Saturday, November 5, 2011

Something Borrowed

A while ago, my amazing Lauren recommended "Something Borrowed" by Emily Giffin, and I decided to pick it up for plane reading for my recent trip to India. I really enjoyed the book--it is a simple read, it is an easy story to slip into, and it is just good "chick-lit".

Tonight, I had the evening to myself, so I decided to make it a RedBox and pizza night. I usually have to view every movie in both RedBoxes at my local grocery store before settling one one, but as soon as I saw "Something Borrowed" on the very first screen, I grabbed it. The movie follows the same general plot of the book, but a lot of major details are changed or left out altogether, which annoyed me to no end. But there was something about the movie that just seemed so different than the book, and I think it was the fact that I feel like I identify so much more with Rachel's character on film than I do in print (not that I slept with my BFF's fiance or anything...). And now that the movie is over, I'm just feeling sad.

All throughout the movie, Rachel flashes back on various moments, most of which involve times with her and Dex (her BFF's fiance) and how she covered up her feelings, smiled through tears, and time and time again, bowed out gracefully. I don't know why she did it--the storyline doesn't go there--but I do know that for myself, it's always been to save face and to protect myself and to not leave myself vulnerable.

I'm not worried about sleeping with my BFF's fiance on my 30th birthday (because, mainly, my BFF is happily married with a kid), But I don't want to end up like Rachel. Though she always took the graceful highroad, she's spent too much time sad, in last place, and comparing herself to others--a story that feels too close to home.

When it rains, it pours. School is absolutely kicking my tail this semester. Like, bending me over its knee and spanking me with a hairbrush. It's awful. And within the last 2 1/2 weeks, my brother got arrested, my Nana has been hospitalized, and my aunt died. On top of other things I'm unwilling to put in writing for the world to see, it's been a hail storm of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. With all that's coming my way, and with many things making me feel so isolated and alone here in Carolina, retreating home alone with my tail between my legs has become routine. Who is this girl?!

I'm tired. I'm tired of a lot of things. And there are a lot of things that I just can't change. But starting like...right now...I'm gonna carpe the snot outta this diem. I'm no longer (hopefully. maybe. we'll see.) going to gracefully bow out into the shadows. Put ya stunna' shades on, folks. It's time to shine!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sit Down!

I saw this quote while I was Pinteresting this morning:

Our professors have been beating the guys over the head HARD for the past couple of semesters. There is an astounding lack of strong, godly, manly men, both in society and in churches. They joke around in their exhortation sometimes, but they mean business. Doc challenges guys to "man up" at least once a week via Twitter, more often in class, every morning when a guy skips his 7am workout group, and practically every time he's given a microphone. The guys either grunt in concurrence or whimper in guilt and the girls cheer and clap.

We love manly men.

But my charge is to the women: How can we expect guys to STAND UP and BE MEN if we aren't willing to sit down and be ladies?

Humility, gentleness, quiet spirits, submission...those are NOT weak words! They are words of strength empowered by the Holy Spirit, Himself.

Be who you were created to be to the glory of the One who made you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kaci Made Me Do It

So today, Kaci wrote on my Facebook wall and told me to blog. It's as if she knew I had something on my mind that I've not been willing to put into writing...

There are a few areas of my life where I feel like God is calling me into deeper purity and deeper surrender. I won't delve into all of them, but there is one in particular that is scaring the mess out of me. I don't want to let it go. I mean, I say I want God to be in control of this item and I really do only want His best for me regarding this, but letting go of it, I mean COMPLETELY relinquishing control of it is terrifying. What if He takes it and never gives it back? I know He is faithful and sovereign and that His will is perfect and if it is His will to take it and never give it back, then I don't want any alternative...but I'm having a hard time giving it over and walking away.

The world definitely has its opinion on this subject, and pretty much everyone at Southeastern has their own opinions, and everyone has their advice and cliches...But what I need everyone to have is prayers for me regarding this. I feel so dumb even considering writing this down, but Satan is working a number on me here, so I'm shedding light on this situation.

Will you shine with me?

I can't date anymore. I just can't. And I'm not saying "I can't" like "I can't handle it" or "I don't want to handle it" or "Boys are drama"...but I mean...for the sake of my heart, my sanity, my mind, and my thought-life, I just can't date anymore, spend one-on-one time alone with a guy (even if he is "just a friend") or do anything that gives the appearance to others that I'm dating. (side note: Nothing has happened, I haven't "done" something or "gone too far"; This is not about anything physical at all). I'm not "swearing off men" or anything drastic. Actually, I really don't even know what I'm doing, but I do know what I'm NOT doing (for now, at least) and that is being casual with men.

