Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cupcakes and Dark Skies

I have this problem...

To often my mind wanders away... and I start dreaming about where I could be some other day. Sometimes I even let my mind get so far ahead that I forget the one that I'm in.. I miss things, moments that happen and I let them pass by as if they were nothing. I get stuck in yesterday, in the in-between, and in all that tomorrow might bring. I get stuck in the hard things... the pushing through... the waiting... and I forget to take in all that has already been given to me.

Today, as the kids napped... suddenly the sky turned black and rain began to pour with very little warning... The wind blew as the clouds rolled in and the rain got heavier and heavier... which seemed fitting as that was exactly how I was feeling. And suddenly I fell apart...

My tears rolled right along with the thunder and the questions poured from my mind just like the rain. The morning had been rough... the kids running wild and house getting destroyed bit by bit. More paperwork from the county... more hold-ups...more circumstances that made me question why on earth Margy and I ever started walking this road... And with every little blow my heart just got heavier and heavier. We have been trying to do this for so long... for months and months we have done every set up, paper-work, called every worker, gone through every loop, and fallen madly in love with these kids... so much so that we flat out refuse to quit.. refuse to believe that Grace Refuge cannot be the place we've dreamed it would be for these kids. And today I just felt the storm come in.... and I let the tears come.
I let them come for a long... long time.

And finally the words came. And I realized why it really was that the tears were falling. And to put it simply.... I felt like a total failure. The past bit of life has just brought some rough blows and I won't talk about all of them here because I believe in the depths of my heart that some things are meant to be held sacred between me and God... and no one else. But, as I was saying.. its been a rough patch... and this morning I was a down right jerk to my husband, I was oblivious to the kids attempts to just play with me while I attempted to complete yet another batch of paperwork, I was tired, crabby, impatient, and unmerciful. And to top it off, in the pouring rain... I looked out the window to find the windows of the jeep completely down--so I ran outside (soaked before I got even halfway to the jeep) and went and rolled them up. And I surrendered to the fact that I was going to be wet anyway... and stood in the rain a few moments and let the tears continue. Sometimes, it just feels right to cry in the rain...

Wet, cold, with mascara running down my face I returned to the house.

"God, does this make any difference at all? Do you see me and these kids here just doing life every day? Do you see us? Does it make a difference? Does it matter? Do they see you in this place? Is it changing them? Is it changing me? Is this what you envisioned when you had us begin this? Some days this doesn't really look at all how I thought it would look... "

And in the midst of my emotional breakdown I looked out the window... the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing...

and I remembered sweet little Makala today... spinning around in her pull-up right before her nap and telling me her stories.... and then suddenly stopping... giving me her wide-eyed smile and saying "I told God to be in my heart" I stopped whatever meaningless task I was doing at that moment and smiled... "what?" I asked. "I told God to be in my heart." she beamed. "How sweetheart? When did you do that?"

"Last night, I said God, come be in my heart!"

hmmmm... the precious gift of perspective. I was shocked at my lack of faith. How could I dare even ask the question "Is this making any difference? Do you see us here?"

He sees us. He hears my heart. He knows.... My goodness does He know.

Last night I had dinner with a dear friend whom I hadn't seen for months. This man of God is like an older brother to me and has walked me through some of the darkest moments of my life acting as just that... a brother. And he has also been there for some of the most wonderful moments... I'll never forget his face as he watched me walk down the isle or all of the work he put into making my wedding incredible. He isn't a Pastor yet, but I fully believe he will be one. His perspective on the word of God continues to astound me... and he always pushes me to be the person I know God intended me to be... even when he tells me what I don't want to hear (which he freqently does, and worse than that, he's usually right)...

As we were talking about some of the things going on in each of our lives right now, we were discussing a particular situation in his life which... quite frankly... has him heartbroken at the moment. Tears rolled down my cheeks as he told me how he was handling it... and how it has been the darkest hour of his life so far... but also the closest he's ever felt to the heart of Jesus... He went on to tell me how he is handling things... and I'll just say this. He is dealing with an awful situation in where he could take a very easy way out... and instead, he is walking the way of righteousness and taking what he could do on his own, and laying the situation in the hands of God.. even though it is breaking him to pieces...

I looked at him at one point and said. "You have no idea how admirable that is... and what a testimony that is... You have no idea.... how commendable that is... really, I'm just... in awe."

"Yeah..." he sighed. "but I don't want to be commendable! I want ___________" (I'll leave what his heart wants out because it doesn't really matter for the point of this story.

When he said that... the tears were still rolling from the rest of his story when I began to laugh hysterically. "I know..." I smiled. "being commendable sucks!"

