29: the Word

I write in my Bible. A lot. It bugs my husband some... all of the various color of highlighters and ink pens and such. I am pretty sure it bugs my pastor too, especially when I insist on telling him how many times he has preached from the same passage (I do encourage him that he has had fresh revelation every time though!). It does not bug my daughter, who has decided she is a Bible-margin-writer as well. She knows a good thing when she sees it.

If I have come to hear you speak, there is a small notation in my margin with your name on it. And a date.

If you have sent me a scripture that the Lord has spoken to your heart for me. There is a small notation in my margin with your name on it. And of course, the date.

When I read a chapter, I date it.

When the Lord speaks to my heart, I record His words and I date it.

When I have taught from a passage, I write down where and place it.

When He makes a promise to me, I write it in the back, and I date it. 

I can look back through my beloved, working-on-it's second binding, Bible and see the path He has led me down over the years.

Beside Romans 7:15 is the note "A turning point!"... and I so clearly recall taking my first feeble steps out of addiction. My heart encouraged by the fact that the Apostle Paul understood... 2000 years ago, he really understood. And that God knew my heart, and saw my struggle... and promised me in Romans 8:1 that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Even if I was still trying to work it all out.

1 Samuel 1:12-16 carry a date as well. And a note about a time I was feeling very misunderstood by a spiritual leader in my own life. I identified with this woman whose priest did not recognize her own pain or earnest seeking of the Lord. 

Galatians 5 bear the notes of one learning what it was like to live a life of freedom, a life in the Spirit.

Malachi 1:10 the revelation that God desires so much more than our feeble sacrifices... He wants our best, He wants our all, and anything less does not satisfy our jealous God!

The challenging word He has spoken to me in Ezekiel. The love story He tells in the Song of Solomon. The cries of a ravished heart sang in the Psalms. The doubts of the saints. His Word, spoken to my heart to encourage, challenge, refine, grow, convict, love...

Hebrews 4:12 says For the word of God is living and active... 

And it is. It is a living, breathing thing, meeting us exactly where we are. Have you ever had that experience? Crying out to Him, then opening the Word to have Him answer your question... directly?

Feeling insecure before preaching at my church the first time, I told Him that I was in over my head. He was clearly confused when He called me to this. He took me to Isaiah 50:4 and I read "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught"... What are the chances? Isn't He good? Isn't He generous? Time and again I have had these experiences in the scriptures!

His Word is life-giver and life-sustainer. It is our milk and our meat. It is our daily bread. We need it to survive.

So why in the world, when we are feeling weakest, is it the first thing we neglect?

This is not me pointing a finger at you, dear friend... this one is for me. 

In the margin of my Bible I have noticed a pattern develop over the last few years. A season of isolation, of feeling less-than, being on the outside looking in... and it seems to happen about this time of year. Call it seasonal-affective disorder, the holiday blues, or good old-fashioned spiritual warfare... the result is the same. And although I know the Word is what I need, even more than I need water or food, I have again found myself neglecting those pages I hold so precious. 

And today, as I shared my heart with a dear friend, she asked one simple question. It was a question my heart wanted to hear. "Are you still in the Word lately?" 

I needed that so badly! I had already began righting my ship, opening the Word and reading even when I didn't feel any specific direction while doing so... but there is something about knowing that she's going to ask me tomorrow how much I read tonight. There is also something about being purposeful in my study... I feel better already.

I know this time of year is hard for many of you. Perhaps you find yourself wrestling with depression, grief, abandonment, loss, isolation... my question for you... Are you still in the Word lately? If not, go there. I promise you, He will meet you there...


28: the chase

Last week my daughter and excitedly made our way to a local hospital to take in the sight and sound and feel of a newborn baby. 

There is simply nothing that compares to new life.

I can still feel his velvety soft skin against my cheek. The weight of promise in my arms. The joy when he would peek open an eye and peer into my own.

Brand new.

His entire life spreading out before him. Promise. A hope and a future.

I thought of this precious little gift as we studied the life of Saul-to-Paul tonight at Bible Study. That moment of new life found on the road to Damascus.  From darkness to light. From light to lightbearer.

I reflect on my own life made new in Christ. That time as a baby Christian, completely dependent on my Father. Spiritual milk my only nourishment for far too long… then… those first fumbling attempts to feed myself. What a mess I made of that! So many mistakes… yet I think that my Father smiled as He looked upon my sticky hands seeking to do His will.

Those times that my Father went to the other side of the room, and with an encouraging smile beckoned me to “come”… and stumbling, reaching, I made my way toward Him. Each time going a bit farther, so I must look harder, traverse more obstacles, learn more, be refined.  

Sometimes He must let go of our hand so we can learn to chase after Him.

I am chasing. And though at times He feels far off, I know that His eyes glisten with joy as He hears my footsteps coming ever nearer, nearer, nearer… 

Tonight I am thankful for the chase. I am thankful for the road from darkness to light... and from light to lightbearer. I am thankful that I can look back and see growth... yet look forward and see where He has yet to take me.

And I am thankful that I can be fully present in the season He has me in now. That I can rejoice in who He has created me to be.  That I can trust the process... and enjoy the chase.

playing catch-up

I have had a blessedly busy several days, and allowed myself the time off of blogging... but I did have things that I was thankful for each day:

23: thankful for new life. Holding a precious newborn in my hands and rejoicing with his amazing parents. Then celebrating growing older with my mother-in-law and the rest of Jim's family. It was a good, good, day.

24: thankful for a relaxing day enjoying the fellowship of family and friends. Reflecting on how blessed I am by the incredible people in my life.

25: thankful for perspective. After a midnight run to check out the Black Friday chaos (and not buying a thing!) I am thankful that I am not beholden to the things of this world as I once was.  That I feel the breaking heart of a starving child when I stand in places like Wal-Mart. Don't get me wrong, we are still celebrating a good old-fashioned American Christmas at our house, and our kids will be among those unwrapping a pile of presents on Christmas Day... but this year the perspective has shifted in our home. And I am thankful for that.

26: thankful for my giftings. Spent the day editing pictures I have taken of families recently. I love what I do. I am thankful that He has given me a gift that I can use to bless the lives of others in so many ways.

27: thankful for new beginnings. Stood in my church and watched two dear friends step into their happily-ever-after. Him on bended knee, her on shaking ones. He asked, and she said yes. Now a flurry of wedding planning ensues... and I cannot wait!


22: getting real

I speak words that I have never heard out loud before. I share a part of my story that I have kept in the secret place for a very, very long time. I look into eyes of compassion. Eyes that say 'yes, it is hard... but don't stop short...'

I reflect. The Lord has brought me so far. From darkness to light. Sin to righteousness. Death to life. 

I am thankful for the journey. I am so thankful to be in a place that I can take off the veil that has covered my shame and stand exposed before the Lord... before His people. I don't do so on my own strength. I could not. But His strength pours over me, into me, through me. A voice calls out "I love you"... she sits the second pew yet the voice sings to my heart from the throne room... "I love you, Becky... I love you" 

I continue. Words tumbling out. Truth exposed. Veil gone. 

