Tag Archives: peace

The UnKnown

17 May

By Beckie Halaska

I woke up thinking about the fact that we never really fully know a person, nor does anyone ever really know us.

I spent most of my life being unknown. Unknown even to myself, I suppose. It was something I longed for, somewhere buried inside.  I think my entire life was spent trying to make up for who I thought I wasn’t, or maybe trying to be who I thought everyone else thought I should be. Trying to gain acceptance when I felt unacceptable. From trauma and scars, I became a perfectionist trapped in an imperfect, unacceptable persona, desperate for approval and not even able to see when I received it. I learned to hide me, I learned to create a different me, to “become” instead, to “fit in”. I learned to seek approval from other’s, bending and twisting me to become the expected. Sadly, the bar I had in my head was too high, completely unattainable; Perfect. So I failed. Every. Single. Day.  Inside, I was lonely, angry, disillusioned, lost and desperate to be loved.

I share my life transparently now for purpose because I know I am not the only one. I know there are those still suffering alone. I share my journey for His purpose.

When my marriage ended 11 years ago, I went down a path that literally almost took my life but in the end, set me free. That journey could only have the outcome it did with God by my side. Truly.

Empty nested, my deep rooted fear of abandonment realized, believing it was all because of who I was or wasn’t as a human being; I withered away slowly inside. The week I hit my rock bottom, I had had enough. I broke.  I had an exit plan, but God had a different plan.

My pain became the greatest love story between God and I. He broke through my walls that fateful night and gave me a hope, a new joy and a will to live. He intervened and I chose Him that night. He broke my chains,set me back on my feet and let me leave that life of trying so damn hard, far, far behind me.

No, I didn’t wake up a healed person. I woke up knowing I didn’t have to be anything other than exactly who I was. He loved me all messed up. I was unfixed and God was here, present and loving me. Period. I didn’t need to know more. That realization alone was freedom for me. That was everything I needed. I finally understood grace.

It has taken 10 years for me to fully understand the healing that He was doing in my heart.  It didn’t happen all at once, and I know I am still not done being molded and lead to new ideas and new understandings. I am still imperfect and so happy that I don’t have to be more than that. He was changing me as I was seeking Him instead of me having to run so fast and hard after all the things here that will never fix us, never fulfill us, never make us whole.

The greatest gift I received from my reconciliation to my faith in Jesus in 2010 was to be known. I am fully and completely known. I have no secrets from God. I can’t lie to Him, I can’t hide from Him. He loves me, regardless, and because of that, I learned to fully love me.  I am loved by the same God who put the stars in the sky, who created the universe. He put this soul in me for a reason, for a purpose, and no one ruined it or will ever be able to.
Yes, some really bad things happened to me, and there are trials ahead, for sure, but God is never defeated. Even the most traumatic things can be healed, and true beauty absolutely comes from the ashes, I promise.

I think as humans, we want to be seen, want to be known, I believe we are created that way. The truth is, I was never unknown to God. He always knew me. He never stopped pursuing me. He loved me in all of it, through all of it. Every step of the way.

And the same is true for you. I promise.

 

CoVid Easter

12 Apr

Easter during CoVid. We are not exactly free today, physically; But Freedom, true freedom is celebrated today.
Easter is “The New”. The “New Way”. The greatest reset button ever. The truest testimony of freedom you will ever get.
Do you make the most of your beautiful, messy, hard, frightening,painful, challenging life? Have you let go of all the things that you can’t control? The lies, the weight, the words,  what other’s do and say, the experiences that stop you in your tracks? Have you truly let go of everything that holds you back so you can hold what truly, truly matters? You only get a number of days. Today is the day to think long and hard about how you want to live. I encourage you to really live.

Do you live in the past, do you live for today, for tomorrow… or do you live for eternity?

Life is such a beautiful gift. Everlasting Life is a gift as well, but imagine this…everlasting life being loved beyond your wildest dreams, passionately, torridly, fervently loved. Imagine a joy beyond measure for all of eternity? That is worthy of profound gratitude and great celebration!

Easter is the hope for all of that! Because life this side of heaven isn’t meant to be easy. He isn’t making bad things happen, he doesn’t punish or do things to us. Bad happens here, but He never leaves us alone in any of our hurts and trials. .

