I’m So Sorry (In Reflection of God Stories)

There are things in life that I will not ever be able to fathom.

Why do mosquitoes exist?

Why more guys don’t wear belts, instead of looking like penguins.

But mostly things like

God’s love

God’s grace

God’s mercy

God’s patience

I mean if I was God dealing with someone like me, I would have smitted myself a LONG time ago. I would have been tired of someone like me, a LONG time ago, and I would constantly be saying “Seriously, Bethsaida.. again??”

Oh, but the mystery of God’s love and grace. Thinking of it brings me to my knees, tears to my eyes, and overflows my heart with gratitude. His gentleness. His kindness. His arms always open…even when we fail Him.

I have to admit, I was opened to a very tangible way I’ve been disobedient in serving Him.

“Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.” Psalm 105:2

There are SO many blessings, and things that God has been doing since I’ve arrived in the states in December, that I have yet to share. On that same token, there are SO many God-stories that I went through overseas that I have yet to share as well.

Maybe some of it is due to feeling there is no time. Maybe some of it is due to fear that no one will really care. Maybe some of it is due to having to revisit those deep waters that I thought would submerge me, but ended up cleansing me, and I don’t want to emote too much.

Whatever “it” is… “it” is a LAME excuse.

I was reading a blog today from a friend of mine in Thailand. A man of great faith, and I know will be an inspiration to you as well, if you follow his blog. He was just bragging and gushing about all the wonderful things God is doing in northern Thailand. It makes me proud to hear all that God is doing through him, and the work God is doing there! But then it made me think..”Wait a second, I’ve not been bragging about what God is doing in my city!”

One of the great passions of my heart is to see Believers live out their call as missionaries. Sure, I went overseas for almost three years. And I do enjoy traveling, and I would love to be able to still do trips in the future, but God has called me to serve in my CITY. What a privilege.

This is how the Body works, every person being obedient and faithful to where God has called them to serve. Some are called oversees fulltime, some are called to their city fulltime.

You know that we can be mission minded in our own backyard right?

I was driving, the other day, on the FDR drive, and just thanking God for allowing me to be born in, grow up in, and understand the culture of the greatest city in the world… literally. Well out of the 16 or so countries I’ve visited so far.

So can you allow me the next couple blogs to brag on the wonderful works God is doing in NYC?

I’m so sorry God. I will NOT be silent any longer. I will sing.. I will tell… I will bring You the glory you deserve.

What God stories have you been holding back?

The enemy often wants us to be silent, uses fear, shyness, being “private”, “No one will care”, or “We don’t have time” to rob God of the fame due His name! Let’s not be deceived!

Let’s join the famous psalmist:

“I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I WILL tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” Psalm 9:1 (emphasis mine)

Share your stories. Share your God stories. Share about His marvelous deeds so others can marvel in Him.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

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Meteor- You Were Made For So Much More

Video

I hinted about this song a couple months ago, when I wrote about my dear friend Ben’s devastating passing away.

It’s taken me a while to get this song out in public. Maybe a part of me didn’t want to rehash the feelings that went on in the beginning of the year, maybe a part of me never felt good enough, maybe a part of me was just lazy, maybe I wanted to record it in a studio, and not on Garage Band in my room…but all things considered releasing this exactly two months after his death is significant to me.

When we were in college, Ben ran up to all of us one morning and said “Yoooooo, God gave me a meteor shower last night.” He continued to elaborate as he noticed our puzzled faces. He began telling us, in his constant animated way of speaking, that he was sitting outside the college with another friend, and they were praying. He never saw a meteor, and was asking God if he could see one… God didn’t just give him one.. He showed off! And meteors were flying through the sky left and right, our other friend confirmed our doubt. =)

I gotta admit, I felt a tinge of jealousy then.. God never gave me a meteor shower…lol. But the beginning of this year when Ben was sick in the hospital, and I’d walk outside in the Florida night, and friends and I would get on the prayer line… I would look up telling God, it sure would be nice to see a meteor right now.

Well, God didn’t give me a meteor, but He gave me this song.

Ben’s passing, coupled with more heartbreaking news of hearing about children hanging themselves in their bedrooms because of bullying, and pain, moved my heart to write these lyrics. I couldn’t believe that in a span of a week I had heard about 3 suicides committed by 12 year olds!

I remember at 12 years old I was scared of getting mono if I kissed a boy! And busy being a kid with my grand imagination. I never thought of killing myself!

Evil is trying to kill off a generation of young people in so many ways, suicide being one huge lie that they seem to keep succumbing to. And it’s not just young people, it’s all ages.. In Ireland, in Seattle, all over the world.

There is always Hope, and that’s why this song was penned. There is Someone that dearly loves each and every single one of, and Someone that has a a purpose and destiny for each one of us.

