A letter

Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

When living takes courage.

In Bloomfield on July 29, 2016 at 11:48 am


Certainly odd for me, but I just finished reading my second book on death. I sat alone in a quiet, sleeping house sobbing, barely able to read the last chapter. His (the author’s) story hit me at the core of my being. Maybe because my mom has had two brain surgeries this year. Maybe because we just had a baby, and I can’t imagine a goodbye like that. Maybe because the author that passed was only a year older than David. Maybe because we’ve said two painful goodbyes this year already. Or maybe because life is fragile, laced with unbelievable joys and aching tragedy. But maybe mostly because life is a gift, and I want to keep seeing it that way.

It is easy to forget that life is a gift, especially when it’s hard. I’ve wanted to hide from life many days this year. I hate to even admit it, but it’s true. The urge to crawl back under the sheets has been all to frequent. Life has been hard. I’ve felt so bare. We’ve had conversations, asked the difficult questions, reminded ourselves of God’s goodness and cried bottles full of tears—mainly mine. We’ve thought about giving up on dreams and leaving the mountain climb for something easier. As tears continued to fall the other night, I think what gripped my heart the most was realizing not my fear of death, but my fear of life.

In difficult times it’s not the uncertainty of life that makes it hard to keep going, but its seeming certainty. In the face of hardship, it’s the living of life I fear. I fear that there are too many hard days still in front of me. Grappling with death these past few months, as strange as it may seem, has been freeing. The worry about getting through tomorrow is suddenly relieved when I realize all I’ve been given is today. In facing death or life, I’ve only been given today.

There is a peace in surrendering to life as it is today, even through pain. In beauty or mess, in plenty or lack, in joy or pain, the only thing that is certain is today. I think God told us not to worry about tomorrow to protect our heart in times of trouble—to not worry about bearing the weight we feel today, tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Tomorrows aren’t given to us today.

This man’s courage to live while dying challenged me.  It challenged me to live my todays more fully—more yielded and present. It’s challenged me to soak up baby kisses, savor late-night chats with my hubby after long workdays, and to have too many scoops of ice cream. It’s also given me courage to face challenging days, knowing I only have to tackle today for now. This man’s courage also reminded me of another Man we know, who courageously faced death so we could have a better tomorrow. And, it’s because of Him that we do not have to walk alone.

Love,

Bep


In the face of fear: Shadow dwelling.

In New York Summer on August 15, 2015 at 10:27 am

In the throws of change and the unknown, at times this week I felt like I was dangling off a cliff. I fought through the days giving it all I had, grasping for trust, uttering truths under my breath. The nights met me with sleeplessness, and I could feel fear and panic trying to grab my heart. I spent several nights this week bawling myself to sleep just calling out to Jesus, knowing I have nothing to fear, but feeling it so near.

It’s been a Psalm-like week. I find it so easy to romanticize the Psalms I have read my whole life, yet in doing so, forget the real struggle of David’s soul. He didn’t write “tears have been my bed day and night” for poetry’s sake. He wrestled with life’s reality and the goodness of God. He felt at times forgotten. He was aware of the frailty of his own soul. But though he struggled, though he was despairing at times, he continually declared the goodness we know to be true of our God. Even when he heard no answer, he would say,”But for you, O Lord, do I wait: it is You, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

This has been my journey this week. In my dance with fear, at times I felt alone and helpless. Yet in spite of fear, I found courage from David’s journey to speak what I know to be true. I have reminded my heart that I have never seen the righteous forsaken. I’ve continued to believe that I will not be shaken, because He is my Rock. I found courage this week from Davidfrom his honesty, from the bareness of his own soul, and from his clinging to Yahweh amidst darkness. I’ve found freedom in admitting I’m afraid, so that He can take me from it.

You probably remember my childhood verse as well as I do. It’s been my daily bread–my meditation. It’s been so comforting, so familiar, and yet so new:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I  trust. For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

I’m finding my place in His shadow again.

Love you, friend,

Bep

When the grass looks greener.

In New York Summer on July 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm



The boys are at the neighbors and I have a few minutes of quiet on this gorgeous day. It’s been quite a week, as you know. Not sure I’ve ever felt this helpless. It’s been a leaning week—leaning on the faithfulness of Jesus. I guess there isn’t a better spot to be, but it is certainly not the most comfortable. Thankfully God doesn’t always give us what we want. He always gives us better. Our better came in the form of dinner guests. And, let me just say, it was FAR better than the comfort I craved.