And I find freedom. Others find freedom. Women share their heart with me, and in doing so remove the veil over their shame. Soft voices saying, I have been there too. Courageous hearts saying, I refuse to live in darkness anymore.

And freedom reigns.

The words the Enemy has spoken... broken and revealed as lies. Bondage gone. 

Freedom REIGNS.

There are places I wish I had not walked. Yet I rejoice in a God who can work all things to the good. I rejoice in a God that will cause me to get real because He loves me enough that He will not be satisfied with anything less than complete freedom. For me. For others.

Freedom reigns in His heart. And today, it also reigns in mine. 

21: our cat, echo

As you know, tonight I was sharing a bit of the who-I-was at a women's revival... so while I was away I asked Tali if she wanted to do a guest blog based on a conversation we had a couple of days ago. As you can see below, she was more than happy to oblige... hope it blesses your heart...

We have this cat named Echo. Yes we love him to death but he just wants love and to be noticed. He is a gray striped cat and very cute. We love him, but sometimes he loves us too much.

My mom and I were driving on our way to Evansville. We were trying to think up some blog ideas. I said some things, my mom said some things. I finally said the cat! My mom kind of stared at me for a while. She finally said, “How can I say I am thankful for that annoying cat?” So this is what I said,

“Well Echo nudges at us, meows too much; even while you are on your computer he goes and sits right down on the keyboard.”  She still didn’t get what I was saying and I bet some of you don’t. So I told her the point; Echo is like Jesus. I know what some of you are thinking; a cat, like Jesus? She said, “How is Echo like Jesus?” I said, “Jesus always wanting our love and to be noticed. Jesus sometimes will nudge at us saying listen to me do as I say.” My mom got the idea. She liked so much she let me blog about it! I hope you liked this blog. 


20: where i've been

I look back over the whole of my life and I see many mistakes. I see choices that the me of today would tell the me of yesterday to make differently. I see hard roads that could have been easier. Easy paths chosen when the difficult one would have been better.

Yet tonight I am thankful for those places I have been. I am thankful for the layers of me that there are. The way those decisions of yesteryear became who I am today. 

I am thankful for a God who takes a mess, and makes a message.

Tomorrow I will be sharing a bit of the who-I-was. And it won't be easy. It will be history spoken outloud, some of it for the first time. 

But He has asked me to. And if I say I trust Him with my lips, I need to live like I trust Him with my life. Sometimes that looks like the removal of a mask, and standing before a group of women completely transparent, vulnerable, naked. Tomorrow will feel very much like that.

It will also feel a lot like freedom.

And our God is so BIG, that I know the freedom is not just for me. But for someone else that He will speak to through my testimony... not because of my inadequate words, but because of HIS promise that there is POWER in our testimony. 

In the meantime, I covet your prayers that I will be able to speak with honesty and courage. 

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony... Revelation 12:11

19: encouragers

We stand a few feet apart... dreams and visions and hopes exchanged. We talk about the deep things of God, the plans and purposes He is calling us to. She encourages me. With a smile and a nod she lets me know that I am hearing Him right... she stands and listens as I rattle on about the million crazy things I am trying to sort out... and she doesn't seem to mind a bit. She is a person that I have let in on the secret desires of my heart because I know she can be trusted with them... not in a "trusted not to tell anyone" way... but in a "trusted not to shoot down my balloon" kind of way. I can trust her to support and encourage whatever wild-eyed scheme I have dreamed up. To brain-storm or to listen through my brain-storms (which is the way I figure most of my life out!). And to help in any way she can.

She listens to me like I imagine Jesus listening to me... eyes locked on mine, heart open, smiling with my enthusiasm and casting away the doubt when it creeps in.

You would think, by this description, that we have been friends for years and years. Not true in this particular case, but when God sets about binding hearts together, He can do so outside of the confines of time (because He's big like that!) And I'm so, so, so glad that over the last year He has truly gone about binding our hearts together!

I am thankful for this beautiful friend of mine... and the countless others like her that God has brought into my life! The women who encourage me, pray for me, brain-storm with me, work along side me... and love me right where I am at. I am thankful for the ones that I have known for decades, and the ones that I have only known a matter of months... and for the way that He has brought each into my life at just the right time. I am thankful for conversations held standing outside the church in the middle of the night, or in a garage on a crisp fall day, or via text during the day... And most of all, I am thankful for these women so gifted with encouragement... these ones who hold me up when I am feeling ill-equipped, full of doubt or less-than-the-call.

Do not ever underestimate the power of an encouraging word. So many times it is just the wind in the sails necessary to propel that boat of dreams to the horizon.

Thank you, friend, for spurring me on with your kind words and love. It's encouragers like you who give me the strength and the courage for the next step... whatever that may be... 


18: life interrupted (friday flashback edition)

Flashback to 2006... The Boyles' family had finally gone digital and I could not wait to photograph my kids with my new camera. Tali didn't mind playing the part of model, so she put together a stylin' outfit and we set out for a front-yard-photoshoot... when this happened...

Zach circling in the driveway like a shark as Tali moved from pose to pose when... zooooooom... he flies through at *just* the right moment. These were literally among the very first pictures ever taken with that brand spanking new camera...!

Can't you hear the sound effect he's clearly making? I can't say for sure, but I'm sure it's a squealing-burnout-kind-of-sound. And the full out JOY on his face! This is NOT the picture I was hoping to get... but boy am I glad that I did. 

Yesterday was Zach's birthday... I just can't believe my little man is already 9 years old. One more year til double digits. I sat at his birthday dinner thinking about the day I found out I was pregnant with him...

Jim and I knew we wanted a second child. We both wanted a little boy even. We didn't want our kids to be too far apart. But the day we found out he was coming it was still a bit of a shock.

Okay, it was a LOT of a shock.

Financially we were in a mess. Our Tali was only 14 mos old at the time and it felt so soon. Our two bedroom house didn't feel big enough. We thought we would be in a better place. We were doing okay with one child but... two? How could we afford it? How would it work? How would we have enough space.

Our life was... interrupted.

It wasn't necessarily what we had penciled into our life's agendas... but much like the pictures above, Zach interrupted at just the right moment.

So today, I am so thankful for a life interrupted by plans much bigger than our own. I'm thankful Someone knows what He is doing so much more clearly than I do. I'm so thankful for Zach, and the special relationship he and his sister have precisely because he came so soon. I'm thankful that they must learn to share and cooperate precisely because they share a bedroom. I'm thankful for the times he has slid his big wheel right through a photoshoot, watched Toddlers and Tiaras with his sister, made us laugh with unexpected jokes.

Today I'm thankful for a life... interrupted in the most beautiful way imaginable.

17: new calendars

[sorry this is late, my internet would not cooperate last night]

I *love* this time of year. I love fall, I love crisp, fresh, cool air. I love bright blue skies and leaves crunching underneath my feet. I love the promise of snow right around the corner [I know, I know, I hear you groaning].