Easter is the greatest ending because it is the greatest beginning. The greatest sacrifice became the greatest gift.   Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, and as a follower of Him, he showed us exactly what that means. He told us that he was the new covenant and he said to love like he loved. He tells us clearly in Matthew, we all have sin, and it doesn’t matter how we judge it, God sees it all the same.

LOVE is the answer. Love God. Don’t just say the words, read His word, talk with Him, learn who He is and love him immensely. Love your neighbor as yourself. You have to know who God is and what that love, that unconditional, beyond measure love looks like and know it is meant for you, meant to fill you to overflowing, so  you are able to love fully. Love your neighbor means every neighbor. Without judgement in your heart, without exception; ALL neighbors. Even the really unkind or evil neighbors. Even the sinners! Like you!

Reset – grab hold of freedom. Grab hold of love and living fully. Grab hold of God, of resurrection Sunday and what that really means. Freedom from every wrong you have ever done and will ever do. Forgiven. Washed white as snow. Without fault. Adopted to His family, co-heir with Christ. Your portion, your prize. Your joy of all joys.

Hallelujah, He Is Risen indeed!

Galatians 5:1
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh(your own selfish desires); Rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
1 Peter 4:8
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 John 4:9-11
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Amen.

What Can It Mean: “Faith”, “Christian”

2 Mar

Recently I shared the story of the night the lead singer from Tenth Avenue North performed for me personally a song he had recorded. It was a beautiful gift and a reminder of God’s perfection and immense love.

For me the song had significant meaning; *(lyrics below) It wasnt just a song. It was a song that had helped me grasp who Jesus was and what He accomplished. It was my aha moment of fully grasping the Grace and Mercy of the cross.

The shift from it impossibly being on me to earn heaven to fully grasping unmerited grace. The shift to hope.

I’ve spent so much of my last 10 years reading and studying the word of God. When I first came back to faith, I fought legalism, in any shape or form, thinking I was defending grace. In the end I realized I was working out my own belief and disbelief. Honestly, I think God was simply working things out within me, communing with me. I was so aware of His presence, so loved and held, especially since I had never had that deep knowing He was near. I didn’t see the changes He was making in me at the time. He does that. He changes us, reaffirms us, softens the edges that hard things created.

The shift began from a place of giving up, a deep desperate, empty longing from loss, fear, rejection and hopelessness. It was there that I finally looked up and saw Him, from the bottom of despair. 

I learned that even though I had great passion for Him, great desires to be the woman after His heart, even though I clung to grace,  I was still trying to earn it, trying to be good enough, trying to fit what my perception of salvation was against the Word.

Now I can see, looking back, even as recent as 2 years ago,  As I was working through the idea that Christ fulfilled the law; I realized that I wanted to be set free, grasp the grace, forgiving me of my sins, but I was still wanting “credit” for doing good things, my goodness.

This journey of faith isn’t scary, like I thought, it isn’t fraught with failure. Fear of the Lord isn’t a hell and brimfire. It isn’t condemning, not of me or anyone else.

Our journey of faith is deeply personal. It is ours alone to work out. No one can change it, direct it, or make it happen. It’s only us, standing before our creator. And I want to hear, I know you and you know me. We have walked this garden together for a long, long time. Welcome.

If I really believe in Him, if I really trust in Him, I see it as all about Him, for Him, because of Him. I can let go of control. Surrender my grasp to control outcomes, my fear of everything, my disappointments because things aren’t how I thought they should or would be. I can press forward with Hope, with trust. I can believe He is always working things out not just for my good, but also for His purposes. Which are always good.

But its a journey. We don’t read something and have all the knowledge. We learned and grow all the time. I am not sin free simply because I know Jesus. I am not without trauma or sorrow either. I just have strong faith that this too, is part of the plan, I am to work out my salvation with trembling. Meaning I will be like Christ was in the garden of Gethsemane. He worked it out in prayer until he surrendered and finally said “Thy Will Be Done”.  It’s hard to surrender. But we must do the work to get there, He isn’t going to just be content with us ignoring Him, and expecting the God that created all of the universe to also do all the work in you without your submission. Without your desire for Him to do so. 

Religion has it messed up. People have messed it up. Paul says clearly in Roman’s it all comes down to  faith. Jesus says clearly in Matthew 5-7, it’s personal.

