Thursday, April 6, 2017


This post title seems very vague and could imply so many different things, so let me explain the this is going to be a very raw post. I have not posted on my blog for quite a while, but decided that this is a good outlet for me. So you don't have to read a word of this or you can read every word. Honestly, this post is for me. Words that I just need to get out there! 

First of all, grief sucks! It just plain does. There are sometimes no other words to describe it other than that. and to be honest, all of the stages they talk about, they are absolutely, 100% true! Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Denial, and even acceptance. These feelings become unwanted companions, new best friends that you never knew you wanted in life. and to be honest, I feel like they should add all the other things to this list, the brain fog that comes after grief, the apathy that comes in feeling like you aren't even sure if you want life to keep going on if this is how its going to be now and the very real sense of "I just don't care anymore". I wish that they would add to the list the word jealousy. The jealousy that everyone else gets to keep living life and nothing has to change for them. The jealousy that everyone else seems to get all these good things and great blessings and you feel stuck and angry and mad, because GOOD is not at all the word that you would use to currently describe life at all. I wish that they would add the word "fake it". Because that is another very real part of grief. You get to walk through life faking it and acting as though you are totally ok even though inside you feel like you are being torn apart. I think they should add the word physical exhaustion to the stages. Because while you are emotionally worn and spent, the physical exhaustion and wear and tear is a lot to go through. and the great effort it takes to keep eating healthy, keep making healthy choices, well its not always easy. Anxiety, they should totally add that word too. The anxiety that you could be next. The anxiety that you don't know if you can do life without this person and the very honest answer of, "I don't even know if I want to do life without you there". The anxiety of doing all the things you used to do, but somehow you can't do them as well, somehow the world seems to have gained weight and decided to sit on your shoulders with all of it! and finally, the word loneliness should be included in these stages. The utter and complete aloneness that you feel as you walk this road. Its sometimes haunting and many times feels too much to bear. 

Now I want to make sure I say in all of this that I have incredible family. I have wonderful friends. and I have an amazing God that i love and am trying to trust and gain strength from each day. But today, right now, I want to tell you how i am really feeling. 
Thus the title of this blog.....Forgotten.....

I teach preschool, its one of my biggest joys in life. and I truly believe that it has trained and taught me how to be a mom someday as well. One of the biggest things i have learned in  teaching is that, if I'm lucky, I get about 5 seconds to myself in our room on any given day before someone says, "Miss Becky can you help me?" "Miss Becky I need...." Honestly, sometimes i want to change my name! Again, I know most moms can relate here. But as I think about this, its how I have been feeling in my life outside of teaching lately too. My dad died, people were there a lot after it first happened, we had a lot of financial support, we had a lot of emotional support, and believe me, I could not have made it through without those people. So please know that these next words are not a jab at anyone that has been there or will continue to be there. But yes, at first there were people all around, in fact for the first 2 days I didn't spend 1 minute alone. But slowly, life moves on, people have to continue on into their lives and this goes back to my, "you get 5 seconds" point. Its kind of how our society is wired, its kind of how life goes. You get 5 seconds and then people find something else to think about, someone else has a crisis, people need you back to work and back to life and now, on top of grieving, you have catch up work to do. So now those 5 seconds turn into 0 seconds. 

The loneliness is what has settled in lately and believe me it has taken a huge residence in my heart. The feeling of just knowing that I am going to have to take a lot of these steps by myself. The feelings of being forgotten have really settled in. and the feelings of being "old news" have totally overtaken my heart. I know it my head that I shouldn't feel this way, but in my heart, I just can't escape it. The phone calls, the texts, the emails, the Facebook messages, they all poured in at the beginning and as time goes on they become less and less. This extroverted soul struggles with that because I gain my energy from people. Most of the time I feel like I really need people in my life. and I think the void grows stronger because my dad and I used to talk on the phone everyday. Often we spoke twice a day, in the morning on my way to work and in the evenings on my way home from work. On really long days, a third call might even occur if I was driving home from youth group on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. And now, all of the sudden,without any warning, that is all gone! My best friend, the one I told everything too, he is gone. and I feel all alone. I find myself thinking about the fact that i will never drive back to spend a long weekend with him, we will never have movie nights again, he will never again buy me my special birthday dinner, BLT Pizza and Cherry Coke.I will never again make him a German Chocolate Cake with Caramel Coconut Frosting for his birthday. I will never decorate his house again for Christmas or come home for New Years to take it all down. Parades were our favorite. On Thanksgiving we watched the Macys Parade on Christmas the Disney Parade and on New Years the Rose Bowl Parade. Our FAVORITE! We loved seeing all the flowers and talking about all the floats as they went by. That is the last time I saw my dad. I watched the parade with him this year and then drove back to Minnesota. I had no idea that hug would be the last one Id ever have with him. and again, the loneliness sets in. My brother and his wife are in Bolivia and my dad was SO PROUD of them! But we missed them on holidays, A LOT! So Daddy and I had started our own traditions. We had begun our own things. and now, well now I don't get to carry any of those on. My dad and I lived states away from each other, but he had a way of making me feel like I was never alone, like he was always there whenever I needed him. and I miss him, more than words can say. And again, it has become a very close companion, the loneliness sets in as I begin to walk this road without him, alone. 

