the time i had PSOBS (it’s a thing)

Jason found out this past May that he would be getting laid off from his job. He had been with the same company since he graduated from Texas A&M 18 years ago. We didn’t see it coming. The same job that allowed him to work remotely and move to the Pacific Northwest to help plant a church was now letting him go.

The company is in the midst of restructuring and made a decision to let go of all remote employees. They offered Jason an office job in San Jose and Colorado Springs but he declined. We had just relocated from Seattle less than a year before.

After the shock wore off I settled into anger and bitterness. I didn’t understand how God could let this happen – we had been following Him all this time.

And then I realized I had a classic case of PSOBS (Prodigal Son’s Older Brother Syndrome).

Sometimes you think that when you are being obedient to Christ everything is supposed to work out. Like following Jesus will equal job security and financial stability – but it isn’t so.

We struggle with PSOBS when we think God owes us something in return for our obedience.

“But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.” Luke 15”28-29

I was basically saying (much like the prodigal son’s older brother) “God, I’ve been following you all this time! Where’s MY party?!”

But He says, “you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Luke 15:31

Scripture doesn’t say what happens next. We don’t know if the older brother went into the party with his father, if he stayed outside sulking for a while or if he ran into his room and slammed the door.

I knew that I couldn’t turn away from Him. I repented of my PSOBS and am having to remind myself daily that God has a plan for us and He will never leave us or forsake us. I am resolving to stay close to Him enjoy all that is His instead of turning away in anger and bitterness.

I don’t want to miss the party.

 

buy a copy of Tell Someone here!

wow! technology is hard so Jason had to figure this out for me! but look! you can buy your very own signed copy of Tell Someone here!

just click the link below and you will be directed via paypal! I will ship out your signed copies of Tell Someone asap!

Click here to buy Tell Someone book!

Thank you all for you love and support!FullSizeRender (7)

 

 

you have a message that the world needs to hear.

A quick update on Tell Someone: I just completed the first round of revisions and redesigned the cover! To make the book a little more personal I wrote the title and subtitle with a sharpie on notebook paper and added a paperclip to make it feel as if I am handing someone a note. I wrote the book for my eight year old self, but my prayer, as I send Tell Someone out into the world, is that it would also touch someone else’s life. Maybe someone else out there needs to know that they are not alone. Here is a sneak peek of the cover:

screen shot of the cover of Tell Someone
screen shot of the cover of Tell Someone

In other book news, Jason also wrote a book about his childhood: Herb Slides Home. I joke that he wrote it in an hour but the truth is that Jason has actually been telling this story about playing pasture baseball with his brother and cousins for years and finally decided to write it down. He illustrated it on the weekends and I encouraged him to put it on Amazon’s Create Space. I am so proud of him. He didn’t struggle with fear or perfection the way that I did. He just did it.

Herb Slides Home illustrations
Herb Slides Home illustrations

Guess what? You can do it too. Don’t give in to the lie of scarcity that says “someone else already wrote a book about a school full of wizards battling evil or kids getting covered in cow poop while playing pasture baseball or whatever it is you want to write a book about.”

You have a message that the world needs to hear.

So write that book, record that album, start that business, take that class, buy those art supplies and get to it. It’s not too late. 

You have a message that the world needs to hear and there is beauty in your art that the world needs to see. We can’t get enough beauty. We don’t roll our eyes when that Adele song comes on again thinking “not again.”  No way! We turn up the volume and sing along with her!

We want to sing along with you.

We want to see the beauty in the things that you create. Maybe your creative outlet is the very avenue that you are supposed to use to share your message with the world.

Don’t believe the lie that you are not creative. We are all creatives.

Elizabeth Gilbert says in her latest book, Big Magic, If you’re alive, you’re a creative person. . . . The guardians of high culture will try to convince you that the arts belong only to a chosen few, but they are wrong and they are also annoying. We are all the chosen few. . . Now go make something.