It’s a personal reconciliation between us and God. Grasping our own need to control everything to surrendering to our own inability to be good enough at fulfilling the entire law ( seriously read the Torah! Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, no way can we do it all) all by ourselves.

Trying to be good enough means we need to measure. Measuring us against each other. It makes us finger pointers and holier than thou and judgemental and fearful. Everyone is that way if they haven’t surrendered. Even those that don’t follow faith at all. 

We have a perfect healer, perfect hope,a perfect promise keeper, a perfect I AM the way. We either reject it all completely, or we grab hold and work out our idea of Him with truth. His truth. Obedience comes from suffering. Christ suffered too. Suffering meaning- it’s hard to let go of our own God’s for the one God. It’s hard to let go of our own ego centric idea we can affect the world around us to be the way we want. To let go of legalism.

I am not the person you can’t question faith with, I’m the person that openly, transparently has shown my crazy journey to wholeness. I’m stronger than ever, yet I have so far to go. And honestly, there is so much freedom in knowing I don’t have to. I won’t tell you your sins. I won’t tell you the bible isn’t accurate. I believe every single word even when I don’t want to. Even when I disagree. I believe it is the Living breathing word of God. Because I have seen the truth with my own eyes. 

If you haven’t read the bible, or you have only read a scripture here and there, and you aren’t sure what you believe. Just some food for thought. Read some of it. Start with Roman’s, Matthew, Luke and John. Read it in the NLT or NIV which is much easier  to read, a more conversational language.Read it and ask God, to show you what He wants you to understand. Tell Him you don’t believe. He already knows anyways. 

Maybe I will get to the end of the road and it will stop there. But my hope is in heaven and I am joyful even in sorrowful times. What have I lost? Nothing. What have I gained? Immeasurable strength, courage, love, hope, joy, peace. It’s pretty amazing. 

Romans 10:1‭-‬11 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God. For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Lyrics to By your Side, Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run, to where will you run?

cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in and give you life
I wanna give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you, I want you to know
That I, I love you, I’ll never let you go
And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding youHere at my side
My hands are holding you

 

The Christian Journey

16 Dec

This is to my family of believers and my skeptical faith walkers;  My Sunday traditionalists and my in the deep end of bible banging believers.  We are all in this together and it isn’t easier for any of us. Not one of us has it all perfected, not one of us is able to judge another, able to cast a stone. Not one of us is so right.

Faith is so hard! We are instinctively (because we have sin in us) so legalistic, so prideful, so quick to be disappointed, quick to fear, quick to judge. We look at the world and see the wrong in other’s. The bible was recorded for each of us, individually.  It is the living word of God written just for each of us, for our own personal journey with our Father.

We can get so weary on this road at times. This world can be hard on us. Mostly because we look to the world for our perception of how it should look and not to the gospel. The gospel is clear! It’s going to be hard, you are going to mess it up a ton of times and it’s going to be amazing, mind blowing beauty.

So many of our scriptures remind us to not love the world but rather the creator of the world; to not grow weary in doing “good”, to not grow weary in the race-he isn’t talking about a physical race.

There is the Facebook factor, the self-help factor, the constant barrage of comparison; The need to fit in, the need to belong, the need to be happy.

Here is the truth.  If we acknowledge that God is sovereign,then everything else is less than. It means He is in charge.  We have not just a worlds perception but even worse, an American perception of how it’s supposed to look.  The pursuit of happiness. Let’s remember the woman holding her starving child in another country, or let’s remember the woman who has to hide her faith or be murdered, stoned to death. If the teaching/lesson from the scriptures are not true for all, it’s not true at all.

God in the Gospels reminds us to set our sights on Him. Paul reminds us to keep going even when it’s hard. To be a beacon of hope, not perfection, but hope. Hope, even when, not if, but when, it gets beyond difficult.

If we believe we are set apart for heavenly places, then why on earth would we let the sinful side of this dark world bring us down?

The Sermon on the Mount puts everything into perspective. Everything comes back down to us; Our relationship with Christ. Do we really believe what He is saying to us? Do we really believe He came to set us free? Do we really believe we are solely responsible for every thought, every word, every reaction and every response? Do we really believe that when we submit it all to Him, process it all from a faith journey rather than it being all on our shoulders, we are forgiven, cared for, provided for,  free?

If we really believe His words, there would be no room for offense, for fear, for self-focus, for longing, for weary.  We would not put people in a position above him to be able to affect our peace, our hope, our joy. But, He knew our journey would be hard here, so He provided us the grace when we mess up. Which we will and do, constantly.

