Tag Archives: relationships

The Letter

10 Sep

by Beckie Halaska

My mom put a letter in my hands as I left her house and said “read this when you get home.”  I asked her if it will make me cry, she smiled her sweet smile and said “yes”.

I have held the letter in my hands for long minutes, staring at it, unable to open it. Wanting to hang on to the mom I have always had, strong in mind and spirit. Not ready for what is coming. Not ready to read her words.

I am so grateful for the time I am blessed to spend with her and leaving her gets more difficult. As her body grows weaker with every passing week, her spirit grows stronger. She is more peaceful, happier.

This is what the hope of Heaven looks like. Peace. I am blessed to see it in my mother’s eyes.She is at peace with her journey and is now beginning to look forward to meeting her beloved bridegroom. I am encouraged by her inner strength.

As I set the letter back down, my heart streams down my face. I say a silent prayer for her and I decide maybe I will open it tomorrow. Not tonight.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21:4 

Advertisements

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

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.

When Evil Seems to Win

30 May

There is an ever present evil in the world. We can see it every single time we open social media or turn on the news. None of us will be spared evil in some fashion.

When your life has been touched by evil, one of the biggest challenges will be to not become embittered in the battle, especially if it seems to not touch the one that caused the harm.

We want things to be fair, and when there isn’t justice, we can lose sight on what actually is true. Evil may seem like it is winning but the truth is, there is no “win” in evil, only destruction.  Evil also loves to seduce in numbers.

Maybe that is the real goal of evil, to make us really question if there is any goodness left, to stop believing in the goodness of the world. Obviously we know the goal of evil is also for us to ultimately question our faith and hope.

Guarding our hearts against bitterness is very important during this battle. Bitterness can choke out the light in us, God in us. It is a daily battle; A war for our souls.

When we filter our thoughts on what has been done, no matter what has been done, we begin the battle of unforgiveness. When we begin to want justice, we begin our battle against bitterness. The battle will be fought in many ways, but at the end of the day, the real battle with be within your own mind, your own heart.

Trials will absolutely always come. Evil will be at times, be very strong against us. It is a spiritual war and a battle for our soul. Evil will come in many forms to wear us down. There will be attacks. There will be slander. There will be times you are or feel all alone in the battle. You will feel overwhelmed, defeated at times and you will want to give up the fight.

That is exactly when we must stay focused and steadfast in our faith. Practicing even what we can’t feel. Trusting in God’s plan for our lives even when it seems so unfair or worse, impossible. Reading His promises even when we can’t seem to believe it fully. He tells us that His word never falls void. Keep reading it.

Evil utilizes comparison, isolation, judgement and fear. The word of God, prayer and steadfast commitment to Him is the anecdote.

God will always triumph. This is His story. Evil doesn’t win. We may not appear to win in this world, but we are not to conform to this world, we are to remain in Him.

Our journey is not really about our success, how we fit in, or what anyone else does, thinks or says about us.  Our journey is to become Holy.

There is only one absolute truth, we are in a vertical relationship with Christ, He and us alone. There will not be anyone else with you when you take your knee at the throne.

When evil mocks you, pray.  Tell Him your wish for justice, He understands. He believes in justice as well. He is also merciful and gave you grace.

Praying not only for your faith to remain steady and confident, but importantly, pray for anyone being used by evil. That is the greatest weapon we have against bitterness.

Grace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

Suffer with Hope

20 Apr

I don’t know why we think life shouldn’t be hard?  Where did we ever get this idea from?We all (ALL) have this idea that life should be easy.  I had to work this out myself, this legalistic idea that I somehow had become “good enough” to deserve less suffering.

My non-believing friends speak about  controlling the things that happen by “what we put in the universe”

What if I told you that it was never intended to be easy or without sorrow. Jesus, the “Son Of God” himself drank from the same cup of sorrow we suffer, on our behalf.

He suffered rejection and betrayal, especially at the end of His life. He sat at a table, washed the feet of those that would abandon Him and betray Him.  The disciples fled and left him, Peter denied knowing Him; Judas sold him out!

I saw this photo and it really brings home the fullness of suffering.

Mary, who bore our King in the most difficult of ways, also had to watch Him be beaten, dragged, mocked, spit on, nails driven in his feet and hands so he could hang on the tree until he died. His side was stabbed.