Sometimes, doing the right thing... the thing you know in your heart you are supposed to do is unbelievably hard. Sometimes it doesn't feel wonderful or righteous or like your walking on holy ground. Sometimes, it makes you come undone and brings you to the point where you know you are at the very end of yourself. And sadly, that is sometimes the best possible place to be. Because sometimes, walking a lonely road where you feel at the end of you... is the place when you become most like Him. And although I laughed at his statement... it was so true. We don't want to be commendable... we want what our heart is aching for at that particular moment. We don't want the bigger picture... the greater story... We just want the tears to stop and the hard parts to be over. We just want the fairytale... not the reality show.

Sometimes... I get too far ahead. I look to where I'd love this ministry to be in ten years and forget to see the beauty and purpose of where it is. Sometimes... I get so overwhelmed with the details and the setbacks that I forget the real reason we do this... so that one day, we might hear every little one say "I told God to come in my heart."

After my tears were over, the storm had passed and the sun came out... The kids and I made cupcakes. And we laughed and danced and played and spilled frosting everywhere.... We spilled crumbs, licked our fingers, and if the food program would have showed up, I'm sure they would have had plenty of choice words for me (letting two kids in their underwear frost cupcakes while licking their fingers and dipping them in the frosting container) and then sharing those cupcakes with every person that walked through the door as if they were a precious treasure... and to the kids, they were. They were theirs.

And for a moment I stepped back and just looked at them in the kitchen... naked and full of frosting.. and delightfully happy.. and I realized that after the paperwork and the tears and the hard stuff... comes the cupcakes.

And the cupcakes make the whole day worth it. Because the cupcakes mean that these kids get to be carefree and take delight in the little things. The cupcakes mean they get to be kids. It means they get to worship to the tune of licking frosting and dancing in their underwear... and really... what better way is there? It means they get to tell Jesus to come into their hearts and know it will be rejoiced over.
Yesterday the cupcakes reminded me to quiet my heart, treasure the breath that I'm breathing and the moment I'm living... they taught me that every second that's passing... is filled with so much meaning, meaning I don't want to miss and depth I don't ever want to ever loose sight of.

oh Jesus open my eyes.... keep me here in this place... because theres nowhere I'd rather be than with you, making cupcakes.
Much Love,

Above are some of the pictures of our great delight.. (I clothed them for these) :-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reach up your hand...

This week, while having dinner with a my precious friend Lauren I rememberd a conversation we had years ago. This is what I remember from it....

It was late at night... really late. And we were lost... really lost. Somwhere south of the Mexican boarder past Tiajuana and on our way to Reynosa. I barely knew her then but she'd immediatly found a place in my heart--there was something about her that was real. Her heart was real and she cared about people in this rare way that I found beautiful. We were talking about growing up and the lives we'd lived. We were talking about what we were about to do... what we were going into. We shared a love of the unknown and a sense of adventure and since that night we have spent much of our years apart, on different continents at times... but what we shared that night grew a friendship that has remained.

I know that I don't remember her exact words and I know I won't do them justice here but this is how I remember them, in my own heart... and how they profoundly impacted me.

"Have you ever just... been in tears in the middle of the night and reached out your hand to Him and needed Him so badly to just grab on? Wanted Him so badly to just take your hand?" she asked me her eyes full of a deep longing I knew far too well.

"Yes...." was all I could manage to answer.

"I've done that so many times...." she told me..

This precious girl was breaking my heart.

Partly because at that point in her life she was walking a difficult road... and partly because I knew exactly how she was feeling...... Mostly because it was healing to know that somoene else felt that ache...

We have been friends ever since. More than that, she has become like a sister to me. This precious woman has seen me at my very worst and my very best and loved me the same through the whole journey. We have seen each other off to college, and then to foreign countries... seperated for months at a time. We have seen each other fall in love, seen each others hearts break and seen them heal. We have shed many tears over lost dreams and aching hearts. We have shared each others darkest secrets and deepest pain. Together we have traveled to dark places and seen beautiful light shine through. We have seen the sun rise and set in many places together and apart. We have lived life together and we have seen His hand reach down and touch the lives of so many.

Yet, on so many occasions I remember her words... and the truth they held for me. Sometimes, in the middle of the night I still reach up my hand... tears falling... and ask Him to just take it and lead the way. The things is, I know He's never once let go.

But has anyone else been there?

Have you ever just reached out your hand?

What I'ved loved about this precious woman from the very beginning is that she was honest... raw... real. She wasn't afraid of baring her soul and her questions. She wasn't afraid to ask where God was in the midst of the mess. What I loved most about her and love still is that she continues to reach up her hand. And even when she doesn't understand why she's been called or what she has to give she extends her hand.... to anyone who comes along.

