Blurb…if you want some dirt on me? …or snow? ;)

December 30, 2008 was approximately the day we moved from Berryville, AR to Bella Vista, AR! I was not happy, but I knew that it needed to happen. I loved my house in Berryville…my church…my friends…all of it! Of course, there were things in my world that I did not like: being pigeonholed in a small town, unable to break my mental chains and GROW UP, silly grievances that I allowed to shrink my world. I didn’t know that God was sending me into REAL brokenness so that He, and ONLY HE, could pour iron into my soul.
 
Now, ten years later, having had a stern conversation with the God of the Universe, I asked that He would not allow me to return to Berryville if I wasn’t strong enough. I did everything I could to provide Him a way to keep me in Benton County! I am SO incredibly thankful for all the people in NWA who have stood with me through what has been, frankly, hell. I give you full credit for putting up with me as I grew out of those spiritual “teenage” years! So much joy in spite of the barrage of circumstances…so much peace in the midst of war (I am not overstating here or tossing out religious cliches)…so much growth in the path of brokenness (my chest hurts even trying to describe the past ten years).
 
But GOD…He must think that I am strong enough because we are unapologetically HERE! If you are asking yourself “What did you learn?” or “How are you stronger?”, well here are just a few of the answers:
  • I am who HE says I am! I will not back away from or apologize for ANY gift God chooses to plant in me. I will, instead and with great lovingkindness, stand on who GOD says I am and will do what HE says I can do.
  • I am a GIRL!!! (Surprised, huh?) AND I am a pastor equal in value and giftedness to my husband who is SPECTACULAR!
  • The two became one!  Our marriage is truly a picture of two becoming one in the image of the original creation and, frankly, that freaks people out. 😉 We submit to each other and we act as one with no need to battle over authority or power. We live PAST the curse and I will not let any human every again limit or brand me as anything less than my husband’s ‘segulah’ or special treasure. You got “issues”? 🙂 (This is my loving, but get your junk straight voice) Learn Hebrew, study the original WEEERRDDD, or take the easy way out and talk to Ron about it. We need to get the thoughts of God on this, not the traditions and limitations of culture.
  • Self-control!!!  It is possible to CONTROL your pain, your reflexive responses to verbal carelessness or purposeful manipulation. Your mental state is as critical as your spiritual state! I have learned that the enemy will use terrible or torturous tools to kick me to the curb. I have also learned the most crushing weapons were and maybe still are capable of destroying me, BUT!!! Not matter how horrifying the fall, God is the strength of my life and my salvation! Of whom shall I fear?
  • Kill fear!!!  My current goal is to make a t-shirt with this phrase on the back. DON’T FEED ME FEAR! I want it on the back because that is the only side you will see of me if you mistakenly or purposefully try to poison my courage with your fear. Not in rejection or unkindness, but I will keep forging ahead no matter how dangerous you perceive it to be. I will go where the snakes can’t breath! (Shameless plug for a Colorado trip and 12,000+ feet above sea level fear-killing, snakes-can’t-breath-there ride in the 4Runner)  If God sends me, I will go…and have gone…no matter what!
 
There are many more ounces of iron poured in my soul, but that’ll do for now.
 
For now, we are renovating Papa’s shop into a barndominium and will take all the help we can get. Our RV is parked in the hay barn alongside the shop, warm and comfy, protected from the elements while we build. I am getting ready to send off my might-as-well-be daughter, Emily the preacher (who just got engaged last night), to New Mexico…sniff, sniff…and I am SO looking forward to spending some quality time with my Berryville Buddies!
 
Scholar Ministries is still fully in Benton County because that’s where we are based, but something is getting ready to happen in Carroll County! We don’t know what it is, but those who know us best and believe in us sense it bubbling up! I know you can hear the ferocity in my writing so let’s finish by saying that Papa (George Pete Smith) prophesied over our ministry before we moved ten years ago. The God who cracks the sky, the Ancient of Days, the One Who Speaks Thunders…He will make it happen!
 
Ms Rebecca

i’m not a mess

A famous psychologist recently said that one of the most damaging things to patients he had dealt with in his clinical practice was deception on the part of a trusted person.  He talked with so many who had loved deeply only to wake up one morning to find that they had been deceived by the person they trusted most.  Everything they thought they knew to be true was suddenly suspect… unreliable… messy.

