Saturday, November 17, 2012

And the Edward and Bella love saga is over...

It's over.

Years of teenage (and adult) craze is finished. The Edward, Bella, Jacob love triangle has been officially solved and all parties involved are content and happy. I know as fans though, there are broken hearts. Now you are team what???

I'm not going to be a hypocrite and bash this series or condemn those who have watched it or gotten into it. Or else I would be telling that to myself; because I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I even saw two of them at the midnight showing- yes, it's true. I own that. So anything that I say is said in light of watching the movies for myself and studying the characters as I read them; of diving into the theology of the author and trying to figure out her worldview. I saw the last and final movie today; just a few minutes ago. I can't help but be reflective about the whole storyline, and honestly, just sobered and saddened by a few things. So, this is my honest take bathed in a warning to young women (and possibly men) who dive into this fantasy.

Notice that word: fantasy. This book is meant to be fake; to be a picture of something that is not real. Because it's not. There are no such thing as vampires. You don't walk around in a dead body. You cannot turn into wolves or have rapid growth that all of the sudden stops as an adult. Yet, at the same time, there are hints of truth throughout that we cannot ignore. So, here we go:

(NOTE: If you don't personally know Jesus Christ and the grace and salvation found in Him- some of this won't make sense. So, message me or email me and I can fill you in on the most amazing thing ever. You are loved!)

  1. There is eternal and forever love, but it is not found in humanity. I lost count how many times Edward and Bella made outlandish statements about each other like: "You complete me", "I would die without you", "You're my reason for living", "There is nothing good besides you", etc etc. Ladies- hear me out, please. This is WRONG. So so wrong. No man will ever meet up to expectations like that. You will literally crush a man under the weight of those expectations and beliefs. There is no man like Edward Cullen, because he's not real. He's not. There is no man who will study you and know you and pursue you and fight for you and love you with the faithfulness and perfection that Edward Cullen does for Bella Swan because HE'S A FAKE CHARACTER. A woman wrote this book. You can literally hear the cries of Stephanie Meyer for that man as she writes with pen what that looks like. There is no such thing. There is no Jacob Black. There is no man who will immediately know he will marry you and wait for you without frustration. There is no man who will perfectly protect you or continually desire you. Because he's fake. He's not real. If this causes anxiety or despair in you, search your heart.
  2. There is eternal and forever love, and it is FOUND IN GOD. Guess who does love you and fight for you? Guess who continually pursues you and never gives up on you? Guess who calls you beautiful when you're at your absolute worst, and woos you when you scream at Him in anger? He knows you intimately- He created you and finds joy and pleasure in you. This is God, sister. This is love. Romans 8:38-39 says this about God's love; "I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." NOTHING- do you hear me - nothing can separate a believer from the love of their Father. When you screw up and sin royally, guess who will still love you and desire you? When you were at your absolute worst and had no desire whatsoever for the goodness and glory of the Lord, who saved you from the pit? Psalm 63:3 says, "Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise Your name." This isn't talking about a temporary, human love. David is crying out to the Father in this. God Almighty, because YOUR love- Your redemptive, powerful, all-sustaining, faithful, never giving up, passionate, zealous, forgiving, constant, fulfilling, eternal love is BETTER than life, my lips will praise YOUR name. Nothing in this Psalm is about David or his feelings or emotions- it's about his very nature, heart and soul, lining up with that of his Creators. Eternal and fulfilling love is only found in the Lord.
  3. There is eternity, but nothing of it is about you. Stephanie got this part right. We do live forever. Our physical bodies die, yes- but one day we will be reunited with them. Until then, when our bodies perish, our souls remain forever- either in perfect, freeing, eternal, communion with God or in horrific, painful, agonizing, damning separation from God. Death will come to each and every one of us. These books praise the life of immortality because Edward and Bella get to savor and drink deeply into the waters of their lust/love forever. The way these books depict their unquenchable desire for one another- as if they have no power over themselves and their very essence of "living" is for the other- this is all but a shadow of what we, as believers, are called into with God. We are finite creatures, so the degree at which our adoption and oneness with God is, we cannot understand. Oh God- I want to understand. I want to know the depths of what He's saved me from and the greatness of what He's saved me into. I think the apostle Paul caught a glimpse of it as he cried out, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." He didn't fear death. He didn't fear leaving the ones behind that he loved, because his first love what that of Christ Jesus his Lord. Where does your heart beat from? What does the flow of your blood align to and what does the desire of your heart follow? Does the thought of separation from someone or something terrify you so deeply that you lose sight of anything having to do with your unity with the Trinity or your salvation from the pit? Or, possibly, does the deep desire FOR something that you have not yet had, drive your thoughts, desires, fantasies, decisions? Paul taught to the Corinthian church that we are each chasing a prize. This race as a believer has an inheritance, a prize, a trophy at the end of it. Guess what that is? GOD. At the end of the race of every believer is God. We get God. We are not fighting this spiritual battle and following the King of Kings as a means to an end. He is the end. Stop chasing lesser things when the greatest of all has knocked at your heart and called you into His family. There is eternity, but it's about Him.
  4. Twilight is an entertaining, fascinating story- but it pales in comparison to what we've been called into. Have you ever read the Bible? Like really read it, really studied it? It's incredible. The story from Creation, to the fall, to redemption, to eternal glorification: From Genesis to Revelation- is the most incredible story ever written. And you- believer- you've been called into it. Please don't miss this. Don't get sucked into these worlds of fantasies and lies, of unreal expectations and deep disappointments. God created the world only to allow it to be wrecked by sin. In spite of that sin, He has continually woven a story of redemption (through the prophecy of, live of, death of, resurrection of, and reigning of His only Son) that is far deeper and more passionate than any story you will ever read. You- who were DEAD in your trespasses and sins- He made alive. He has called the whore, the murderer, the homosexual, the thief, the lier, the disobedient, the self-righteous, the manipulative, the adulterer, the blasphemer... He has called men and women such as these (us) into His forever and eternal kingdom. Each of us only deserving of damnation- He has defeated our rival enemy and will eternally defeat him at the moment of Christ's return. Epic battles have taken place, souls have been saved, lives have been raised, miraculous events have taken place, love stories have been intricately woven, children have been beautifully birthed- generations have been transformed because of this story of redemption being proclaimed. This is SO much bigger than just you, my friend. SO much bigger than the one thing you're "missing"- than that one thing you're desiring and fighting for. Please please don't get caught up in and consumed the temporal call and heartbeat of the world. Please please don't. Step into this magnificent play that the Creator God created you for. He created you for true and full beauty and love- found only in Him. Don't settle for lesser things when the greatest of all has freely been handed to you.