Being a christian is not about being any single way, not about being so great at this, it is a state of constant turning back to Him and humbling ourselves and saying “You have this, I surrender, I trust you, I believe you are providing all that I need and protecting me even when I can’t see it, I believe you will work this all out for my good and your purposes. Thank you. “  That’s the light that shines in us, our joy that spills over from that kind of love and hope.

If you read the Psalms in order, it can feel so much like our lives. Psalm 19 is so beautiful, so full of perfect worship, Psalm 22 is so stressed out, so rock bottom, then Psalm 23 is so perfect. David was a mess! He had family dynamics, he cheated, he had not just one but several wives. It wasn’t about him, but rather we were gifted the beauty of seeing what surrender and a seeking heart looks like. That is faith, that alone is a such a great lesson. This will be our walk and our journey until the day we are made whole and perfect in heaven with Him. Not about how well you do, it’s about continually turning back to him, continually remembering. Continuing to love Him with your whole messed up, broken heart. He is the Lord your God and He is doing a beautiful thing.

Even when you can’t see it. Thank you Jesus! This is where our hope and joy come from! Hallelujah what a savior.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205-7&version=NKJV;MSG

Work In Progress

5 Dec

I have learned so much in the past 10 years. 10 years ago today, I went to a tea at a non-denominational church. I began attending this church every week. Within a few months I bought my own bible for the first time AND I actually began to read it. 9 years ago today, I was re-baptized at that wonderful church.

You have to know this. I am still a work in progress. I have been studying His word for 10 years. I have been in deep relationship with him for about 8 of those years, or maybe 7. I am being changed and healed and softened and made stronger, every single day.  I submitted every nook and cranny to Him. And then, I pretty much forget and take it all back on my shoulders for a bit, then re-submit. It’s okay! That is our journey with Him. Not one part of us is perfect and we cannot perfect our selves. He can though. I am slowly being perfected. One day, when I get to heaven, I will be perfected. Not before then.

I say this often because I really struggled to grasp what Grace meant, what Jesus meant to me, for me. “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Hebrew 5:8 NLT.   I had to learn that being a Christ follower has nothing to do with me. It is all about Him. I didn’t earn my way to heaven. You can’t earn it by being good. Heaven is about accepting that this Christmas birth was a gift! That Jesus came to show us what faith is. What God is seeking from us is to let go of our own ego’s and our need to earn; our own checks and balances way of living and just accept the gift.

Salvation is simply a life altering, mind blowing, ego balancing, rule crashing, insecurity killing acceptance of the greatest act of love ever.

I have learned that abusive people and unkind people, swindlers, manipulators and cruel people can actually have that mustard seed of faith and can also be saved. I have learned that really devout people have super big doubts sometimes. I have learned that it doesn’t matter what we do or who we are, salvation is not about us. It is about accepting Christ. In the same breath, I have accepted that God is not a punishing God. We don’t earn that either. We do suffer, but everyone suffer’s. Jesus did too and God as His Father, suffered for us, and Mary his mother, suffered. It’s our journey here. We suffer because of darkness, sin, because of brokenness. It’s important.

If you know me, I promised to be transparent every step of the way.  This former perfectionist put on a good front for the world. The need to be right enough and validated enough girl is now the self-proclaimed wishy washy Christian. I still sin, in my head, my words and in my heart. I am constantly learning and growing, I have a sense of confidence in Christ I have never had before.  God has changed so much in my heart, healed so much and filled the hole inside my heart.
I am also the girl that has a hard time with trust. Actually I believe that to be my biggest hurdle.  Probably for all of us, this is the biggest hurdle. Trusting when we can’t control or see the future. Trust is faith. Period. Trust when it all looks like it’s falling apart at the seams. Trust when our hearts our broken. Trust when we can’t understand.

No matter how far I swing away, no matter how close I walk; the words below are my reminder, and if I write it all on my heart, then I can constantly redirect my fears, my worries, my self reliance, my anger, my sorrow, my hopes and my desires of my heart. If we are seeking His will, we will have perfect peace, if we focus on our own plans, our own path; there is no peace.