(Now my inner office nerd is going to come out...) and I love getting a new agenda. I use a weekly planner to keep track of home visits held for my work, phone calls made, annual assessments due, client services... I write down every single client contact, I log time worked, I record phone numbers... I highlight items as I enter the case note so I can keep track of what is and isn't done... and as you might imagine, the end of every week is measured by two pages scribbled and scratched and highlighted in every color of the rainbow.

So getting a new agenda is kind of a big deal. It's tied closely with my deep seated passion for office supplies... but it goes a step farther than that. It's not just your average pack of post-its or new pen (which I also love)...

A new agenda is a fresh slate.

No scribbles, no highlights, no plans, no past, no history...

You can start fresh. You can reorganize your system for keeping track of things. You can add new contacts in actual alphabetical order rather than just tacking them on to the end of the list. Take out clients that are no longer yours to care for. Clean sheets of paper full of promise of work to be done, lives to be impacted, calls to be made, new people to meet.

I'm pretty sure our Father loves new-agenda-day just as much as I do... that day that we lay down our history and pick up a fresh, new, scribble-free future that is laid open for Him to write His plans and purposes on!

I love a fresh slate, a clean start, empty pages... let's make today a fresh start! Let's make a today one that we lay before Him as a fresh piece of paper to write upon... plans that He can later highlight as completed, as He whispers to our heart "well done, good and faithful servant..."

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning! {Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT}


16: sonshine kids

Church hall alive with the footsteps of children. The aroma of turkey and all the fixin’s wafting up from the kitchen. Big kids helping little ones with plates of food.  Boys being reminded to keep their hands to themselves.  Children sitting in groups talking about their day.

It’s Thanksgiving Dinner at SonShine Kids. I wish you could see the smile on those kids faces as they pull apart the adorable turkey treats Carla made (a sweet dessert of oreos, reece’s, candy corn… all fashioned into little turkeys!)  Four hours in her kitchen devoured in minutes… ahh but for these kids to know that someone delighted in them enough to fashion such an elaborate snack. It is worth it. The giggles as I attempt to convince them that they are held together with hot glue… but they know better.  They know this is a place that loves.

The shy grin when I ask my little friend why she didn’t save me a seat. And the electric smile when she finds me at another table and slides into the chair next to me. Shining eyes peering at me from a dirty face… a face that has broken my heart and caused me to love.

A tap on my shoulder. Another little friend sneaking up beside me. She stands there, not saying a word. She seeks attention, but is too shy to speak first. I ask if she has my hug… and she does. She always does. We talk about school. She reminds me again who her teacher is. Looking her in the eye. For the moment she is the only one of importance. It’s a small gift… yet she looks for it week after week.

Songs sung.  Our Pastor leading us through the motions. Little kids with arms raised high.  Lessons on self-control. Games played. Tickets earned and names drawn.

I am so thankful for this incredible, beautiful, rag-tag group of kids God has entrusted us with at SonShine Kids. The bellies and souls that we get to feed.

It is not always easy. Boys can be rowdy. Girls can be needy.  We have had our fair share of sick kids and messes to clean up.  Children that only know attention of the negative sort. Kids piled in the van sometimes lead to a bloody nose.

But when you see volunteers cleaning that child up with such great love… and then wrap him in a brand new coat to replace the soiled one.  Coats on hand, for just such a time as this…

It’s worth it.

When you see entire families step into relationship with Christ because a van driver took the time to bring their kids to SonShine Kids week after week, for years… it’s worth it.

When a little girl slips beside you on a metal folding chair, because she knows that you care… it’s worth it.

When a child seeks you out each week for a hug… it’s worth it.

When bright blue eyes and freckled faces call to you in the grocery store... it's worth it.

When bellies are full, and songs are sung, and Jesus is taught… it’s worth it.

When my heart is broken and molded and changed by these incredible little souls who blossom and bloom in this place that loves…

It’s so, so, so worth it.

Some think that the high callings are those of pastors, or teachers, or missionaries… and certainly that is true…

But I think the highest callings are those of soft hands holding Kleenex to a bleeding nose.  Hours in a kitchen fashioning turkeys out of cookies and candy.  New winter coats.  Mashed potatoes and corn and green beans. Van drivers drowning in noise as they navigate city streets.  Bent knees before dirty faces.  

Ministering to the very heart of Jesus. What higher calling can there be? 

“The King will reply… 'whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me…'” [Matthew 25:40]


15: the little things (2)

I saw a family featured on a talk show today. This husband and wife so longed for children to fill their home, yet the children did not come. Coming to terms with the painful reality of infertility, they began the process of seeking out children that were as desperate for a home, as they were for children. Their search took them all the way to Ghana, to three brothers whose eyes peered into their souls through a computer screen.

The adoption process finalized, they traveled to Ghana to pick up their sons. Children desperate for a home. Yet the oldest did not want to leave his best friend to the hopeless life of an orphan in Africa. He begged his new mother to adopt his friend as well... his friend offering the following arrangement...

"if I eat only one meal a day, and clean your house, would you come back and be my mother too?"

Friends, if that does not break your heart... then what will? This beautiful, dark child who was more than happy to work his way into a family. Of course, this couple returned for the boy. He sat on the stage with them in his crisp, striped dress shirt, smiling with white teeth and declaring his hope of becoming a professional soccer player.

But how many more like him are sitting in orphanages in Ghana. Haiti. Ethiopia. Russia. China.

How many children like him are in America, bounced from foster home to foster  home to foster home. Every time hoping and praying that this will be the one. This will be the place that loves.

I cannot stop thinking about yesterday's blog. I cannot stop thinking that I did not take it quite as far as God was asking. That He requires more than that we would recognize our arrogance... that He is seeking people who are actually willing to do something. That when we have postured our hearts to be broken by the things that break His... we would do something about the need we see.

All day He has whispered the verses we find in Ephesians and James...

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no man can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9]

Just as that young boy could not work his way into an American family by sacrificing meals or cleaning the house, neither can we work our way into Heaven simply by sacrificing things or doing good works. It is by grace that we have been saved, grace which is a free gift of God. Grace which brings freedom. Grace which brings life. Our faith in Him opens the portal of grace so that it can flow freely over us... through us. The recipient of grace knows that He has received a gift, and knows that the only boasting that can be done is in the goodness of our beautiful Savior.

But then...
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. [James 2:14-17]

If you have truly received the gift that brings eternal life... what then should your response be? When the awesome realization washes over you that Jesus Christ entered this world as a man, and climbed a tree on Calvary just so you could be reconciled to Him... just so you could know Him... just so you could have life and have life to the fullest... just so you could walk in freedom... just so you could live this life in the light of eternity... what then should be your response? To tell the hungry "Go in peace, keep warm and well fed"?  To see a need, and then wait for someone else to meet it?

