Friday, April 24, 2015

The Once Impossible

That feeling you have when you are about to do something you thought was never possible. You know that feeling?

Well that's what is hitting me now. I'm about to get ready for my Nursing Pinning Ceremony. I've completed my undergraduate degree and I will be receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

If you don't know my story, this doesn't seem like something out of the ordinary or to be placed in the 'impossible' category. And for me 6 years ago, it wasn't. I was a naive first year student who thought nothing other than graduating at 21. But then everything changed. In my fourth, and what was supposed to be my final year of Nursing school, I got sick. So sick that I was almost bed-bound for 9 months with a mysterious disease filled with so much unknown that they eventually gave the umbrella label of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

I was out for the count and literally put becoming a nurse - the vocation that God placed on my life on my first trip to Guatemala - in the impossible category. A lot of things were placed in that category and I slowly lost hope. I struggled each day to simply do the basics and to somehow find joy. But Joy was there. It never left. Just had to be found. Like in my name. It's there but you need to look for it. Look in the middle - Rebecca Joy. And so I looked and found. Joy in the robin flying around on a spring morning. Joy in the colour-filled sunrise. Joy in the kind touch of a family member or friend's hand. Joy in His truths. Some days were easier than others to find a peace of this joy but I will tell you that even the smallest of things that I could find that joy in, found Him in, kept me going. 

And as many of you know, despite the darkest time of my life filled with question, He never left me. I learned so much about myself, my hopes, my fears, my faith, and my dreams. Priorities held a whole new meaning. And for that time I am honestly grateful. But no, I would never wish it upon anyone. 

But this morning as I prepare to get ready for the first of my graduation ceremonies, I do so with a huge smile on my face, immense gratefulness in my heart, and a few tears in my eyes. The last 6 years have truly held some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows. But here I am on the other end of it. Graduating as a Nurse. Walking across that stage today and tomorrow is going to mean so much more than tradition. That walk across the stage is going to be filled with memories, triumphs and extreme praise. 

So here we go! 2015, you are the year. The year of praise in abundance and incredible blessing. 

[Some Photos from Grad Weekend]

So blessed and humbled by this weekend.  Thank you for all of your support along this journey, friends and family!  Lots of love always. 

 To God be the glory!

* Also I wish I used this space more and hopefully now I will now that school is done!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Moving into Freedom


What does that word actually encompass?
So much more than what I have put to it.

I have said I am free.  Free from the past.  Free from sickness.  From hurt.  From heart break.  From all that has happened to me.

But did I ever actually fully walk in freedom.  In His freedom?

Last Sunday at church God spoke to me.  In the most gentle and loving way.  He said, “It is okay to feel this way.  To feel hurt.  To remember.  But don’t stay here.  Move into my freedom

For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!  And the Spirit dwells in me.

I didn’t realize until this past week how much I was actually still captive to.  The closer November 11 came, the closer a whole lot of emotions came.  Suffocating and paralyzingly close.
Everything from bad to good.  From sickness to healing.  From anger and hate to love and peace.

I didn’t know how to deal with it.  To work through it. 
I couldn’t on my own.

I had to turn to Him.  I have to continually turn to Him.  And give it up.

Give it up.

Why do I hold on to some of this crap?  I am not doing myself or anyone else a favor when I do.  The past is the past.  And no, remembering isn’t bad.  It just depends on what you dwell on.

Looking back, I was dwelling on all the let me down.  The hard times.  The times when I literally didn’t know if I would ever get out of bed.  If I would ever be loved.  If I would ever have a life.

But my dear friend challenged me.  She said she renamed November 11 for me.
She said it’s my miracle day.

Because without the suffering and the pain, the life and miraculous would not be. 
Without knowing darkness, one cannot know what the light truly is.
When light breaks into darkness, it changes everything.
Darkness cannot remain.  It is impossible.

Unless we put up barriers.  Blocks. 
If we put those things up, then the darkness hides behind, under, and around them. 
These past few months, I have been getting rid of these blocks.  Moving them away.  Good riddance.  I don’t need them.
I want it to be clear.  To be in pure and crystal clear light.
Light that creates rainbows.
That creates truth, peace, love, and freedom!

And I have been able to begin this process because of Him.  The Spirit in me.
He is interceding for me.  Cleaning me out.
Bringing me into His freedom.

To my rightful place before God, as His beloved daughter, because of what Christ has done.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guatemala Bound!

I am writing this post as I anxiously await leaving for the airport.  To the airport where I will actually be flying to Guatemala!  My last post (sorry for not updating you after!) was all about my disappointment and frustration with health and how it prevented me from going to Guatemala.  I oddly had a peace about the fact that I could not go.  I knew that God had a bigger and better plan; however, it was so frustrating to know that sickness once again was stopping me from something important and that I felt God had called me to.  It turns out I probably had a kidney infection; however, the pain was so excruciating so maybe I did pass a kidney stone?  Anyhow, regardless of the fact of what it is, I know that God's healing hand was on me.  After receiving prayer one Sunday, the pain literally disappeared and I was filled with energy by the end of the evening.  After this, I realized that God was trying to teach me something.  I didn't have to be in Guatemala to see Him move in amazing ways.
I didn't have to go to the place where I was expecting to see Him move, to see Him move.
He is just as powerful here.  Just as good here. 
The same amazing God here.