They say “Leap of Faith” for a major reason! Faith is hard! It’s also an amazing journey full of amazing people. There is a deep joy that comes from hope in God. I have had deep doubts in Him, He was fine with that. He is steady, sure, unchanging and un-freaked out.
Isn’t it time to figure out what you really know about Him, what is truth to you? Based on learning who He really is? Not what you see a building of people being but what His word tells you about him?

Without Him I am nothing.

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
nothing you desire can compare with her (wisdom).”

Proverbs 3:1-6 NLT

A Case for Hospice

19 Oct

By Beckie Halaska

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No one wants to hear the word terminal.  We hang on to hope, we deny it, we ignore it, we avoid it.  I have this conversation with families that are not ready to process that word. Not ready to hear the word Hospice. These are very difficult words to process.  From a daughter’s perspective, let me say, I understand.

Some of us will be fortunate enough and slip away, gently in our sleep, some will leave us by accident. Most of us however, will face an illness that will eventually cause our demise.

The absolute truth is that we cannot escape death. We can however begin to embrace it and somehow do good in it. We can mourn it and celebrate the days left along with our loved one. We can talk about it; We can support one another through the journey; We can celebrate every day of life even more.

I work in Hospice, yet, Hospice still remained a difficult discussion for me, and with my family.  Hospice is a word that instills fear because it sounds like death. It does mean acceptance of the end. Truth is, when hospice is brought on board in a timely fashion, they can help you begin your end of life journey, living to the fullest with the time you have left. I strongly advocated for Hospice to be on-board as soon as possible, beginning the discussion as soon as we heard “Metastatic”.  It’s not easy being that person, but I know from my past history with hospice, what a blessing it can be.

From a daughter’s perspective, my mother lives 3 hours north of me. As she has become more frail the past couple years, I do my best to come see her frequently, to spend time with her.  Before Hospice, I didn’t come every weekend. I came when it was more convenient for me, I suppose. I was still able to take my mom for granted. Which is a place of comfort for most of us.

My greatest gift of hospice, so far has been no longer taking her for granted. I spend every weekend with her that my siblings are not having one on one time with her. My conversations with her have been more important. Sometimes, she simply just holds my hand and looks at my face as if memorizing it. Everything  has become more important.

Now we are slowly transitioning to the last days. She is weak, mostly sleeping. Now we watch her sleep. Waiting. Waiting for her to need something, or wake up and want to talk.  My stepdad and her sit holding hands and speaking gently to one another.

When I got the call yesterday, telling me I needed to come, driving the 3 hours through a tropical storm to get here, was just added stress. Seeing that the symptoms were progressing rapidly and we had a sudden decline, this is the case for hospice: I had a number to call, someone to talk to. I had a nurse at bedside within an hour. We had new equipment, new medications, new plans of support. We had symptoms managed and new reassurances that everything was okay again.  We had peace. If I were to describe our evening now, it would be tranquil.

This is the case for hospice. This is my passion. This is the reason I want everyone to know what the beauty of Hospice is. My mother isn’t “in hospice”, Hospice is not a place. It is a service that is provided where ever a patient calls home. My mother is on Hospice Services: She is in her own bed, in her own room, in her own home, with her family lovingly supporting her. We have help at the other end of a phone call. We have support, education and medications to make her very comfortable. (She still is not on Morphine, another myth). She has just days to a couple weeks left. Only God knows this answer. She is still the energizer bunny, strong fighter that she has always been.  She is sleeping comfortably with us nearby. We read to her, we talk with her, we watch her sleep. We rest, we visit, we process.

Oh, what a joy, to share this precious time with her. What a blessing to support my stepdad in his care for her. There is nothing more precious than a really good, timely referral to hospice. I will never stop advocating for this amazing blessing… And I get to do this for a living.

Follow The Leader

15 Oct

 

How many times have I held myself hostage to shame or guilt; Lost sleep over things I have said or done, things I wish I had done differently?
How many times have I sat in sorrow, feeling like I have blown it all; Blown God’s blessings for me, messed up and knew He must be so disappointed?
How many times will I question whether I am being punished by Him?
How many times do I question my own belief; How many times will I feel too hypocritical? Like I am supposed to be better than I am doing.
How many times will I be offended or feel resentful over things, hurt by rejection or presumed being unchosen?
How many times do we say, I have to do better, be better, watch my words, grab hold of my sins and fix them?
How many times do we want to do the right thing and ask God over and over, “what is your plan”, “what do you want me to do”, “Open doors, close doors”, and become frustrated because He didn’t answer. Maybe it didn’t matter? Maybe it was more about submission than the outcome.