But someone will say "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is only one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder. [James 2:18-19]

Faith, belief, relationship is more than just lip service. It's more than saying "I believe". After all, no one knows the reality of a just God more than the demons... they believe in Him, they know there is only one God... and they shudder with the knowledge. Knowing is not enough. The fruit of our faith is born out in our lives. Lives lived set apart. Lives lived differently. Lives that cry out for more of Him and less of ourselves (John 3:30).  Lives that are willing to do something radical, just because He called us to it.

And so tonight, He is asking you (He is asking me)...
Are you willing? Are you willing to pay Him more than just lip service, and instead love His children the way that he does? Are you willing to be His hands and feet in this lost and dying world? Are you willing to open your eyes to a need, and then do something to meet it?

Ezekiel 16:49 reads "And this was the sin of your sister Sodom; She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy" 

Read that scripture again. The sin of Sodom that aroused the anger of God, which required that the city be destroyed... was not the sexual sin of the city (as I had always thought)... it was that they did not help the poor and the needy. When God looked onto that city which is synonymous with gross depravity and sin... He saw a people who were overfed... arrogant.... and unconcerned.

He saw a people who were overfed while others starved... my serving at the Mexican restaurant tonight was literally enough to feed an entire family. Over 33% of Americans are obese. That's over 100 million people that are overfed while 5 million children a year die from malnutrition. Overfed.

He saw a people who were arrogant, seeing only their own selfish desires over the need and hurt of others... today I spent $18 eating out... while over one billion people in the world live on less than $1.25 a day. Someone's two week's salary went toward a couple of meals for just me today... and I threw half of that food out.  Arrogant.

He saw a people who were unconcerned, turning a blind eye to the gross need of others... did you know that American Christians spend $20 billion a year on soft drinks, while $13 billion would feed every hungry person in the world. That's American Christians who value their Diet Coke over a starving child. Unconcerned.

I don't want to be that guy.

And now that our eyes are open to the need, I pray that you don't either. So let's do SOMETHING. 

Here are some organizations that you can support... today. Where the dollars a day you will likely not even miss will have life changing impact. 

Compassion International  One of the most well known and respected child sponsorship organizations. If you want to know the impact child sponsorship has... read Ann Voskamp's blog here. I read this the other day and wept thinking about a sponsor's picture hanging in the lonely bedroom of a boy abandoned to the jungle.

The Water Project One of many organizations working to bring clean water to Africa. Put down that Diet Coke and bring life giving water to the thirsty!

Touch a Life Foundation  The heart's work of Pam and Randy Cope who are working tirelessly to free children who have been enslaved on Lake Volta in Ghana. Sign up to sponsor a child's room and board, or education, or BOTH. You can also support this organization through a local "Find Your Mark" chapter in Shoals, Indiana. Contact Christy Farhar at Uofkwldcatfan@aol.com for information. She would love to hear from you. Or you can click on my tab that goes to Kidz 4 Freedom... you can buy some super cute duct tape hair bows and pens and all the proceeds will go to Touch a Life!

The Mercy House A maternity home in Kenya which offers young pregnant women a safe place to bring their children into the world, all the while teaching them about the grace of Christ, parenting, and job skills. You can shop the Mercy Store or offer monthly donations to this very worthwhile cause.

And the list doesn't end there. Those are just a very few that He has put on my own heart to support or start supporting. There is so much more... so whatever your passion... whatever your heart has broken for... there is a way to get involved. Prayerfully consider opening your home to one of the thousands of children in foster care. Or if you can't do that, consider becoming a CASA so that you can be the voice of a child in the foster care system. [I've linked to Indiana's Child Advocate Network, but if you aren't in Indiana, I am sure there is one in YOUR area. Just see my good friend Google for details.]  Seek out your local crisis pregnancy center. They are always underfunded, undervolunteered, underadvertised. Offer young women in your communities healthy choices when faced with unwanted pregnancies. Find a Bound4Life chapter near you (or START ONE if there aren't any!) and become purposeful in interceding for the lives of unborn children. Donate to the local Meals on Wheels program that bring meals into the home of the aged and disabled. Clean out your closets and donate the excess to a local homeless shelter, or Salvation Army, or Goodwill, or church. Pick up extra the next time you are at the grocery store for your local food pantry.

Whatever it is...
do something.

This Thanksgiving, can we as a Body do more than just give thanks? Instead can we be a people willing to give radically out of our abundance? It's important to give thanks... don't get me wrong... but once we have recognized how blessed we truly are, how can we then turn a blind eye to those in desperate need?

He is asking us to put feet to our faith... are you willing?


14: the little things

After a tissue-laden day laying on the couch, I had that grimy-bed-head-night-of-cold-sweats feel about me. You know the one. Although I really felt like taking [another] nap, I decided that perhaps a nice, warm shower would make a difference. Perk me up some. And so grabbing a fluffy, clean towel out of the back room I headed in for a time of solitude. Relaxation. Quiet. And you know what? It did make all the difference. It did make me feel better. 

And then in His sneaky God-is-everywhere way… I was convicted.

As I stood in that shower today, it occurred to me that there are people in this world who have never experienced anything like a warm shower. Something most of us take for granted on a daily basis. Something we don’t think about. Something we walk into our bathroom and just expect to happen. Meanwhile there is a mother in India bathing her children in the polluted waters of the Ganges, praying all the while that the filthy waters will make them both spiritually and physically clean.

Day in and day out we walk through this life with comforts that are unimaginable to many in the world. Homes with not one or two, but three or four vehicles. A television in every room. Mansions that house only a couple of people. In my own little house, I sleep on a bed piled high with pillows and comforters and nice clean sheets. As I dress in the morning, I choose between a dozen pair of shoes to complete my outfit.  

Most days, I don’t give it a second thought.  

I pay more for my lunch in the drive-through than most households in the world will make in an entire day. I have more food in my kitchen than most children will see in a week… yet somehow I walk out of there empty-handed declaring “there’s nothing to eat”.

I don’t have a clue what “nothing to eat” feels like. Not a clue. Chances are, neither do you.

I don’t want to just be thankful for the little things… Oh, it’s a good thing to stop taking those things for granted and to give thanks for them… but I want to go a step beyond. I want to allow God to break my heart with compassion for those who have not. I want Him to open my eyes to the need in this world, and then busy my hands with meeting that need.

Today I want to make a conscious decision to do more than just be thankful for all He’s given me… Today I want to recognize that to whom much is given, much is required.

What then, does He require of me? What then does He require of you? What more, than to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Seek justice for those who can’t fight for themselves. Seek justice for the children on Lake Volta, forced to work 16 hours a day in fishing boats, forced to face the murky waters and uncertain fate of releasing nets caught beneath the boats. Seek justice for the child trapped in the American foster care system whose hearts cry is that someone in this world would love them enough to give them a chance. That we would love mercy by considering others above ourselves. That we would be His hands and feet, bringing His grace into this lost and dying world. That we would feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unlovely.

Yet this seeking justice and loving mercy will require that we walk humbly with our God. That we die to our own American desires for more and posture our hearts to receive more of Him. Humility is difficult for most Americans. It is not a trait readily ingrained into our system. We live in a ego-centric society where self is always number one. Where pride reigns supreme. Where we constantly measure ourselves by the guy who has just a little bit more than us, rather than being grateful for all that we do have.