It is true…messy.  Here in the wee hours of the morning when all I can hear is the deafening tick of the clock sitting on my desk and the night noises outside my window, I sift through several years of what I thought was true to find what was untrue.  I’m not sure that I am ready to share the full story, but I assure you that it is quite painful to look back in hindsight and shine the light of truth on hundreds of tiny phrases spoken, secrets kept, or accusations made.  To see faces that knew the truth.  To know how deep the deception.  To feel the unutterable loss of time.  To be so unable to defend yourself against something so irrational as a false reality.  To watch your heart be shattered over and over again as you try to figure out what went wrong and you could have possibly prevented it.  To wonder if you should have paid more attention.

Is this chaos similar to the trauma of divorce?  The betrayal of infidelity?  The backstabbing friendship?  If so, my heart breaks for you!  I honestly never thought I would have to go through that breach of trust.  Ron and I have an exceptional marriage…no risk of divorce or unfaithfulness.  My friends are beautiful and trustworthy.  How did the Deceiver manage to deceive me from some other direction?  I didn’t know there were other doors he could stick his ugly, little toe in and wiggle his way into my world, but the door was quietly ripped off its hinges, noiselessly blown to bits, and slowly blasted into my lungs.

I know what it is like to feel as if your chest has caved in.  I know what it is to feel a weight far beyond your strength to bear.  I know what it is to wake up in the middle of the night as if you were screaming in your sleep. 
I know what it is to fight just to breath.  OH, and I know what its like to just stop talking because you think people are tired of hearing about your pain.  But…

Breath…….

Take a big, deep breath and slowly let it back out.  Now, do it again…big, deep breath and slowly let it back out.  I also know that the feelings will come and go, the weight will gradually lift, and the waking panic will happen further and further apart until it rarely happens at all.  You will be able to breath again!  

Does grief ever REALLY leave us or does it just hide somewhere in the background, ready at a moments’ notice to rise to top of our thoughts and BOOM…the mess?  I will not lie to you!  Here I sit at 2:22 AM writing so that my mind doesn’t drag me through the mess again…choosing to live beyond feelings.  I choose to lose the label “VICTIM” and pay attention!  I choose to be strong in spite of the mess! 

The fix for this mess is to CHOOSE!  Choose to fight feelings with cold, hard logic.  Read the Word.  Fight with the Word.  Remind the Deceiver of the Word.  When your chest is caving in…repeat the Word.  When the weight feels like it will crush you…repeat the Word.  When you wake up terrified…repeat the Word.  When you can’t breath…repeat the Word.  The Father of Lies, the Deceiver, truly is no match for the One Who Carves Mountains!  Believe the Word:

 Be strong, be bold, don’t be afraid or frightened of them, for Adonai your God is going with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 CJB

This is how we fight our battles!  We are deeply feeling people in a messy world.  Pay attention to the people you walk through life with.  pay attention to yourself as YOU walk through life.  Cry hard!  Laugh hard! …and I would add… Fight hard!

YOU ARE NOT A MESS!!!  YOU ARE PAYING ATTENTION!


Parent of a Rogue Child

I must admit that I am watching one of the most difficult things in life. No pain that I know shatters more of a parental heart than the devastating linear grief resulting from a heart slowly poisoned and sickened by a son or daughter gone rogue.Death is brutal and often all too sudden, but it carries no rejection. Love soothes the loss. A rogue child inflicts little deaths every day that stab with rejection. The parental instinct is to protect and train, but it only makes it worse.So I watch and pray. Influence those who follow. Hold those who mourn. Endure the helpless rage. Love those who remain. Pray the shattered prayer of a parent of a rogue child.I wait. I pray. I watch. I try to breathe. I know the end from the beginning. The rogue child will return to you, God, in time. The rogue child may not return to the parent, but will return to the purpose and path they were born for, trained for, and passionate for. That is what we long for.


National Women’s Day: First-Wave-Feminist or an Original-Hebrew-Language-Bible-Hugging Wacko

I am not fond of a National Women’s day simply because I  am equal to man.  I am neither above or below, better or worse, stronger or weaker based on my DNA-blessed marker…female…or my Creator-directed gender…female.  I do not need a “Day” to celebrate me in order to draw attention to my value.  I already have a birthDay.

You can call me a first-wave-feminist because I believe in equality, not domination, OR you can call me an original-Hebrew-language-bible-hugging wacko because I know the scriptures put women in leadership ministry, both in original language and in opposition to an antagonistic culture, on equal footing with men.  I am FOR men, not against them, and I DON’T NEED special attention to be valued as a part of society.

What women do need is a spine, a serious work ethic, and a willingness to work TOGETHER alongside men!  If any workplace, any church, any civic institution actively works against that equal footing, then they violate integrity, authentic Scripture, and the Constitution.  If you cannot change your current environment,  find a better environment!  Don’t scream or whine about it.  Fix it.