May this song be a blessing to you, and bring healing as well. I know that when I sing it, it’s a way of healing for me as well.

May we continue to be good shepherds of our tongue, and use it only to build others up.

May we be faithful servants showing the Father’s love.. especially to those who we think don’t deserve it…we don’t deserve it either, yet He showers His love upon us freely….every single day.

Love God. Love Yourself (know that you are unique, and special). Love Others.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

The Poison Within Us

Dark green poison slowly permeating it’s way up through the sole of the feet to the soul of the heart, I saw it devouring away at the person until they were gone, and all that was left was the poison that had mutated them into a bitter, angry, jaded unrecognizable shadowy form of a human being….that was the way I was headed. That was the vision I had.

We are so quick to see the flaws in others.. so quick to judge the short comings of our neighbors, but I heard once that the things we see in others are because they are in us.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” is a cry from the historic and iconic man after God’s own heart…David, and one that I pray with fear and hesitancy, because a lot of stuff rears its ugly head.

We can so easily, and rather subtly, let years and years of frustration, hurtful words, lies, and pain build up inside of us, the poison slowly seeping it’s way through the body…and it can mutate us into someone..even..someTHING that we are not.

We are not made to harbor rage. We are not made to harbor bitterness. We are not made to harbor hatred. We are not made to harbor grudges. We are not made to harbor pride. We are not made to harbor insecurities.

Those things suck the life, joy, and hope out of us.

But what if the poison is already half way through the body, what if it has already consumed us? How do we detox, how do we get a healthy blood flow back that generates what we were truly created for?

Humility.

Forgiveness.

Words so much easier said than done.

A conscious decision to forgive, to humble ourselves, to serve, to respect though we may not feel respected…to hug though the poison tries to paralyze our arms.

To be like Jesus… but not just what He taught…to be like Him on the Cross.

That’s the very blood that needs to be transfused into the infected system, to pump life and purpose back into a heart, to pump truth and hope into a mind, to pump joy and peace back into a soul.

Do NOT let the poison consume you.

CHOOSE to forgive.

CHOOSE humility.

By His grace, we can.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

An Angel… He Got Me Thinking….

He calls me his angel. I wonder if I’m not just one to him…but to many. Please understand me, not to sound like I would ever even think I could fit into a mold like that… an earth angel… but he got me thinking.

I often feel the pull of the supernatural in my heart, and the eternal restlessness that is intertwined with my daily existence on Earth.

I mean we are all in this place for a period of time, some people’s times are shorter than others.

I do know that whoever I encounter in life I would want to leave them feeling better than they did before they encountered me. I guess that’s angelicish. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have failed many times, and I know there are many more to come. Times where I act more like a lil devil than an angel.

Which gets me to think, if there’s anything angelic in me, it’s because of the supernatural God that lives in me. He’s the one that produces any good through a wretch like me (my cousins can attest to that =).

I know angels are always with me, I especially felt them walking the red-light districts of Thailand. I know they are warriors, I know they are powerful. I know they are beautiful. And I know, at times, that they hide in the form of strangers.

Gets me thinking…how many angels have I passed by without helping?

How many angels have I entertained?

I wonder if God will show me all that when I leave this earth. And when I do, I don’t want to be remembered as an angel…as sweet as that might be…I’d hope to be remembered as a lover of Jesus. Because I can give God things that no angel can give him… my worship, my song, my praise, my thankfulness for rescuing me with the cross, my gratefulness for being made in His image…my life.

No angel will ever understand that. So maybe I’m not an angel…and I’m glad for that. =)

 Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

It’s 2 a.m. And I Can’t Sleep

Maybe it’s because I passed out at 9:00pm (and woke up 2 hours later) because I got wrecked by my fitness class last night. A 90 minute class doing 90 second stations of insanity (that they like to call exercise and involved torture they call pushups)…but I think the crazier thing is that I can’t wait to go back.

Or maybe it’s because I have so much on my mind that it’s just difficult for me to focus all my efforts on sleeping at this moment.

SO maybe if I write, or sing, or play guitar, or cry, or laugh, or read I will be able to sleep peacefully. I can’t sing or play guitar since the house is asleep. Can’t really read since I’m too lazy to get up and flip the light switch. Can’t really laugh unless I rummage through Youtube for something genuinely funny… but I think I’m too lazy for that too. Can’t really cry because I’m trying to delay pressing that button for as long as possible… so writing it is.

But not a long lengthy blog. Just a little short one. Maybe I’ll write shorter ones more frequently, since like I wrote in my last blog… I NEED to write.Writing is like cleaning my room, and seeing everything put away and neat, no longer in the tornado of a mess that existed.