This mother, aside from being the Chosen King, loved her child,her first born son!She loved him beyond measure. How her heart must have suffered! She must have begged and had her own prayers not mentioned in the bible.
Our Lord, how He suffered! Imagine the pain and the fear! His prayers in the garden, his frantic beseeching of  his friends, his disciples to stay awake while he prayed.  He was alone, afraid, he was human in that moment.

Yet, His words “Thy Will Be Done” is the overall theme of trusting in God, trust that has so much Hope behind it.

Life is hard! This world though it has life, love, joy, and health, it also has death, sickness, betrayal, loneliness, fear, unkindness, evil.  Our poor kids don’t get to see the posts on social media about all the good there is. There is an epidemic of hopelessness.

Jesus understood us.  He knows your thoughts even before you speak them and he completely understands, completely relates to you, because he walked through this world, just like us.  He is full of acceptance, love, encouragement and understanding.

If you really get to know Him and His life, you can see how he worked out his obedience through all the suffering he witnessed to and all that he endured. He modeled it all for us.
It isn’t about how you react, it’s how you walk out a trial. We work through things. It’s not that we don’t suffer at all. We will and we do.

We stumble, we fumble, we fear, we cry…BUT peace, hope and joy can co-exist within those same feelings, when we just come to Him with it all, with every bit of it. We are set free and placed back on the path. Our circumstances may not be changed, but our peace returns, even while our trial still rages.

Mary loved her son. She was chosen by God. She suffered terribly, I can’t even imagine her mama’s heart!  But Hope.

This world doesn’t need more politics, more laws, more leaders, more religion. This world needs more hope. Hope is what I see so lost in this world.

Placing our hopes on success or people, or politicians or husbands, or friends… we will never be at peace. Placing our hopes in the finished work of Christ, the hope of all hopes, our perfect salvation, the one we don’t have to work out for ourselves, gives us renewed vigor to get through everything.

There is a divine Hope, an unsinking, unshaking, unrelenting hope I have found in my Savior. It is there even when everything falls apart. I celebrate this with so much gratitude every day., even more on Easter.

Even in the hard times, even when I sorrow, fear, or have anger. He is always near.  I am unreliable to Him, but He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. He is who he says he is, no matter what we do or say.

This beautiful Easter season, find Him. Seek Him.  He died for everyone, even those that will never acknowledge Him. He is waiting, never giving up, always pursuing you.

1 Peter 1:19-20 – “He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you.”

True Religion

26 Nov

As I began my rediscovery of my faith, I promised to always be transparent. I may not always be completely accurate but I am always honest with you. Especially in the ways I doubt or mess up.

I think the hardest part of my faith journey these 10 years, is shaking off the beliefs, the ideals, the teachings that actually kept me from really knowing God, knowing Christ.  I think you can be saved, by simply accepting the gift of salvation Christ gave to you.  That mustard seed, if it took root, is enough.

Religions have made it difficult for us to really know Christ. To know God. To know the Holy Spirit. The rules and politics became magnified and we lost sight of the fact that people in need of a savior were the ones teaching and preaching and leading us.  Sadly, because of the sin in people, it is hard for people to find God.

Religion became about people; Like we did it, like we saved ourselves. We lost God in the mix. Even our non-denominational churches need a shaking up.  We spend so much time on wrong things. We waste opportunity after opportunity, simply because we missed the point.  WE are not the point. WE didn’t earn our salvation.

Sin is a black stain. All sin is a black stain. Whether you lie about why you’re running late or you harm a child. Sin is black. It is all black and in need of a redeemer. Period.  Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) fell to his knees and couldn’t even look at God because he was able to fully see the stain of his sin compared to the Glory of God.  That is us. Each and every one of us.

That is why Jesus was born.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”” Luke 19:10 NLT

He is the seeker, the all-knowing, just waiting to be known.   Period. 

God created every life. He loves every single life. He seeks every life to know Him.

If the creator of all things,  loves every life, cherishes and longs for every life to know Him, pursues every sinner, how arrogant it is to judge any single person anything.

He isn’t doing this to you. He is seeking you. He is saying “look at me, look to me, seek me and you will find me, hear me, follow me, trust me. ”  It is not a human responsibility to fix society. It is a human response to salvation to want to share that amazing advent with the world.

God could force us to worship Him, but he seeks us. He could reject us for not choosing Him, but He simply continues to pursue us.

