog today to tell you that, like my anonymous friend at If You Find This Email, I’m not okay. And that maybe next year I will thrive at this Together business, but right now it feels like any New Year’s Resolution as March starts creeping closer.

It’s hard and I feel like abandoning ship.

But this word. This word.

I know it is going to haunt me for the remainder of the year, so this is me sucking it up and trying to be faithful to community. Because that’s what Together actually means for me.


  • A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
  • A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals

One of the first things God said about humankind was that it isn’t good for them to be alone. Consider this my first true (albeit feeble) attempt at Together.

Hello, my name is Rebekah. Let’s be friends.

My Idea of Church

I went to church last weekend. I gathered in a circle with twenty-some people and we shared our stories. We laughed together, encouraging one another, but we also made sure to point out where each person could grow better, stronger, bolder.

It was a time to hear and be heard. To grow and help grow. A time when everyone was excited and accepting and eager for more. A time to let down our walls, exposing pieces of our souls to strangers. A time to fall in love with those strangers because of it.

“This is the way church is supposed to be,” I thought.

But, of course, I can’t remember the last time church has looked like this for me. Because this experience I had last weekend didn’t take place in a sanctuary; it took place in a Student Center at Ball State University. We weren’t talking about Jesus; we were talking about writing.

And before you ask, yes, that is a spiritual experience for me.

I carried it with me—this definition of church—through the remainder of the weekend. You might think it would be hard to even consider a word so sacred and spiritual while playing Cards Against Humanity, but that’s where it hit me the hardest. As the owner of this filthy game struggled to remain somewhat respectful for the sake of her good little Catholic companion, it was hard to imagine anything but the Holy Spirit at work.

Because that’s what blew my mind. That we were so very different at our cores and yet… Our experiences didn’t matter. Our worldview didn’t matter. Our politics and religion and culture didn’t matter. We were all storytellers, and that bound us together in a way that would be impossible in any natural realm.

I wish I knew of an actual church that worked like that. Maybe then I’d make an effort on Sunday mornings. Maybe then I wouldn’t find myself wishing for excuses on Wednesday nights. Maybe then church would actually make a difference in my life, rather than be that mandatory thing on my schedule.

I’m sorry to say that is what church has become in my life—an obligation.

In the movie Evil Roy Slade, the protagonist is a villain who falls in love with a pretty girl and decides to abandon his lifetime of crime. Only he has a hard time leaving the past in the past. One day, Roy has a relapse and confesses to his beloved Betsy, “My idea of a 9 to 5 job is 9 men robbing 5 men.”

I think my idea of church is comparable. Not because I believe in robbing people, but because my idea in itself is so drastically different than the cultural norm and, frankly, a lot more exciting than a church built on tradition.

Because if church looked anything like that circle of writers clutching pages of their stories within their trembling hands, I would feel differently about it. I would crave it like I crave waking up to Jacqueline Faber’s manuscript in my inbox. (Let’s make that a reality, Jacqueline.)

I do crave it. Not church as it is, but church as it should be. Church like my writing community. Because, I swear, if someone would talk to me about Jesus the way my coworker talked to me about Anita Blake the other night, I would be on a spiritual high for a month, hallelujah.

I just want a church that pushes past the fluff and the tradition and the agenda, and gets straight to the heart of it. I want a church where people ask their questions and share their stories and dare to risk rejection only to find acceptance instead.

I want a church that isn’t divided over experience and worldview, politics and culture. I want a church where we can overlook and even accept these things. Where we can learn and even grow from these things. Because no matter what our other loves, we are all lovers of Jesus.

And that binds us together in a way that would be impossible in any natural realm.

Audience of Me

“Sometimes I find myself using all the tools of prayer—Bible, journal, worship music—as distractions, protection against being real and true and open and vulnerable.”

These words, penned by Kelly O’Dell Stanley in her book Praying Upside Down, sting me with their truth. How many times have I used these tools without thinking of their true purpose? How often do I look at these things like they are just one more accomplishment to mark off my checklist?

Read a chapter of Lamentations. Check. Meditation? Well, I had to read that one verse a second time since I didn’t understand it at first glance. That counts, right? (Insert nervous laughter.)

Seriously, I have a habit—a routine, if you will. I read a chapter of the Bible followed by a chapter of an inspirational book. If I’m really on a role (i.e. when I decide I have time to spare), I’ll read another chapter of the Bible followed by a chapter of a different inspirational book. Sometimes I’ll find a cool quote to scribble down in my journal. Sometimes not. Sometimes I take my time, but other times I’m in a rush to flip through the pages and get on with my day. Then I pack all my books away and call it time spent with God.