I sincerely love my guy friends here in The Forest. I have some incredible neighbors and wonderful brothers at church and I thoroughly enjoy spending time and doing life with them, but appearances are being twisted and as soon as I'm by myself, Satan uses so much against me. One of my neighbors asked me to dinner this past weekend; We were asked three separate times if we were married and we were asked so many other times if we were engaged, I lost count. We laughed about it and he began calling me "wife" and "Mrs. His Last Name", and then he started calling me those names in front of our friends, and then the next day, he started calling me those names in front of new people we had just met then we went out to dinner with this big group of people...and while he was calling me those things, he was flirting HARD with one of the other girls.


Now, I KNOW there was no commitment and no expectation between us, but how did it look for him to say those things to me and then say other things to another girl? And what on earth made so many people think we were so serious about one another?! Appearances mean a lot!

Out of my "core group" of friends here, there are two guys that I've spent a considerable amount of "alone time" with--at coffee shops, at dinner, at the movies, etc Again, no commitments, no expectations-- just time to get to know one another and to have fun...

But I can't have it both ways--I can't casually share time with multiple people and then feel let down when they share their time with someone besides me. That's not fair for me to do that. But oh my gosh. I'm not cut out for this.

Number 1--I can't detach. Sorry I'm not sorry--it's just how I work. I don't know how to truly "be casual" (and really, SHOULD I be? Since when were we called to "casually" deal with one another?)

Number 2--I'm not "one of the guys" (this kind of goes with Number 1). Last night, the guys from my building were watching a scary movie. They sent a mass text invite, but I was the only girl who attended. They were all REALLY scaring me and I was getting upset and my "husband" defended me. Multiple times, he made them stop and afterward, he walked me back home. And then he burped. And then he said "Whoa! That was a big one!" And then he turned to go back home. Um. Really!? Gross. And then Satan told me "He thinks your gross. He doesn't really think you're a girl worthy of respect. To him, you're just another dude. All those guys think you're one of them." whatapunk. That did absolutely nothing for my ego. I should have walked home alone.

Number 3--I'm still not yet in a place where I am confident in my own skin. When I see one of "my guys" talking to another girl, I don't feel jealous; I feel disgusting. I instantly see every way in which she is prettier, smarter, thinner, and funnier than me....and then I go home and beat myself up. For me, it's either black or white. I'm in or I'm out, but mostly, I just live in a constant state of feeling like I don't measure up.

I can't handle this. I don't know why Satan chose my body and my singleness as his methods of attack, but he did. He is the father of lies and lately, I've allowed him to get too good at his job.

As a disciple of Christ, I have been chosen by Him and I have been set apart for Him. He and His truths are supposed to captivate me--not His creations (men) and not the lies of the enemy. For now, casual dating/casual alone time with guys is preventing Jesus from being my captivator and allowing Satan to be my captor. Every time I give into his lies, I'm sinning. I'm saying that I don't trust God and His timing, I'm saying that His work (me) is messed up, I'm saying He has not made me new and called me worthy. Every second I waste thinking and analyzing is a second I steal from the Lord; They're seconds I should be meditating on His goodness.

So, I can't date. For the sake of my heart, my sanity, my mind, and my thought-life--For the sake of my purity and sanctification--I must remain single and I must not give off the appearance of "relationship". So for now, dating is "out", being casual is "out", all of it--OUT.

And that scares me. I'm 26. My eggs are expiring ;) justkiddingmaybenotreally I don't know when/where/how I'm supposed to meet someone, but I have to let go of this for now. I have to stop trying to make this happen. I have to stop looking for it. I have to truly hand it over. Drop it like it's hot at the feet of Jesus (that maybe is not the best choice of words...) and RUN from it. I made this commitment the evening of September 10 and it's been a constant battle in my mind to cast out thoughts, lies, daydreams, what-ifs.

Galatians 5:1 says "It is for freedom that Christ set us free; Therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."

My relationship status does not control my life. My physical appearance does not control my life. These are yokes I will not be taking up again. 

Any would-be-suitor should be prepared to pursue hard and to be very intentional.

