♔ Abba’s girl ♛


“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…” (1 John 3:1)

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Caitlynn up on “chapel hill” at Cookson Hills Christian Ministries, just south of Kansas, Oklahoma around 2 years old 🙂 –darn cute huh? Wanna know what she’s so excited about? She loves the moon…it’s up above the cross in the right corner. 🙂

Caitlynn Grace is our youngest daughter…I think we may have actually figured this whole parenting thing out, well maybe not…but we are a lot less hard on ourselves with this one.  We’re a lot less hard on her too.  We were so uptight as younger parents and now we laugh and love a lot more and do our best to NOT major in the minors.

A couple of years ago I received an email from Caitlynn’s 2nd grade teacher…she’d been crying on the playground.  Inconsolable.  The “one duty” teacher pulled her aside to quiet her sobs and as she peeled away the layers of the broken heart of a little girl, she heard the unthinkable….Caitlynn’s father had died the night before.  The teacher immediately took her to the office and called in the home room teacher.  They were all furious with me and couldn’t believe I would send my little girl to school after suffering such a huge loss only the night before….they had no idea he was healthy and working in is John Brown University office!!  That girl!  (think southern mama here people)

I took some time to pray, think through and calm down before asking her what it was all about.   She read the email from her teacher….begged me not to tell Daddy as his feelings would be so hurt.  I pulled her close and told her Daddy knows, I asked her to walk me through what happened leading up to her making up this story.  Through tears she talked about playing with her friends at recess, then playing tag….then hitting her head and not being able to catch up with the rest of her friends.

Through sobs, this is what she shared:  “Nobody seemed to notice that I was hurt, nobody cared that I wasn’t playing anymore….so I cried, then I cried harder.  The playground teacher saw me crying and ran to me (finally someone noticed)…she wanted to know what was wrong and where I was hurt.  I couldn’t tell her it was my heart, so I cried more…she began to ask questions and I shook my head yes or no…the teacher asked if everything was ok at home…I shook my head no.  She asked more questions about you, then daddy and she asked …if he was sick, finally she said it…’Did your father die?’  …I shook my head yes, knowing she would understand why I was crying and leave me alone…but she didn’t!  She took me to the office and my teacher came in…and Mommy, everyone was very upset with you because you sent me to school the day after daddy died!  They were mad Mommy!  It just got worse and worse!  Ms. G said to call you and have you pick me up….then she  figured out that I wasn’t telling the truth and she was very upset with me.  I begged her not to tell you, but she did.”

I held her for a long time as she cried.  She was broken and embarrassed.  Dinner was about finished and Kent would be home any minute.  Suddenly Cait jumped up from the couch and went to her room, I hadn’t even heard the garage door open.  Kent walked in happy to be home after a long day.  He kissed me, we shared a few things about our day….then he asked where Caitlynn was.  I pointed to her room and followed him back.  The light was out, it was dark in the room…we called out her name…nothing.  I thought maybe she was outside.  We checked other rooms, then returned to her’s, turned on the light on….over in the corner, hidden on the side of her bed, making herself as small as possible….she wept.  Kent walked over and with his tender daddy voice said, “Come on boog, let’s go eat dinner”.  He picked her up and she melted into him…wrapping her little arms tight around his neck…safe, loved, forgiven.

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Father’s day was a week ago today.  I, like many of you, have no earthly father…never really have.  I didn’t have a picture to post of me and my daddy on facebook.  (I did love looking at all that were posted, praising God for each girl and her daddy!!)

Growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to wrap my arms around my daddy’s neck and feel safe and loved.  The men who were meant to love me in this way, took from me, broke my little girl heart and nothing about their love and affection was unconditional.  It was warped and self serving…

I often try to hide in dark places when I feel I’ve disappointed my Father.  Psalm 139 reminds us that we can’t flee from His spirit…we can’t hide out, He’s everywhere!  He’s waiting to redeem….God has taken my wounded heart and redeemed it, helped me to forgive.  They are forgiven, I am forgiven.  I remember the first time I realized that Jesus not only died for my sins, but for the sins done unto me….sometimes I even use that as an excuse to “hide in the dark”.

Psalm 139:1-12

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
f I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

When I was very small I began to trust in Him, my Abba Father, my Daddy.  I believed with all my heart He would never leave me or forsake me.  I am His girl, He is my Abba.  I daily wrap my arms around His big ol’ neck and melt into Him as He continues to love, redeem and heal the deepest places of my heart….counting each tear as He wipes them away.