What He requires is counter-cultural. It’s dying to ourself. Dying to our own selfish desires. Dying to our stuff. It’s offering it all to Him to do with as He sees fit. It’s offering Him our hands and feet and our heart to do with as He sees fit. It’s offering Him our children to do with as He sees fit. It’s offering Him our homes to do with as He sees fit.  It’s recognizing the gift of a warm shower… and then asking how He can use YOU to bring clean water to the thirsty in this world. It’s recognizing the gift of a full pantry… and then asking Him how He can use YOU to feed the hungry. It’s recognizing the gift of a spacious home… and then asking Him how He can use YOU to offer a bed to the weary.

What are the “little things” in your life that you overlook? What are the things that you take for granted… I ask you to look at them again, friend… ask Him to  open your spiritual eyes to see the gifts and the need… because as it is said…

 the little things truly are the big things.  


13: Christmas movies

Tonight we caught “The Santa Clause” on the Hallmark channel. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not a movie buff.  I can barely make it through a 30 minute television show without becoming distracted, much less an hour and a half long movie. With one exception…

Christmas movies.

I love them.  I have no good reason… I just do.  So between now and Christmas our DVR will be filling up with Christmas classics and our DVD player will be spinning tales of Christmas cheer.

Don’t judge me.

There’s just something magical about people believing the impossible. Families reuniting. Hope winning in the end.  And a few flying reindeer never hurt anyone, right?



12: quiet evenings

With a head full of ick and a body screaming with fatigue... I am thankful for a quiet evening at home, a warm couch, and a soft blanket.  

Tonight I do not even mind that it was completely dark at 6pm... that makes laying listlessly seem somewhat allowable... after all... it's nighttime, right? 

More tomorrow, friends, but for now... there is a pillow calling my name...

11: freedom

With today being Veteren’s Day, it makes sense that my “thankful for” should be freedom. On this day, especially, Americans ponder the sacrifice made by others so that we can live in a land of freedom. The years spent away from loved ones, sleeping on low cots and crossing hot deserts. The tear-stained good-byes and joyful reunions. First steps missed. Christmas pageants attended only in spirit. Flag-draped caskets and 21 gun salutes.  This is the price of earthly freedom. It is a high price. One worthy of our respect and thanksgiving. It is the price paid so that I can type these words. The price paid so my daughter can teach a Bible study in a public school. The price paid so that I can wear an ichthus tattoo without fear.  The price paid so that you can disagree with my beliefs.

It is a great price. One of deep sacrifice.

Yet as I reflect on this great sacrifice, my mind wanders to the price paid for eternal freedom. If earthly freedom requires such high a price, how much greater the cost of eternity.

Freedom so grand, life so eternal… a price beyond anything we could begin to imagine. A price so extravagant, that it could only be paid by God Himself. And so He did.

I hope you are confident in that today. That you know and rely on the sacrifice He made on your behalf. If not… email me… we’ll chat…

Yet the most incredible thing to me is not that God would enter into this world, tearing the veil that separates us from Him, removing all barriers and making a way for us to step into real freedom… but that He would go a step further and enter *this* temple… this feeble, fumbling, human frame… bringing with Him the strength and courage and boldness to walk out freedom in this lifetime.

Consider that in more than just an intellectual way for a moment. When the veil was torn and the price paid, Christ made a way for a third of the Godhead to reside in you. And me. And that guy over there. A third of the Godhead! That is amazing! When Solomon built the temple He marveled, “is it true that God would really reside AMONG us?” and now we have a God that resides WITHIN us! What then can we not accomplish? What then can we not do?  I do not have to be bound by the things of this world, if He is enough. I do not have to carry the offense of hurtful words, if He is enough. I do not have to chase after things to build me up, if He is enough.  I do not have to fear the future, if He is enough.

That is real freedom.

And the price is high. It requires everything. It requires your all. But when you lay yourself down at the foot of the cross, you gain the One who is enough. You find yourself wrapped in garments of righteousness on a path for eternity, a third of the Godhead within you to guide and direct every single step. In the face of that, nothing else matters.

Freedom isn’t free.

Our freedom is won by the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who serve this country, day in and day out. Readied in a moment’s notice for action. Leaving parents and spouses and children and jobs and friends and commitments, stepping from the comfort of home to the danger of the battlefield… all for the sake of the call.

Our eternal freedom is won by the sacrifice of One who loves with such a burning passion He chose to leave His Father, stepping from heaven into earth… all for the sake of the call.

What then, is a price too high for you?  So much of the American church walks out their faith in partial freedom (which really isn’t freedom at all). Claiming their salvation while clinging tightly to offense and unforgiveness and hurt. Claiming the character of Christ while looking to this world to define them.  Claiming their role in the Body while refusing to look outside the walls of their own church or denomination. Claiming their desire to serve while ignoring the child starving down the street.  There is so much more to freedom than claiming salvation, or Christ, or righteousness, or devotion… it’s walking it out. It’s trusting that Jesus really is enough.  It’s casting down the idols we have built on the altar of our hearts and truly allowing Him to be your singular desire. It’s listening for His voice, and then answering the call. It’s having a heart postured to sacrifice whatever is required for the sake of that call. That’s freedom!

What then, will you not lay down… all for the sake of the call?

Tonight, I am thankful for the courage and valor of our Veterans. I am asking God to open our eyes to the sacrifice that they have made, and that we would not take it for granted. That we would walk in the freedom they fought and died for.  

I am thankful for the even greater sacrifice paid by my Savior. I am asking Him to open our hearts to the sacrifice that He made, that we would not take it for granted… That we would walk in the freedom He fought and died for.

Freedom isn’t free.

But it is worth it.


10: tali sue

It started with an email from her teacher in the morning… “Just wanted to let you know…”

That evening, as she was getting ready for bed there was finally time to ask her about it.

“So, how was school today?”

Immediately, big brown eyes became pools of tears glistening in the soft glow of the lamp. Bottom lip quivering she began to tell me about her day. About her friend at school who wanted to compare science answers to hers. How she felt when her teacher caught her.

“So you knew you were in trouble the moment she saw you?”

Head bowed… “yes...”

“So you knew you were doing something wrong?”

A tear slips down her cheek… “yes…”

“I see.”

The silence hung between us.  I asked God to give me the words that would refine rather than condemn. Her lesson was learned.  Her punishment at school appropriate. An “F” on the assignment she worked so hard on the night before, and worse… she was not allowed to teach her weekly Bible Study during recess.

“We are held to a different standard, you know…” And she nods.

She knows.

And I am so thankful for that. My beautiful Tali Sue… not perfect, but like all of us… she is working on it. I didn’t have to grill her to get the truth, she just let it spill out of her, as though she knew confession would be good for her soul.  And it was.

Knowing that at some point this month, I would write about Tali… I could never have imagined what the writing prompt would have been.  I’ve never had a call or an email or a note from a teacher like that before.  Especially not for Tali… yet it was a reminder to me that she really is just a little girl, trying to figure out this world.  What it looks like to live set apart.