At the end of March, due to varying circumstances, I realized I would be able to go on a trip that was planned to Guatemala by my father to install irrigation and water purification for the Seeds of Tomorrow Project that is up and going at Impact Ministries.  I was actually at the airport, coming back from a short trip to see my sister for her birthday when I realized I could go.  I honestly cannot describe the joy that filled my heart in that moment - and still continues to!
So in an hour, I leave for the airport with an amazing group of guys... my boyfriend and a few of our friends from our Community Group are flying to Houston where we will be meeting up with my dad, sister, and a few of my dad's colleagues who helped donate the water systems.

I do not know what I will all be doing on this trip; however, I do know that God is calling me to rest.
To rest in Him.
Guatemala is a place for me that the veil between heaven and earth is smaller.  Where I feel God move in mighty ways.  Where I see His hand at work.  Where I see the battle between good and evil so vividly.  Where the Truth is completely changing lives, families, and whole communities.
And so I am going with an open and expectant heart.
A heart that desires to rest in His presence.
To grow closer to Him and more sensitive to His Spirit.
A heart that desires to stop carrying my own burdens and rest in Him - for it is His yoke that is easy and burden that is light.

I will do my best to keep you updated with what our team gets up to in Guatemala and how God is working in our lives - however, I may not be able to do this until we are back.  But I will do what I can.  Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's Your Breath

Everything happens for a reason.
Everything happens for a reason...
Everything happens for a reason?

I started to believe and hold onto this Monday night in the emergency room while waiting for my IV antibiotics to finish. 
Earlier that evening, my dear friend finally talked sense into me and brought me to Abbotsford emergency as I was having severe lower back pain, weakness, and was running a fever. I was scared to admit something might be going on that was more than just food poisoning (I had sushi on Friday that I thought was off so obviously put all my symptoms on that).  Wednesday I was supposed to be flying to Guatemala on a short term missions trip with a group from my university and so I figured I should make sure things were under control before going - not thinking they would tell me not to go...

Note the Guatemalan pants!

My friend asked me what was the worst thing it could be and my mind didn't go to the absolute worsts (like cancer or back to Chronic Fatigue - at least that night).  My mind went to a bad kidney infection in which I would need IV antibiotics for. 
So when that is actually what they did for me, I realized it wasn't good. I probably wouldn't be going to the country that held a special piece of my heart. 
I was sick.
And God was making this happen for a reason? Purposefully stopping me from going to Guatemala?

Why would He make this happen to me?  Force sickness on me, again, when I felt like I was following His will?

And as the days have progressed, with more tests (including a CT to rule out kidney stones), more medications, and more doctors in the ER, I began to realize that this wasn't true. Sure in the long run, reason can and probably will come from this but the truth is, sickness, pain, and death are not of Him.  
So instead I chose (and continue to choose) to hold onto this truth instead:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
I can believe that good will come of out this.  I can trust He is working in and through this - not that He caused this per say but is using this for good.  And not my own good necessarily but His good, the greater good, and my spiritual good. 
And to be honest, I already have learned from this.  That I was falling back to my own ways.  Saying yes to too much.  Feeling like the more I did, the better.  If I was gasping for air, all the better. Because that meant I was doing a lot for Him right?  Reaching beyond myself and to others...

But now that I am forced to stop and truly breathe... Inhale Him and His goodness and peace and exhale Grace... I recognize that in the gasping, I was breathing on my own.  Not relying on His breath. His air to fill my lungs. 

So now, in the forced rest, I am trying to let go and just rest in Him.  Let go of people-pleasing and instead focus on just pleasing Him.  Letting go and letting God. 
Letting Him do a work greater than I could ever imagine. 

Thankfully I am now off the IV and can be taking oral antibiotics and strong pain medication at home, as they were able to rule out kidney stones, or worse.  So I'm praying that in this time He would transform my mind and heal my body. 
That it would be His breath in my lungs, now and forever. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Make Space and Time in Order to Make a Life

God gives us everything we need for space - but we will have to make space.
God gives us all the ingredients for time - but we will have to make time.
God gives us everything we need to live - but we will have to make a life.
 Ann Voskamp @aholyexperience

Making space and time in order to make a life.
Ann's words hit me this morning as I stopped to read.  Read her blog so rightly named A Holy Experience.  For it led me to a holy experience.
A time of making space.  Setting aside time.

Making space and time for Him.
Making life worth more.
Worth more by fitting in less.  By doing less.
By decluttering.  By reorganizing.
By creating space.

I don't know about you, but the state of my life can often be reflected in the state of my workplace.

