Becky Emerick

Becky Emerick

Jan 022016
 

New Game

Checkers. It was my life-game. Safe, familiar, and homey. I was good at it, too.

I thought, Sweet! God has put me in a game that I’m good at!

And the game was predictable. It had its rules, and I knew them. Sure, occasionally the board got bumped and spilled, but the pieces would line back up and the game would go on.

And then… bam. God changed the game.

There are still constants – like the board – remaining a grid of alternating squares – but the pieces are all different. Knights, Rooks, Bishops, Queens. The Kings stand tall and lean instead of short and round. Chess is a different world.

I begin to question all of my moves, past and future. I look down, all around, and it seems familiar and yet entirely new.

Sometimes I feel excited. I like change! Variety makes life fun and interesting! New pieces! New discoveries!

But sometimes I feel sad. I miss the old familiar double-jumps and “king-me’s.”

And then, especially late at night, I can feel overwhelmed. So many choices, decisions, and rules to learn.

I didn’t have time to play Checkers right. How am I ever going to get this new game down?

 


Too much allegory? Ok, how about this:

Last year, we switched jobs, school groups, doctors, friends, ministries, extra-curricular activities, and more, but the biggest change of all was with our church. (And if you know me, you know that I wouldn’t just jump churches like a squirrel jumps to a nearby branch, simply because the acorns look better.)

No, this year felt more like God picked up my checker piece, legs dangling, kicking a bit (a lot) and spilling a few (buckets of) tears, and placed it on a different game board. And now that I’ve landed, wow, I don’t quite have my bearings, and it’s all so great and mysterious and exciting, and yet a bit unsettling too.

This isn’t the first time God’s “changed the game” in my life.

  • Illnesses
  • Business Busts
  • Moves
  • Accidents
  • Friendship Fiascoes
  • Kids’ Changes and Challenges

The rules of life do have a lot of changes. It’s just that 2015 seemed like a lot-a lot, you know?

But hey, here’s to 2016!

Maybe you’ve graduated, had a baby, started a job, gotten a diagnosis, or lost something precious. How has your game board changed? Does 2016 look different than you imagined it would? Let’s chat about it.

And now – I’m off to learn the rules of chess, thankful that God is guiding my play-book.

Here’s to opening an entire closet of board games in 2016!

Lots of love, and Happy New Year!

XOXOXO,
Becky

 

Nov 182015
 

Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate,

but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” — Jesus (John 10:1)

Climb copy

I’m not expert in World Religions, but someone who straps bombs to their body to gain a better afterlife sure sounds like someone trying to climb into Heaven – or to get there by their own effort. In other religions, your good had better outweigh your bad, or you’ll be sorry.

Many people who fly the Christian flag seem to be doing an immense amount of climbing themselves. They shout instructions at others to strap on their harnesses and clip their carabiners to their personal ropes of self-righteousness. I’m talking climbing like Tom Cruise in MI3 on the edge of a rock climbing.

These Olympic Climbers say you aren’t a Christian – a part of His flock – unless you (fill in the blank.)

Oh, you want specifics?

Ok, here goes.

Read a particular Bible version. Pray to that person. Follow his teaching, but not hers.

Dress in a certain style. Get baptized this way. Sing songs with this tempo, and don’t sing those songs.

Attend these functions. Give this much. Believe only this way about Christ’s return.

Don’t put that on your body. Don’t put that into your body. And don’t let us hear those words coming out of your mouth.

And culturally…

Don’t shop at those stores. Only vote this way. Don’t drink that coffee out of those cups.

And unless the culturally relevant crowd who are serving the poor, headbanging in church, and fighting climate change think I’m speaking to the conservative side, think again. Arrogance goes both ways.

To climbers of all sides – Jesus makes it very clear:

There is only ONE to-do list item for a person to become a part of Jesus’s flock.

 

ENTER

 

And how do we enter?

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” — Jesus   (John 10:9)

Friends, our Shepherd, Jesus, is alive and coming back for us soon. Please, stop climbing with your ropes of self-righteousness and trust that He is holding the gate open for you. You simply need to enter.

Then, let’s joyfully show others the way.

 

Nov 132015
 

Here

A letter to Jesus –

 

Here.

It’s the best place to be because it’s where You want me.

And to be honest, there never is a There, because when I’m finally there, it will be a new Here.

A year ago, I never thought I’d be Here. Even if You’d told me, I’d have shaken my head and bombarded You with questions.

Like the questions I get from my son before bed. “What’s the plan for tomorrow? Where are we going? When are we leaving? Will it be fun? Will I know anyone?”

Some nights, I just don’t want to fill him in on every detail. And besides, if plans change, then I’ll just have a disappointed young man, and I’ll have a lot of explaining to do. Often, it’s easier to tell him:

“Wait and see. Trust me. It will be great.”

And I’m the same way.

The road can be bumpy. Narrow. Winding. Hard. Tears line the sides like guardrails.

But it’s splattered in laughter, joy, hugs, peace, and sunshine.

I’m so happy to be Here.

And as long as You’re with me, Here is the best place.

 

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5b

Aug 252015
 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jesus is coming soon!

Everyone defines “soon” differently, but we know it’s closer every day, and I think about it all the time.

Most recently, I wondered: If we were whisked into Heaven tonight, what would happen to the unresolved relationships that we currently have with other Christians?

I’d like to say all of my relationships are perfect, but let’s face it – that’s just not the truth. Most of the troubled ones are in the midst of some sort of reconciliation, but if God returned, and we were at the cusp of eternity, what would happen? What happens to the conflict?

You know what I think?