No More!

This is probably the most powerful truth we can grasp. He wants to be in a close relationship with us. He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him.  To submit our will to Him, our independence to Him, our need to fix life, fix people, fix ourselves achieve stuff, to Him and Him alone. To have a real relationship with Him.

If we believe that Christ was the sacrificial lamb, who died and rescued us from the punishment for our sins, that his death was merciful and complete; Why do we throw that away and reclaim the hopelessness of being judged by the law?

The Sermon on the Mount is so powerful in the expression of the true consequence of our belief. If we judge sin, we will be judged by the law. If we surrender sin, we will be washed clean. Surrendering our ability to do to the one that already did, is powerful and because of our ego, very difficult to do. We don’t have to be perfect to know Him. We just have to know Him, seek Him. We begin to fill up with Him, through His word, through prayer, through being still and letting the words wash over us, by journalling, with praise of Him, worship of Him.

Take your tears, your anger, your brokenness, your fear, your hopes, your wishes, your control, your illness, your insecurity, your anxiety, your hopelessness, your joy; take this all to Him. He knows everything and still loves you enough to take it all away and make you new. Build you back up, create in you a new mind, a new heart, a new hope.

If we don’t trust God with our complete hope, we fall short. We, the ones trying to do the impossible-becoming perfect, or running away so fast because we are imperfect, we need to remember who is the only one that will ever be perfect. And learn what His love and death for us, did for us.

We are all sinners.
All are welcomed by God.
We love ourselves and love this world best when we begin with loving God and accept His love in return.
We don’t turn from our sin and with this perfected new self, accept Christ and His Grace and Mercy.
We turn to Him, the only one, that can rescue us and transform us by our own submission to Him

It isn’t those that worked so hard at changing their sins and being good, that will be known by Him.  The ones that knew they couldn’t do anything without having a deep and trusting relationship with our Lord, will be known.

We are so unworthy, every one of us, to sit in Heaven with God, but He chose you, not because your so great, or so perfect, not to be the judge, or the next teacher; not to be the next amazing, not to be the next best, but to be loved by Him, for Him, for this world.

He will transform you, rebuild you, for His purpose. He will not leave that work undone. He did not say you will not leave the work undone. He did not say reject those people, judge those sins as abomination. He said be a light in the world. Know you are a sinner yourself and from that joy of forgiveness, let other’s see what grace is and does.

When the townspeople were set to stone the woman for adultery, Jesus taught the message of let the one without sin, throw the first stone. No one could. But don’t miss the second part of that message. Everyone left, leaving the woman alone there. Jesus is the only one that didn’t leave that woman alone in her sin. He loved her so much even in her sinful state of being an adulterer. He didn’t judge her. He instructed her to not sin any longer. I would love to know her testimony from that rescue, that love, that welcoming.

This is what it means to follow Him. Follow His examples of prayer, of relationship to the Father, to surrender and submit over and over and over again.

Grace cannot be earned; Grace is not the goal. Grace is the gift, the fulfillment of requirements, someone else took the punishment of your sins for you. Grace is the invitation to join Jesus in a relationship.  ALL are welcome to this.

This relationship will be harder, not easier. Submission is hard. God transforms you, and it can be difficult to be healed in many ways.  Remember though; In the perfect garden, Eden, where all needs were supplied, where God walked as a friend, Eve chose deception for more than all supplied needs and God as a friend and Adam chose to please Eve and blame everyone. We are built this way; Imperfect creatures. You are never going to be perfect. Not ever.

Knowing who God is, knowing He loves you, letting that fill your heart, letting that move you and guide you; trusting in Him, through every up and down, every betrayal, every trial, every loss… That is where your purpose and your freedom is found. That is where joyful living begins and endless pursuit of happiness ends.

“For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy].”