Maybe you don’t make movies, compose music or write love stories about vampires, or maybe you do. We are not all going to be good at everything. Find out what you love to do and go do it. I have friends that take beautiful photographs, others that sew amazing quilts and clothes and window treatments. I have friends with keen eyes for design that can decorate and remodel a house like nobody’s business! I have friends that host parties, act in movies and decorate delicious cakes.

In fact, I am in still awe of this birthday cake that my friend Brandy made for her son back in May:

cake by Brandy Sexton
#brandycakes cake by Brandy Sexton

Yes, it is an actual cake that you eat!

Here is the cake I made my son for his eleventh birthday:

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They are almost exactly the same except mine was from a box and it is falling over and also the icing is sliding off. Do not even talk to me about fondant. I could not even bring myself to write “Happy Birthday Sam” on the cake because I am like a 2 year old scribbling with a crayon when it comes to squeezing icing out of a tube. I just stuck two Lego shaped candles in the top for the number eleven and that was literally the best I could do.

We are not all going to be good at everything.

Find the thing that you are good at, that thing that brings you joy, and share it with the world.

We’ll be waiting.

the time I went to Nashville and found Jon Acuff in the airport

I am so thankful to still have close relationships with friends that I spent my childhood growing up with in Louisiana. We spent this past weekend catching up in Nashville talking about everything from the time Jay Deville’s dog followed him, snuck in and ran around our elementary school – to parenting, marriage, and whether or not we could pull off a pair of culotte pants. These are the kind of friends that help you make decisions in life and also in Anthropologie!

These girls are entrepreneurs, partners at fancy accounting firms, actors and activists, nutritionists and fitness instructors, mamas and prayer warriors living lots of places in between Mississippi and Orange County.
These girls are entrepreneurs, partners at fancy accounting firms, actors and activists, nutritionists and fitness instructors, mamas and prayer warriors living lots of places in between Mississippi and Orange County.

Sunday, as our trip came to a close and I was waiting on my flight in the Nashville airport I noticed that I was in the same place at the same time as one of my favorite authors.

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I was doing a quick Facebook scroll to see what everyone was up to when I noticed that he was flying Southwest and I was flying American out of the same terminal. I had to meet him.

I have been quietly following Jon’s work since he began the blog Stuff Christians Like. This is where Jon gives great and humorous advice like how to know which meals to pray before and increases your knowledge on subjects such as understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is. 

Not only does Jon make me laugh, he speaks truth into my life. So often, when I am discouraged I will come across a twitter or facebook post that encourages me to “just be brave.” It is like I have my very own motivational speaker that I get to carry around in my pocket! 

I had no idea where Jon was flying and how much longer he would be at the airport but I left my gate and made my way through the terminal until I saw him. I introduced myself and said “Thank you.” I thanked him for his work and his writing and told him that it inspired me. At least I think I said all of that – I was nervous and awkward and unable to answer simple questions like “What is the release date of your book?” but I knew that I may never have the opportunity to thank him in person ever again and I had to seize that moment God had given me.

Jon’s latest book, Do Over, is a New York Times Bestseller and is filled with amazing advice for your career and life. In a nutshell I would say that it will encourage you to “cross the threshold between dreaming and doing” (Do Over, page 94). This is a book that I will use and reference again and again. It came at the perfect time for me as I had just spent seven years church planting in the Pacific Northwest and was (and still am) trying to discern God’s call to a new thing.

I have to share with you one more reason I admire Jon. Not only is he is a husband, father, speaker and author, he is kind and genuine and he is using his influence to help others. Just click this link to learn about Thistle Farms, the amazing non-profit he is partnering with to help women who have been victims of addiction and sex trafficking.

Could you help light the way home?  

I started my Christmas shopping today by buying some candles.

love always,

becky

2 children’s books and 1 for the grown-ups

You never think that it will happen to someone you know. Until it does.

While my book is still in production, our reality is that children are being abused right now. I can’t wait to share these two books with you that I think are great resources for teaching kids about body safety. Click on the links to read more about them on Amazon.

