Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thorny Rose: My Bittersweet Walk with Jesus // guest post

I gave my life to the Lord as a young child, around the age of 6. I went through challenging teen years and a childhood that left me feeling empty and lonely. When I neared the age of 19, God brought me out of some very difficult circumstances and called me to serve Him with my everything, providing just the right environment for me to grow, which I have been doing for several years now.

The title I chose for this reflects my walk with Jesus since that time: Bittersweet.

Some may expect a young woman who loves the Lord with all her heart to be cheerful all the time, to burst with happiness, smiles, laughter. Perhaps be filled up to the brim and overflowing with joy from sunrise to sundown. I would love to say that this has been true with me, but I am a true realist and to say otherwise would be dishonest which isn't in my character so I will share on both sides of the coin and know someone out there can relate, if not many of us. :)

A rose is a beautiful thing. Delicate, sweet, fragrant, bringing joy, passion, and love to life all the while, hidden among its beauty are thorns that prick, create pain, tear, and dig deep into flesh. Such is my walk with Jesus.

In the past several years, I have developed an intimacy with Christ the more I have grown to know Him. He has been a place where I can bury my deepest secrets and my most intimate thoughts. I love worship music so much because when I sing words like, "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain. Holy holy is He.", I imagine myself in His throne room, praising Him along with the angels and the multiple eyed creatures of Revelation surrounding his Throne in reverence. (I am a visual thinker). It is a sweet picture that brings me joy and fills me with love for my Savior and all He has done for me. 

Jesus is my rock and foundation. His Words love me, rebuke me, teach and instruct me, discipline me, guide me, and ultimately fill me. When I am not in His word daily, I struggle, I tend to give up, I am weakened, my spirit feels low on energy, I starve, but I crave. Over the years I find it gets more intense the deeper I go with God. A fresh refill of His presence is like water to parched land.

I did not grow up with an earthly father who was attentive as a father is supposed to be. This is something that even now at times surfaces, but my Father in heaven has been more than an earthly father ever could be. His unconditional love reminds me daily that His love does not depend on my performance in this life, what I do, how much I do, or how I act, but that it is a gift, freely given. This realization has given me more over the years an appreciation for His bountiful mercy and grace and the desire to serve Him and love Him more.

I am a perfectionist at heart. I know that I am. When I don't reach a goal that I am striving towards I am the first to cry out "failure" and shoot myself with arrows of self criticism. Yet, Christ's grace permeates through the calloused skin of my heart that builds with every disappointment and reminds me of how I am my worse critic while He looks at me and sees white. That astounds me and leaves me in a place of utter dependence and surrender when I truly think about it.

God has been good to me. He has given me more blessings than I deserve and guides my steps through hard decisions I have had to make so far and there will be more the older I get. Being my age, in between 20 and 30 and working full time, I have noticed more activity developing. Time speeds up. Demands in life grow. I find myself having to fight every day in a culture of increased momentum and time consumption for quiet time with Jesus. I have had to give up some things that I enjoyed doing just to have that time. I know that not all women my age work. If God has chosen your lot in life to be able to stay home and develop skills to equip you for His glory and purpose, I would plead that you'd relish those years of growth. I did have a couple years like that where I worked part time, but when you work full time it is much harder to stretch yourself and not be isolated all the awhile. 

I cherish the fellowship with other believers. God has used participating into several deep, challenging, and thought provoking Bible studies to heal my heart in areas over the last few years. One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday morning gathering. The faces of fellow believers brings joy to my heart and like I said earlier, I just love to worship. 

Prayer has been a challenge for me. I grew up in a home where I was taught that good prayers that were received by the Lord were those of eloquence and length. I can say I'm not the best speaker. I'd rather write what's on my mind than say it unless I know you very very well! haha! This has discouraged me to pray for years, but someone recently reminded me in the last couple years of the simple prayer of Jesus as the example to his disciples on how to pray. That has offered confidence in my communication with God which is crucial to my relationship with Him. He does hear and answer prayers. He has proven that to me over and over!