She has touched the lives of many orphans with the work she has accomplished in the country of Haitii, she has helped in the physical healing of many by translating for medical mission groups, she has put her heart on the line, her life at risk, and her hand has touched so many. She has literally followed the call to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and comfort the brokenhearted. And she would be absolutly embarressed if she knew I was writing about how wonderful she was. Because she sees herself as flawed and completely human. And there is no doubt she is. But she is also extraordinary.

Because she has never stopped reaching up her hand.

At dinner this past week we laughed and we talked and we got so brutally honest it hurt. We were real about all of our flaws and all of our issues and all that we were currently walking through. But the best part about it was that there was no pretending... we wore no vail... we hid no secret. And as I looked across the table at her that night in Mexico came flooding back. We have come so far since then... but there are still days... still moments when I know both of us feel like those girls lost in uncharted territory talking about reaching out our hands.

We lead such different lives now. Most of the time we even speak different languages and live in different countries. But we are always connected by one thing.

Our desire to know his hand in our lives.

There was a day a couple of months ago when I sat on the office floor at Grace Reguge and literally wept because I felt so unqualified for what I'm doing... felt so unqualified for these kids.. felt so unable to give them what they need and love them how they need to be loved. I felt so unqualified to be the one teaching them about Jesus. And that day... without even thinking... I reached up my hand.

And this truth opened my heart.

No one has ever been qualified.

And even the people we look at as incredible... even the people we look at and long to be like. Even people who have touched countless lives... people like Lauren... don't always feel incredible.

Because deep down inside we know we fall so short. Deep down is there any one of us that doesn't feel just a little lost and in uncharted territory? Is there anyone of us who doesn't reach up their hand, or their heart, or their hope.... or their prayers? If you do anything where you attempt to reach out your hand and show someone Jesus don't you feel just a little unqualified?

Because I do.

Every moment of every day of my life.

But what Lauren made me realize long ago still holds true.

He never asked me to be qualified. He just asked that I reach up my hand.

Much Love,


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Beginning

I don't know if anyone will ever truly read this blog, or if the words I'll write here will be eloquent or beautiful. Truth be told... this is more for me than it is for any of you who might happen upon it. Writing has always been like therapy for me... a way to put words to the things that flow through my heart. I used to write all the time and then, life happened, chaos happened, and beauty and wonder and the goodness of every day life happened. But yesterday I got some advise that made me want to write again.

"Write it down, the funny things, the little things, the hard things, the lessons you learn day to day, the moments that seem small, write them down.. because you think you'll remember--trust me, you wont."

So, I guess it was that simple. The tug on my heart that convinced me how much I need to write again... for me. Because as far back as I can remember, writing has been a passion, but more than that, a place where I can convey all of the little things, even if it's for the sole purpose of coming to understand how I feel or where I'm at with something.

So, welcome to the beginning of this blog and the story that will be written here. I guess I'll just start from there (the beginning that is).

Hi, I'm Kayla. Kayla Becker. And if you're reading this, let me just say it's my pleasure to meet you. I'm married to Micaiah, wonderful, God-given just when I needed him Micaiah. We have been married six beautiful months and known each other less than two years. But what you should know, is that those years have been two of the most life-giving, wisdom gaining, eye-opening years of our lives. And we feel blessed to share the life we do, even when it's messy.

And sometimes, it's messy. Becuase our life is full of people. And people get messy. I spend my days at Grace Refuge with eight amazing kids. And to sum up what I do there would be impossible but you'll learn about how I went from majoring in elementary education and living a quiet little life to spending my days with these eight precious fire-ball's over the course of these pages. My husband spends his days doing more than I can truly imagine. To sum it up he is the hardest worker I know and has one of the most sincere hearts of anyone I've ever met. And he truly spends his days investing all of himself in me, in the kids, in the people he loves. He spends his days pouring himself out in every way he can (and in the midst of that he works two jobs and is in school full time too). I used to have this joke with my best friend Leah (you'll meet her here too) that my husband would have to put up with an incredibly "lived in" house full of people, five kids sleeping between us, and lots of hilarious chaos. Well, we're six months in and not too far from achieving the reality of that joke. We have an amazing life... and it's not a fairytale... it's not perfect... and we are so far from having it all together that it's not even funny, but it's ours. And I guess my greatest hope is that in the words that I'll write you'll see the God we serve and the Jesus we've fallen in love with. My prayer is that the more I write, the less you'll see of me, of us, of "our" life.... and the more you'll just see Him. Because at the end of the day... this really isn't "our story" it's the one He's writing for us, and I just have the pleasure of sharing it.

So welcome. To our life, our messiness, our good days and bad days, our hardships and "ah-ha" moments, and more than anything... welcome to the love we've known and hope we have.

Thanks for being here.

Much love,