We had met this incredible (my-parents-aged) couple a few months back, and after weeks of crazy schedules, we finally found a night to do dinner. This couple moved here about a year ago after acquiring the largest parking garage company in NYC—no small feat, incase you were wondering. To say he is business savvy would be a gross understatement. We told them our story of getting to NY and the insane highs and lows of the last year. He smiled saying he could tell us twenty stories just like the ones we told. He said he’d just tell us one, but we’re so glad he didn’t stop there. He was speaking our language. For several hours he shared story after story of risking all, and sometimes loosing all, only to climb again. They had watched bank accounts dwindle just like we have. They had parallel stories of being down to the wire only to see God come through in miraculous way—except on a much larger scale. They sat across from us beaming, unscathed from the journey, full of faith, cheering us on. He happens to be a professional mountain climber, and has climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. He said when you are close to the peak, you often can’t see it. Sometimes people turn back when they are so close. He told us we just have to be willing to take one step, then one step more.

I lay in bed last night thinking about what I told David earlier this week—that I just wished things were easier. I’d been thinking about how nice it would be to have a steady income and a stable life. I was craving a life with less pressure. But, laying in bed last night I realized I don’t want to live on that side of the fence—that grass isn’t greener for us there. We would be craving adventure, begging God for something more. We would be stagnant—dying inside. We would be laying in bed wishing there was more, not less. Sometimes what we need is courage, not change. I’ve thought I wanted change of scenery, for things to be different. I’ve been wrong. I want to be right where we are, climbing this mountain. I’ve just needed courage to keep climbing. I’ve needed to realize the grass is greenest where he’s led us—right here.

Love you friend,

Bep


Earthly scars. This side of heaven.

In Spring in New York on June 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

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I’m thankful it’s this week. I’m thankful my Mama is here and that last week is over. I’m thankful–the spilling and brimming kind of thankful. I’m not sure any of us were prepared for last week. I thought I was, but I was proven wrong.

It’s not that we haven’t had to trust before. You know we have. This side of heaven we have faced the possibility of loss before, several times. This time felt different.  Maybe it’s that I’m more adult now. Maybe it’s because we had a few weeks to think about it. Maybe it’s because we knew too much about the surgery and what she was going to endure. Maybe it was because it is my own mother. Maybe it’s because moms aren’t supposed to suffer. Maybe it’s because I wanted to remove her from the experience altogether. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want her to have this scar. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t prepared to imagine life without her. I guess that’s not a maybe.

I realized, tears pouring last Tuesday, that I wasn’t actually fearful. I felt peace. Yet, through peace, I knew there was one outcome I didn’t want to face, even if He was with us. I was trusting. My raw emotions weren’t the absence of trust but the reality of my human heart. I know God holds us. I know He was holding her tenderly through the whole process. He was holding us each so tenderly. I know He knows the times and seasons. I also knew there were no guarantees other than His goodness. I’ve known His sustaining grace in so many paths. I was just not ready to walk that path. Seeing her face across the screen just wasn’t enough. I wanted to touch her and squeeze her so tight. We both sat the night before, with dad, tears streaming, trusting Him with the gifts most precious this side of heaven, each other. This loan of life we live on earth, isn’t what we are ultimately made for. But it is what we are living now. And though one day it will seem short, our earthly days are real. Though one day we’ll feel no pain, we experience both pain and joy in the most tangible ways right now.

That our hearts were made to love this deeply is amazing. And to think that we are only tasting a touch of its wonder, halting. The beauty of loving even through tears, is a gift. And His heart for us so much more than we could ever imagine. Eternity will be incredible, but earth a gift. In the deepest sense, I’m cherishing these earthly gifts.

Brimming in multiple ways.

Bep

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Looking for goodness…and heart burn (-ing)

In Teaneck Winter on April 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm

Well, this week has been full of adventures not limited to but including; allergic reactions, almost knocking out an adult tooth, and an injury at Costco, all of which involved Leon.  Now, I just overheard him saying to the neighbor boy upstairs, “don’t worry, if you die, we’ll still burn your heart”.  Then Sol piped in, “We’re talking mysteries”.  Thanks for clarifying Sol. Wish me luck on getting to the bottom of this one.  He definitely didn’t pick up the heart burning part form me.  I’m both shocked and laughing!  At least this week has provided laughs, family time, and an amazing Easter weekend with slightly springy weather.  I’ll take it!

I’ve come to realize something since writing you last week. My looking for the goodness of God proves difficult when the “goodness” I’m seeking has a very specific description. And, often it does.  For instance, the provision I actually want to see looks like a six figure salary with full benefits and paid vacation.   I’m not saying we shouldn’t believe for amazing jobs, and abundance.  Trust me, we are believing for just that. But, if my heart will only feel “provided” for if it’s that exact criteria, I may be looking for the wrong thing.  The last 7 months have been full of nothing but miraculous provision and jobs coming through at just the right time.  It’s been scary and amazing. Even so, I just crave the stability and security of knowing what tomorrow holds.  Since moving here, we’ve really only known what’s right in front of us.  I feel like a bit of a manna hoarder.  I’m the lady out there trying to grab enough for tomorrow too. Not for long.  I’m excited to see differently. I know it’s what I need.