So pray for us. Pray for our strength. Pray for our trust in and obedience to the Lord's timing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon-to-Be!

Whitney is (was) one of my roommates at seminary. This weekend, she and Jesse are getting married!

Friday night, we threw her a way-fun lingerie shower. One of my other roomies, Elizabeth, baked cookies and we decorated them for the occasion!

Lots of fun was had!

...And those panties are already making their way around campus housing!! 

Congrats, Whitney and Jesse! Can't wait for your big day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My body rejected me in front of everyone.

Tonight absolutely sealed the deal.

I have struggled with weight my entire life and I've dealt with it in many ways. I developed earlier than the other girls my age and having noticeable boobs and hips as an elementary schooler made me extremely self-concious. I always felt so awkward. And then in middle school, the kids got really mean. I remember this one boy, Tim Holmes, tormented me every single day because of my weight. I remember every name he called me. He is the reason I have convinced myself, even to this day, that I am undesirable and than no man will ever call me "beautiful". And I know all the cliches and things that well-intentioned friends will say to this,  but let's be honest. I haven't been asked on a real date in seven years. By the time I got to high school, I became so withdrawn and shy because my confidence was so low. I was absolutely convinced that I probably disgusted everyone as much as I disgusted Tim, so I tried to keep my distance. I allowed my weight to  keep me from going to homecoming dances and I allowed my issues to keep me from spending one single minute with my date, Jon, at Prom. The only people I felt comfortable with were gay men because I didn't have to worry about impressing them because I knew they weren't interested in dating me, and they were different than the girls because with them, I didn't have to worry about the fact that I couldn't wear the same fashions or dish about the dates I wasn't going on or the kisses I wasn't having. I was safe. Which, as you can imagine, lead to a pretty dysfunctional learning experience regarding dating.

I was pretty bummed that I didn't get accepted to UGA, but at the same time, I was excited to be the only one in my graduating class of 832 to attend CSU. I was ready for a change. I was ready for a new start. I was ready to be at a school where the students hadn't known me for 13 years as "the quiet fat girl".

CSU brought many new experiences into my life. My first day on campus, I met a great guy and fell pretty hard for him. Nick was handsome and we got along so well. I loved spending time with him and he was always such a fun date and I loved his family; And he would later join an ever-growing list of guys I invested in who later revealed his homosexuality. Early into my freshman year, a beautiful senior named Ellen passed me a note through a mutual friend inviting me to rush, citing that she believed I'd be a great addition to Phi Mu. I was floored. I was also absolutely convinced that she was playing a prank on me. I wrote her so many notes in response (that I never had the nerve to give to her) declining her invitation because I didn't believe for a second that I would be accepted by a sorority. Because I couldn't muster up any truly decent excuses, I rushed. When I made it through every. single. night. of rush and was "preffed" by every sorority on campus, because of my weight, I honestly believed that every sorority was "in" on the prank; That I was the girl picked to go through rush to be the one everyone made fun of. However, and mainly because of Ellen Najjar, Erin Burns, and Lora and Melissa McCurley, though I could have worn any letters, I "suicided" Phi Mu when I filled out my bid card. The next night (Bid Night), all through my Phi period, and right up until the very last second of initiation, I was waiting for the ball to drop. But it never did. And for the first time in my life, I felt like someone saw past the fat and picked me and loved me for ME. For the first time, I felt validated. And for the first time, I had a social life. I was invited to parties and I was in all the pictures, I was on top of the social ladder at my University (and everyone knew it. I mean, come on. We were PHI MUS!)

But beyond my letters, I was still the fat, quiet girl. Bekah The Phi Mu got to do whatever she wanted, but just plain Bekah practically didn't exist. I watched my best friend and Lil Sis, a beautiful dancer with a heart of gold, have her pick--with everything--clothes, guys, what to do on Friday night. Please don't hear me wrong--I absolutely do not resent her (or any of my Sisters or friends), but it was pretty obvious that there was a difference between she and I. And it wasn't simply "that I was fat", but I know it's because she exudes confidence and grace and I am still convinced that no one could actually want me-- as a partner, as a friend, as a whatever. I'm still waiting for someone to see past my "million dollar smile", "perfect hair", sorority letters, "creativity", intelligence. I am thankful for those qualities, truly, and I take pride in them, but I am waiting on my whole package to be validated. I am waiting to feel worthy, myself, of validating myself. What disgusting lies Satan throws my way.

