A letter

11:11

In Bloomfield, Year 3 on November 12, 2017 at 12:14 am

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Today is November 11th. Or, 11/11. That might not be significant to many people, but as you know, it is about as significant a number as any number ever will be for us. Of all the times it’s been significant, this yearor I should say a year ago today— it marked something that changed our lives forever.

Funny to think it was just like any other day in our life: crazy, chaotic. Big surprise. Me at our school co-op, David at his early morning men’s group. And then a simple question at the end of a conversation that would send us on this insane journey. “I just don’t understand why you don’t have your own church.” Little did David know these words would haunt him and spark our dream back to life. That dream we didn’t really think about anymore. That one we had almost forgotten about. But the one that God had not forgotten at all.

I’ll never forget David’s phone call that day—where I was, the smell of the building, me trying to walk Goldie to sleep in the hallnone of it. It’s branded in my mind forever. I just knew that after three years of almost bleeding out in this crazy land of NYC, that the spark we felt was not natural, it didn’t make sense, but was undeniably God.

Those next four days are also days that I will never forget. The string of mind-blowing confirmations and happenings were almost eerie. You can’t make this stuff up.

After that conversation, we were spinning. We couldn’t think or be productive, so David came home early from work and we headed upstate. Our usual: drive, talk, dream, plan. Earlier in the day I had sent David a screen shot of an opening show at a friend’s gallery I wanted to attend. In one of our many conversations that day I asked if he had seen my text. Upon looking at it again, he realized that across the photo I sent were the numbers 11:11. Goosebumps, chills.

You remember back in Wally, that 11:11 was our number? It was the birthplace of “The Rising.” It was God’s intent, His bringing things that seemed dead back to life. It was John 11:11. It was who Jesus is—was in that season of life for us. It was a number we saw everywhere, a constant reminder of what He was doing and what He could do. And then we moved, started law school and didn’t see or hear anything for what felt like a lifetime.

Fast forward five years later. It’s 11:11 and God is speaking again, reminding us that our dream was not dead, but sleeping, and He’s bringing it back to life.

We were almost ready to head out on our drive that day, and I realized I forgot something for Goldie. As I was upstairs, Leon piped up from the back seat. “Hey, dad, do you ever wonder if you’re supposed to do anything else big with your life?” “Like what, buddy?” “I don’t know, something else big? Do you ever wonder if you’re supposed to be a pastor again?”

I’m not sure anything could have spoken louder to us. David wondered if I had said something to the boys. Was God actually already confirming to us what he had sparked earlier that day through our own 7-year-old son? Without a doubt. I had not said a word in ear-shot of the boys. Heaven was shouting, loudly. We were listening.

A bit later in our drive, David turned to me and said, “Babe, today is eleven-eleven. It’s November 11th. Again, goosebumps—chills. God was writing it in the sky for us. Obviously. That day our lives changed forever. He’s writing such an incredible story. One laced with miracles. One so much bigger than anything we could think up on our own. One more life-giving than anything we could imagine. One more fun than we could ever dream up. It is unfolding daily. I know I’ve told you bits and pieces along the way. And someday soon I’ll tell you the rest of story. But for now I had to tell you one thing— DREAM. Dream. You should allow Him to dust off the pages of things forgotten. Dream again. Because I know this: His best is yet to come. And it’s beyond our wildest imaginations.

Love you,

Bep

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Dreams and scarecrows.

In Bloomfield, New York Summer, Uncategorized, Year 3 on August 15, 2017 at 5:39 pm

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Three years, friend. Three years ago, today. Three years ago today that we sat at the Taco Box in the East Village and began our hunt for housing. Three crazy, wonderful years. Three years of the highest highs, and the most brutal lows. Three years of dreaming. Three years of blood, sweat and tears. Three years of living the dream. And, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I will never forget the feeling I had that day. Elated and sick. I think I felt sick to my stomach for the entire week. I kept saying to myself, “We are here, our stuff is here, our kids are here, we’ve moved here.” I remember that feeling of “no return.” Not that I wanted to, but sort of. At the same time, there was nowhere else I wanted to be, and nowhere else I wanted to live. There was one thing we were sure of that day, and that one thing was NYC. Since that day, there is another thing we are sure ofscarecrows.