Anger, that is another very close friend right now. One that I don't know very well, one that doesn't suit me very well, and one that, to be honest, Im not super fond of. But its an emotion that comes often right now. Anger. Anger at God, Anger at the situation, Anger at people for not getting it, Anger at people who don't have to live it, just anger and with it a big old side of bitterness. 
I teach preschool, as I said before. I often relate many of my life situations to the experiences I have at preschool. And Im sure parents will relate to this feeling as well. I often have a classroom of children who get crazy, who seemingly lose their minds, who feel just utterly and completely out of control! And sometimes it gets to that point in the classroom where you just have to say "ENOUGH!" and I use my teacher voice to get the point across. and the room becomes silent and people realize that you have had enough. I want to scream that to God lately! ENOUGH seriously, ENOUGH! 
From the time I was 11 years old, my mom was diagnosed with bi polar, she made several suicide attempts, she had cancer twice, and she even went missing several times. And thats just my mom. I have had 4 cancer scares, with lots of testing, waiting on results and the anxiety that goes with that. I was diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism as well as Arthritis. I moved to a state with no family and established a life for myself. my brother moved to Bolivia, and the list could go on. Thats hard, thats a lot. and Sometimes I get angry. I talk to my brother about it once in a while but sometimes I just get really mad that we had to grow up so stinking fast! Sometimes Im tired of being strong, sometimes Im tired of things being thrown at me over and over and over again! and sometimes I am just plain tired! I just want to say to God, ENOUGH! Please, can we just be done for a little while? 

and then there is that word, Forgotten. Its noones job to check up on me. its noones job to text me and be sure that Im okay. and to be honest, who even knows the words to say or the way to say them in these situations?? I don't even know and Im the one going through it! and to be honest, it feels selfish to even be thinking about this. It feels selfish to even be thinking about the fact that i want people to call me, that I want them to text me. that I need to talk about it. It feels selfish and needy and then anger sets in all over again. Anger with myself for needing and wanting that. anger with myself knowing that people have lives, that they have plenty of their own things going on and how dare I think the they should be texting me or calling me or taking time out of their day to reach out to me? How selfish can I be? 

I want to say at this end of this long post. I love my God, I love my friends, I love my family. But this grief thing is hard, and today, as much as I want to. I don't have a nice bow to wrap this all up with at the end. This is messy and today is just a plain messy day! Plain and simple! Its messy! Grief is messy! Grief is hard! Grief is not a very good friend. But it is a nescessary one!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I am willing....I am yours

Lately I have been thinking a lot about life's purpose. I have been thinking about the many reasons God has created us. The many gifts he has given each and everyone of us and the thousands of reasons we are here on this Earth, but then I am reminded, that really, all of those reasons boil down to one ultimate purpose, and that is, to bring God glory. In all that we say and in all that we do, we were created to worship him.

This whole thought process was spurred on because of the pain I have seen around me.  A boy from a local high school, that some of my students attend, committed suicide last week. A man from a recovery ministry in our church took his own life yesterday. Several people around me are feeling so deep and low in despair that they feel there is no way out. Pain, it literally is all around us. Its a part of all our lives at one point or another. But you see, there was something more, at some point, these people had reached a point of no more hope. They had decided that life was no longer worth living, and they ended it. I dont know what kind of support systems they had in their lives, I dont know what thoughts went through their heads that led them to this point, but they got there. You see, they had decided that life no longer had a purpose or at the very least, that there was no purpose left for them to live. They had forgotten the reason they were created to live.

