Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"I Would Choose This." Getting to Your Miracle in a Life that is Broken

Night following night, my daddy shared with his 3 wiry-leg, big eyed girls the miracles of the Bible.

We would snuggle deep into our red aluminum bunk beds to hear the tales of Moses approaching Pharaoh, or Joshua conquering Jericho.  We didn't stay tucked in for very long, as we were compelled by the childhood force to fidget our way out from under the blankets, and by the end of the story we were acting out the words as my dad spoke.

I was the tomboy of the family, the son my dad never had. (Well, until he did have one.  But at that point I was pretty comfortable in basketball shorts.)  I was always excited to play the role of the hero, slaying all sorts of bad guys. I loved to be Samson, King David, or Batman. 

The repetition in which I heard these stories chipped away a path into the deepest corners of my heart and they settled there, and I am beyond thankful for that.

Well, my sisters and I grew up.  Our legs aren't uh...quite as wiry anymore, and our big eyes are a bit tired from mothering little kids. 

But as I grew, the stories of miracles began to grow an appetite in me to see them for myself.  
The stories reached out from the epicenter of my heart and soul, placed there faithfully by my parents. 

I was bound and determined to go change my world, to act out those stories for real.  To tell mountains to move and sickness to release it's hold and unbelief to be silenced.  Those stories, I claimed, would be my moments of grace. 

And graciously,  I did get some good seats for God's show.  Sometimes I was so close that I felt the adrenaline and smelled the sweat, like front-row spectators do. I thought to myself, wow, this is mercy. These are the miracles I will tell my children and their children and their children.

But growing up is hard, adult life is kinda weird.  It's not what I thought.  I think I knew it wouldn't be perfect, but I thought the pains would be from bullies who snarled at Jesus or tough circumstances like living in Africa with unclean water.

It's not really like that. 

I never found a hybrid of Jim Elliot and Joshua Harris to marry.  (Who I found was WAY better.)

I'm not living in Africa or Indonesia right now, hosting secret meetings telling of God's salvation. 

I'm not even metaphorically standing next to Moses telling Pharaoh to do as I say.  And I'm not  yelling down the walls of Jericho in the shadow of Joshua.

I'm in the space between those stories actually, you could call it the intermission

I'm in the wilderness, of sorts. (Check out a great sermon on this thought here)

Ah...there it is--the over-used metaphorical desert. :)

And it is here, in this anointed desert, that I see myself, standing before my God.  And surrounding my sandy feet are what appears to be broken glass. 

As I bend down, I see that the glass is not a broken mirror or window, but rather it seems to be my dreams, my expectations.  It's my picture of how I thought life worked.  It's fractured, and jagged.  And you can't hardly make out what it did look like.

It's broken because I'm broken, and other people are broken, and the world is broken. 

And there's no point in trying to bend down and shuffle the pieces together, to attempt to piece it back together, because it will slice your palms open.

So what do you do?

What do you do when you are in the desert, and it cycles between blazing hot and unnerving cold, and you don't know how long till the future starts and how long till you will get to act out the stories of old again?

You wait. 

Not for a conclusion, or a way out.  

We don't wait for our dreams come true, we don't wait for life to become easy.

But we wait for the God who wrote the stories of Moses, and Joshua. The God who is writing out my story and yours.

We slow our breath, we cry at Panera, or cry during a parade, or at church, and we wait.

And He comes, the great story teller and author of our faith, and He looks us right in the eye.  And he slides his promises under our feet like a thick blanket, protecting our skin from the jagged edges of mangled expectations.  The promises weave together into a foundation, and we immediately sense that we could keep standing.  Heck, we could even keep moving forward.

And then He takes his goodness, like a medicated balm, and treats the cuts on our hands.  And he rubs it in, while giving us that look.  Ya know the look? The one of both compassion and knowing.  The look of "Daugh-ter...no more fussing.  Let me do a restorative work.  No more striving please."  His voice is slow, and corrective, yet liberating.

And here comes our moment.  Here comes our miracle.

We realize that we would chose this.

This is my miracle.

If I had the option, I would pick this last year.  

The hurt, the injuries, the shame, the confusion.  The wounds, struggles, and temper tantrums.

And that's my moment.

When I whisper quieter than a whisper "I would choose this." 

That's my moment of mercy.  That's my miracle.  When God's faithfulness and goodness allow me to say I wouldn't run out of this situation if I could.

It's one of those moments that changes everything, even when nothing has changed.  


How can we say that?

Because we know that God loves us!

Because God has a way of breaking us, so that He can rebuild us into something new.

He has a method of releasing us from what we thought we needed, so we can obtain more of Him.

He has a way of picking up our pieces, and rebuilding them into something far better.

Seeing our dreams and goals go up in smoke, or die a slow death, can be terrifying at first. But as the smoke clears, and we sense God's presence and understanding in our wilderness, we learn to embrace the process.

When we learn to say "I would choose this", we begin to believe that not one moment of pain or confusion is ever wasted, in the hands of an all-knowing God. 

So let's stand, upon our disappointments and losses, graciously covered with the promises of love and redemption of God. And more than rescue, success, ease or validation, let's ask for the miracle of choking out "I would choose this."

And something greater than our dreams will come!

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

*I just finished this wonderful book last week.  It pairs wonderfully with hazelnut coffee at Panera. :) Check it out. Read it. Love it. 


  1. Oh Rebekah, your words were like balm to my weary soul this morning. Thank you

    1. Graves (Matt voice), you have A LOT going on in your life right now, this will be one of those extra exciting chapters when the book is all done :) Take heart, your story is a good one, the main character is a powerhouse of faith and giftings and passions and and and...:) Praying for you!

  2. Oh, my dear friend, tears stream down my face (I know...so surprising!), as I celebrate that you have come to this understanding, but sad for myself as I am in a season of hurt and confusion. I know deep in my heart that God indeed works all things together for good, but sometimes the journey is so hard. Thank you, for today your post is a word of encouragement to a worn-out soul. I love and miss you...