So, if you want to go see Breaking Dawn pt 2, go see it. But don't be fooled into thinking that type of thing is what you are created for. It's not. You were created for Him, and in Him is all you've ever desired and longed for- and more. Sister- find your worth and identity in your Father God, not in a man. Walk in obedience to the Scriptures and desire to mimic your Lord and submit and follow a man after HIS own heart- not an edward or jacob. Don't succumb to the things of the world, but seek first HIM and His glory. Brother- you are not perfect and never will be. Don't try to be and don't try to be the perfect man that women seek. Follow your God. Desire to have a heart after Him- He equips and He fills. 

You make known to me the path of life; in YOUR presence there is fulness of joy; at YOUR right hand are pleasures forevermore. 
Psalm 16:11

Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but You Oh Lord, are the strength of my heart and my portion forever..for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
Psalm 73:23-26,28

How love is Your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God...for a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:1-2,10

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God is God, and I am not...

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD; The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps; The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. 
Proverbs 16:1, 9, 33

A lot of changes have happened in my life the past month. I was sitting here tonight and just thinking about how my life at 27 is so different than I ever imagined it would be. I began to reminisce about what my dreams and goals were for 27 vs. the life the Lord prepared for me. I've been sitting here just blown away in how different those two scenarios are, yet how incredible the life God led me to is.

What I dreamed of where I'd be at age 27 was this:

Celebrating my 5th year of marriage to the man of my dreams; proof of my love would be two little kids in tow, maybe a third on the way. We would be living in a cute little house with wonderful neighbors. I would have gotten married right out of college, which means I never would have had a job. I would be a stay at home wife and mom, and just volunteer on the side and "play house." I would be so busy with loving on my family and taking care of my home, that I would probably not have time to do much else amidst the craziness of that. I would love every minute of it though. I wouldn't look back and want another life, because this was the life I always dreamed of. 

