The sloppy, sappy, imperfect love of a Mama


Mother’s day is always interesting for me, as I put so much pressure on myself to be a good mom (not really sure what that always means) expectations that come from books and movies, over the top expectations I put on myself …and the fact that I had so little to glean from in the way of a motherly example growing up. I’m sitting here this rainy Saturday thinking about how I haven’t done much for any of the women I love deeply, who have poured into me over the years….nothing for the one who gave birth to me.

I have cards sitting on my kitchen table and I am determined to send them out Monday…late, but a heart full of the same love and gratitude I feel for them every day.

Is tomorrow Mother’s Day? I will mail them Monday to women labored through life with me, loving me despite…

My childhood was a tug of war between a hunger that was more than just “food insecurity” and feeling like I was “good for nothing” ….and the kindness of woman who would call me the “daughter of her heart”.

I love the crazy brave women God deeply rooted in the path before me throughout my childhood…to the point that I had no choice but give them permission to touch my heart and impact my future…He knew I was terrified and would never willingly yield my heart to be vulnerable enough to risk rejection. He hemmed me in from all directions….and with affection I can’t describe, I was loved. I was tenderly touched, never given up on. My life was altered. I was not the same. I drank in their love. I still do. I mimic their actions with my children. Not always with perfection, but always with sloppy, sappy, imperfection…. not one of them giving me life in labor, but through the agonizing groans of allowing God to break their heart for the orphan.

This is a painting done by my daughter Hannah, given to me on Christmas 2014 of me as a child

“I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here.

I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.”

―Maya Angelou, Mom & Me & Mom

❤ soul-sisters ❤


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A couple of weeks ago, I had the most precious honor to spend uninterrupted time with women I not only love, but respect and adore.  They are fellow crazies who chose to serve God in a fearless kind of way, throwing caution to the wind and stirring up concern in our families as we sold houses, left secure jobs with salaries and benefits…to serve “at risk” children.  They are some of the smartest, bravest, boldest and beautiful women I’ve ever known.

This all started from a couple of photos posted on Facebook from different weddings over the last couple of years.  First was the wedding of Kaytie Ausherman (that’s me in the back row, red shirt), the second wedding being Michelle Leslie’s (I was unable to attend, but they sent me a “selfie”).

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We sent out a series of tags, post…hints dropped here and there of a reunion of sorts.  All hoping, but nobody really picking up the task….that is until I started a Facebook group.  So it was “official”….and on a hot weekend in July we met deep in the woods at a beautiful place called “Spring Valley Ranch”, near Jay, Oklahoma.

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One by one these beautiful hearts began to show up….all laughing as they walked in and mentioned they nearly turned around after they got to the narrow concrete bridge covered in children jumping into the creek.  We all agreed adding more laughter.  Many of the women had not seen each other in 6 years or more and it had been even longer since we’d all been together in the same room.  We’d hoped all of our sisters could join us, but instead we had seventeen.

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We hugged, cried, laughed and leaned in close….some brought games, others brought guitars, thinking we’d need something to pass the time….but instead…we took long drinks of tea and listened and shared and told the stories of our lives seventeen times over.  Lots of life had happened over these years.  Graduations.  Weddings.  Births.  Death….unspeakable pain of losing children.  The visiting didn’t end until the early hours of the next morning….then we reluctantly headed to bed, hoping this wasn’t all just a wonderful dream.  Heaven on earth.

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How is it possible for one girl to have so many beautiful souls who are willing to love and shape the very fabric of who she is?  This journey started for me many years ago when I was driven to the children’s home as a 12 year old girl.  Here is that story.  Do they have any idea how much I love them and how grateful I am?

One by one my sisters began to leave.  The short weekend over.  We gathered to pray, tears flowing, hand in hand…hearts connected in the deepest way.  Grateful that God allowed us time together on this side of heaven.

I love these women, each one….unique and beautiful.  My soul-sisters.

prayer time

 

⊱✿ Taking care of my own self ✿⊰


self-care

 [selfkair] 

noun

care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.