Last Christmas, I got the chance to sing a song in our service. Is called, "Born In Me". There are some powerful words in this song, but the bridge, it has some of the most powerful words a song has ever spoken to me. The song is written from Mary's perspective, she is crying out to God, and she says these words, "I am not brave, Ill never be, The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy, Im just a girl, nothing more, but I am willing, and I am yours." You see, Mary, she got it, she remembered her purpose. She didnt see a lot in herself at all, in fact, she probably thought that God had gotten the wrong girl. But God had a plan, he had a purpose, and he chose Mary to be his servant. "I am willing, and I am yours". Those are the words that Mary so beautifully speaks to her savior.

You see, many of us, we dont feel very big. We may not even feel that we can be used. There is another song I love sing, Its called "Do they see Jesus in Me?" In one of the verses the composer writes these words, "Its amazing that youd ever use me, but use me the way you will". You see for many of us, we are amazed that God would even take the time to look at us. We are amazed that he would choose to use us for his glory. And for others, well, we may be walking through life unsure that God even has a purpose or plan at all.

One of my favorite phrases to use is this, "God Never Wastes a Hurt". In our lives, there WILL be trouble. In fact, as Christians, we see it all over. Isaiah 43:2- WHEN you walk through the fire, WHEN you pass through the waters" God promises that these things WILL happen, but at the end of that passage he says, he will always stand by our side, we will not go through these things without him by our side. John 16:33- "In this World you WILL have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the World". and in 2 Timothy 3:12 he states, " In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, will be persecuted.

I dont know where you are at in life today. I dont know if you are living a life to follow Christ or if you are still deciding what you believe about God. Or maybe you have decided he is not real at all. I dont know, as I stated, where any of you are at. But what I know for me is that God has made it abundantly clear that he has a plan for me. He has promised me that it will not be easy once I say yes to living a life for him. But he has promised that he will never leave my side, that he will always give my life purpose and that each and everyday I have a reason to live. And you want to know a secret.....he is saying all of the same things to you. He loves you.

If you are going through life and you are hurting, suffering, thinking thoughts of suicide, feeling alone, abusing drugs or alcohol, PLEASE STOP. You dont have to go through these things alone. There are people that love you. There are places that you can get help. Life, though it can be VERY DIFFICULT sometimes, is better when we are connected, its better when we dont have to go through it alone. Were all in this together!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We EXPECT Big Things!

Every Tuesday night, my friend Erin and I go to a worship service here in the cities called Deeper, it is hosted by Substance Church. But the whole purpose of the service is to take some time out of our busy weeks to go Deeper with God. It has been an amazingly refreshing time to go to this service each week, but let me take a step back and explain WHY it has been so refreshing.

November 8, 2012 is a day that changed my life forever. My mom died. Now, I know that I have a great hope to hold on to, my mom was an amazing Christian, she lived out her faith as much as possible and I have no doubt in my mind that she is with Jesus right now. But that hope, that joy, didnt take away the pain of loosing her. It didnt take away that temporary anger that I felt toward God. and it certainly did not take away the doubts about him that I was experiencing after loosing her. I had an aching lonliness. I missed my mom, and I still do every day. I had to face the fact that someday, when God brings my future husband into my life, my mom wont get to meet him. My mom wont get to help me plan my wedding, she wont be there when I begin having kids and have questions that you can only ask your mom about. She wont be there for the fun moments on holidays or just the everyday moments, the ones where I have had a bad day and I just want to pick up the phone and cry. The moments where big things happen and I can call and rejoice with her. Or, even though SHE hated it, the moments where we would go shopping together. I never get to see her play with my adorable niece. And those moments, they are hard. No matter how much faith you have, no matter how much joy I have in knowing she is in a better place now, those moments still, well, she would be okay with me saying this, so I will :) Those moments just suck!

I say all of this to say that there was a period of time after her death that I didnt experience God the way that I once did. I tried hard to use this experience to draw me closer to him, and big picture, looking back now, it totally has. But the past 2 years, going through all the crap, well, I missed God for a while. I quit worshiping the way I once had. I quit expecting God to do big things. I gave up on God. Im not proud of it, but I did. I still went to church, heck I work in one :) I still went to Bible Study, but I was missing God.