There is a longing in us, for more. A hole inside our heart, a wounded sorrowful place that without Him, never becomes full. He left that space inside our hearts just for Himself.  I have times where I don’t feel Him there and it hurts. Physically. I miss Him.  When I begin to worship Him, glorifying Him, I feel my whole being fill up.

My faithwalk is one of ups and downs. I go through periods of deep devotion, humbled and reverent awe of all He is. I also go through periods of time where I forget about Him, I do things out of my own ambitions and needs, and not out of obedience and submission. I am prideful at times, without acknowledgement of all He provides. I am self sufficient, moving along without thinking of Him, at all.  There are times that I have literally sat in such a place of awe, knowing it was Him with me because the atmosphere completely changed.  I have also been edgy, worried, fearful, gossipy, insecure, all things that I am when I forget who He is and who I have dwelling within me.

Honestly, I am in a weird place in my journey. It is so different that at times, I worry that my faith is going cold, yet at the same time, knowing it isn’t. I am trusting Him with this new place, not because I am so good at being a Christian…(I am not), but because I have learned that I can try to be but it really works much easier if I remember that He is in charge and He has never let me down. He is sovereign.

It is so hard to imagine a God that can dwell inside of us. How crazy does that sound? That He would choose us, to dwell within us? We know, deep down, from that humble awareness that we are probably not perfect enough for Him to be inside of us. So why do we expect perfection from the world around us?

HE is the one that loved us first. HE, the one that created the world, also numbered every single hair on every single head. He is self reliant and self existent. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need one single thing because He is omnipotent and sovereign.  We just get to travel through this world, on our way to His world.

He didn’t tell us we were so wonderful, He said we were wonderfully made. He didn’t say we were worth rubies, He said we were bought with the price of rubies.

I forget this humility.  Often. We all do.  We need to do better at loving this world, and we need to start by loving God and loving every person God created, starting with ourselves. We all walk around with that hole inslde that only he can fill and we all walk around with the big black stain of sin. No sin is exempt and no sinner is exempt. No sin is darker. No sin is less than.  Neither are the sinners. We, every single human on this earth is a sinner. Period. It isn’t that we are free to sin however we choose, it is that we are called to humble our own selves before Him and surrender our own sin to Him. It is vertical, this sinner/savior relationship. This is what Jesus meant about the plank in your own eyes. (Matthew 5-7).

My faith may not “feel” tangible to me, but He is really opening my eyes to the truth. To my lowness in the big scheme of things. That lowness is blessed with promise and joy everlasting. Truth shall set us free. I want us all to know true freedom.

So, put your bible on your bed-stand and walk out your door today and see the hole in people. Not the black stain. Find the love inside of you and look around you, see the love needed and share that love, pursue it passionately. When we do this, then we are behaving like God. Oh that I would walk this, every moment of every day.

This is true religion.

 

His Purposes

14 Sep

At the beginning of our walk with Christ, we see Him begin to heal us, change us, make us new in new ways. We bask in the joy of getting it! Of knowing Grace, mercy! It is the beginning of a journey. We love Him.

Satan will do everything he can to distract you from continuing from there. Not because you aren’t saved – our salvation is a gift – we can’t earn it.

He tries to distract us so we don’t grow stronger and more able to be used for our purpose. To keep moving forward. Deep roots.

Those of us who push through battle after battle and continue to grow through failure and hardships, those of us who always turn back to Him, over and over, grow to understand Him. We understand who He is and we achieve this place of knowing who we are in Christ.

Many stop here loving the blessings of being loved and provided for. Maybe leading bible studies. Teaching believers.

And then there are some of us that go deeper with Him still and grow to understand it’s not about Satan or who is against us or for us, it is about who we are for. Our whole purpose and passion shifts.

It becomes all about Him. Not about us at all.

We get to this place where we feel urgency to bring others to Him, to shed the light of Hope in this dark world. We don’t care about the world and it’s distractions/ we enjoy them but our passion remains in Him.

Satan will do everything he can to stop you, warfare becomes very real.

But if not us, then who?

We will take up the sword, we will walk confidently in His power, not our own strength. We will seek Him in everything, and see the blessings are not houses when His house sits empty. It is not money or love, when His lost are still lost and need us to love them to help them never go hungry again.

I read the last of Daniel today.

And yes, urgency is burning in my soul. The minute I knew I was useful to God was when I stopped thinking it was about me, but rather it was His purpose for me.

I am already empowered, embraced, equipped and loved. It is about Him.

He who dwells within me. I can do all things- because of Him. For Hm. His purposes.

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