That the same little girl that sits every evening making duct tape bows that save children out of slavery, can get caught cheating in school. That the little girl who knows all of the answers in Sunday School, sometimes slips on the answers in life. That the little girl that would choose to go to a prayer meeting over a birthday party, sinks into step with the world sometimes.

But how I love her heart. How I love her desire to serve, to care for others, to be a friend. How I love her transparency when I ask her “how was school today”… her giggle when I ask about her boyfriend… the way she dances her way through life… the way she looks at the world…her quick wit... her confidence… her beautiful, beautiful spirit…

How I love her passion for Jesus, and her boldness to share Him with others.   How I love her willingness to be changed and refined by Him. Her desire to be set apart… even if she is still learning to walk that out.

Beautiful, sweet spirited Tali Sue... I love you. And you know what else... Jesus does too


09: my weakness

Today has been hard.

I have been overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. insignificance. inability. inferiority.  These things that I have been so certain about… the things I felt Him calling me to do… suddenly seem too big for me.  The momentum building within me to see great things unfold feels less like direction and more like a car screaming down a steep hill with no brakes.  And He has me behind the wheel.

Have you ever had a day like that? or a week? or a year…?

God, what are you thinking? Have you met me?

Seriously, maybe You should re-think your hiring strategies…

And then…

Our generous daddy God comes in and comforts my soul.  He whispers “my grace is sufficient for you, Becky. Remember, daughter, that my power is made perfect in weakness…even yours…”

He gently reminds me that He has not called me in spite of my weakness… but because of it.  

That when I am weak, He is strong.  

That I am not measured according to the standards of man, or by numbers, or statistics… but by my faithfulness to His call.  That He will not hold my words up against Ann Voskamp’s and choose a winner [seriously, have you read her work? prose like poetry... honey and salt and dark and light, all beautifully woven into one...] , or measure my deeds against those who have gone to distant lands, or my offering against one who has great wealth… rather He will test how faithful I was to say exactly what He has asked me to say, to go where He has asked me to go, and to give all that He has asked me to give.

Today, I am in a desert. But that is where He arrives with manna. When He gazes with mercy onto our brokenness and encourages and nourishes our spirits.

When He reminds me of the dozens of confirmations, all pointing down the path I am on. When in his generosity, He offers another one in the form of a Facebook status that reminds He is not looking for ability, rather availability. When He whispers that I don't get to question His hiring strategies, after all, He is the boss. When I go to a church business meeting, and the sweetest prayer is offered up on my behalf, asking for direction and guidance and peace in this calling. And then they offer financial support in the exact amount He had whispered to my spirit to ask for, and I didn't even have to ask

And my husband asks what I am blogging about, and I tell him about my day of doubts and insecurity…and He points all of this out to me… and speaks confidence into my soul.

Not confidence in my ability, but in God’s faithfulness.

And so tonight, I can say with all honesty, that I am thankful for my weakness. I truly am. I am thankful for days that remind me I am so, so, so very human. That I am so very finite, and apt to fall short or make mistakes. But that through my generous, loving, faithful Father… All things are possible.

I still feel very… ill-equipped. uncertain. apprehensive.

But it’s okay.  I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t have to know all of the answers.

I just have to really trust the One who does.


08: jim

Confession... [I am already beginning to cry and I haven't even written anything yet.]

That's how much I love the man I am lucky enough to spend my life with. There are not words in the English language to adequately explain what it is like to love someone like Jim Boyles. I remember the first time I ever saw him. He was climbing onto the school bus, and as he looked at me a smile spread across his face. But this was no ordinary smile... Jim has the most incredible smile I have ever seen. It's like fireworks, exploding with delight in his eyes... it's a smile that still today causes my heart to fall for him all over again.

I sit here and wonder, how could it be that I would meet the love of my life when I was only fifteen years old? That I would hold in my heart twenty years of memories with the man I love? That I would find the one that would walk this path with me, for better or worse, richer or poorer?  When I think about that teenage boy that climbed onto the school bus in the light of the man that I spend all my days with I am amazed. My how we have grown. Certainly, the last two decades have had their fair share of mistakes, poor decisions, and hurt... but they have also been full of new life, joy, laughter, love, and of course, smiles.

Jim Boyles is a man who loves well. And I am so blessed to have that in my life... day in and day out.

As I sit here, I can hear him hammering away as he makes me one of these  [check out that cool barn wood headboard I found on pintrest... you want one too, don't ya?]... at some point today he has gathered up old barn wood, and now he is spending his evening out in the garage. Just to make me something.

Saturday night as I thought about a photoshoot I would be doing the next day, I remembered a wooden train we keep in our Christmas decorations. When he saw "wooden train" scribbled on my to-do list for the next morning he said "that is going to be impossible to find! it's waaaaaay in the back of all of those boxes of decorations"... but what he did was get up the next morning and found it.

That's just the way he loves.

With hammer and nails and old barn wood. Or a step ladder and teetering boxes of Christmas decorations. Or a can of gas and a friend at the side of the road. Or a box of shingles up on the roof. Or a hood up on the church van. Or burgers on the grill. Or long, hot evenings at the ball park.

Some people love with words. Some people love with gifts. Jim loves with his life. He's one who does for those people and things he cares about. He may say it can't be done... but somehow, he always seems to find a way. Which is a good thing when you are married to someone like me, who is forever coming up with another hair brained scheme that she just can't do without your help.

Jim... I cannot imagine life without you. The way that you father our children, as a man that they can look up to and admire, is uncommon in this world today. My heart swells as I see you raising up as a man of courage, unashamed of your faith. But mostly, thank you for loving me. For supporting me and my crazy ideas. For building me barn wood headboards and back drops. For planting a dream in my heart and then being my constant encourager as I walk it out. For reading my blog. For your complete inability to hack my facebook (ha!). For stepping over piles of creativity in the living room when I am in a crafting fervor. For teaching me how to use a hammer properly. For loving me without make-up. For letting me hold the remote.  For allowing me to chase Jesus with all I have, even when it means late nights and crazy ideas.

There's more. There's so much more. But ugly cry makes it hard to see the screen to type... and so I will just say, thank you for loving me.  I know it's hard sometimes. I know that I can be moody, and difficult, and demanding. Yet you love me just the same.... Jim, my life would be less without you. I would be less without you. Thank you for helping me find me... thank you for loving, and for loving well.  


07: my mom

Today I am thankful for my mom, who I had the opportunity to see receive a Peer Recognition Award this afternoon at VU. To be recognized by supervisors is one thing, but to be recognized by your peers demonstrates a different kind of passion and integrity. She goes about her life, doing her job with excellence even in the face of chronic pain and disability, in such a way that she is able to make those she works with feel important and loved. She is able to excel without making others feel like less, and that’s certainly a special gift.