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See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are!… I John 3:1

Wonder….ing Woman ♥


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fear·less

/ˈfi(ə)rlis/

intrepid ♥ undaunted ♥ dauntless ♥ brave ♥ bold ♥ daring

a one minute journal prompt from Melody Ross, http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/17930

My grateful moment(s) on this gorgeous Monday…

Today my 9-year-old daughter went to work with me, up early and out the door as we shoved food in our hungry mouths…and I feeding my addiction to the black magic elixir (as my husband calls it) in a big “to go” mug.  I have a meeting 35 minutes away in the hill country of Northwest Arkansas…for some strange reason I can find these places, but can never find my way out of the big woods.  The meeting is fast, this sweet woman with a creative and generous heart (much like another girl I know…ahem (her name is Melody).  I see the paper crowns she’s made for me and my clumsy fingers to glean from as I create later on this summer ….with a crowd of broken-hearted girls, who’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a princess.  We hug as I give thanks for the 47th time, standing there in her awesome craft room.  Cait and I head out the door again, down the winding roads, wondering my way back to the city….stopping at Sonic for a “wacky pack”.  Oh my stars, they do not…yes, they still have wonder woman crowns in their kid’s meals….we order 5 more crowns to go …intending to share them with other girls we know who need to remember they too are wonderful wonder women!  I’m so grateful for the heart of a 9-year-old who awakens the 9-year-old little girl who sometimes falls asleep in my own heart …my cup runneth over.

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♫ Dancing to the beat of the chaos around me ♫


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Realization today:

It is only when I choose to be still and refuse to dance to the beat of the chaos around me that my heart quiets to a steady pace…. it is in that moment I hear the brush of angel’s wings and the deep breathing of the One who created me.

I kept thinking that life would slow down to a steady pace after our big luncheon “Butterflies & Blooms“…which by the way was absolutely a “God Size” event.  We had twice the number of guest this year and God raised twice the amount of money!!  Holy Wow!  My team and I work long hours leading up to the luncheon and our families were patient and ate lots of ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner!

Chaos has surrounded me over the last few weeks….on top of a normal workload, a huge event, family…and my middle daughter preparing to graduate.  Hannah is a phenomenal artist…not kidding, but not a great mathematician.  This is how she and I see math….seriously.

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Things around my house were/are continuing to pile up…stress upon stress, deadline upon deadline.  Hannah came home and asked her dad to help her with a math worksheet….which upon completion would deem her exempt from the final in Algebra III.  This would be a small miracle for us!  Kent jumped in to solve the “problems” and after frustrations boiled over….then simmered down and eventually sat cold…long after midnight, we all went to bed with pounding headaches.

I woke up this morning before my alarm, only 5 short hours after laying down.  My head still hurting.  How is it that I am so stressed….I don’t do this well.  I’m ugly.  I think about my friend who’s doing this “senior year” thing with twins….a single mom.  Does she know she’s my hero?  I pray for her as my mind races about the day ahead.  My alarm goes off, the chaos begins again….breakfast for the girls, lunches packed, drop of the youngest….run to Walmart with the soon to be graduate…all for a box of zip locks in the name of “20 bonus points” for Chemistry class…drop her off, drive home, husband is sick, oatmeal in microwave….text from Hannah “I forgot my math book!”…back to the school, back home, oatmeal still warm.  I sit at my laptop to eat/work….internet out, what?  Ugh!  Great…

My eye catches something…. from Ann Voskamp’s “A Holy Experience“.

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I read each one, knowing I must slow down this morning.  I decide to take my slightly warm oatmeal to the back yard…to be still, to be quiet for 5 minutes.  My mind refuses…I try hard to focus on praising God for the bird I hear singing, a moment later I realize it is a choir of birds.  I praise Him for the beautiful robin and the colors…and suddenly I see there are 6 different kinds of birds in the trees singing!!  Such beauty!  His creativity far out measures what my eyes can even take in sitting quietly alone in the back yard.  Tears begin to slide down my cheeks…I’m sorry, I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed the chaos to distract me from “seeing” Him and savoring those quiet moments alone with Him.  I hear Him whisper…”Oh how I love you Rebekah”.  More tears.  Oh how He loves me, oh how He loves us.  He is jealous, He wants my time, He wants me.

So again I say….It is only when I choose to be still and refuse to dance to the beat of the chaos around me, that my heart quiets to a steady pace…. and in that moment I hear the brush of angel’s wings and the deep breathing of the One who created me.  

Will you take a moment to be still right where you are?  Praying today that you quiet yourself enough to hear the brush of angel’s wings and the deep breathing of the One who loves you!