I Said No! A Kid-to Kid Guide for Keeping Private Parts Private by Zack and Kimberly King

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I Said No! by Zack and Kimberly King. Illustrations by Sue Rama.
I Said No! by Zack and Kimberly King. Illustrations by Sue Rama.

and Lauren’s Kingdom by Lauren Book

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Lauren's Kingdom by Lauren Book. Illustrations by Marco Barreto.
Lauren’s Kingdom by Lauren Book. Illustrations by Marco Barreto.

For the grown-ups, I’ve been reading The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.

I realized last weekend that I was still holding onto some things. I was holding onto anger and unforgiveness. I asked friends to pray for me last week that I would be able to forgive.

It felt impossible.

I felt like I would always be broken.

Tutu says, “Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again.”

Thursday morning, as I started to pray, my heart forgave.

I know that unforgiveness will tempt me again and I will have to choose forgiveness again and again, but on Thursday a weight lifted and in exchange for the unforgiveness and anger that I had been carrying, I had peace and freedom.

I didn’t even get past the introduction of the Tutu’s book before I started underlining all kinds of wisdom like “Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world.” and “Forgiveness is the way we return what has been taken from us…”

Tutu says that the first step on the path to forgiving is to tell our story. This really resonated with me because that is exactly what I felt the Lord had spoken to me as I began working through my past.

“Telling the story is how we get our dignity back after we have been harmed. It is how we begin to take back what was taken from us, and how we begin to understand and make meaning out of our hurting.” -Desmond Tutu

“If I tuck my secrets and my stories away in shame or fear or silence, then I am bound to my victimhood and my trauma.” -Desmond Tutu

“When you tell your story, you no longer have to carry your burden alone.” -Desmond Tutu

I can not recommend this book enough for anyone who is struggling with forgiving. And also, do not underestimate the power of prayer. Ask friends, enemies and anyone you run into at the grocery store to pray for you! And, if you aren’t ready to forgive, ask God to help you. He wants you to be whole and He wants you to help heal the world.

The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu
The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

book in progress

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“Your book sure is doing a lot of good sitting on your desk!” My friend’s sarcasm spoke straight to my heart and I knew that she was right. After sitting on the corner of my desk all summer, I finally sent my manuscript and artwork to the publisher and it is currently in the “content evaluation” phase.

I have honestly been struggling with fear. I’m afraid that it isn’t good enough and I’m afraid of failing or being seen as a failure. I guess what I’ve learned is that following Jesus isn’t about failing or succeeding but about being obedient to do what He has asked of me. He told me to tell my story so I am going to do it the best that I can and leave the rest up to Him.

what i’ve been reading lately.

IMG_2312These are some of my favorite books right now:

LOOP by Jennifer J. Camp is a devotional that I LOVE! I love it so much that I wish I could pass it out to all of you like candy but who do you think I am? Oprah? You will have to get your own. Seriously though, I read this almost every morning and I think you will love it as much as I do.

 

SCARY CLOSE by Donald Miller. I read this in February right after it was released and I regret not telling you about it sooner. It is good. I am obsessed with everyone’s story and Don (that is what I call him because I have known him since way back when he wrote BLUE LIKE JAZZ and I have met him NEVER but that is beside the point) opens up about his past relationships, learning to be himself and loving Betsy. I was a wreck by the end of the book because of all of the things that he said about love and relationships.

He says stuff like:

“How can we be loved if we are always hiding?”

“Sometimes the story we are telling isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us.”

“What if part of God’s message to the world was you? The true and real you?”

and “Children learn what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for by the stories they watch us live.”

He said all of these things and it hurt so good!

 

DARING GREATLY by Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW. Brené brought me to tears more than once as I read through and processed all of her research on shame and vulnerability. I also went to YouTube and watched several of her TEDx talks because I could not get over how big a role I had allowed shame to play in my life and in my relationships. I had to conquer it.

Brené says crazy brave things like:

“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.”

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

I underlined so much of this book and even included her definition of shame in my own book: “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

Brené talks about how we are hardwired to connect with others and that is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. She says, “It is human nature to want to feel worthy of love and belonging. When we experience shame, we feel disconnected and desperate for worthiness.” She goes on to talk about how disconnection causes real emotional pain.