Yet I have the fortune of knowing her not only as a coworker (which I am!) but as a mom. How can I express thanks to the person who gave me life? Who in the face of a boyfriend insisting on an abortion, insisted on life… and because of that I am here to type this today. Had she done nothing else beyond that point, it would have been enough. She chose to fight for this little life growing inside her, a life that she knew would change everything she knew, or dreamed, or cared about. That is courage.

I am grateful that she taught me the hard lessons in life, with love. That she allowed me to make my own decisions and experience the consequences of mistakes. That she taught me that life isn’t always fair. That having less doesn’t necessarily mean you have less, but that your blessings are stored elsewhere. I thank her for teaching me how to love the unlovely. I am grateful that growing up she was my mother- not necessarily my friend. That she taught me to respect her and others in authority over me. That rules are there for a reason. That nothing good happens to a teenager after midnight.  Because of that, in my adulthood, we have developed a genuine friendship based on mutual respect and love.

Seeing her receive her award today, it was clear the inspiration she has been to so many, and the admiration she receives from her peers. But I get to do one better than that… I get to love her. After all, she’s my momma.


06: spiritual leaders

Today I am thankful for the spiritual leaders God has placed over me. The shepherds He has called to lead His flock, the friends He has called to lead this sheep. As I have reflected on the spiritual leaders in my life, it occurs to me that I must really be a mess because this sheep needs not one, or two… but three shepherds to keep her on course!  And that doesn’t even count all of the Pastors that have impacted my life over the years!

I am thankful today for Seth Alexander. Seth pastors my home church (FBC Bicknell). I am thankful for the educator that he is. For the passion he has for the Truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. I am thankful for the visionary leader he has become, taking our little church from a completely inward-focused, keep-our-members-comfortable-and-happy mode of operation to an entirely outward-focused, find-the-lost-and-show-them-Jesus approach to doing church. I am thankful for the way he has challenged each of us to become disciple-makers, reminding us that it’s our job to reach this lost and dying world, and that if we don’t do it… who will?  My heart rejoices as we continue to see the streets of Hell depopulated! Just today we witnessed the 45th person step into the waters of baptism since we began the push to reach the unchurched in our community! Forty-five people! That’s a big deal, folks, especially in a community our size!  God knew what He was doing, Seth, when He called you to lead us. And He knew just what I needed when He called you to be my friend

I am thankful today for Kathy Stephens. Kathy teaches a Bible Study in her home on Monday nights that feeds my spirit and has encouraged me to seek the deeper things of God.  Her humble spirit finds confidence in God to say things that challenge the American mindset and encourage us to trust a God who warns us that it will not be easy, but promises that it will be worth it. Her spiritual insight into the Scriptures continue to amaze me… taking me deeper and deeper into passages that I have sometimes read a dozen times… and never thought of it quite like *that*!  I found myself at Kathy’s Bible Study many years ago, just as I was really beginning to hunger after God… and it was there that I learned how to read Scripture, and hear God’s voice. What a gift! She took me from spiritual milk to meat, and continues each week through the power of the Holy Spirit to confirm, challenge, and convict me. Kathy, you are a mighty woman of God, and the work you do in your home is truly Kingdom work- reaching across denominational barriers and gathering us together as one Body!

I am thankful today for Dusty McCandless. Dusty pastors the New Life Community Church in Haubstadt. I only met Dusty about seven months ago, but he has spoken so much into my life that it seems like it must have been longer than that! Since that time I have regularly attended an intercessory prayer service their church hosts on Saturday evenings.  Over and over again, Dusty has spoken things to my ears which were directly from the throne room of God.  He has encouraged my ravished heart to be ever more sold out and radical for my God.  His passion for Jesus is contagious (and I think some people very near and dear to me are catching the fever too!) and His love for God’s people is written all over his heart and his actions. Dusty, I thank God for the way he has used you to speak directly into my spirit. I thank you for the encourager you have been to step confidently into the calling God has placed on my life.

How lucky am I? How blessed? To have these three individuals to guide and mentor me. How thankful am I that they said “yes” to the call to go and make disciples! And how humbled am I by their example… which is ever and always to point to Jesus. To shine a light on Him. Never accepting glory on their own name, but always lifting a banner up in Jesus name!

I don’t do a great job of letting each of you know how precious you are to me (I was even a Pastor Appreciation Month Failure)… so let me take this time to say thank you from the depths of my heart for who you are and for the gentle care you have taken in nourishing my spirit.  


05: amazing friends

Today I am so thankful for the incredible friends God has called along this path with me!

I am so thankful for the friends who have always been there. Who walked through my history with me, and stand with me today, loving me all the same... or perhaps even loving me more because of it. 

I am so thankful for the friends who patiently listen through my mind dumping sessions as I run along a mile a second about all of the plans and dreams and concerns and hurts and blessings that rattle on around this brain of mine. 

I am so thankful for the friends who challenge unhealthy thoughts and attitudes... who hold me accountable and make me want to look more like Jesus.

I am so thankful for the friends who love me enough to invest in my children's lives... to make runs to Evansville when my schedule gets overcrowded, or plan video gaming sessions with Z, or take time for ice cream and bubbles.

I am so thankful for the new friends He continues to bring into my life. The ones who picked up like they've known me forever. The ones who "match". 

I am so thankful for the family God has planted in my life that have surpassed the flesh and blood relationship to one of true friendship and mutual love and respect. 

I am so thankful for the friends who know all of the inside jokes. Who can read my mind with the glance of an eye. Who know what <4 means. Who rejoice when I rejoice, and cry when I cry. Who are comfortable in the silence.

I am so thankful that the One who created the heavens and the earth, who holds the universe in the span of His hand, who gave up all of heaven to walk as a man and die for me, calls me friend.

All of this, so much more than this awkward little girl could have ever dared to dream of during those difficult times of loneliness most kids go through. So much more than I deserve.  And yet, I find myself so richly blessed.

Thank you, friend, for the blessing you are to my life.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you [Philippians 1:3].


04: uncle dave (friday flashback edition)

I love doing the Friday Flashbacks because it gives me an opportunity to reflect on where I have come from and how God has been so intricately involved in every little detail of my life. {Isn’t He beautiful?} And today, as I considered how to combine my flashback with something I am thankful for… I kept landing on memories of Uncle Dave and Aunt Marge. There have been so many people who God has placed along my path… guideposts along the road toward Him… but in Uncle Dave and Aunt Marge I see how such a simple act can have a profound impact.

When I was about three years old, my family rented a house in Bicknell, Indiana that was owned by Dave and Marge Morwood. Lucky for us, they also lived right next door. My family was poor, and we certainly had our problems, but they met us right where we were. My  mom tells me that as we moved from Cincinnati, the one promise she made to my Mamaw was that she would get me into a church. I suspect that Mamaw spent a lot of time in her knees talking to God about this, because within a couple of weeks of moving into that little gray house on Cedar Street, the man who I had already come to know as Uncle Dave asked mom if I could go to church with him.