ROMANS 6:14 AMP

https://www.bible.com/bible/1588/rom.6.14.amp

“Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ———-”

John 8:1-11 NLT

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/jhn.8.1-11.nlt

Sermon on the Mount is Matthew 5-7. I encourage you to read this.

https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mat.5.1.nlt

Hope

2 Sep

by Beckie Halaska

God gave my friend and I this word last night. It was just one word. A powerful word.
I have realized that Hope is what drives everything; Everything!
We go on dates because we hope for this to be the one.
We flirt, we share, we open our hearts up because we hope for the relationship to be important, we hope for love.
We begin new jobs, plan families, plan vacations, all from hope.
We fight disease from hope.
We stay in jobs because of hope.
We invest energy, resources and time in the hopes of outcomes.
We go on diets, and begin exercising with a hope of achieving a goal.
We look forward to an event, hoping for a fun time.
We pray from hope, and sometimes we pray for hope.
Today, we pray for a hurricane to move away, we hope for safety, for lives to be spared, for change.

Hope is hugely important and drives just about all we do or desire.
The Hebrew root words to describe Hope all stem around the word trust: To trust, or worthy of trust.  To put our trust in God is to put our Hope in Him.

The entire bible is about Hope. Jesus himself was about Hope. One of my favorite scriptures is the epitome of that Hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

There is a hope that comes from knowing that at the end of our time here, at the end of this amazing and turbulent world, we will no longer suffer and there will be joy everlasting. What a hope this is.

There is a hope that comes from trusting that even when we can’t see an outcome, with things out of our control, God is still in charge, still working all things out for our good. There is a hope that when we look back on our lives, we can see that we always came out of hardship. All the pieces made us who we are, gave us our purpose.

When you don’t have that hope, when you are trying to do this all on your own, when you have lost the ability to see hope, find hope, we become desolate and alone. We crumble. Sometimes hope is all that is left when the suffering is great. It can be just a thread, but it is life itself. Without that thread of hope, we have nothing.

Hopelessness is a rampant disease these days. People suffering and taking their lives, because they have lost hope. Our world isn’t becoming more evil, our world is losing hope.

In all that I have gone through, in all I have done, I can only give God that credit. It is because I learned from hopelessness, that He is my hope. And all my hope comes from the Lord. I have learned to trust in His sovereignty. I am grateful to not have to shoulder everything myself and I know this world will have it’s share of suffering and sorrows, but my strength and joy comes from the hope for heaven. For eternity.  I can lean on that when all else falls apart. This life is a vapor and it without the Hope of more, it loses all meaning.
Literally no one will know most of us even lived here 2 generations from now. We are not so important to be remembered like that.
However, we are so important to those people we love and those we encounter. We are also important to God.
We can be the ones that light the fire of hope in this suffering world. One smile at a time. We can be the hope that says to one person or many, every day, “I see you, you matter”. “There is still good here”. “You are loved, even if I don’t know you, I know God and He loves you beyond measure”.

Hope. We talk about being accepting, being love, but what we really need to be is hope spreaders.  We need to share what Hope looks like, feels like, and how we found it, how we find it every day.

That is our calling here. That is our legacy for the future generations. That is our light in the dark.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. “- Romans 15:13

Through The Tears

16 Jul

By Beckie Halaska

The thunder rolls, the rain pours down as I sit in complete still and silence.
I am in awe of our awesome God. His power. His love.

I bring my grief and sorrow to Him and just lay it wide open for Him.

I feel a sense of His presence.  When I can just be still, I become so aware of Him around me. My heart is so full. So overwhelmed.

This is a practice of being aware of Him. Seeking Him.
When I stop being me focused, silence the crazy world and be still, alert, aware of Him, He shows off for me in big ways.

How can I not worship this knowing, protective, worthy, infinite, unchangeable God?

I will never be strong enough.
I will never be loving enough.
I will never be whole enough.
I will never be beautiful enough.
I will never be worthy of His beautiful Grace.

It pours over my heart, my spirit as I soak in His greatness.
It is a free gift He showers on me. Over me
His peace is beyond all understanding.
It is well. Deep within my soul, my heart, it is well.

My beautiful Mom knows this God, this rescuer and lover of our souls as much as I do.
It is all well with her soul. This brings me so much comfort.

She may be preparing her goodbye’s to this world , but her joy has only begun.
As the storm gives way to blue skies, I am so blessed by His love and comfort.

As the tears fall, the sorrow leaves.
Because of Him.

Joy overwhelms me, peace that makes no sense in these circumstances, transcends through my whole spirit.

And I sit in gratitude. Such a good, good Father.

Amen.