You see, from the time I was 5 years old, God has been a big deal to me. I loved being in church. I loved that my parents took me there and showed me how important it was. I loved being in childrens choir, Bible Quizzing, I just loved it all. And I always came to church expecting God to do big things. It was my prayer everytime I went into church or a camp or any type of ministry and until 2 years ago, it still was. I would pray that I and the others coming into the place of ministry would not leave the same way that we came, that we would expect God to do something. That when reading scripture, when singing worship songs, when meeting with God, that I would expect to be different after meeting with him.

Somehow, in the midst of the pain of loosing my mom, I quit expecting God to do anything. I had resigned myself to say that he didnt heal my mom, so why should I expect him to do anything? Now i know, my mom received the ultimate healing, and to be honest, seeing her not have to suffer anymore, while it meant a goodbye here on Earth, was a great relief for me, because seeing her in that pain, seeing her not able to talk or communicate, it was its own personal hell. So, yes, I am thankful she was healed. But I still had to come to some new places with God.

I still remember sitting in my room some nights and screaming into a pillow because I was so mad. Or punching that same pillow because of the anger I was feeling in missing her. I remember tears, tears that still come from time to time as she left such a huge void.

This past year has been one of the toughest, not just because I miss my mom. Because many other pains have come into my life as well. Lost relationships, hurtful words, the scare that I myself may have cancer and then the overwhelming relief when the answer was "no", living in a state where none of my family actually live, missing my brother and his wife and my beautiful niece daily. Missing my father and my honoary sister and her boys, my "nephews". There are days that the pain is just so real.

But I have also come to a place of complete surrender and reliance on God, because I got to a point that I knew I couldnt do it anymore. Like it says in Psalms 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd...." I have had to get to a point of honestly allowing God to be my shepherd and trusting him to lead me, trusting him to take control and take care of me. I have had to let go, let go of hurt, of pain, of control, of ALL of it.

So last night, at our worship service, I realized that i had been holding on to so much of this stuff on my own. I realized that I was no longer expecting God to do things. and i realized that i had not been living to the potential that God was asking me to live to.

So here is the challenge, Do you expect God to do something? When was the last time you honestly experienced him? How desperate are you for him? Has the voice of cynicism in your life been speaking louder than the voice of desperation for Christ?

I am thankful to be where I am now. It is not the road I would have chosen to get here. It is certainly not the path I would have forseen, but I am thankful for it none the less, because it brought me to God. It has made me expect him to do big things again.

So to my friends who are struggling, who are hurting, who are unsure of their faith, to those of you who are ready to give up on ministry all together because its just too hard. To those of you who have lost loved ones. To those of you who have lost a job. To those of you who have made mistakes and you are questioning God. To those of you who are where I was. EXPECT God to do great things. I promise you, he will! He has never once left you alone. He is not the one that has walked away, he is there waiting for us. He is molding us, shaping us, and ready to use us for his glory. But sometimes that comes from a very cruddy, dirty, winding, seemingly never ending road. But the road is totally, 100% worth it!

God is ABLE!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Remember the Man, not the Moment....

Lately, in the news we have seen a lot about Robin Williams. We have seen people everywhere talking about his death. It is brought suicide and depression to the forefront of many things. I was reading one of these articles yesterday, and a phrase stuck out to me. A girl was talking about her own brother, who years earlier, had taken his own life. She shared that in the time she was grieving, she kept reminding her family and friends of one phrase, "Remember the Man, not the moment". She was reminding her family that there was much more to her brother than this one moment of despair. That while depression had overwhelmed him, while it had driven him to take his own life. it did NOT define him. 

I have opened up on my blog a lot about my mother and some of the things she went through in life. I have opened up about some of the things my family went through as well. Depression and suicide are not easy things, they are not easy for the person that is going through them and they are not easy for the family that is impacted by them either. My mother suffered from depression for many years of our lives, the earliest I remember her suffering is from age 12. My mother attempted to end her life several times and I remember it. My mother was hospitalized for her depression. My family went through some counseling to help us understand and work through it. And I remember it. I remember many things. I learned many things from my mother and the illness she had to battle. 

I learned perseverance because she daily had to persevere through some of the hardest days of her life. Mental Illness is a silent illness, many people have no idea that you are suffering, no idea how hard it is just to make it through a day. And she made it through many. And she did it with great grace. 