Say I could go back and re-do the past five years of my life and get the life I had wanted...this is what I would have missed:
  • I would have missed working with middle school and high school students through my church. I never would have walked so closely with the same group of girls for 5 years. I wouldn't have gone to south Dallas with our youth on numerous occasions to share the gospel and provide hope to the hopeless. I wouldn't have met with my girls weekly to hear their hearts, get to know their families, pour the gospel into them, provide consistency, a listening ear...I wouldn't have had countless sleepovers, starbucks dates, corner bakery lunches, Bible studies, tear fests, movie nights, Christmas expeditions... I wouldn't have led a trip to Guatemala with our highschool students that forever changed my heart and mind on other cultures and overseas brothers and sisters. I wouldn't have been changed through the lives of these precious sisters of mine; I wouldn't have grown in my love of the Lord and His people in this way. I wouldn't have known what mentorship and discipleship really was. I never would have poured myself out in such a time-consuming, intimate, passionate way. And now I'm an intern in the middle school ministry at my church. I have a job in the very arena I've been blessed to have been such a big part of.
  • I would have missed having one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs ever by being a nanny. I wouldn't have watched 3 precious children grow up over a 5 year period. I wouldn't have learned what it meant to love in a self-sacricial, gospel-saturated way. I wouldn't have experienced boldly living and speaking the gospel daily around a family who didn't love and know Jesus Christ. I wouldn't have faced days and nights of tears full of pain, frustration, confusion, desperation- all because I wanted them to know Christ so deeply. I wouldn't have learned how to daily love children in the love of Christ. I wouldn't have been able to confess and ask forgiveness to little kids when I sinned against them. I wouldn't have been humbled on many occasions when I was entirely wrong about a situation, yet but covered in the grace of Christ. I wouldn't have learned a ridiculous amount of irreplaceable knowledge and experience in loving people who were so different from me. I wouldn't have known how to serve someone without expecting recognition. I never would have been able to be a light in a dark world in this way...
  • I would have missed learning to yearn for Christ in deep, unfathomable ways. Singleness isn't easy. Having an unquenched deep desire to be a wife and a mother has pressed me into the sovereign, loving arms of the Almighty in ways I never would have experienced had I gotten married at the age I wanted to. I never would have experienced the nights upon nights of crying out to God in fear, doubt, confusion, pain, and loneliness. I never would have known what it meant to rest in contentment and joy, despite a continual "no" of what I desired so strongly. I never would have fallen so ardently, desperately, and passionately in love with Jesus Christ as my all-fulfilling, all-satisfying, all-knowing Savior. I wouldn't know what it meant to lay in bed alone at night and feel His arms wrap around me in comfort and understanding. I wouldn't have the same love for truth and Scripture and knowledge. I wouldn't know God as my Father and provider in the deep way that I do today.
  • I would have missed all the freedom and opportunities in being with my family, randomly driving out to my parents house, closely watching my nieces and nephew grow up. I would have missed being able to use my solitary salary to give financially to my family, to come up with fun nice gifts for my family, to spend holidays with my parents, to love on my parents in a different way than my brothers because they're both married. I would have missed so many opportunities to love on and bond with my family because I would have had my own families' responsibilities.

I could go on and on. All that to say, in hindsight, it is so so clear that His ways are higher than mine. We are placed on this earth to be His representatives, to make Him known. This life isn't about Rebekah Nicewander, but about Jesus Christ. Before time began, my life was written. Every single day of my life is known and authored by Almighty God. He has written my life according to His plan in bringing Himself the most glory. Although I cannot see the big picture, I know that each day is a moment to bring glory to God. I have been able to love and serve in ways I never imagined I could. I have been stretched and sanctified, challenged and disciplined through these past 5 years in ways I never dreamed. I've experienced joy, contentment, peace, and satisfaction in knowing Christ in ways I didn't know were possible. God has closed doors I longed for to open ones that have led to greater fulfillment. I've learned to place my identity and security in Christ as He's provided for me and Shepherded me amidst His will. He has me where He has me because, right now, that brings Him the most glory. This life isn't about God being our means to an end, but He is our end. WE GET GOD, and He is enough.

Whether single or married, male or female, young or old, black or white, barren or quiverful- if you are a child of God, you are here for Him. You have Jesus Christ and the gospel in common with every other believer around you. Live in it. Walk in it. Place your identity in Him; not in your relational status, not in your job, not in your mark on society, not in your sex; in Him. I yearn to follow Him in such a way that I can say these words confidently:

But I trust in You, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands.
Psalm 31:14-15a

Thursday, August 16, 2012

To all my single girls:

I remember in college hearing stories of women in their late 20s/early 30s being single and thinking, "I am SO glad that will never be me." I was so confidant in the fact that I was hardwired and designed to be a wife and mother that it never even crossed my mind I wouldn't have that. Little did I know...

I'll be 28 in a few months. I am no closer to marriage and children than I was when I was that young, ignorant 20 year old. The things I have learned and grown in over the past 8 years is, however, invaluable and I wouldn't trade them. I've seen the character of God as my Father, Lover, Friend, Comforter, Sustainer, Discipliner, Joy-giver, Hope-dweller, Savior, ways as a single women I would not have seen as a married women.