God’s grateful girl,

Becky

Easter’s Past ♥


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Just working tonight filling baskets, debating on coloring eggs…remembering Easter’s past ♥…I don’t remember even one from my time as a child living with a mentally ill mother, until I was taken to Cookson Hills Christian Ministries by Phillip Hatley and his wife Ann.  Easter at Cookson was wonderful.  It was a time to remember, but also a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  One of my favorite memories is when Susan Smith, Carla Wagner, and…(can’t remember for sure who the other house moms were), but we went up on the air strip and had a sunrise services and the tomb was EMPTY!! ♥ It was glorious!!!  I remember too that my mom Lankston always made sure we had something new to wear and this particular Easter she made a lace collar for my (new to me) dress…I felt like a princess, so beautiful ♥.  She also always had an Easter basket for each of us (I think there were at least 10 children at all times in her home) ….I know now, she ♥ probably took money out of her very small pay check to make sure we all had a little something sweet in our basket.  Then we’d be off to church to worship the Risen One.  Lunch was a wonderful home cooked meal prepared by Grandma and Grandpa Wilkinson and we ate at a large dining hall with several other large families….Such sweet memories.

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I too always had Easter baskets for my girls when I was a house mom (foster mom) and now with such a small little family, I’ve set all the happy items out for them to wake up to in the morning….and much like growing up in the children’s home, my little family will go to church in the morning to worship the Risen One. ♥

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Once in a while I wish for more hours in my day….time to make Sunday dinners from scratch, do crafts with my girls that focus on Jesus for the days leading up to Easter…but the truth is, I’m grateful beyond words to serve God in the way that I am right now in my life.  Serving Grace at Saving Grace is the season in my life and I wouldn’t change a thing….so for now the Shaffer family has “semi-homemade” Sunday dinners and we talk a lot about Jesus every day, even when it’s not Easter.  I’ve got an awesome husband and daughters who help pick up the slack…and sometimes that means ham sandwiches on paper plates.

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Sweet girls from Saving Grace 🙂
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Kent & Becky 2009
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Hannah, Great Grandma (Kent’s grandmother) and Caitlynn 200

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Matthew 28:6

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.

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So…what’s the big secret?



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I shared a post earlier tonight on facebook regarding Victoria Secret coming after our elementary and junior high girls and can’t seem to get past just sharing the link.   So what’s the big secret?  Nothing really if you think about it…. Some will argue they sell the best bras and panties and it’s a great place to take your daughter to get fitted for her first bra…their clothing leaves nothing to the imagination and simply leads one to think “sexy”….let’s define that word for a moment.  

sex·y

/ˈseksē/
Adjective:

  1. 1.  Sexually attractive or exciting.
  1. 2.  Sexually aroused.

How’s that workin’ for ya?  Ok…so if that’s what they promote, do I really want my daughters to think of themselves in this way, let alone a man other than their husbands?

(was going to post a picture of a “sexy” girl…well, I just can’t, I’m sure you get the point)

….we must stand together to protect our children, but it’s not just posting and sharing what Victoria Secret is doing to go after our little girls…they are going after our boys and men as well. Where does this end? If it’s illegal to have a drug paraphernalia…even without the drugs, should it not be illegal to dress our children up as adults in provocative and seductive ways? We are crying out about the horrible tragedy of “sex trafficking” and boys raping girls….yet I can’t get through a TV show without a commercial mentioning a “4 hour erection” …does that offend you that I used the word erection? Probably… It offends me when my daughters are watching too. We MUST take a stand folks, we MUST start in our homes….I MUST. I MUST know what my children are looking at on their phones and other devices…just sitting here thinking I can count 15 different points of access that can bring harm through the internet to the hearts of my children and my husband. I MUST take a stand. I can’t cry out and complain about what Ms. Victoria is doing if I’m not willing to take a stand…otherwise it’s just a lot of flashy and spiritual whaaa whaaa that does nothing more than discourage others.

Oh God, break my heart. Show me what to do…what to let go of. Where do I start? Move me that I refuse to allow anything in that isn’t of YOU…move me that I will take a stand and refuse to shop at places like VS that would promote “sexy” for children….move me that I would be so outraged that I won’t even shop at her “sister” store…. move me and don’t allow my heart to beat quietly by when the evil one is seeking to destroy. This begins with me. This MUST begin with me. I am Yours, use me. Please Sweet Precious Holy One mold my heart, fill my heart with outrageous amounts of love so when people see me, they only see YOU.

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♥ Galatians 5:16-26 ♥

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

What the….


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Have you seen post on facebook by a teen you know…or thought you knew…who posted mean and at times, down right nasty things?  What about adults?  I used my own profile in this because I would hate to use an example of a “facebook friend” who might actually read my blog!  My husband and I have said many times that if we’d had facebook early in our marriage..we’d be divorced, probably many times over.  We were a mess, I was a mess and a “new man” in my life wouldn’t have changed that.  I can’t imagine if I had a sounding board for my emotions and feelings back when I had no filter for the overflow of my heart pouring out of my mouth!  There are certain people (of all ages) I choose to “unsubscribe” (their updates) because I can’t take the ugly words going into my heart.  I have a hard enough time being positive without allowing the negative soak in….I have no doubt there are people who have “unfriended” me or “unsubscribed” to my updates for the same reason.