I learned the meaning of faith. I learned that God is good, ALL. THE. TIME. Even in the hardest of times, he is good and he is worthy of our praise. In moments of my moms depression, in moments of her physical illnesses (cancer, meningitis, cellulits, arthritis, and LOADS of other things), she NEVER stopped having faith in God. She was always praying, always trusting, always reading her Bible, always reminding us that God has a plan in life, no matter how bad it looks.

I learned what it means to be selfless. My mother never thought of herself first, she was always thinking of others. She was always caring for other people. Her life was lived for others and more than that, for the glory of God. A few years before my mother got cancer, I got very sick myself. The doctors did a lot of testing and for a while were stumped as to what they thought it might be. Slowly, we found out I had a thyroid problem, but it took months of getting through it. I had anxiety, I had depression, I was not doing well at all, and my mother took care of me. She took me for drives in the car, just to get out of the house and talk. She put me before herself. She knew what I was going through, she put herself in my shoes and she helped me through one of the hardest times of my life. 

I learned that FAMILY always comes first. My father, my brother, and I, were my moms first priority. ALWAYS! She went out of her way to work with my father to give my brother and I the best opportunities. My family did community theater together for years, all  of us working together. My mom made treats for us for school all the time. My parents didn't have much money, but they made sure that Bryan and I had some great vacations and fun summer trips. We made memories, we had traditions. Christmas at the Cannys was one of the BEST days of the year for my brother and I. Adventureland Birthdays for my brother Bryan. Every Saturday Night was Gaither Night in our house. My parents LOVED Southern Gospel Music, so my mom would make pizza or tacos and we would sit down as a family and watch together. My brother and I didnt always like it, but now, Id do anything for a Gaither Night. Friday Nights were our favorite night of the week. If my brother and I were really good throughout the week, we would get to rent a VCR or a Super Nintendo and have fun all weekend long :) This, of course, was AFTER we got to choose where we wanted to go out to eat at one of the few restaurants in our small town. I could go on and on. But you can see, FAMILY always came before anything else. 

I learned how to make everyone feel special. My mom always made people in her life feel special. When my brother and I were little kids, she made these cookies. They were delicious, and she made them for all the holidays, Thanksgiving we had turkeys, Christmas we had Christmas Trees, etc. But she went the extra mile, she wrote each one of our friends names on the cookies. She got our class list from school and made sure each student had their name on a cookie. She even brought a few extras just in case she missed someone. At Christmas my mom made the best goodie plates EVER and we went to peoples homes and delivered them just to let them know how much they meant to us. If you were in my moms life, she cared about you, no matter who you were or how well she knew you. 

I could keep going on with the THOUSANDS of lessons my mom taught me. But I am sharing these things with you for a reason. You see, THIS is what I remember about my mom. I dont remember her for the times that she tried to end her life. I remember the caring, selfless, amazing, and incredible woman that she was. 

Cancer took my mother when it was her time to go, but I know the pain of suicide. I know the pain you feel when your loved one is so down, you cant help them, no matter how much you try. As we continue to see Robin Williams story in the news, may we remember that many families are suffering from the effects of depression and suicide everyday. May we remember that this could happen to ANYONE. and most of all, may we remember that it is more than just the moments in life that define us. 

I once heard a pastor say that too often we define ourselves solely by our sin and we need to remember that our sin, those moments we mess up, they are just that, they are moments. They dont define who we are as a person, they dont define our identity for even a second. They are just moments. 

I love my mother so much and I was blessed to call her  mother. I had a very unique privilege in my life, a very special gift that God gave me when he decided to give me Brenda Joyce Canny as a mother. Im so thankful and so proud of her and the woman she was. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

My mom loved hymns. I remember that Saturday Nights in our house used to be "Gaither Night". We, as a family, would sit down and watch the Gaither Vocal Band. For those of you who dont know what that is, its a Southern Gospel Group. Over the  years, the Gaithers have travelled all over putting on Gospel concerts and they also consist of singing hymns. Now understand, my mom didnt just love the melody of the hymns, she loved the words. She would sometimes sing to us at night as she was putting us to bed, and to be honest, I remember, even in my teen years her sitting at the edge of my bed, talking to me late at night and singing those hymns, Id give anything for those nights again. But my mom knew all of the verses to those songs, she knew all of the words, and they meant something to her. As I listen to hymns today, as I am sometimes asked to sing them in church, her memory comes back to me each and every time. and I am SO THANKFUL for the time I got to have with her. But those hymns, they come back to me too. I remember times when I would be hurting or struggling and mom would pull out a scripture or a promise from God and she would often times have a hymn that had some words from scripture that I could stand on as well. 