We’d see ourselves and our sinfulness in its fullest light. Then we’d see the GREAT GRACE that God has given us! And when we looked at our brothers and sisters, we’d say, “I forgive you! I love you! God’s grace is HUGE!” And then we’d run up a mountain and dance in a cloud.

So why can’t we live like that now?

Why can’t we talk about things and just say, “Hey, I know you sinned, and so did I. It sucks. But God’s grace is bigger than both of us combined. So I love you. And will continue to love you. Let’s keep going…”

I think that’s what God intended when Jesus instructed us to forgive our brothers a gazillion times (to use my 6 year old’s math skills.)

A gazillion times.

Over and over. Because we aren’t perfect – yet. And until then, let’s love Jesus, love each other, communicate well, and throw heaps of grace over all of our messes.

Oh come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Amen.

 

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Jun 252015
 

In Heaven, there will be streets of gold. Perfect. Smooth.

But that is not the case now.

The road outside our country home was broken, destroyed by a myriad of large machines that had driven on it while constructing a bridge nearby. It literally buckled under the weight, splitting in the middle, creating an impassable trench down the center. Travelers could only brave the edges, steering clear of the 6” chunks of broken asphalt and the bulging basins.

It needed to be fixed.

But the process of fixing a road was a lot more complicated than I thought.

First, the excavators came and dug up entire sections of our road, hauling the debris away in dump trucks that returned later with gravel to fill in the craters. I had to park a few blocks away and walk home because the road was impassable. Then, just as I was able to drive down our street again, the agitators came, scraping up the rest of the road. They literally churned the remaining asphalt in circles, grinding and grinding, shaking our house and releasing old sediment into our well.

The trucks worked day and night, with the “beep beep beep” filling our dreams. At times, I had to cancel my plans because large 4’ piles of filling materials lined the road and blocked my driveway. We sat on the porch watching bulldozers, steam rollers, and dump trucks drive by.

road

The changes made to our road were inconvenient and messy. But necessary.

The process was hard, painful, and full of irritation. At times I was angry at the workers for disturbing my plans and my sleep. I wanted to have instant gratification, and when I was told I had to wait, or when the process took longer than expected, I was irate. Why couldn’t it be done now?

But the process needed to take time. The old had to be uprooted before the new could be laid down. The end result was going to be good – great, even – a beautiful, smooth, freshly paved road! Free of chuck holes that ate tires and gravel that chipped windshields. But to get there… oh my.

Then the analogy hit me.

God is making me into a beautiful, paved road, free of chuck holes and gravel. But to get there, it’s going to take some hardships. Trials. Times of waiting. It will be full of irritating people and annoying beeps.

Often, I’m tempted to get angry at the instruments of change. The construction workers. The headaches. The excavators of life. But I know I must patiently endure, because our Great Engineer has ordained all of it for my good.

In the end, I’ll still have moments when I need to get patched or resurfaced. That’s a part of life in this sinful world. But I can look forward in faith to when my faith will be perfected, and in Christ, we’ll all be streets of gold.

Our God Hears

 Posted by on June 11, 2015  Writing  No Responses »
Jun 112015
 

“I feel like God is sending me to the lion’s den… in Washington!”

Over the winter, I wrote a children’s production for our Worship Arts Camp about prayer. I had no idea what God had in store through that theme.

Numerous events have occurred recently that have (literally) sent me collapsing to my knees. They’ve caused me to pray daily, moment by moment, for His wisdom and peace on behalf of myself and others I love. And as prayers aren’t answered the way I think is best, lines from the script are flooding my heart. Our God hears, and He answers, even when we don’t understand.

Here is the trailer for the musical. My hope is that through the week, the children will draw close to God, our Creator, who hears the prayers of His children.

May 212015
 

WWJDOver a hundred years ago, before Christian Bookstores made bank on the phrase WWJD in the 90’s, Charles Sheldon wrote a book called “In His Steps,” where a pastor asks his church to pledge to do only what Jesus would do for a year.

Apparently this book is a best-seller, but I only heard about it because I’m pre-reading my daughter’s literature list for next year. The fiction account gives us an avenue where we can interact with how a variety of people across all social and economic classes react to the call. I found it inspiring, fresh, and challenging.

Here’s an excerpt:

Vast quantities of food and clothing and large sums of money were donated by the churches, the charitable societies, the civic authorities, and the benevolent associations. But the personal touch of the Christian disciple was very hard to secure for personal work. Where was the discipleship that was obeying the Master’s command to go itself to the suffering and give itself with its gift in order to make the gift of value in time to come?

“The Bishop found his heart sink within him as he faced this fact more than any other. Men would give money who would not think of giving themselves. And the money they gave did not represent any real sacrifice because they did not miss it. They have what was the easiest to give, what hurt them the least. Where did the sacrifice come in? Was this following Jesus? Was this going with Him all the way?” (In His Steps, p 213)

I really appreciated the fact that Mr. Sheldon didn’t declare to know the only right way to follow Jesus. A variety people wrestled with the question of what Jesus would do, and the answer wasn’t a cookie-cutter approach to life. They each had to decide for themselves based on their own situations, upbringings, and talents. They also realized that in order to answer correctly, they needed to know more about Jesus, which led to a more passionate study of His Word.

I highly recommend this book. I consider it a modern-day parable. Rather than a “Christian Living” book that tells you what you are supposed to do, this book shows you how it could be done.

Now I wish I had my old WWJD leather bracelet I wore in high school. Fad or no, it is a reminder I need daily. Now I’m left with the challenge of looking at my life in light of what Jesus would do if he were a home schooling mom of 4 sitting comfortably in the Midwest. It’s not a question that can be answered quickly.

What about you? Have you ever thought about what you would change?

And do you still have any of your old WWJD paraphernalia sitting around? Maybe I could borrow it for awhile.