 

“self-care” is sooooo important and I don’t realize until it’s too late, that I need to replenish….especially when in full-time ministry or service type jobs. I get crabby, edgy, irritable and terribly impatient and self-absorbed.  I’m still learning the art of “self-care”….but two things are certain for me to have the energy and spiritual nourishment to continue to pour into others:

#1 – God’s Word – I heard an awesome message from Jackie Kendall a few years ago (she’s crazy about Jesus and about God’s Word). She challenged us to get in the Word for at least 7 minutes a day….you may think “oh that’s not near enough time for me)…but can we just be real for just a minute? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has to hunt for my Bible at least a couple of times a week/month because I haven’t actually opened it in a few days? I read online a lot, but there’s just nothing quite like reading highlighted passages that have already spoken to my heart and finding new nuggets of truth that sooth my soul.

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#2 – Unplug – like from everything….phone, computer, tv, kindle, iPad (all electronic devices) This. Is. Not. Easy. There’s nothing quite like being in the woods with no cell service to force a girl to unplug.  I was forced to unplug a week ago when I spent the weekend with my soul-sisters.  I left feeling full and refreshed because of the long visit with women who love The Lord their God with ALL their heart and soul….and would never judge me, only giving large doses of unconditional love and loads of grace.  No cell service, no internet.  Just us.  We leaned in close, listened long and talked until the early morning hours….then got up and did it all again the next day.

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Take care of YOU this weekend and do something to refill, recharge and sooth your soul, so you have the energy and fullness to pour into others and do what God called you to do!

His grateful girl,

Becky

Leave your whine at the bread aisle!


My word for this year is revival, my theme is #nofearnewyear …a challenge from Ann Voskamp.  I have two pair of rainbow socks to remind me God’s promises are true.  He challenged me and called me out this week and asked me to be brave and to trust Him.  I am (by most accounts) very brave and have a deep and wide trust in the Lord.  However, this week I was sore afraid when He whispered 4 simple words to my heart….“Go buy her shoes.”

I am not one of “those people” who run to Walmart and buy all the milk, eggs and bread I can store just because there’s a snowflake in the forecast….but last weekend, I did make a quick trip before the big winter storm because I needed milk, eggs, bread and toilet paper!  Ok…don’t judge.  I pushed through the crowd of people, to the long check out line and finally headed out of the parking lot to go home.  I was so tired and ready to be home in my pi’s!  My headlights caught a figure walking slowly ahead of me.  Oh…it was the same homeless woman I’d seen many times before.  My heart always longs to reach out to her, but the “word on the street” is she will become quickly agitated if you approach her to offer help.  It was bitterly cold and “Weather Dan” said we should expect snow on Sunday…but there she was walking in flip flops.  God whispered to my heart “Go buy her shoes”.  I kept driving.  Fear crept in and I came up with every excuse….”Kent was expecting me home, dinner was ready.  I don’t know her shoe size.  She will freak out if I pull over.”   I drove home with a heavy heart and told Kent.  He tried to make me feel better, but I knew I should have stopped.  Saturday night I dreamed I was driving with heavy snow falling and my headlights caught her standing in her flip flops, sobbing and frost bit.  I woke up from a troubled sleep and prayed for her…tossing and turning the rest of the night.

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All week my heart was heavy.  I prayed for her and asked God what He would have me do….after all, we were snowed in from Sunday through Wednesday and I never left my home.  Thursday life returned to “normal”  with school and work back in its routines.  As I drove home late that night after life skills, there she was, walking on Oak Street, between 13th and Dixieland….in those flip flops.  I slowed down, overcome with that awkward feeling and fear.  I began to cry, tears streaming.  I told God how very sorry I was that I was so afraid.  I kept driving and cried all the way home.  Again, making excuses.  “I don’t know her shoe size. I’m afraid of her.”  Last night, I asked God for courage and decided I would go today and get a back pack from Samaratin Shop and fill it with warm things…including shoes.  I thought to myself, size 9 would surely work.

Then last night I dreamed about the homeless woman in flip flops again.  I wasn’t afraid and asked her what size shoes she wore and she said 10.  I woke up this morning determined to fill a back pack for her….and buy her a size 9 shoe, “it was a dream after all,” I  thought.