There is a hymn she used to love, called "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus". The words go like this: 

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take him at his word
Just to know that thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end

Jesus, Jesus, How I trust him
How Ive proved him ore and ore
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus
oh for grace to trust him more

I was talking to my Pastor yesterday and we had a great conversation. Now, just a quick note here, my Pastor and his family truly are a second family to me. They have seen me at my worst and at my best, and they love me just the same. So, sometimes, Pastor Paul will say things to me pretty straight forward, and I have learned to love these talks. Yesterday, he looked me and he just said, "Becky,  you worry too much". Where did worrying ever get anyone? He reminded me that I cant do this ministry, I cant do any of life on my own, but with the strength and help of God, I can do some pretty big things. I had lost sight of that for a while. I had been so focused on worrying and fretting and trying to do this all on my own, that I had failed to remember that this call God puts on our lives, he never intends for us to answer it alone. He never intends for us to take it on without him. He wants to be partners with us. He wants us to do this thing together. To trust him, to hold on to him, to believe that he has an incredible plan for our lives. 

Today, I am realizing just how much I have missed by not trusting him lately. As I entered into a time of prayer last night and this morning, I gave up a ton of things to God that I had been holding on to for far too long. I was reminded of promises that he gave me that he desperately wants to fulfill, but I keep getting in the way because of my worry, my doubt, and my fear. Trust is a pretty big deal, and for me, its not something I do super easily. I dont share the things that are going on in my life, what Im feeling, what Im thinking, etc. I dont like to become vulnerable. Its a scary thing. But, its part of trusting, trusting God, trusting the people he has placed in my life. Its what he has called me to do. 

I was listening to a sermon from Doug Fields today, he is an amazing Youth Ministry author, and I love so much of the stuff he has to say and write, God has used him in mighty ways. In his sermon Doug said this: "I often limit God's power in my life when I don't fully trust him." 

"I often limit Gods power in my life when I dont fully trust him". Those are pretty big words.  Those are some pretty big words! I wonder how many times I have limited God lately because of my own fear and doubt? How many things have I missed out on because he had a plan that I didn't allow myself to be a part of? 

God has so many great things for me, I just have to learn to start trust him more. So today, those words from that hymn ring true to me. There is a sweet joy and freedom in learning to trust God, rely on him, and quit trying to do it on my own. I sure do miss my mom, but as I often say in this blog and in life, I am daily thankful for the incredible legacy she left behind her. And I am blessed to have known her. I am daily honored and humbled by the gift of the savior she introduced me and my brother to. My life would not be the same without it, and I wouldnt want it any other way. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Heart for Ministry.......

In my blog post last week, I shared with you that after a health scare in my life, I kind of had a wake up call. I had some things that definitely changed me. Fridays are my official day off from work. They are my days of reflection. I usually spend the day by myself, and I do that on purpose. You see, Im an extrovert. Im probably a "poster child" for extroverts if that is possible. Being around people is something that I love. When Im working in the office at church, I become easily distracted when many people are there because I would rather just sit and talk to them and listen to them. I love people! But I have learned in my years of ministry that if I dont take my "Fridays", bad things can and will happen. I need to make moments and take time for myself. Along with being an extrovert, along with really enjoying to spend time with others, I also feel guilty when I think about myself. I have always wanted to be sure that those around me knew that they were loved and cared for. But when I take a moment to think about me or do something for me, I feel like I am being selfish in some way. So, with this thought process starting off our blog, I thought that I would share with you some of the ministry lessons I have learned lately and what God is teaching me.