I think a big mistake our Christian culture makes is making single women feel "bad" about desiring marriage and children. GOD WIRED YOU THAT WAY. Hear me out: He created you to want to support and follow a husband. He physically made your boobs able to produce milk. If that doesn't say motherhood, I don't know what else does. Our culture has somehow made it where a single women says, "I want to be a wife and mom" and she is instantly given, "You're discontent. Jesus is better. He is your husband!" Yes, those can be true. ANYTHING that you esteem higher and greater than the Lord is idolatry...including your job, status, physical appearance, what other people think of you, etc etc. But desiring those things is not wrong.

I wish more people had told me that. I love Jesus Christ so deeply. I am content and joyful and His glory and His goodness overrides every other feeling I have. But, despite how good He is and despite His plan for my life being the BEST and most joy filled plan, I still struggle. I'm still waging a war and fighting for holiness. I wish people had told me that I would experience intense days and nights of loneliness, of feeling like I somehow "missed the mark." I wish people would acknowledge and address the fact that I would feel barren, that I would weep for the children I desire but haven't had. I wish I had been told that some days and nights I would grieve so deeply my body would physically ache. I didn't know that would happen. I never knew I would hold my womb and pray and weep over unborn children. I never knew I would have such vivid dreams about love, sex, marriage, children, family...that they would feel SO real, yet so unattainable. I never knew my tears could be a source of deep pain, yet unspeakable joy...

So, I'm here saying that to you, single sister. You're going to feel some of these things. You're going to fear and doubt and question. You're going to be confused and frustrated. You aren't alone. I'm here to say you are not alone. So many women have been in your shoes and are in your shoes...and guess what? God is still good. Despite the loneliness and despite the pain of the past 5 years, I have learned to deeply commune with the Maker of the stars. I have fallen in love with the Savior of the world. I have come to rest in the arms of the greater Comforter. I have found a joy in Jesus Christ that nothing and no one in this world will ever come close to giving me. The pain of this world is the only pain we, as believers, will ever face. When Jesus comes back or takes me home, that pain will subside forever. And the point of my life- my reason for living -will finally and forever be made real as I stand face to face with my Father.

He loves you, sweet sister. He holds your heart in His hands and He has not forsaken you. He knows your fears and doubts and you are not alone. Ever. He sustains you, comforts you, finds joy in you, loves you (even likes you!), gives you the greatest joy, grants you life ABUNDANTLY, saves you... rest in those arms. There is no sweeter place to be!

Monday, April 30, 2012


I've recently been through some things that have left me feeling dispensable, easily replaced and erased, instantly forgotten. I have been blessed beyond measure to have never felt those things until now. It's only by the mercy of God He has allowed a cloak of covering around my heart that has prevented me from experiencing that type of pain. And it is the mercy of God to allow me to experience it now.

"I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted."
Job 42:2

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." 
CS Lewis

If you know me at all, you know the Lord has given me an outlet for a healthy dosage of tears. :) This past month I have felt broken, exhausted, and weak in ways I never have before. The days and nights of constant tears have drained me and brought me to my knees on countless occasions. It's the first time in my 18 years as a believer that I can say I've understood (as much as a human can) what is means to rest in the comforting arms of my Father, the Creator of the whole universe. It's a cherished thing I wouldn't change, despite the pain that brought me there. My pain pales in comparison to so many, but I've learned what Paul says in Corinthians: "when I am weak, He is made strong." There have been days I've felt as if I had not one single drop of love or energy to give anyone, let alone praise God with zeal and passion. I've sat at the feet of Christ just begging for Him to fill me because I just didn't know what to say or do. So, I sat. I'm not a sitter...I'm a doer. I'm your classic Martha - and in His love, God is pricking and prodding and disciplining me, and making me to yearn Him and desire to sit with Him. To "be still" and know that HE is God...

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

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love." 
Washing Irving

I saw October Baby tonight. Talk about a heart-wrenchingly beautiful film. In it the main girl expresses her confusion and anguish over feeling unwanted. I related in my own way. I began to realize how often we all fall prey to the lie that we don't matter, that we are forgotten, that we aren't enough, that we're replaceable- whether through death, divorce, betrayal, abuse, cancer, neglect, loss, etc... The problem is, to humanity, it's true. To many, we don't matter. We are easily forgotten. We aren't enough. We're replaceable. That's a hard pill to swallow... What's even harder to swallow is that the One who should leave us, based on our track record, is the Faithful One, the Strong Tower, the Ever Present, the Protector, the One who sings over us with joy, who shields us under His Almighty wings. To Jesus, we are His chosen people and He will never, ever forget us or neglect us. He was bruised for our transgressions, scarred for our iniquites. It's by the stripes of Jesus Christ that we are healed.