So, here I am on my journey of trust–aren’t we all–learning to fully and whole heartedly sit back in the lap of Jesus, with all my weight, and find real rest.  It’s here my eyes are open to His provision, on His terms.  He’s all the stability we will ever need.

Love you, my friend.

Bep

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Winter energies and no facilities.

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm

We’ve somehow managed to retain an enormous amount of winter energy and decided, whatever the weather, to rid ourselves of some of it by heading to the park.  So confident of my scheme, I even ventured against traffic to Starbucks–one without a drive through, and you know what that means–to have coffee in hand for this daring adventure.

Ten minutes post arrival I see Sol running towards me with a look of terror.  He had to poop.  Our beloved Harrick Park, one so secret the boys are convinced we are the only humans who know of it, also happens to be the only park in the history of the world not to have a bathroom.  As you know, our family freely relieves themselves on many a random patch of grass or tree without hesitation.  Poop is a different story.  Needless to say, our winter energy remains.

This inconvenience has made me realize that I feel this way about the winter season of my soul.   I realize it sounds a bit odd and kind of grotesque, but it’s also revelatory.  Our winter in the natural has been long.  It’s been hard work, and messy and taxing, and down right exhausting, and on some days I wonder if spring will ever come.  Winter has been the same for my soul and sometimes I just want to rid myself of the toxins of the season, but find there is no outlet.  And, just like the park, in spite of the efforts towards change, the outcome isn’t what I hoped for.

Waiting can be sickening.  It’s not even that I doubt His showing up, it’s the handling of my heart in the meantime that is the delicate challenge.  I’ve found myself wondering what Abraham and Joseph felt like waiting? I’m sure there were moments they felt a lot like us.  We know their “morning” came, and know ours will come.  He always shows up. Though I don’t know exactly the time and seasons, He does. His grace holds me.  Spring has ALWAYS come, always. Until then, in the not knowing when, I’m heading to the park again.

Love you,

Bep
P.S. My praying plant (literally) died over winter, and guess what just popped up?  Yep!  I’ll take it as a sign.
P.P.S.  We drove to Duck Donuts today for the first time!!!! Hallelujah!

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Change and Donuts.

In Teaneck Winter on March 3, 2015 at 9:28 am

Hi friend!  Happy March.  How it is suddenly March is unfathomable to me, as well as the fact that Spanky is turning four this week.  Many tear brimmed thoughts on the latter subject. I cannot believe my baby is turning four!  The past few nights I have just been staring at his little baby button nose hoping he keeps it forever and thinking over the last four years.  I am in shock of his new found age, but the years didn’t go by in a blink.  When I think of all that has taken place in those four years its quite halting: His birth, a move, whopping cough, hospital stays, a cross country move, law school, the bar, a cross country trip, a cross country move again, starting a practice, and recording an album.  Though it’s a chapter or book in the volume of our lives, it’s all the life he has ever known. He seems to love it. He frequently tells me he has to whisper something in my ear only to get close and plant a tender kiss on my cheek.  You’ll be shocked how much he’s grown.  I’m working on squishing him back down to baby size.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In all my ponderings of our life, I realized that exactly one year has passed since driving away from our Jake Sears apartment at the Village and stepping into this season we are now navigating.  I shouldn’t be surprised–I know you won’t be–but, I’m emotional. On one hand I’m in awe that we are here, we’ve made it.  We’ve conquered mountains and lived adventures.  And, in the midst of all of this craziness, we produced an album.  It’s real, it’s done, and real people are listening to it.  Amazing what can come out of basements!  I’m still in awe.  On the other hand I still feel the fragility of our season, or I should say hearts.  We have many mountains left to climb.  Often I don’t feel equipped for the climb and only feel aware of my inadequacy. Jesus doesn’t seem worried at all and though His load gets heavier and heavier the more we lean on Him, His strength is unwavering.  I’m sending messages to my soul daily to be still and know He is God.  Selah.

In all of this life we are living, not sure if it’s the season or the fact that I’m in my 30’s or what has happened, but I have fallen in love with donuts.  Call me crazy!  I don’t know how such a thing can happen, but it did. I CRAVE donuts now.  It all started with Duck Donuts in the Outer Banks.  You would think it worth the 2000+ mile drive knowing your love of all things sweet. Really, you would. They are deep fried to order and dipped in your choice of frostings and glazes right before your eyes. And since moving here, I have found two other donut shops that we frequent.  (as in weekly) I guess when you dress a donut in maple and bacon, or brown butter and pecan bits, it’s hard not to love it.  Change is good.  Absolutely good in relation to donuts.  When you come, you’ll see.

Love you and miss you.

Bep

P.S. I love mustard now too.
P.P.S. If you know anyone who wants hasn’t heard my album, send them here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/meet-you-again/id962974605
or here:
https://bethanyengelhardt.bandcamp.com/releases

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