God has been working on my heart a lot lately regarding what comes out of my mouth…actually He has for years, but recently narrowing in to refine.  There are days that if I truly took to heart what Ephesians 4:29 says….I’d keep my lips pressed together shut tight, not a word slipping out because what is in my heart, is at times, not be very beneficial to those who listen….seriously not so much.

♥ Ephesians 4:29 ♥
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,

but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,

that it may benefit those who listen.

How many of my post are helpful for building up others or benefitting those who read/listen?  This has been so heavy on my heart…not just regarding Facebook, but in all areas of my life.  Do I speak words of love and truth to my husband, children, friends, co-servers/workers?  I have this terrible habit of saying ugly words while I’m driving…not bad words, but things like…”hello, nice signal” or “slow down jerk”…ouch!  My children are in the car with me!!  Why do I do this?  This has been going on for a long time!  I remember years ago when Christin (now 23) was about 5 years old and we were sitting in the parking lot waiting on her dad and she suddenly shouts, “come on, hurry up jerk”….yes, we were sitting in a parking lot, not driving down the road!!!  I was so toxic back then and had so much healing ahead of me, it was nothing short of a miracle she didn’t say much worse than that!

This is my prayer, will you make it yours?

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My Sweet Redeemer, please continue to heal my heart and dig deep for all the ugly sin that hides silently in wounds in the darkest places of my heart…please remind me that You know of all those places.  My heart is Yours and I only want kindness and love and encouragement to flow out of my mouth and onto social media that is uplifting and beneficial to those who read my updates.

Your grateful girl,

Becky

–January 1st, 2013…what’s the plan people?


2012 have been an incredible year…FULL of life’s ups and downs…finding balance in it all.  Getting up one day feeling like “I’ve got this” and going to bed the next night thinking “seriously?”.  I find trying to balance being a woman, wife, mother, pet owner, minister…can bring great joy, or serious feelings of failure.  For most of us we are up by 6am and not in bed until well after everyone else is tucked in and sleeping, already focused on the next morning, trying so hard not to start the day behind…all the while inbetween…balancing…balancing.

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Most days I think I’m going through this life with grace and joy…looking as gorgeous as my daughter above….

However, most days…many times a day I feel more like this…

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I want my heart to be full of God’s grace and love and I’m in the Word daily….why do I still have road rage?  Geeze!

Psalm 143:8-10 (The Message) says this:

If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Point out the road I must travel;
I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
Save me from my enemies, God—
you’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please you,
because you’re my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit
into cleared and level pastureland.

This is my goal for the new year….to wake each morning to the sound of His loving voice and not listen to the father of lies….that I’m not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough…what are the lies you hear?  Take a moment and write them down and cover them with the truth in God’s Word!  Ask Him to teach you to live to please Him!  –and remember that His grace is sufficient, His strength is made perfect in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).

I just “purchase” a book on my kindle this morning that I want to share with you…I say “purchased” because it’s free today on Amazon.  It’s a great little book to help you start the new year with a very positive mindset with lots of reminders of God’s love for you, as well as very easy steps to help you get going in the right direction…celebrating even small successes!  Holley Gerth is a great girl, who loves Jesus…I’ve read all of her books and just started this one early this morning…January 1st, 2013.

do what you can plan
Click the book and it will take you to get your free kindle copy!

My prayer today:

God I want to please You, be IN Your will with every step I take…even on the treadmill!  I praise YOU for all the wonderful things You did in my life…from family to the ministry You started in Saving Grace.  I praise You for being ever-present and gracious and loving through it all!!  Thank You for Your discipline and tripping me when I run fast ahead of You or even worse…in the wrong direction.  Help me to be real and who You intended for me to be.  Forgive me when I’m fake and a liar and Your truth is not in me.  Please give me a kind a gracious heart, please love people through me.

Your grateful girl,

Becky

saving grace
http://www.savinggracenwa.org

Highway to Holiness….


For years I believed that the “highway to holiness” was paved with good works….in other words, the more spread thin you were “doing good in the sight of the Lord” the higher your place in heaven…not kidding.  I worked and busied myself with way too much and said “yes” when I should have said “no”, all at the expense of my family and myself…I was fussy, busy and just down right ugly at times.  Wow, did I just admit that?

Which way do I go?  Where do I serve?  What is in His will?

Reading in Isaiah I read this verse this morning….

Isaiah 35:8 (NKJV)

A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray.

Oh how wonderful to read that last line….”Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray.”  Geeze, I’m pretty sure that was written just for me!  I am oh so grateful for the patience my Father has for me as I run at times, walk at other times…and more often that I’d like to admit…sit on at times, trying to stay on the road.  I’m grateful that even as a fool….I won’t go astray.  Oh how I love Him!!

He must get so tickled at me sometimes as I try to figure this all out….hasn’t He already done that for me?

God’s grateful girl,

Becky

www.savinggracenwa.org