A Handful of Moments

You pass me another handful of moments and I watch them fall like petals around my feet.” -Steven James

And I’ve missed them. I’ve missed them again. It would seem that I miss them every time.

How long has it been since I truly embraced the moment? How many times do I forget to inhale the fragrance of Your presence because I’m so caught up in my everyday, ordinary life?

Please don’t give up on me yet. Maybe, just maybe, today will be the day that I finally open my eyes and see.

Aware

Lord,

I regret many things,

but I do not regret this moment with you.

For it will have been a lifetime well-spent

to have lived this single moment

aware of your presence.

Steven James

Lord,

I waste so many moments caught up in the mundane.

So many hours focused on the trivial.

How much time I spend aware – truly aware – of Your presence

seems so small in the scope of my life.

So I revel in this moment that I too often ignore.

Help me become more aware of Your presence today.

Espressos and Cream

the shape of each leaf is a mystery

too deep to comprehend.

a million miracles surround me

while i complain that there’s

not enough room for cream in my espresso.

-Steven James

This quote struck a chord in my heart, reminding me that I’ve misplaced my sense of wonder somewhere in the mundane routine of my life. I’ve failed to let myself be captivated by the beauty that surrounds me because I’ve immersed myself for too long in the trivial.

And I find myself having to repent for being so hard to impress. For being shallow enough to think that the cream and espresso sized things actually matter. For being too distracted to even take notice of the glorious surprises God creates just for me.

It’s time to return to that “once upon a time” adventure. To recapture the wonder of the fairytales. To allow myself to be fascinated by the familiar.

As the Little Mermaid wanted to be “part of that world”, as Cinderella wanted “more than a dream”, I want so much more than days that are filled with espressos and cream.

A Work Unfinished

I wrote a post the other day for the missions organization I work with. It was a beautiful story of how God touched the heart of a broken child in Ukraine, but what resonates most deeply in my heart were Valerija’s final words: “God never leaves a work unfinished.”

Wow. It’s almost enough to leave me speechless.

My thoughts instantly turned to a passage in Philippians: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:4-6

God will complete the good work He began in you. He never leaves a work unfinished. Right now, the canvas of your life may not look too impressive, but the Master Artist has not yet finished painting. The Carpenter is not yet done carving, the Potter is still shaping.

Yes, I am a work unfinished, but I won’t always be that way. I cling to the promise of beauty from these ashes. I am a masterpiece waiting to emerge from the clay. It may be awhile before the refining process is complete, but it will happen. After all, God never leaves a work unfinished.

“…in the hands of a master carpenter, no piece of wood is safe from becoming a masterpiece.” -Steven James

Gods and Goals

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Sometimes in our walks with God, we start to feel as if we are running in place rather than moving along. I hate that feeling. So there I was, trying to get myself on the right track with God, when I stumbled upon a poem by author Steven James. In essence, this poem was a prayer that can be summarized in one sentence: “If goals can become gods, may You be the only goal I have.”

Maybe I struggle with this more than you do, but sometimes I let my dreams take over. Lately, I’ve been trying so hard to figure out where I’m supposed to go next that I forgot to sit down and soak in God’s Presence now. Somewhere along the lines, I got my priorities wrong. But in the moment I read that poem, I decided to set them straight.

“I choose You,” I whispered, echoing the prayer of Steven James. Then I turned on some music, basked in God’s Presence, and danced until my feet were on fire. It was one of the most beautiful nights I ever spent with my Savior.

So how about you? Where are you letting your goals and desires take first place in your life? What do you need to sacrifice in order to experience true intimacy with God? He’s waiting for you to choose your god today. I pray you choose to drop your idols and whisper those infinitely freeing words: “I choose You.”

The Familiarity of the Unfamiliar

Today I learned something about myself that I never knew before – or at least had never fully realized. I’m the kind of person who likes to tackle things one at a time. Even though I was homeschooled, I wouldn’t bounce around between subjects. I would finish history before moving onto science, and I would always save math for last because I knew I would be too frustrated to focus on anything else after that. I even eat my food in order. I simply can’t take one bite of beans then one bite of potatoes. If I start with the beans, I don’t touch the potatoes until the beans are finished. Weird, I know.