1- YOU are the best advocate for yourself and sometimes you are the ONLY advocate for yourself. 
As I was saying, when I got sick, one of the first things that doctor said to me was that I had been sick for quite a while, that the infection that had found had been going on for a few weeks. She went on to tell me that these infections are often caused from stress in ones life. I got lucky, I was on medication for a little while and then I was ordered to take a few days of rest and relaxation. During this time, I realized that I had not taken time for me in a long time. I had not taken time to realize how sick I had really been feeling. I had not done my work out regiment and I had not been counting calories and looking closely at the food I was eating. Now these are very physical things, but they were pointing to an underlying problem. I was not taking time for Becky. I had to advocate for myself! When I got back to MN, I had to sit down and take a hard look. I knew that coming back after a surgery and illness, I needed to ease back in, but noone else was in my shoes. Noone else knew the emotional toll that this illness had taken, noone else knew the physical toll it had taken. Only I could stand up and say, THIS is what I can realistically do and do it well.
I sat down with a group of my interns last Wednesday Night and we had some of the best talks. Some of them were feeling so overwhelmed, they were sharing some very real hurts from their lives and I got to share this lesson with them. Its great for us to sit and talk about these things, but if we dont, if we dont take those moments, we are not serving anyone well, and we certainly are not advocating for ourselves. I am a girl, in case you didnt know :) And as a girl, I dont like alot of the stereotypes that sometimes get thrown around about men and women, but the reality is that some of them are true. I am very guilty of one in particular, I expect for people to somehow be able to read my mind and know what I am thinking and what I am feeling. Many of my guy friends have looked at me and said, "Becky, I love you, but I am not a mind reader". You see, if we dont take the time to tell people what we are thinking or feeling. If we dont take the time to take a hard look at these things, there will come a moment of explosion. There will come a moment of pure and utter freak out, and it will come when you least expect it. So advocate for yourself. So advocate for what you need. Take a "Friday", Put on your headphones and escape into your favorite music", read a book, veg out in front of the tv. Do what you need to do to recharge, to take care of you. If you dont do this, you WILL burn out, and you WILL leave ministry. Even Jesus took time alone.

2- Remind yourself often of what you love about ministry....

I remember the moment that God called me into ministry and the other moment where he called me into Youth Ministry specifically. But here is what is so key. You need to remind yourself often of why you are in ministry. You need to look often at what God has called you to. And sometimes, you will lose sight of it, this is why Im telling you, remind yourself often so that you DONT lose sight of the vision. As I sat in my dads living room last week recovering from surgery, recovering from illness, God began speaking to me. I missed my kids. I missed my interns. I missed the church. But I also realized that part of why I missed it is because I had become so bogged down lately. I had been bogged down with office work, with planning all these events, with DOING ministry. I was so bogged down with DOING ministry that I was missing BEING IN ministry. I sat down to coffee with my friend Jeremiah last Friday and told him, "Jeremiah, I dont feel called to leave ministry, but I do feel called to actually DO ministry". Let me explain here. I was very discouraged. I was feeling alot of things, I was really working through alot of stuff. and in that moment, I realized that the reason I was so discouraged, the reason that I was missing things so much is because I had lost sight of the vision. I had lost sight of the whole reason I was here. And heres the other thing, ministry does not pay well. Many of your friends are going to tell you often, "You should go find something that pays more", "is all this sacrifice worth it?" and you have to make a stand right now to say, being in ministry means sacrifice for me. Being in ministry means that I dont care how much I make and sometimes I may have to work extra hours, but I know that its all worth it, because what Im doing is worth a whole lot more than just money.

These are 2 of the big lessons I have learned the past couple of weeks. I sit here now, and have been attending some free youth ministry Webinars today. and Im reminded again of why I do this thing called Youth Ministry.

Im very thankful for the blessing of youth ministry! I am very thankful for the call God has placed on my life! and I LOVE sharing the lessons God is teaching me. I love that part of ministry is the family of God that we get to serve in together.

Be Blessed!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Fight of the Century

Have you ever had those moments in your life? You know, the ones where you are literally at your Whit's End and you're asking yourself, "Really? What else could possibly go wrong?" I know that we have all had those moments. Sometimes they are ones that are not easy to admit, but they are there. Life just seems to pile cruddy situation after cruddy situation all over us. And, we have some choices to make.

Let me explain why I am starting my blog this way. I know that in life we all go through hard times. Trust me, I see them everyday in ministry. So I am not for a second going to tell you here that my tough times are any worse than yours or that somehow mine are tougher. Thats not my goal here at all. My goal is rather to share with you, that I have been there too. That we are in this journey together. That being said, lately, life has thrown quite a few blows at me. And I have had some choices to make about which road I would travel down. But things all came to a head for me in making those decisions last Wednesday Night.