At just over three years old, I stepped foot for the first time in First Baptist Church of Bicknell. Thirty-two years later, that is still the place I call home. In the decades in between, I have seen my baby brothers dedicated, my daddy accept Christ, my husband step into the waters of baptism, my children come to know Jesus… I have made some of the best friends I could ever imagine, and I have seen other friends get on fire for the Lord.

And to think, it all started when my next door neighbor invited me to church.

It doesn’t always take grand mission trips or enormous steps of faith to impact the world for Christ. Sometimes it’s as simple as looking around you, seeing who God has placed there, and meeting them where they are at.  I think of Uncle Dave often. I am so thankful for the guidepost he was in my life… and I believe that Christ is calling all of us to be along the path of other seekers…  pointing the way to Him. Who has He placed in your life? Who is looking to you for direction? Whose testimony would you find your name in?  

Praying you hear the voice of the Lord directing you to action today… and that you do something about it!  


03: something exciting!!!

Tonight I am thankful for a great meeting of the minds with some beautiful women of God! The Lord has given us a vision to hold a Women’s Conference to minister to the women of our area… and it’s going to be so, so, so good!  We are still hammering out the details… so I can’t tell you much… but I can tell you that it’s going to be BIG, it’s going to be CHALLENGING, it’s going to be ENCOURAGING, and it’s going to have JESUS all over it!

And I am SO excited about it!

I am thrilled that the women He has called to work together are from different churches, different backgrounds, different denominations… yet we are all ONE.  Isn’t His Body a beautiful thing!? Isn’t it amazing what happens when we work together in unity?  Certainly we have different ideas and different approaches… but in the end we are all looking to the One who can already see this conference taking place and because of that I can totally trust the path He is taking us down!

I’m bursting at the seams to tell you more… but He says “not yet”… so in the meantime… stay tuned!


02: zach

This morning I answered some emails, made a few phone calls, typed in a few case notes and decided what I really needed was a nice mid-morning shower to wake myself up. [How awesome is it that I have the kind of job that allows me to work from home, so that break times can be spent in a nice, hot shower? But I digress...] As I headed back to my work space with my glass of water, I stepped over something on the floor. Not unusual in this house, but looking down I realized it was my son's school binder. The one that only two months into the school year is already falling apart and being held together with shiny silver duct tape. The one that has his conduct sheet in it that must be initialed every night. The one with his agenda that requires a parent signature daily. The one holding all of his homework. 

I'm not going to lie. I looked at the stack of paperwork still calling my  name and thought "I do NOT have time for this"... 

But then I imagined him getting into his backpack, realizing this morning that he didn't have it. That sick, sinking feeling of realization that he was going to sit all of his recesses. So of course, wet hair and all, I headed toward his school, binder in hand.

I could have been aggravated, but really, I wasn't. Because all I could think about on the way to the school was how relieved he would be when that binder came walking into his classroom... and he would know... my mom came through for me. I got to be the hero today, and that was pretty cool.

Plus, it's not like I never left my binder (or paperwork, or report, or check book, or other-really-important-thing) at home before.

I keep thinking about that duct-tape repaired binder and the tornadic event that carries it back and forth to school every day. The one who rips holes in the knees of all of his jeans. The one who's bed always looks like a sasquatch spent the night in it with him. He is so different than his neat freak, clothes-has-to-be-just-right sister... and I love that about him!

He's obsessed with video games, but respects the "one hour a night" rule. He wants to play the games the other kids are playing, but doesn't argue with my "I don't think so" look at the video game store. He's a good kid. He has an amazing sense of humor. He loves to torment his sister. He loves to torment me. He also loves to sit next to me on the couch and cuddle. Begs me to rub his back, and his feet, and his face (yes, his face...) and I love that about him!

It's hard to imagine this straight A student was once a little boy who we wondered if he would ever find his words. Hours of speech therapy, patience, and prayer... we can't shut him up now. And I love that about him! 

Today, I am so thankful for my little man, Zachary. I am thankful for the young man he is growing into. I am thankful for the gentle way he holds baby Ty at church, and then the full out heart he plays football with later that same afternoon.  I am thankful for his laugh. I am even thankful for his mess. And days that he leaves his binder on the floor.

And I am so, so thankful for those times when he says "thank you Mommy".

Like tonight, when he told me that his binder showed up right before first recess. Just in time.


30 days of thanks

Last year in November, some of my Facebook friends took the time to offer up one thing they were thankful for every day of the month... so this year I am going to do that here at my mind's eye. I hope that you will join in sharing some of the things YOU are thankful for!

Today, my heart is full of thanks for new opportunities. The Lord has blessed me with a knack for the creative, whether it be scrapbooking, painting, decorating... or photography... it's something that comes naturally, and obviously from the Lord! For a long time I have been resistant of using these gifts to earn money... but lately He is showing me that some giftings can be used so that I have more resources to support ministries, or more free time to serve Him. This is a part of the process of becoming all that He imagined me to be when He created me. It's becoming comfortable in my own skin, and in my talents...

As I type that I think about the three servants with whom the master left talents. I know, I know, in the parable the talents are actually money... but it certainly seems appropriate to correlate those talents with the abilities our Master has deposited into our lives. How are we investing them? How are we sowing them? How are we using them to bring increase to the kingdom? I have always seen my talents as an opportunity to bless others... but God has been very clear over the last two or three months that He has something more in mind.

After much prayer, and the surprising (and consistent, and encouraging, and supportive) urging of Jim, I have decided to take my photography gig a little more seriously. For years I have taken senior pics, family pics, tortured my own children, done more weddings than I care to remember, and dabbling in sports photography. I have charged very nominal prices for my time because, well, I just felt weird about it. Now, however, after a ridiculous number of confirmations (yes, I kept wringing out the fleece and waiting for yet another confirmation from God, and boy am I thankful that He is not only patient, but also generous to meet us in our hesitancy)... I am officially going to label myself a "photographer" by launching my brand-spanking-new website.

I am so thankful for this opportunity. Since the time Jim first began talking to me about doing this for real, I have been inundated with requests for family portraits, senior pics, and children's sessions.  I even ended up at a wedding on a weeks notice (He has a sense of humor, too).  He is saying... walk this way, Becky. I have no idea where this path is leading me. He hasn't illuminated much farther than the next step... but you know what...

I trust Him.

And so I will continue to put one foot in front of the other, following where His voice is calling. If this proves to be a short-lived side job to allow Jim and I to get completely debt free, that is enough! If this proves to be a long term opportunity to raise money to support ministries and missionaries He has placed on my heart, that is enough! If this leads to other opportunities, that is enough! Even if it goes nowhere... I trust the process, and that is enough!

So... excitedly, hesitantly, nervously, expectantly... I bring to you...
in a blink
UPDATE: I registered my own domains so now in a blink can be found at beckyboyles.com!

Click. Tell your friends. Let me know what you think. And pray for me... that I believe and not doubt what He is asking me to do...

And I will be doing the same for you, friend... because our Creator God is One who is always growing us, stretching us, asking us to step outside of the box and trust Him. He likes to create something new. Because of that I can be confident that He is speaking to your heart as well about the next step in your life. What new opportunities is He placing before you?