Really? Did I really spend time with God? Kelly Stanley disagrees (and I think God might take her side on this one).

“It’s a legitimate fear,” Kelly writes. “When we spend time alone in prayer, God blows off the chaff. Shines His light on our darkness, exposing it all. He separates what is valuable from what is worthless. If you recall, Jesus chastised the Pharisees for their public displays of faith, not because they were public but because they were shows.

Confession time: Sometimes my own faith becomes more of a show, even if I’m only performing for myself. Because it makes me feel good to think I made room for God today… even on those days when God feels that He missed the invite to my little party of spirituality.

If you’re like me, you’re probably struggling a little bit with this whole idea of the Bible being a distraction from God. After all, it’s the God-Breathed Word of God. How can it do anything but draw us closer to the One who wrote it?

This morning, I buried my face in a chapter of Lamentations and learned absolutely nothing relevant to my life today. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t really looking, but perhaps (dare I say it?) it’s because the answers aren’t there.

Seriously, though. There is a lot to be learned from the words God ordained to be recorded in that holy book, but nowhere in the Bible am I going to find the words in red that say, “Thou shalt wait tables while waiting for your writing prowess to be acknowledged by agents and publishing houses alike.” The Bible gives me the generic, but not the specific. Only a lifetime spent seeking God’s voice through other mediums, such as prayer, is going to lead me down the path He specifically intended for my life.

“I have the answers,” God says, waiting for the moment we tear our eyes from the book on our laps to notice He has been sitting across from us all along. “I’ll give them to you if you stop trying to be so spiritual and simply seek Me instead.”

But I, like Kelly, am afraid. Afraid of the way He shines light on my darkness, exposing it all. I’m afraid to get honest and open and vulnerable even with the God who knows it all anyway. Because the person I’m really afraid of being honest with is myself. Because if I were really to acknowledge the darkness, I would have to work at transforming it into light.

Sure, people will tell you God takes the darkness away, but you have to let Him. And if you’re going to practice true, Godly living, you can’t just keep coming back like, “Oops. I messed up again,” just because you know forgiveness will be extended; You have to intentionally work to keep the darkness at bay so as not to take advantage of God’s endless grace.

That’s a huge commitment–dying to self day after day after day. So sometimes I take the easy route and let the Bible serve as a distraction, turning my daily Jesus routine into a big performance for my audience of me.


Learning to Be All the Things

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve taken a break from Beyond Waiting for a season. I had been pursuing other things for a while, and this just seemed to be taking up more time I didn’t feel I had to spend. And, to be honest, there was always The Fear.

The Fear has been there since the idea for Beyond Waiting first sprouted in my mind. The Fear that nonfiction was out of my comfort zone. The Fear that my voice would just be adding to the noise (because there is a lot of noise when it comes to singleness and praying God will bring the right man along soon). The Fear of branding.

That was one thing I had learned about the publishing industry. You had to be branded, like cattle, which sounds like a painful and demeaning exercise to me. I was scared of it anyway—to be crammed so precisely inside a box and confined to writing in a way my readers would expect. I had bigger dreams than that. I read all the things and I wanted to write all the things.

Except this thing. Because if there was one thing I knew for certain, even at eighteen years old, it was that I did not want to be branded as the Singleness Guru.

Still, in obedience—often begrudging obedience—I wrote the book, published it through ANM Press, and left God to do the rest. That was part of the deal. I would write it and He would market it, and I wouldn’t have to worry my pretty little head about what became of Beyond Waiting.

I moved on with my life, trying to leave that book in the past as much as conviction would deem possible. I started writing what I always wanted to write. It was only fair, I reasoned.

In writing fiction, I’ve managed to push everything else aside. I told myself my moments were better sent ironing the wrinkles out of this novel I’ve created. I blamed Time. I blamed Priorities and Calling and a handful of fictional characters who pop into my thoughts at any given moment.

But I never blamed The Fear. And I certainly never blamed Resentment.

Yes, in many ways, I resent writing Beyond Waiting. I resent that this is the work that declared me “published.” I resent that I’m going to have to try explaining it to a secular publisher some day. I resent that it might make the marketing people want to publish me under a pen name. You guys had better believe I’ve spent the last month praying I’m married or at least engaged before my first novel comes out… just in case I need an alternate name that is, in fact, my own.

That’s how much I resent Beyond Waiting.

But this morning… This morning I got online and I thought to myself, “I really should check the Beyond Waiting email. It probably has tons of junk that needs cleaned out.”