My desk was in absolute chaos.  And up until last week that was my life.
I couldn't seem to get a handle on what I had to do.  What I wanted to do.
Whether I was coming or going.
Whether I could just sit and stop the racing thoughts that preoccupied my mind.

And praise the Lord, I been slowly gaining peace and stillness.
Been able to put priority on simplifying.
Been able to go against the norm of this world that more is better.  Bigger is better.
That more and bigger and better = a fuller life...?

Christ says that He came so that we may have life and life to the full.
But He doesn't then follow that with a list of how to fill our life.
He continues by talking about laying down our life.
Laying it down.

Laying it down.  Not filling it.
Laying down our priorities.
Laying down the busyness.
Laying it down.

But am I willing?  Will I lay down my life?
If I truly desire to simplify my life so that it can be filled with Him, then I must lay down my life.

Christ says,
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. . . . I have called you friends . . . —John 15:13, 15

So today I started simplifying again.  Clearing space.
Clearing space on my desk.  Because with a clear desk somehow I feel I can sit and breathe.  Seek Him with a clearer mind and heart.

So I chose to make space.
Make space, so I could make time.
Make space and time, so I could make a life in Him.
A life full of Him.

Oh and an added bonus of choosing to make space and time?
I finally can choose to commit to something I have been wanting to do for a long time.
Memorizing Scripture.  I had printed out Ann's Jesus Project full of soul sustaining Words of Christ found in John but they sat amid the mess of my desk.
So in the clearing, I decided to choose to fill my mind with Him.  Lay down my chaos and fill it with His words.  I chose to rid my brain of me and the craziness and fill it with Life and Truth.
So I am starting Ann Voskamp's Jesus Project - check it out here!  Won't you join me?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Today marks a big day.
A day I have long awaited since being sick - but also feared.
A day that holds a lot of pressure on me and creates anxiety.
And I don't fully know why.

But today marks the day I return to Nursing.  
I am going back to Trinity to take a Nursing Leadership course, which I am actually really looking forward to.  The crazy school-loving nerd in me cannot wait to hit the books again and learn - learn things that will impact my career and life goals... but if only taking a class meant just taking a class.

It holds a lot more.
It holds past identities that I no longer can or wish to fulfill. 
The overachiever.  
Involved in everything.  
Unable to say no.  
The one who had to do to feel appreciated and loved.

And I still fight that.  But why?
I know that God loves me for me.  Not what I can do.
And that the more I do doesn't equal more love or acceptance or forgiveness.
Grace comes freely - not because of a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g I have done.

But going back to school pushes back on this truth.  
My heart fills with nerves and worry.
But thankfully not just with that.
Also with joy and hope.

Joy that I am healed and can go back.
Hope that He has not only physically healed me but is healing my messed up and broken heart and mind.
That He is transforming me more and more every day.
Through the struggles and the pain.
Through the lessons.

And I know He is with me.
And will remain with me through this day and all that is to come.

I woke up with the chorus of "Never Once" by Matt Redman stuck in my head.
And you may say that is coincidence but I think it is Him.
Him whispering His truth.
That He has never left me alone and never will.
That He is with me.

And so today I rest in this.
I rest in Him.
And that He is with me through it all.
That He was with me through the horrible struggles of being sick and the unknowing that held.
That He was with me through the healing and the incredible joy that brought.
That He is with me now as I enter back into a life I once knew.
And that He will never leave me.
Because He was, is, and will forevermore be faithful.

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Every step we are breathing in Your grace 
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful 
You are faithful, God, You are faithful 

- Matt Redman

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


While on my run along the beach today, I realized something.  God opened my eyes to something new and wondrous about the ocean.  The calm, peaceful and repetitive ways seemed to echo the sound of my soul.  

Running is therapeutic for me.  A way that I can let go of what has been going on - whether it be the list of to dos, including packing for Australia to visit my baby sister (!), or concern for loved ones - I can let it go.  And as cliche as it is, I can let it go and let God.
Running is a time for prayer for me.  A time when I can just focus on God - and especially His goodness.  Because every time I run now, I cannot help but think about the miracle He did in my life. How the impossible not only became fathomable again but actually possible.
How I can get out of bed, slip on a pair of runners, and go.

But I also realized something else.  The oceans waves aren't always so mellow and therapeutic.  They can be harsh, fear-bringing, and life-threatening.
But regardless of what they bring, they always come.

And that got me thinking and praying about life. 
About life and what it has brought and what it may bring.
About how it will come.  It will always come.
And I have no control whether it will be peace or fear bringing.

But I do have a constant that I can rely on.
He is in control.
He knows what the waves will do now, tomorrow, and fifteen years from now.
He knows and allows them to be as they are.
But He also has the power to speak "Peace, be still" and calm them.
He has the ultimate control of the waves of life -
as well as the perfect goodness to hold us through it all.

And for that I can praise Him.
Praise Him all the day long.

(Oceans by Hillsong ... a song that seems fitting and has also been a constant in my morning routine and life really recently!)
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