I just don’t like leaving things unfinished or having too much going on all at once. I guess I like simplicity, but I’m starting to feel as if God is shaking the boundaries of my comfort zone (as He so often does). I feel like He’s throwing more things at me, and I’m having to learn to juggle (which I’ve never had a desire to do). Still, God is stretching me and, as He often does, He’s using people. Namely, author Steven James.

Today, when I arrived home from work, I discovered a package waiting for me. Knowing exactly what it was, I tore into the manila envelope with great delight. Voila! Sailing Between the Stars. I had to start reading it immediately.

Wait. What? I’ve had other books on hold for over two weeks because I haven’t finished my current reads. How can I even think about cracking this one open? Simple really. It’s Steven James. And I connect with his writing unlike any other author I’ve ever read. I simply have to know what he is going to say. I have to ponder his insights into the Kingdom. I’m drawn into his poetic flow and enraptured by the paradoxes he presents. How can anyone be splintered into wholeness? He says things that leave me thinking, and things that keep me coming back for more.

So on top of my devotional and the book I was already reading, I now have two Steven James books thrown in the mix. And I think it’s God’s way of telling me He wants to expand my boundaries. Already, He’s been playing with my dreams and turning my expectations upside-down. There was a time that I thought I had my life all figured out, but now I feel as if I’ve lost control of everything. And I don’t understand. But according to Steven James, my lack of understanding isn’t a bad thing. Here’s a quote from Sailing Between the Stars:

…we’re busy trying to make Jesus seem reasonable, sensible, and practical. But He’s not. He’s radical, paradoxical, and absurd.

And that’s one of the reasons He’s so attractive to me.

That’s one of the reasons I believe.

God doesn’t make sense to the human mind. If He did, He wouldn’t be God. I’m not going to waste my time analyzing and trying to understand every little aspect of the heavenly realm. Rather, I’m going to embrace the mystery and step out into the wonderful familiarity of the unfamiliar, because it’s the poetical paradox of who God is that keeps me coming back for more.

Live the Journey

We interrupt the normal schedule of this blog to bring you an important message:

God has been doing something in me these past four months. I wrote a book, boldly presented it to a publisher, started a blog, and am slowly sinking into the world of ministry to my generation. It’s been amazing, and I’ve been learning so much. But tonight was one of those nights that God just smacked me in the face. You see, sometimes I get distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing and God has to set me back on track. I was skimming through my new book, A Heart Exposed by Steven James, when I stumbled upon these words:

you dance on the breeze in the evening light, you leap on the curl of a wave, crashing white. you twirl on a star in the darkest night, calling, “Live the journey! Live!”

With four more rousing stanzas, Steven James reminded me of my passion and purpose. It’s the reason I started this blog. God called me to live the journey, and when I looked around at the world I live in, I saw that many of my friends and loved ones weren’t walking in the freedom God called His children to when he told us that He had come to give us life to the full (John 10:10). It was my calling to echo the cry my God shouts, whispers, and screams. “Live the journey. Live.” I regret to say that I haven’t truly been challenging anyone to truly live the journey. I allowed myself to be boxed in by structure and say, “This is the routine.” But I never really gave God much freedom to step outside the bounds of my pre-conceived categories. Not that this has been bad… I simply believe that it could be so much better. God wants to make it so much better.

I’m one of those people who strive on structure, yet I hate when routine gets in the way of the Spirit. But there I was, doing the very thing I hate. I convinced myself that it had to stay the way it was because I had to stick to the singleness theme. But honestly, this isn’t about singleness. It’s not about marriage. It isn’t about dating or courting or whatever else you may use to define relationships. It’s about moving beyond waiting for the things that won’t come until the future and refusing to get caught up in the past. It’s about living the journey. It always has been. Until I let myself get caught up in traditions and routine and whatnot.

But I’m going to warn you that tradition stops right here. I’ll still try to post three times a week, but it’s going to have a little less “Rebekah-shaped structure.” I’m not going to force anything I’m not feeling. I will only post what I feel the Spirit is sharing with me to share with you. I’m going to expose a little bit of my heart on this page. The only goal I now have is to live the journey. And I want to encourage you to live with me.