Today I began my mission at Samaratin Shop in Rogers.  My friend Jorge (a Samaratin employee) gave me an awesome purple back pack to fill for her, I found a few things….praying, “God I will be ready this time.”

I drove over to Walmart because I wanted to pick up a few more things….and there she was….walking in the parking lot, still wearing flip flops, temperatures in the 20’s… And I was immediately afraid. I shouldn’t be afraid, but I was so scared. God has given me several opportunities this week to be obedient to His Holy Spirit and but I ignored His prompting, made excuses or shrunk back in fear.  I know fear is never from God! When I got into Walmart, I was going to walk over and find her eventually. For now, I decided I would stick to my grocery list and continued to pray. Then it happened…. I turned by the bread aisle and almost ran right into her with my buggy… Holy cow! So then I got a little bit tickled, because I could see God was completely messing with me!! He, in His wonderful way, was making it “easy” for me to serve this woman!  He brought her right to me!  So… I decided to go get her something to eat, the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy, right? I went to take her the food and she was gone but then I saw her out of the corner of my eye, she was walking toward… Are you ready for this? The shoe department! So I very carefully quietly and with a kind and gentle voice, I reached out to her.  I offered her the warm lunch and she looked so confused and afraid and said she’d already eaten. I sat it down and said maybe she could eat it later.  She took it and said thank you and was actually very sweet. I forgot that I was afraid and ask her if she would allow me the honor to buy her a pair shoes. She said yes!  I asked her what size shoe she wore….size 10 of course!  I invited her to choose and she picked up the most sparkly gold wonderful furry boots ever!! I asked her if I could get her some new socks to go with her new boots.  She picked out 2 pair of wonderful tall rainbow furry socks!

We walked quietly to the front of the store, I told her my name…and she told me hers.  Will you pray for Lori with me?  This is her only hope…she’s alone, she’s cold and hungry…but God can change that!

This was the scripture I read this morning:

Isaiah 58:6-9

 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

God went before me….He gave me His Word before I ever headed out the door, with clear instruction… and on shaky knees I followed His lead (all the while feeling much like a big fat fraud with my #nofearnewyear business and rainbow socks to remind me of His promises).  As He led, He was kind and gentle, I felt no guilt….but I did feel the heavy burden to act….then in my obedience….Oh my goodness, I was blessed more than you can imagine!

I share this, praying God gives you a brave heart to serve Him right wherever you are and as He prompts you to “go and do”… be encouraged, go .. give … do.  May He steer your cart right into your calling….so you are sure to feel the brush of angels wings!

To God be the glory!!  Great things HE has done!!

His grateful girl….with a brave heart and shaky knees,

Becky

The Brave Ones


Keri does a great job sharing about our brave girls in the program at Saving Grace….grab a cup of coffee, snuggle up and read…be blessed.

Broken Girl

Sometimes warriors wear high heels and tiaras and carry flowers.

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Last week Jennifer and I had the honor of getting to help celebrate the accomplishments of some of our favorite young women at Saving Grace.

As we stood on that stage and asked them to join us one by one as we read simple short paragraphs about their journey my eyes filled with tears over and over again. Girls who were abandoned, abused, neglected, homeless, in debt, pregnant, unloved, alone… one by one they got out of their seats and walked to the front of the room looking beautiful. Each one of them faced a crowd of people with their heads high and smiles on their faces. Why? Because the words that were used to define them no longer applied. They are no longer abandoned, unloved, or alone. No longer filled with anger, or shame, or fear. Love does…

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Can I get ya some big girl panties?


Those who know me…as well as my daughters, know that when I get frustrated with my girls or those in the program at SG….I will not hesitate to tell them to “put on their big girl panties and deal with it like an adult”…among other things.

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However, I’ve spent a little time over the last few days praying about some things (a few precious girls…including daughters) and as I have…this common phrase I use, continues to rattle around in my head.  However, I’m fully aware that it really does no good to encourage good behavior…instead it probably hurts feelings and promotes rolling of the eyes….which leads me to more sarcastic “mama” remarks “yours truly”.