I love it when she says “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” I know that to be true.

I wish I could tell you everything I loved about this book – I would especially write out the entire chapter on parenting but I am concerned with copyright laws and I cannot afford to go to jail again. Do they put you in jail for breaking copyright laws?

Okay fine, I will tell you one quote from the parenting chapter “Are you the adult that you want your child to grow up to be?”

See there. This is good stuff. DARING GREATLY was just recently released in paperback and I get zero dollars for recommending it to you but it changed my life and I have to tell you about it.

 

I also loved YAWNING AT TIGERS: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying by Drew Dyck, THE ART OF WORK: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins and THE ARTISAN SOUL: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art by Erwin McManus.

The Book with No Pictures
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

One more: THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES by B.J. Novak. This is a children’s book that Faith asks me to read over and over again. I even brought it to her school one day and read it to the class. It is hilarious and I only suggest reading it if you like to laugh.

What are you reading? I must know so that I can read #allofthebooks

Tell Someone Book

Hi friends! My children’s book is finished and I am now in the process of submitting the manuscript to literary agents!

I can not thank you all enough for your encouragement and support through this whole process! It means the world to me!

I will keep you all posted on the progress. You can also “like” Tell Someone Book on Facebook www.facebook.com/tellsomeonebook and follow me on twitter for more updates.

Here are a few samples of the book illustrations that I have painted – they are all abstract watercolor paintings.

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talking to your kids about CSA.

image from thinkandactblog.wordpress.com
image from thinkandactblog.wordpress.com

The statistics are alarming: childhood sexual abuse (CSA) affects 1 in 5 children before the age of 18 and over 90% of the time, the abuser is a relative or someone in the family’s inner circle of trust.

This is not okay.

I want to help parents talk to their kids about CSA. I’ve had several friends ask me “What if this happens to one of my kids?” or “How can I talk to my child about this?” I’ve asked myself those same questions. I’ve been there. Here are a few suggestions; it doesn’t have to be as awkward as you think.

1. Talk to your kids on their level. I have a different conversation with Sam (age 12) than I do with Faith (age 5). With Sam, I feel comfortable naming body parts. We talk about sex and he also took a Family Life and Sexual Health class in fifth grade where he learned a “crap-ton about sex”. These were his exact words. I know, I can not believe it either. I am still in shock. With Faith, I say “private parts” and “bottom”. I am not quite ready to call the parts by their proper names with her. If you are comfortable doing that with your kids, then by all means, do it. The main thing is to not be uncomfortable when you talk about it because they will be able to sense that. Use the language that you are comfortable with now and that you think they will understand. As they get older, you can change the language that you use.

My conversation with Faith went something like this:
Me: *waits for Faith to mention some “private part” so I can ease into the conversation.*
Faith: Hey, Momma, wanna see my booty!? *Shakes her booty at me.*
Me: *trying not to laugh* Hey princess, that reminds me, you know that those private parts that you’re supposed to keep covered with your underwear belong to you, right?
Faith: Uh-huh
Me: And no one else is supposed to touch them, right? No grown-ups, no older kids. Maybe if you have a boo-boo and I need to put on some medicine or a doctor need to look at them – that might be okay but we still need to ask your permission first, okay?
Faith: Yep.
Me: You know that you can tell me anything, right? And you don’t need to keep any secrets from Mommy because I love you no matter what.
Faith: I know! *kiss*

2. Have short conversations often. Don’t just talk about it once and think you are good. Just like we remind our kids to look both ways before crossing the street and to wear their bicycle helmet – you keep reminding them because you love them and you want to protect them. The first time that I talked to Sam about abuse was a little more difficult than talking to Faith, mainly because I had to change the subject to bring it up. Like I mentioned before, he has apparently completed some sort of master level sex-ed course and thinks that he knows everything. I know that he does not know everything and I can’t leave the conversations up to his teachers and classmates. Sometimes I am going to have to be the one to bring it up – that is the hardest part, the rest of the conversation isn’t so bad. When Sam and I talked about abuse that first time, I knew that a short conversation could potentially prevent a lifetime of hurt. We talked about sexual abuse and also physical and emotional abuse. I defined what abuse is and gave him examples of each kind. I asked what he thought and let him ask questions so that it was more of a conversation and less of a lecture.