2 Weeks ago, I found a lump on my body. I am not going to graphically go into detail here. I will just tell you that it startled me. It made me concerned. For those of you who dont know, in my family health history, Cancer is a very real thing. Many of my loved ones have been affected by it, so when the doctors saw the lump, they ran some tests, they checked me out and the ruling was that most likely I had a very bad infection that had developed into a cyst. But, there was a chance that it could be cancerous. And because of my family history, it was best to get it further checked. And so, I began to pray. And I made the decision to take a few days and go down to Iowa to be with my family. I had some more tests, and it was decided that I did NOT have cancer. I did have a serious infection that needed to be treated and I had to take some time to stop, relax, rest, and recuperate. During this time of reflection God began to speak to me. I began to dissect all that was going on.

My mom just passed away from Cancer 1 1/2 years ago. I saw her go through so much crap in her life. And a part of me was scared. I didn't want to have to go through those things. I hated seeing her go through all that she had to go through. And honestly, I miss her everyday of my life. This made me think of her even more, and it began to put things in perspective for me. If I did have cancer, If that had been the verdict, would I be leaving a legacy to be proud of the way that my mom did? Would people say the things about me that said about her after she passed away? Would people know how much they meant to me? How much I loved them? How much I cared for them? How important they were to me? It was alot to take in.

And then I came back to Minnesota. And I tried to just throw myself back into my work. People had been so understanding of me when I was gone. They loved me. They cared for me. and they were deeply concerned for me. But I didnt feel like I deserved all of their fuss. I didnt feel like I deserved all of their concern. and when I came back I just began to feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with their care for me. Overwhelmed with the amount of "things" that I was doing in my life. But do those "things" matter? What do those "things" mean? No, my life should be about the people in it. My life should be about the relationships that God blesses me with. My life should about leading others into meaningful relationships as well.

So on Wednesday Night, as I was preparing for another Wednesday Night service, I suddenly began to cry. I had people all around me, so my crying is figurative, I was crying inside. And I had to take a few moments. I grabbed my headphones, put them in, and just made the people around me disappear for a few moments. I began to fight. You see, I had to fight this feeling of going into despair and anger. I am thankful everyday of my life that I am blessed to live this life that God has given me. I am blessed with incredible friends and family. But, if I am not careful, I can miss all of those things because I get bogged down with the crap. I lost my mom to cancer, my brother moved to Bolivia and I miss him everyday of my life, and my niece too. God called me to move to Minnesota and my daddy lives 5 hours away from me and I dont have any blood relatives here with me. I am, in some ways, all on my own. I have had several health scares in my life. I still dont know if I will be able to concieve children of my own someday. I am 32 years old, and THIS is not where I thought I would be at all at this point in my life.

But you see, those things, they are cruddy moments in my life, but they are not the moments I should focus on. Because you see the reality is this. My mom is now healed and happy, in the arms of Jesus. My brother has an incredible wife and daughter and I am proud of the man that he is and the way he is serving God. My daddy has an incredible church family and friends in Iowa that love and care for him when I cant. And while I dont have blood relatives here, I have an incredible family in Minnesota, who are here for me in ways I never could have imagined. and while I have had many health scares, God has protected me in EVERY one and brought me through it to the other side. and while this is not where I thought I would be at 32 years old, I have done a lot in this life, I have alot to be proud of. You see, its perspective! I could wallow, I could be angry and bitter, but what good would it do? NONE! You see, we have to fight sometimes! And let me tell you, this week has been quite a fight for me. A fight to push through that feeling of despair and find the never ending JOY that is in Jesus Christ.

I am dealing becoming the woman that I know God wants me to be. Somedays, I fail miserably. Somedays I am unkind to my friends. Somedays I get stressed out and I just need to be left alone. Somedays I swear more than I should because Im frustrated. Somedays I miss the mark. Somedays I miss seeing people hurting because I am too focused on and wrapped up in my own hurts. But somedays, God uses me in ways I never dreamed possible. I am humbled and honored to be where I am at in life right now. I am humbled that God sees me and sees someone who he can use.

There is a song I used to sing and my mom used to love it. Its called, "Do They See Jesus In Me?" One of the verses says, "Its amazing that youd ever use me, but use me the way that you will". THIS is what I want to say tonight. God, USE ME! In whatever means, in whatever way necessary. I want my life to tell a story, but more than that, I want my life to tell YOUR STORY. I want my life to lead others to see YOU! Help me to do that. With love and compassion for those around me.