All men (mankind) are created equal! …in value as a human being …in consideration as a human being …in opportunity as a human being.  Live like it.

Ms Rebecca


Incredible Solutions

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos:
A company can become “…failure-adverse and, therefore, unable to invent and pioneer. You cannot invent and pioneer if you cannot accept failure. To invent you need to experiment.”

Ms Rebecca:

In order to create incredible solutions, you must risk failure.

Leaders must allow the risk AND the actual occurrences of failure in order to foster brilliant solutions. We cannot give the ball to a senior player, encourage him to push for excellence, then take the ball away send them back to junior varsity because they tried something new and failed. Give the ball back to the senior player, make sure they analyze and learn from the failure, and get them back out on the court to keep pushing for excellence. THAT player will be unafraid to try harder, do more, and will lead the team around them to pursue that same excellence.

I have been looking at the news on Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway. These three giants are looking at forming a separate entity that will approach the healthcare industry and I can’t wait to see how that works out! I truly believe that the private sector will be able to do what government doesn’t seem able to do. They are accepting the risk of failure in order to something that might change the world. What do you guys think about it?


Stuck! …not really living

A lovely friend of mine made this statement as she was considering how she was much happier when she was living on a farm, taking care of the house, the kids, AND the land.

It’s very interesting to me… seems like I’m not really living while I’m trying to make a living!

The religious thing to say here would be “The woman is the nurturer and the caretaker of the home. So of course you would be happier!” [You kinda have to say that with a benevolent, sticky sweet smile and pat somebody on the shoulder while I, personally, THROW UP!] I believe that is a weak answer to a much deeper issue that includes both the man and the woman as equally responsible for their home.

Culture has defined success/happiness for us and a three bedroom/two bath home, insurance/phone/cable/internet bills, multiple vehicles plus some big toys, big money given to big churches [whether that church looks like a cathedral or a football stadium], fifty hour a week jobs, and kids with too many commitments [football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, dance, gymnastics, debate team, choir, business club, robotics club, you name it]. All of this requires funding, time invested, mental and physical energy…and rarely is it rooted in creation and/or relationship. Each commitment caries a burden, a weight, either of debt or effort, and both men and women find the burden unbearable at times.

As if that burden were not enough, some have the added weight of health issues, mental illness, grief, loved ones lost in the dark, abuse…real stresses and real truly difficult circumstances. Even the process of writing these things down brings a heaviness along with it. People who walk through life carrying these loads deserve respect!

For those of us who believed the cultural definition of happiness and went after it? Well, maybe some are happy conforming to the box designed for them, but most often I see sadness in the eyes of both men and women who have given their lives to the pursuit of happiness only to find that culture lied to them. I was miserable…sometimes without even knowing what was weighing me down.

…big sigh…

There is so much that I would love to say, but the thing that has given me peace…finally? We took a hard look at what we owned, what it cost to own it, and what we could do without. What did we really want out of life and WHO did we want to live for. I want to travel…mountains…wherever I can find them. I want to see what only God is capable of…carving stone and ice with wind! I still want to be free of the constant weight of debt, bills, and of being chained to a desk for the sake of money. Ron wants to study…and study…and study. ? We both want to help people understand what the Word actually says, not what our traditions or our culture attempts to cage us with.

For us, it meant that we sold our 3 bd/2 bath house and bought an older RV. We will save for an incredibly small house and buy a small piece of land where the property tax is low. We paid off every debt we could get our hands on and are fighting to keep out of debt…an everyday, conscious choice. We are HAPPY!!!

For your family, I don’t know. Maybe sit down with your family and talk about what really matters…not just to you, but to the young ones. Analyze everything you own…bills you pay…assets you can sell or trade for something more important…things you spend money on that can be shifted to a more efficient purpose. Young people can come up with brilliant ideas! Make some tough choices? Look at it all as a tool to get to the place YOU want to be vs. where culture would have you be stuck. That one word…stuck. It is the opposite of freedom. It is the hinderance to play. It is the killer of movement. And it is SO easy to get stuck!

If you want unstuck, the Father of Unstuck can work miracles! It may be painful as you are yanked from the mud. You may feel dirty and distasteful to the culture He is freeing you from. It may seem like it is an utterly hopeless, crazy dream just before the slurpy, squishy sound of you popping out of the mud…and then you’re FREE!!! God can give you the desire of your heart …freedom …happiness …meaning.

I think this is why I search for mud. I drive down a rugged, dusty road looking for beauty and when I see mud? I hit the gas and plough right through it! The mud goes flying to either side and I don’t even care if I get splattered because I know that the mud will NEVER drag me back in again!