I miss my friend Ben dearly. His death has impacted me in ways that will last till I leave this earth one day too. I’m sure I’ll write more about this another day. I wrote a song that was inspired by him and other tragic events that have passed since the beginning of this year. It’s gonna come out of me soon enough…maybe that’s when that button will be pressed.

My newsletter will be coming out next week. March 1st. I can’t believe March is here in 7 days! God has blessed me with some wonderful opportunities. From me not knowing what I’ll be doing when I’m back, to now working with two AMAZING orgs/businesses that are impacting the world and being a voice for the trafficked voiceless. More details to come with that too. All I can say is Jesus first… the rest will follow.

Every time I hear a love song. I think about Jesus. That’s new…and I like it. I also like that whenever I hear a sad love song, I think of no one. That’s a pretty awesome feeling too. 

I like being in this place…literally, emotionally, and spiritually. I like it… a lot.

And it worked…The room is tidied up a bit, and now dreamville is calling me. I pray I get to see my friend there tonight.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

You Can Learn A Lot From An Airport Custodian

Lately I’ve been asking myself “What’s the point?”

What’s the point in writing this blog? Is my life really that interesting to write about? Am I being narcissistic? Is there anything worth writing about since I’m not traveling the world anymore? I’m not going out into the red-light district of Thailand, every night, so…really… what’s the point?

But then I think, that’s often the problem. We so often, as a culture, take our daily lives for granted and call them mundane, because we’re lusting after the “life highs”. You know, like the next vacation, the next big “God using me” moment, the “Big Break”, the wedding, the graduation, etc… And all those things are fine and dandy in themselves, but how often do we wake up in the mornings and say “I’m going to be amazed by something today.” I know I don’t, but I want to.

We often associate daily living with boredom instead of wonder.

Yesterday I was flying from Florida to NYC, and I saw the most amusing person, the airport custodian.

He was shuffling down the hall, pushing his cleaning cart with the final destination of the men’s bathroom. On his journey, he pit-stopped by a store clerk, and served her a smile. Then he paused by a security personell and left him with a gift of laughter before he reached his destination, and disappeared into the bathroom entrance.

I thought “Sheesh!, What if everyone did their job as joyful as that custodian does his?”

There’s a danger in craving the next “life high”, because we forfeit the precious moments that are before us every day. Those moments that we overlook with the complaining, and rushing, and shoving, and complaining… did I mention complaining?

This past month, I have begun to appreciate life and the moments we’re given, so much more, because it seemed death was looming over January. Seeing loved ones in life-threatening situations, reading about 3 preteens, in the span of a week and a half, committing suicide because they were bullied, hearing about the tragic and horrific death of a friends’ friend.

What a gift life is! What a gift the day to day life is, how can we inject wonder, and amazement into our daily lives, and leave the people we encounter with a little bit more sunshine than when we first met them?

I don’t have to be overseas to help someone. I don’t have to be doing something extraordinary to have an extraordinary moment. I guess that’s what this blog is all about. Living an ordinary life with extraordinary moments.

Here are some simple ways  to impact someone’s life today:

1) Smile =)

2) Give someone a compliment (make sure it’s genuine though!)

3) Pay for the meal behind you in the drive-thru (heard this on a radio station. Hopefully it wont’ be a large meal, but hey if it is.. even more of a blessing =)

4) Hold the door open for someone… for a few people. Become the voluntary door holder.

5) Say “Thank You.”

6) This is esp for you New Yorkers: Give up your seat on the train (WHAT?!?!…yea.. just give it a whirl)

7) Stop and admire the clouds today, or the stars tonight (this will impact you)

I didn’t really know where this blog was going when I first started writing, it’s like a parallel to my life right now. I don’t really know what the next step is in my life concerning the life-long fight against trafficking. But I do know that I want to fall more and more in love with my King. I do know that I want to serve others. I do know that I need to write, even if no one reads. I do know that I need to sing, even if I’m not the best at it.

Those are the things that bring me hope and wonder each day of my life….whether I’m overseas or in NYC… actually, especially when I’m home.

Instead of waiting for a “life high”, look for amazement today. Make someone smile today.

Today is really all we have.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate you.. I really really do.

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida

I Saw the Book, So I Hopped In the Stranger’s Car

“You should have let me walk in the snow for an hour, with my frost bitten toes. That’s what You should have done. But you were preparing Tony’s morning to pick up a skeptical, confused, and stubborn daughter of Yours, to remind me of your love and grace. Thank You”

That’s what I wrote in my journal yesterday afternoon, as I sat in the IHOP (not the pancake house) prayer room, letting the melodies of heaven fill my heart, reflecting on my bruised faith from the past year, and the morning’s events.