Remember my rose? The fascinating thing about such an icon of beauty is that God has chosen to clothe it in those nasty thorns. I have seen this in my life too. We have our highs in the spirit and are living atop a mountain, feeling invincible, joyous, strong, but where there is a mountain there is always a valley and there I have experienced my lows. Surrender and sacrifice are two words that echo familiarity. Many times God has clearly spoken to my heart to give up what I most would hold dear, only to develop a sense of need within me for Him. I have heard several times in my spirit, "I'm sorry, but this wouldn't be good for you right now. You can choose to ignore me, but it's not the best I have in mind for you." 

It's a crushing feeling when you have your hopes and sights and maybe even dreams set on something. Perhaps longer than just a season. I haven't always listened. I have ignored that soft still voice before, but then I regret it. I have found obedience is so much more important than what I want even when being obedient can bring pain and loss. Being stretched hurts and just like a thorn pricks flesh, my own flesh could use some pricking in order to stay on track. Can I get an amen? :P My flesh and spirit like Paul said are constantly in a wrestling match. 

"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." Galatians 5:17

God has used this method to get my attention and still does when I am headed in the wrong direction. He has also used dreams recently to speak peace, cautions, and encouragement to me in times of distress and confusion. It's only been in the first few weeks of January this year thats happened. I am thankful for when God uses this way to speak to me. He always knows the best way to reach us, individually. :)

You know that word, wait? That is probably one of the most challenging words for me. Perhaps cause I'm not very patient. :P I'm so used to an instant result lifestyle. Computers and technology have been the greatest toys to me and with my hobbies they do well in assisting me, but God doesn't work in our time frame. He works on a clock that we don't even understand and may never understand in this life. I work with children, two yr olds as a preschool teacher and if you know how they can behave, I think its ironic or rather divine that God placed me in such a place of work to constantly be reminded to be patient. Two yr olds are learning patience as well as other lessons of character. I often feel like a child myself under the watch and care of my own Father. Trusting Him through pain, through loss, through trials which have been many for me, is what its all about. We truly are running a race. One that has an end though we may never see it in our lifetime. Not till Jesus returns. Perseverance is what God stresses to me when I am going through seasons like this. When I remember that in this life I'm only passing through to something more glorious than my mind can comprehend, then my faith grows stronger while my doubts and fears weaken. Its not an easy road all the time when walking with Christ, but it sure is worth it. :)

Rebekah is--a Christian, a follower and disciple of Jesus. Christ first and foremost. She has always been a writer at heart and over the years has struggled to express that part of herself.  She blogs at Rebekah's Quirky Contemplation's.


  1. This just blessed me, what a beautiful lady you are inside & out! May God use you mightily for His kindgom.


  2. Rebekah, this spoke to my heart so much! I'm just beginning that stage of what you call 'bittersweet' and what you wrote here is something I could have written about myself and just about all of it would be true. I'm so glad to find that others go through these things to, feel these ways, and love God this much. :) Thank you for posting!
    ~Sveta D.

  3. This was truly a blessing for my heart. :) Thank-you so much for sharing this!

  4. What beautiful words from a "writer at heart". Thank you for your testimony, Rebekah.

  5. This is such a beautiful testimony shared with such eloquence. Thank you for taking an opportunity to share Rebekah with us. I always try to share with young ladies the importance of not worrying about growing up and being busy but instead using your youth as a time to dig in deep into he word of God, develop an unshakeable relationship with Him and serve in any way you can... At home, church, community... To glorify the King. All the rest will come in good time and when it does the best opportunity to be fully and completely engrossed in Him without distraction will be gone forever. I was grown with a daughter and many responsibility when I came to know The Lord and I have fought every step of he way since to have that time.


  6. Thanks for that, Rebecca! Although I'm a lot younger than you (I'm still in my early teens), I can identify a lot. Thank you for being so open and willing to share.

    In Christ,


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