And it did. I deleted no fewer than forty-three emails. But there were also a rare couple of gems in there. Two people had popped in to tell me how they had just become acquainted with my words.

I turned my rolling eyes heavenward. “You would work like that. You would wait until I have nothing new to say. You would introduce someone to an article I wrote four years ago and then have her tell me it was still fresh and relevant to her today.”

God laughed, because sometimes He’s a little too pleased with His clever ways. But then He said something serious, a hint of that smile still tugging at His lips. “Rebekah, you try so hard to compartmentalize your life. I want you to be all the things.”

I know there’s a verse in 1 Corinthians about being all things to all people, but I thought that was about meeting people where they are at. So here I am, arguing with God about the proper interpretation of that verse—okay, whatever, God, just change the meaning as You see fit—and finally concluding with: “I’m not big enough!”

“But I AM.”

I AM. It’s a name, it’s a statement, it’s a fragment for crying out loud. I AM… what? What exactly are You? God’s the only person I know who can perfectly sum Himself up without even bothering to finish that sentence.


You are. You are, You are, You are.

And because He is, I have far more power than I ever gave myself credit for. But then, I don’t deserve the credit anyway.

Lately, I’ve been writing for myself. I mean, I hope one day the words I’ve been painstakingly crafting will be shared with the world, but for the moment, they’re mine alone. And I’ve gotten pretty selfish in my unsharing.

But if there’s one thing I agree with God on this morning, it’s that He didn’t give me words so I could lock them away. As this stunning article I read just yesterday informed me, “Nothing beautiful belongs behind barbs.”

So I’ll be back, dear ones, with the words I’ve been so hesitant to say. And Katie and Rebekah, I fully intend to respond to your emails personally, because they are beautiful, and you are beautiful, and you’ve reminded me of  the reason I’m on this earth.

I’m truly and finally thankful for this space and the people who make it worth coming home to. See you soon, lovelies.

Letting Down My Hair

Last night did not go according to plan. I walked into Bible Study intending to reinvent myself. To be a louder, bolder version of Rebekah Snyder. To finally carve a little space for myself in the midst of this community. This didn’t happen for a couple reasons. One: an old friend showed up, so of course we spent the evening catching up on life. Two: I looked around the houseful of thirty-some people and could practically feel myself shrinking, wallflower that I am.

When I woke up this morning, I had no intention to write a blog post, at least not on Beyond Waiting. I was going to write something very poetic about wallflowers on my other blog.

Wait, what? Rebekah has another blog?

I first started rebekahsnyder.wordpress.com so I could play around with formats without completely ruining this blog. I threw the first three posts up there just so I could get a feel for the layout. And then I wrote something else. Something that was probably the most vulnerable piece I have ever written, but I couldn’t post it here. Mostly because I didn’t want to risk the subject seeing it, but also because it didn’t fit the style I had created for this blog. And that is how Vagabond became the home for all the words that haunt me.

The ones that aren’t safe. The ones that aren’t pretty. The ones that don’t fit the image I have crafted for this space.

So why would I mention it now?

Here of late, I’ve become painfully aware that I’ve lived the majority of my life on a pedestal of sorts, and it’s getting really old. When I wrote a friend about how I feel like Rapunzel alone in her tower, longing to commit pedestal suicide, she asked me a very pointed and troubling question:

“Who are you, sweet girl? Who are you when the perfectionism falls to the ground and all that is left is you? Who is that girl? Does she come out to other people? Or, is she all alone in the tower?”

tower prison

I realize my pedestal is something I have crafted with my own two hands, and this morning, as I started dreaming up a post for Vagabond, I realized it was just another way of hiding. And I heard That Voice, clear and strong: “Rebekah, Rebekah, let down your hair.”

So I’ve decided to stop hiding. I’ve decided to come out right here on this blog and confess that, yes, perfectionism has clung to me like a second skin, but I am oh so tired of not wearing my own.

While this blog has shifted and grown so much over the years, it has never been completely real. Although everything I have shared has been truth, I’ve never been fully honest. I’ve tried to be strong. I’ve tried to be the encourager. I have tried to be light in this world.

But I’ve never let down my hair. I’ve never come out of the tower. I’ve never told you that I might actually be Rapunzel. Oh yes, I Rapunzel so hard these days.

So I want to invite you to read the post that I first protected like a secret. Oddly enough, it, too, is about Rapunzel. I think it’s pretty beautiful. In fact, there are a few posts on that blog of which I am truly proud.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am coming out, at least, on the days I feel brave enough. Thank you so much for continuing to return and make me feel like my voice matters. Until next time…

let down your hair