Little Bits of Wisdom

29 Jun

By Beckie Halaska

God has been really putting some very real truth within my heart.
Little pieces of wisdom, morsels as it becomes my understanding and knowledge.

I am not wise; He is wise. I am learning to be wise, like Him, through Him.
I am imperfect. I have very good moments. Moments that I am absolutely a useful tool for God’s love and grace. I also have moments of pure human emotion and reactions.

I can be very hard on myself, very religiously legalistic, where I expect myself to be perfect. Perfectly His image. That is a lie that Satan uses to make the world think God is not real, that our Christian faith is a joke.
I am so not perfect. I am completely human. Paul really hits home to this point in Romans 7 and 8. I am nothing without God. I will never be perfect. I will need Him always, and without that knowledge, I will either fail miserably or I will take complete credit for everything God has done on my behalf.
I had a few things happen this week that confirm I am hearing Him fully. Last Sunday morning I was talking to God that He seemed to not be close to me. I don’t “feel” him like I used to. I have all this head knowledge, but He feels far away. Later in church, as I was leaving, I saw acquaintances that were sitting behind me, we greeted one another, joked a bit, and as I walked away, God pressed hard on my heart to go back to the husband (If you know me, I have a heart for women and really don’t talk to that many men!) and ask him if he needed prayer and within my soul I knew he did and knew it was health related. He choked up because he in fact, has some very real and very new health issues. God showed off for us both.

Later in the week as I sat listening to a chaplain from work present at a meeting, he shared about how he overcomes his inner voice to minister to people at the commitment center for sexual abusers.
I realized a new layer of truth about God. I have always struggled to understand how God can allow so much suffering here, especially the kids. In that moment I saw the truth. We are here for such a brief moment. This time here is short, and our time with Him is beyond our comprehension. We will absolutely suffer here. Sometimes it just seems too much! Jesus is a perfect reminder of just how much suffering we will have here. This world is hard! We are all so imperfect and there is very real evil here. We are all fragile and suffer illness, abuse, hardships. Not one of us is above it. But God!

This does not take away our purpose here. God is Sovereign over all of it. He knew every single thing you would suffer here and also said He will not leave you alone in it. He never said you will have happiness and joy all the days of your life. You didn’t get the raw deal if you have suffered great loss, been abused or watched a child suffer. Our hearts are too pure to endure it well, for sure. He said, though, don’t focus on this world too much. This world is very hard and broken, your trials will be many amongst your blessings. This world is short, heaven is forever. Colossians 3:2. Heaven is our victory one day. This world will be no more for us and we will dwell in peace forever.

Religion and misled believers, have done a number on who God is. People have misunderstood that our relationship with God is a vertical, one to one relationship. Jesus said over and over that we absolutely cannot judge anyone’s walk with Him. Our job is to love Him so much that we can’t help but have that spill out of us. Our job is to be so humbled by our own lack of ability to perfect faith that we give the same grace to everyone we meet and especially those that harm us, or hurt us.

At the end of the day, it just doesn’t matter who loves us or doesn’t love us. It doesn’t matter how successful we are or if we are learning to be good stewards of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you have walked closely with God your whole life, have a successful marriage and family or if you have just found redemption from your jail cell. God is the equalizer. His grace, His pursuit of you, His dying on the cross for you, His love and plans for you are equal. No more, no less.

I have learned fully that even really bad people can be saved. You can be unkind, slanderous, a trouble maker, a liar, a cheat and still be saved. You can be arrogant, mean, manipulative and judgemental and still be saved. You can be super kind and righteous in your own humble way and not be saved.
It is not what we do, or don’t do. It is not sin, it is not success; it isn’t how we look to the world that saves us.

God is still that prodigal father sitting on the stoop, offering his grace through the sacrifice of His son, simply because He is love. Not because you are. Not because you are without sin. He loves us because that is who He is.

I have come to this understanding of God’s sovereignty. Our lives were planned before we were born. We will go through all of our trials and all of our joys, and at the end of the day, they are all for His purposes. To bring Him Glory. Our real free will is whether we choose Him in it or not. We sin because we have sin in us. Even when we walk close with Him. Period.

As this begins to really settle on my soul, I am filled with such a peace, knowing He has it all figured out. If I could only just keep my eyes on Him at all times and not be so wishy washy… But God.
Yes, He works it all out for our good and for His purposes. Always Grace. Always more grace.
And it is well, with my soul. Amen.