When I was reading this morning in the Psalms…I glanced at the bottom of the page, where (in my Bible), Bishop TD Jakes has written little pearls of wisdom. This is what I read:

“Part of your maturity–part of your growing up to be God’s woman–is to draw a line between the unwashed, unsalted, unswaddled, cord-bound baby that you were, and the mature, ornamented, breasted woman in Christ that you are”

~Bishop TD Jakes

One of my precious girls has been under incredible spiritual attack over the last few years….I’ve watched and my soul has ached to the point that I had to remind myself to breathe.  Now, as shame has placed it’s ugly crown upon her head….and.she.wears.it….as if she has no choice.  I cry out to God on her behalf, watching her kick and scream and fight Him almost with every step….I see the struggle soften…less violently obvious as she tires from the battle.  People can be mean…cruel and my mama claws want to come out!  She has responded by behaving badly.  The war rages on for her very soul…and even though my heart knows without a doubt this is a spiritual battle…I get frustrated and want to scream “get a big fat grip and put on her big girl panties!”

Then I remember….and see my breathtaking warrior princess.

Ephesians 6:12

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

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Do I really want her to have on “big girl panties” for the battle?  No, no, NO!  I want her clothed in righteousness!  I want my baby girl ready for the battle…not focused on her panties!  I pray in my sarcasm I have not shifted her focus and gotten her distracted by my own inward self centeredness!

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.   For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.   Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.   In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

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I spoke to a friend tonight regarding serious and very obvious spiritual attack on our families (great physical attack from the spiritual realm)….not trying to be freaky here, just….WOW!  God used our little girls creating a big fat paint and glitter mess to bring us together to love and encourage each other in spirit. and. truth.  Oh sweet friends, we must be kind to each other…we must be good to each other.  Reach out.  I promise the stupid devil didn’t want us to speak tonight….and yet God allowed the connection and it was exactly what I needed.  I pray it was for her as well.

I love how my friend Keri put it….we need to “lock shields”, there is so much power when we take a stand together against the war raging on for our families, our children, our marriages.

Don’t we want our daughters to do more than put on their big girl panties?  Don’t we want them equipped with more?  And –Oh how I want them to have their very own “brave girl boots” as Melody Ross so graciously puts it!

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Here’s how Melody put it…..Everyone woman in the whole wide world needs a safe place to go to figure things out…a place where they are loved, and accepted and held sacred just because they are alive…a place where the lights are on so you can step out of the dark….a place where you can take off your masks and your armor and just be… EVERYONE needs this…..that’s why we made Brave Girl’s Club…we wanted to make a place where you could show up and be loved no matter what….(melody ross – brave girls club)

I want my girls to be brave, I want to be brave, I want you to be brave.  We can be so much more brave together…locking shields, throwing ourselves at the feet of Jesus and crying out for protection for our children and our families!

What thing are you trying to be brave about?

Ok, I’ll go first.

I’m really trying to be brave as I watch my girls find their own brave boots and armor and stay out of God’s business with it comes to their lives, I’m trying to be brave and feel beautiful.  I’m trying to be brave as I fight to keep my marriage alive….brave enough to never quit.  I want to be brave enough to dance and to climb the rock wall at Louis and Clark in Rogers…silly I know, but I really do.  I want to be brave for my girls.  I want to be brave for my husband.  I want to be brave for the precious women who serve along side me at Saving Grace.

So again, What are you trying to be brave about?

 

Does Jesus wear “Jesus” sandals?