But I do, I really do, feel so stuck inside my body.

Toward the end of college, I began to meet people outside of the Greek system and I formed some really incredible friendships with people in the ministry who I remain "family-kinda-close" with even still. My Souled Out family, specifically, and the people who came to Bible Study at Sarah Jane's house are what makes my heart break when I think about no longer living in Georgia. I met a man who knocked me off my feet like no one has. He's handsome and godly and ridiculously smart and hilarious. I respect him more than any man, other than my father that is. Nathan quickly became a very good friend and he literally was the hardest part about leaving Columbus. Part of me still wonders what would have been if we had more time. Part of me wants to believe that with just a little more time, he would have fallen for me like I fell for him. But more of me knows that that's probably not true; I never would have allowed him to get close enough to fall. You see, my weight is not just a wall that keeps me away from others; It's also a wall that keeps others out. I like to act strong, confident, and self-assured, but it's one of the many masks I wear. Nathan never once made me feel like "less". If anything, he has made me feel more valued than many other have, but I really do still believe the things Tim said to me in the seventh grade. I have resigned myself to believing that no good man will ever treasure me proudly, that no one is actually my friend (that they're just being nice because we're in seminary or at church and you have to be nice and inclusive in those places), and that I will always be alone because of my dress size. I really do believe that I'm a great girl. Just not great enough.

After college, my life has just been so confusing. I met a guy who told me all the time how beautiful I was. Finally. An attractive, straight man who made it clear. He would go out of his way to spend so much time with me and to help me with things. And he always knew how to get a smile onto my face and he did everything he could to keep it there. After I moved to North Carolina, D confessed that he was never actually into me. And I mean, honestly, I knew him for a year and then I moved away. I wasn't realistically "looking for something" with him, it was always casual, but again, as you can guess, this is another one of those instances that Satan uses as he twists the truth and tries to convince me, yet again, that I am just not worthy enough.

Don't read me incorrectly. I am not trying to say that my worth is only found in the love of a good man. I KNOW that's not what defines or decides my worth. I know that NO ONE on this Earth can make me feel truly worthy. I know that my only worth comes from Christ Jesus. I know that to feel unworthy makes His handiwork small, denies His abilities and purposes, and says that He's not enough. That's why my struggles with weight are so disgusting. It's not simply that I am overweight--though I recognize that being overweight is an indication that I haven't been a good steward of the body and of the resources that the Lord has given me--which is why I've been on this journey for the last year to become healthy. I want my life, including my body and how I feel about my body, to be glorifying to the Lord. I want to be pleasing in His sight.

I also recognize that this is way more than a weight issue.

In the last year, I  have lost 30 pounds and 5 dress sizes. People tell me almost every week how much thinner I look. And though I love it and I appreciate the encouragement, I'm not satisfied by those words. I am so much stronger than I was this time last year. With the encouragement of Dr. Reid, I have done P90X TWICE (which is ridiculous in and of itself) and with the time and training I've received from Katharine Ray, I've been running; I ran my first race last week! And though my time wasn't incredible, I COMPLETED a 5k, I wasn't anywhere close to being in last place, and I felt amazing.

But it's not enough. I'm realizing now that it is no longer about numbers--numbers on the scale, numbers inside on my dress tags, numbers on the race clock, numbers of miles run. It's about rest, peace, and freedom...and I'm not there.

I am not free. I am trapped in a body that doesn't work well, partially because it's too big and partially because its lungs are too weak. Tonight, I began "speed training" with Monty. Yes. I have two running coaches now. After about 5 times around the track, I began feeling really weird. Not just tired or fat or whatever, but not safe. I told Monty and he was encouraging and allowed me to slow down, though I hated not being able to keep up with Amanda and I hated that Katharine was watching me--I didn't want to disappoint her. After two more laps of walking and cooling down, I hit the ground. The world was spinning, the grass was covered in sparkling polka dots, and I felt tingly. Katharine was diplomatic, as usual, telling me to not be discouraged because I'm getting over a cold and I wasn't breathing well because I had been sick, which is absolutely the truth, but I don't need ANOTHER excuse to fail. Yes, I've been sick, yes I have asthma, yes it's over 95 degrees and really freakin humid, blah blah blah. Excuses. Yes. I'm fat on top of all of that. OH MY STARS! I am so tired of being TRAPPED in this body and I am so tired of having excuses for why it limits me.