Scarecrows exist because there is treasure in the field. They exist because there is something of value there. Something they don’t want you to get. Something they don’t want you to find. Something they want to keep secret. They want you to leave and go elsewhere. They want you to move on. And, as we both know, NYC has been full of scarecrows for us.

It’s been full of ugly, mean, taunting scarecrows. Ones that have tried to convince us the field is empty. Ones that have tried to to tell us it’s a barren land. Ones that have tried to tell us we’d starve if we built a home here. Ones that have told us we’d only find fool’s gold here.

But, we are learning. We’re learning they tell lies. We’re learning where the biggest scarecrows are, is actually where we are supposed to be. We are learning that they are spineless, weak facades. We are learning they are lifeless, legless, breathless props. We are realizing the sight of them should actually cheer us onencourage us to walk bolder. They should remind us that gold is yet to be found—that bounty lies there. They should give us courage to stay. They should spur us on to dig deeper, to invite friends along, and to be tenacious. They should make us laugh, because we’ve called their bluff. They should make us dance because we’ve missed their trap. They should make us sing, because they can’t. They should encourage us to add pages to the dream, rooms to the house, buildings to the neighborhood. They should press us to write the dream. To speak it. To make it biggerso big that others must come with you. They should tell us to reach farther. Scarecrows should scare us into the very land they are staked in—where the treasure is hidden, waiting for us.

I think I’ll dream a little more. You should too.

Bep

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When spring feels like winter.

In Entering Spring on May 19, 2017 at 11:54 pm

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Friend! Spring is finally here, and unfortunately, I’m not referring to the weather. It’s still quite cold. I guess May didn’t get the memo regarding spring. So, while I’m layered in a sweater and coat, breathing in the almost frigid air, we are stepping into the warmth of the sun after what seemed like an unending season of darkness and pain.

Thank God I didn’t know long it was going to last. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing you. I would have quit. I would have gone back to our old life. I would have gone for something simpler. I would have opted for something free of pain, struggle, heartache, and agony of soul. I would have picked paved. I would have picked safe. But, I would have died there— craving this adventure my heart was designed for. I’m glad I didn’t know. But mainly, I’m glad I didn’t quit. 

This past season striped us. It’s stripped me. I told Marge the other day that there have been many seasons where I could have sucked it up and put my best foot forward, so-to-speak. I’m not sure I even have a best foot anymore. I feel so bare. But, In a strange way, in my bare-ness, I feel so free. If only I could learn this kind of surrender more easily. I think it’s what His goal is with me—surrender—but I fight it so often. I strive to keep it all together. I strive to show my strength and put-together-ness, when He’s just waiting for me to let go. 

So, here I am, in May entering spring. Eh-hem, in spring, I should say. It’s all around me. You would think after such a long winter season I would run into spring with abandon. But I’ve found myself reaching for a winter coat most days, preparing for the elements. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction. Bracing myself for pain, when the path is clear. It’s like carrying an umbrella when the forecast says sunny.

I remember—you remember, the times I thought “easy” was just around the corner, but never came. The times friendships seemed to be blooming only to mirage away. So now, things are easier, but I don’t always live easy. I find myself looking around the corner in defense of whatever might be hiding. David shared last week that the initial bud doesn’t look like the fruit, and if you don’t have eyes to see it you can miss it. I think we feel like we have PTSD after this last season. I guess that’s the going-for-the-coat thing I was trying to describe. But, the truth is, spring IS here. And, I will not miss it!

We bought these little flower and leaf decals this week to remind us! We put one right on the light switch by the door, so we see it many times a day. Winter may have been long, but the trees are heavy with buds. It says it so perfectly in Isaiah, “See, I’m doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” That means there is the possibility of not seeing it. We might be PTSD-ing, even though it’s in front of us. So, friend, buy some flowers, open a window, put something on your mirror, do what ever you have to do to remember: it’s spring.

Love,

Bep

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