"I will not forget you, for I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.." 
Isaiah 49:16

"The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
Psalm 23:1

That's hope. Hope isn't in your situation or circumstance. Regardless the condition of your heart today, God is God and He is good. He defends you, loves you, protects you, and sustains you. Nothing touches you that doesn't first got through His hands. He IS in control. Your life IS written by His sovereign hands. There's something beautifully hopeful and life-giving in that. Surrender. Rest. Hope. The Creator of the Stars has chosen you, the very hands that whole the world holds your heart.

You are never alone. I am not alone, praise God!

"If you are God's child you have reason for hope no matter how hard things are, or how weak you feel, because Christ live inside you."
Paul David Tripp

"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You...You have kept count of my tossings. You hold my tears in Your bottle; are they not also in Your book?"
Psalm 56:3, 8

I am chosen, hand-picked by my Father, to show the world who He is. I am indispensable to Him, He will never grow tired or weary of me, He will never replace me, I am not forgotten, He wants me and adores me. I have His stamp of eternal ownership on me, and nothing and no one can take that away. THAT, my friends, is where joy is found. I am His and He is mine.

"For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but His joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's do this 2012

This week has already been one those "aha" moment weeks where the Lord, in His faithfulness, goodness, and love, has opened my eyes and slapped me across the face with revelation and truth. It's weeks like these that I'm extra and utterly humbled and joyful in the fact that I am a chosen daughter of the King, that He chooses me to be a part of His reconciliation and reclamation project, and that I am given life to make Him known. I wish every moment were like today, where all I can think to do is praise Him. I hate that my sin so often gets sin the way of that. It's days like today that become remembrance days. When I am deep in struggle or doubt or fear, I "remember the joy of my salvation" - I remember and dwell on days like today when the Lord seems so intimate and real and close. And I find a deep and unshakable joy in that- that no temporary suffering, sadness, or pain can strip away.

I'm in Telluride, Colorado this week with the family I nanny for. A perk of the job is that I get to travel pretty often with them. I have just entered my 5th year with this family. If you had asked me on week one if I would make it 5 years, I would have adamantly said no. But the Lord has had other plans. This family doesn't know Jesus. Even know I'm tearing up thinking how the Lord hand picked me to be His representative to them. I have failed often. There have been days I wanted to quit for selfish reasons, but the Lord (in His all knowing wisdom and mercy) would not allow me to. I look at my first year and how hard conversations about the Lord with the parents were, how hardened their hearts were, how difficult and awkward it was...and I compare it to now, where conversations about Christ are like breathing air. Driving from the airport to where we're staying Erica and I got into some pretty deep conversations about marriage, sex, divorce, children, schooling, life...where I just got to proclaim truth to her. I have been given the opportunity to watch their hearts slowly soften to the gospel and be more awakened to truth and who Christ is. I sit here thinking about it and I get so frustrated when I make this thing of life about me, when it is SO CLEAR that there is something huge going on. Jesus Christ is the star of an incredible story and He has invited us - His adopted sons and daughters - to join Him in it. There is no greater joy than to be a part of the sharing and furthering of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The past few weeks I've also been a part of a beautiful depiction of a God-produced friendship, uniquely meeting them, being woken up in the middle of the night to pray specific scripture for them, having other friends praying for them without me asking them to, sharing scripture with them that they read that very same day, encouraging and being encouraged by them in depth- and in the midst of it, being called by the Lord to lay down some deep desires of mine to obey Him in being a part of the sanctification of someone else. I want to kick and scream some days and say "WHAT ABOUT ME! WHAT ABOUT WHAT I WANT!" but's not long at all before the Holy Spirit speaks truth into my soul about who Christ is, who I am in Christ, and what Christ has called me to. The more I come to know Jesus, the more I fall in love with Him. The more I fall in love with Him, the more I absolutely detest and hate my sin. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I want to love Him so deeply that it goes away. And, it's in that desire that a yearning and a hope for His forever redemption and renewal comes into play.

I'm ready to see Christ face-to-face. As I've grown closer to Him, He's eliminated fears and insecurities and replaced them with anticipation and hope for His return. I love Him fiercely and passionately.

So, here's to 2012. I'm so excited about this year - more than any other year - and I'm not really sure why. I'm excited to see and experience the promises of the Lord and to walk in the newness of who I am in Him. Yay. :)