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“Fall” party at the high school way back in 2007 at Cookson Hills Christian School. Kurt is in the middle. 🙂 Such silly guys

I sit on my sofa tonight scrolling down your facebook wall…the lump in my throat growing, holding back tears as I remember 23 years ago tonight I was woken up to banging on my window….shouts of “the baby’s coming, you need to get over to Roper’s” Oh my stars! It was so exciting!! Kent Shaffer and I were so young (tender age of 20 and 21). We ran over in the night, only the moon leading the way. We tried to settle in and get a few more minutes of sleep before the house woke up, but sleep would not come. I lay there praying for your mama and for you. I love your mom so much….one of my dearest and best friends. I’m pretty sure God’s got my mansion next to hers in heaven…already prepared….just sayin’ ♥ You arrived healthy and beautiful! Such a precious time in my life as my baby girl Christin Shaffer would turn a year old only a few days later. Kurt I miss you kid, I miss you for your mama and daddy. I know you are having a time up there, hanging out with Jesus….hiking barefoot (does Jesus wear “Jesus” sandals?), living off the land and….admit it…you are pullin’ pranks on the savior of the world (the One who knit you together in my best friends womb) ….and He’s crackin’ up!! I love you sweet boy ♥ I love your family too…. Keith and Penny, Kelly, Katelyn and Abbey Lynn ♥ I love you so much and miss you…. Happy birthday Kurt ♥

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Kurt Roper –  July 17, 1990 ~ March 2012

Would you like cinnamon in your waffles?


Thursday evening we gather all of our sweet girls “home for dinner” at Saving Grace. Tonight my husband and youngest daughter joined me….Here is how it touched Kent (co-founder of Saving Grace). http://www.savinggracenwa.org

The Beauty of Saving Grace

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Tonight, I had the privilege of having ‘breakfast for dinner’ with the girls of Saving Grace.  When we arrived We were greeted at the door and asked to select from a variety of menu choices such as waffles, pancakes, bacon, and sausage.  Along with those choices were a long list of additions to choose from like blueberries, pecans, and cinnamon.

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I completed my menu and kindly submitted it.  My requests were modest and as the young woman in the kitchen reviewed my order she spoke to me from the kitchen as I sat at the table and asked if I would like cinnamon in my waffles.  It was a simple question, but sent my heart in motion.

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I am sure the Holy Spirit was whispering in my heart through her as if she were saying “I make really good waffles full of spices and nuts and while I am sure…

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3 gifts persistent from Ann Voskamp’s July Joy Dare


July 5th JoY ❤ dArE: 3 gifts of persistence ❤

per·sist·ent
/pərˈsistənt/
Adjective
Continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

#1 ⓛ ⓞ ⓥ ⓔ – My marriage of almost 25 years. Many times we could have given up, but we stood firm, choosing to forgive and allowing God to bless our relationship….we aren’t perfect people, marriage isn’t perfect, but God’s grace is sufficient and He blesses our efforts.

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#2 ❀forgiveness✿ – I’ve chosen to forgive some big yucky stuff in my life….have to be forgiven for some big yucky stuff. I think it’s the “little” stuff that I have the hardest time with. I want to forgive as I’ve been forgiven!  There is unspeakable power in forgiveness, healing, redemption and restoration!

❀Psalm 30:11-12❀
You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers..:。✿*゚‘゚・✿.。.:* *.:。✿
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.

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(I wear forgiveness like a crown, check out “At the Foot of the Cross” on youtube)

#3 ۰۪۪۫۫●۪۫۰ Healthy Living ۰۪۪۫۫●۪۫۰ …oh boy, I’m persistent in this area….but not to the degree I should. I need to lose about 100 lbs…did I just write that? Yes, yes I did. I fall so short and give up so easily, but I will persist and God will bless my efforts. Let’s just face it folks, I eat way too much and don’t exercise….there’s no excuse for me like thyroid, weird things like the calorie fairy multiplying my calorie intake….the harsh reality is that life is about choices, and when it comes to my health…I am lazy and careless.  I will do better, persist and move slowly in the right direction.  Grateful today for grace and for a good pair of spanx ღ …and since we’re on the subject…why is it that as my butt broadens, so does my nose!  Not cool at all!

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(this is me and the hubs at “Pack the Park” last weekend for Saving Grace http://www.savinggracenwa.org, do you see the difference in my nose in this picture and our wedding picture?)

So will you take the joy dare?  It has so changed my attitude to be in a constant state of gratitude!!  Here’s the link to Ann’s blog…she’s amazing and writes like nobody I’ve ever read.  Seriously, you should stop by and sign up for updates, you won’t regret it! ღ

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http://www.aholyexperience.com