I sat in the grass and just cried. Maybe I was able to be stealthy enough and wipe away my tears in a manner than made it look like I was wiping off sweat, but I am just so sad with the state I am in and I am sad of my body holding me back. I'm tired of being weak and incapable and I am tired of not being enough and I am tired of having excuses, no matter how legitimate they are.

I gathered myself and we all walked up the stadium steps and got into our cars. And then it hit me. I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I was gasping and I absolutely could not take a single breath. I panicked and flung my car back into the parking space. I don't even remember what happened, but I suppose that Amanda jumped out and ran to get Monty and Katharine because the next thing I knew, Katharine was holding a wet cloth on my face and Monty had taken off my shoes and was pouring cold water all over my feet. My weak body rejected me in front of everyone. I was miserable and just so, so embarrassed. I had forgotten what an asthma attack felt like--it's been at least 12 years since I've had one, but I was absolutely terrified.

But that's it. I'm done.

Here is a list of things I can't do:
-I can't decide  how people REALLY feel about me
-But I can't worry myself over that.
-I can't keep living in fear of people
-I can't keep believing that I am unworthy of love, affection, status or whatever just because of how I look
-I can't keep living as if I am not valuable
-I can't keep making or accepting excuses
-I can't stay trapped in this body forever

I may never be a size two. I may never be beautiful. I may never lose another single pound. God can decide to keep me exactly HERE if He so choses. But change starts right now. Tonight, the very last excuse was made for my body. Tonight, my body held me back for the very last time. Tonight, my body left its weakness on the football field at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School. I will be strong, I will be healthy, I will be beautiful, and I will be called worthy for the glory of God Almighty.

I don't want your cliches, I don't want the empty words you're "supposed" to say at the end of something like this. But I DO want you to say "goodbye" to Bekah as you know her. That girl died tonight. I absolutely covet your prayers and support as I press on toward godliness and self-discipline and as I strive to break the bonds of slavery that my body has over me.

1 Corinthians 9.24-25:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

To The King and for His glory, forever and ever.

Friday, May 27, 2011

MONDAY, May 23, afternoon

Something inside me told me not to go. We were supposed to go back to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, but I bitterly cried at the thought. Maybe it was because 24 hours is not enough time to spend in Columbus when this was my first visit in 6 months. Maybe it was because Saturday was such a lovely day-- I flew home, I was reunited with my parents, I flopped puppy ears and squished puppy faces for hours, I dug through a bag of treasures brought to me from the Caribbean, I got to see Nana and Papa, I got to pray for my best friend between contractions, I spent time with the friends who had become like family (and the ones I love the most, at that: Nathan, Ashley, the Rices, LB, T-Nip, Blake and Barak, and a few others), and, best of all, sweet Emma Grace entered the world at about 10pm. Best night ever. Maybe it was because seeing who I saw made my whole heart ache. Maybe it was because being here in these moments makes this place feel more like home than any other place in the entire world. It’s not that I’ve made a mistake-- Southeastern is where I am supposed to be, Wakefield is where I am supposed to be, but Columbus unequivocally has my heart and when I leave this place, there is a ripping that I can feel, like it’s wrong when I leave, like it’s wrong that I’m “doing life” somewhere else. And though I know I am “doing life” in the right place for now, I absolutely do not feel like this when I leave Raleigh. Raleigh doesn’t haunt me when I’m away and her people don’t haunt me for weeks like he does... But maybe it was because everything about Columbus feels fleeting. Time here is so short. The people I love here are either fragile or they are the strongest that I know. In both cases, I am compelled to love harder, to work harder to maintain, and to return.
I am thankful for my incredible seminary, for the professors there who teach me more than book-stuff and who take the time to know me, for the seminarians who I have met, who I have shared many laughs with, and who I have traveled the world with. I am thankful for my sweet church, for the opportunity I have had to serve, for the men who teach and guide me, for the adorable children and for their parents who allow me to love their children. There is no way I could complete my education (in both the seminary and church sense of that word) here in the same way. But if I could uproot Southeastern and all that comes with it and if I could serve and learn and grow at Wakefield, but I could do it all here, I would in a heartbeat. If I could have everything that I love about Raleigh with me in Columbus, I feel like I would be complete. 
How in the world am I SUPPOSED to be there when I feel like this place is home. How can I be in two places at once? I can’t possibly, but that is absolutely what I feel like is happening to me.