Things like Tony. Things like that. What natural way can you explain that? How many factors had to go into each of our lives the morning of January 1st, for us to meet at the exact same time? Was it coincidence? I can’t say that with conviction.

My imagination paints a picture of God, the master orchestrator. Since new years eve night, since before that night, all the factors, all the things that God had to put into motion to get me to the prayer room. Orchestrating all the events to answer one skeptics feeble, badly bruised faith.

Tony: He came for the One Thing conference with his friends, and though it ended, he felt God wanted him to stay for another day. He had no car, but someone let him borrow a car that morning. January 1st.

Me: I came early for the upcoming Exodus Cry conference on human trafficking. I was able to spend new years eve at the last day of the One Thing conference. It was the best new year’s eve I can remember. I didn’t get back to the place I was staying till around 2am.

I was planning on getting up January 1st around 2:00 in the afternoon. I was going to meet up with a friend here around 3:30pm, but I got an earlier text saying we should do brunch. Only I didn’t get that text till about 10:30, and it was too late to meet for brunch, but I was now up.. and REALLY wanted to get to a place where I can pray…but it was a 60 minute walk from where I’m staying.

I second guessed it a couple times, but I remember on The World Race we walked 45 minutes each way in the Dominican Republic to get to our serving site. What was another 15 minutes? Plus, I remember hearing stories about people who walked for days, from remote villages, just to get to a church service. I put on my, what I thought were, warm boots and decided to make the troop.

I quickly realized that walking in 90 degree Dominican Republic weather was a world of a difference from walking in 25 degree mid-west snow.

As I was walking I heard a faint “thump thump thump” that gradually got louder. There was a car clunking down the street with a flat tire. The thought of helping came into my head, but I forgot that I wasn’t in a car, and even if I was I don’t know how to change a flat tire ( I need to learn someday).

I kept on trudging along, thinking..”Wow.. my toes are really cold”. I saw a church coming up on the left, and it happened to be the church where the upcoming conference will be held. I thought, very logically, and practically.. “I should go in there, and see if anyone can give me a ride.”…but for the life of me I couldn’t find the door entrance! Also, I didn’t see any cars in the parking lot.

My toes felt like they were going to fall off by this point. I checked my google maps, and the little blue arrow was still an hour away from the “B” bubble. I remember thinking “I should just go back, I’m not gonna make it.” “God, I know I’ve been skeptical lately, but I started this walk in faith that you would show up.” I felt something push me to keep walking… so I did.

I crossed the street, and literally a minute later a car pulled up next to me. I turned my head to the left, and a friendly voice said “Hey are you going to the prayer room? Do you want a ride?”

You can imagine, being from NYC, and the daughter of a cop, a scene from CSI flashed through my head of detectives piecing together clues as to my disappearance. I don’t get into cars with strangers!  But God knows me so well.

On the floor of the passenger seat was the book from the conference, that only people who registered and went to the conference could get.

I saw that book, and I hopped, my toes jubilantly, in this stranger’s car.

Tony: He was coming from the prayer room, and he saw the same car that I saw with the flat tire. He went to get something to help them, but when he drove back, he couldn’t find them. But he saw me walking, and figured I was walking to the prayer room, since I was walking in that general direction. He said he knew that morning that he had to help someone.

He thought it would be the lady with the flat tire…but it was a city girl who needed desperately to know that her God still heard her and loved her.

It has been an intense past year. I have to admit my faith has gotten bruised. Some things I was expecting to happen didn’t happen, and that gave breathing room for doubt and skepticism to begin to fester.

But even still in my doubt, I wanted to believe. Like the broken father in Mark 9 who cried out in desperation “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

I thought I would find help at that church, a ride from someone there.. that would make sense. But there was no one there, and when I felt like I couldn’t make it…literally… and when I wasn’t expecting it. God brought me help. God responded to my faith as small as a mustard seed.

The song that played in the room while I sat and reflected on that morning, and His faithfulness the past year was this:

” Oh my words could not tell, not even in part, of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.”

Circumstances like that… how can we say it’s just coincidence? Some people may still choose to say that it’s chance. But I believe it’s just another simple grandeur act of love from a God who desires for His children, His creation, to know how crazy in love He is with us. How passionately He longs to be Emmanuel, God with us, in a daily, hourly, minutely way. And that in turn makes us fall head over heels in love with Him. I know it does for me.

I will most likely never see Tony again, but because he loved God enough to listen to Him, and stay for another day in Kansas City, God worked through him to be a vehicle of a life changing faith moment for me. I pray God blesses him wherever he is in Texas.

I consider this a miracle. And it’s not just reserved for me. I’m not special. If you truly ask Him, sincerely.. He will show up for you… in miracle, jaw droppin ways, to show how much He loves you too.

Happy new year!

Agenda: Love,

Bethsaida