3. Be your child’s Safe Person. Connect with them on an emotional level. I think this gets harder as the kids get older. Remember when they were little? They would fall and get hurt and then they would run to you to make them feel better. Or maybe you had to go to them and pick them up and tell them “Mommy/Daddy’s got you now. You’re going to be okay.” When they get older they don’t fall down as much – their hurts are on the inside. We have to be intentional about having conversations and finding out what is going on inside of them. We need to be a safe place for them so that they will still run to us when their feelings are hurt and we can still hold them and tell them that it is going to be okay. My hope is that having the conversation and raising awareness will help prevent CSA but if it should happen; children need to know that they can tell someone. If you are ready to talk to your kids about CSA, I am sharing a link to a great tool from the UK that I found while I was doing research for my children’s book.

From the NSPCC: simple conversations to keep your child safe from abuse

Feel free to comment or send me an e-mail! I would love your feedback!

my story.

“It’s time to be free.” He was gentle but persistent. I tried to ignore Him, although I knew that He was right.

I had followed Him through dark places before but never any place as dark as the one within myself.

This past fall, a conversation with someone dear to me triggered some repressed memories. Reading psychology books in college, I had never quite understood how someone could forget something so traumatic that happened to them. But here I was, remembering details from things that happened thirty years ago. I realized that I had never truly forgotten what had happened; I just didn’t want to remember. At an early age I was sexually abused.

The wounds were deep but I knew that God wanted to bring healing to my soul.

The first step was telling the truth about what happened. I had to bring it out of the darkness and into the light. I couldn’t keep it a secret anymore.

So I told my story. The first time was the hardest; I bawled on the phone as I told one of my closest friends. Then I told Jason, who has been amazing through this entire process. Then I told my sisters; and I felt a little more free.

“Is that it God? I told some people. Are we good?”

“Tell your story.” I didn’t want to tell my story. I wanted a new story –

“God, could You give me another story? I don’t like this one. Could I maybe have a story like Taylor Swift? Or maybe even one like the girl who worked for Anna Wintour and wrote The Devil Wears Prada? Or what about a story like the mom I had just met whose parents owned a Christian camp and she spent every summer at church camp and had the best childhood ever? Can I have a story like one of those?”

“Tell your story.”

So I did. I told old friends and I told new friends. I told my parents, after thirty years of keeping it a secret from them. I told my community group and my friends from church. I told neighbors and mom friends from preschool.

And what happened next was beautiful. Some of them said, “Me too.” And many more of them shared their stories with me – their stories were not identical but their pain was just as deep. I realized that I wasn’t alone. I hated that what had happened to me had also happened to others. And I hated that so many were still hurting from their past. But in those moments, I realized the beautiful thing was that we could be broken together poured out for one another.

I have been meditating on this passage lately. The entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 4 is so perfect, but the last two verses from the passage are specifically what Dr. Piper is preaching from in the video:

You see, the short-lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here. So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on. 2 Cor. 4:17-18, The Voice Bible

This may or may not be your story. But if you are hurting today, you are not alone. You have no wounds so deep that Christ cannot heal them. He has wept over what has happened to you. He feels all of your pain. He wants to heal you and to take what the enemy of your soul has stolen from you and make something beautiful.

He wants to redeem all of it.

I will share more of my healing journey with you here on my blog. I am writing a memoir and hope to have it completed by the end of this year. I have joined a group of about 200 other first time authors; we are encouraging one another as we write and learn about the book writing and publishing process. I have also started writing a children’s book titled Tell Someone.

I still want to talk about funny things like why Faith thinks Taylor Swift will ask me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding and the time that Sam said he wanted to be a sex-ed teacher when he grows up. Spoiler alert: It was at his fifth-grade graduation. For now though, in my next post, I will have some information about how you can talk to your child(ren) about sexual abuse.

You are loved,
becky