Thursday, July 25, 2013

Free Will, God's Sovereignty and What it has to do with My Marriage (Part 3)

Someone said, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

From November 1st to early January, I was away from Josh. We emailed back and forth for all those months. During that time, Josh realized he loved me. That email was one of the happiest days of my life!

In August, Josh and two of our friends and I went to Alaska. I was to meet his parents. We spent two weeks canoeing, hiking, seeing the sites. At one point, Josh was riding alone with his Dad. Josh told his Dad that he would like his parents approval of me as a wife.

He got that approval the day he left. <--------- b="">This is very important, because if his parents had not given their approval...I would not be married to Josh Larson, nor would I have a Ruth, Shalom, Anna or Ezra.

We were engaged at the end of August.


I could go on and on and tell you how much God has done from the day we got engaged to this very day...but I won't. Okay, I will, if you ask nicely.

The point of this whole 3 part blog - which I have never done before - is a response to the aforementioned blog. My, Josh and I aren't soulmates. If Josh's parents had not given their approval, I would not be married to him today...a VERY scary thought for me.

Josh is my rock. I draw strength from his very presence. He is the reason we have such great kids...his insight into their character is awesome, and helps me know what to do with them, what characteristics to hone, and what attitudes are unsavory and need changed. He is my comfort, and my encouragement. His love is truly the wind beneath my wings.

A year ago on August 10th, I almost lost Josh. He was in a car accident...and, but for the Grace of God, he would be dead. I was given a taste of what life could have been like. Josh changed after that accident, and suddenly I - Rebekah Larson - had to be the strong one - not my strong suit.

While I would not say that God had only me and Josh set aside for each other, in hopes that some how we would find each other (the odds were completely against us, you know, Alaska and Ohio are 3,957 miles apart, you know), I will say...God knew we would get married, and He has huge plans for us (none Jer. 29:11 - of course. =P )! God took care of us, completely, in ways we could never have thought or imagined. (Ephesians 3:20)

Winter 2010/2011 - Josh was going thru a hard time. During that time, he often found himself humming this song, and thinking of me...

Free Will, God's Sovereignty and What it has to do with My Marriage (Part 2)

While in Bible School, I had been encouraged to write out a list of thing I was looking for in a husband. I made a Needs List and a Wants List.  I was ever on guard for the guy who might fill that list. Never found him while at Bible School.

In May of 2003, I had been working at Friend Ships for almost a year. I had just returned from my sister's wedding in Pennsylvania. There was a new crew member named Josh. I don't remember having any thoughts on his looks...but I DO have one memory from that month. I had been visiting my roommate in the Galley (kitchen), and saw a list of foods under the title "Josh Larson food allergies." Josh was allergic to  red meat (including moose and bear), pork, potatoes, tomatoes, all citrus and gluten. I distinctly remember saying, "Boy, I pity the woman who marries this guy!"

In late August, my friend and I were looking for someone with whom to play cards. I had the idea to ask Josh, who spent most of his time in his room. He joined us that nights, and for the net several nights. September found us playing cards...just Josh and I. We spent our evenings talking and finding out that we had a whole lot in common. Quite often, I would wait on the Quarter Deck playing Solitaire waiting to see if Josh would come up to play cards.

October found the crews of the Spirit of Grace and the Spirit working long hours in preparation for the Spirit of Grace to sail on its first voyage to Israel. We worked from 7a to 7p every day. After the supper dishes were washed, the evenings found Josh and I playing cards and hanging out. More talking, friendship blossoming nicely. While I looked for all the signs that Josh was my soulmate, I never found one. I only ever saw a friend for whom I cared deeply.

The week leading up to the Grace's departure found Rebekah crying often, for I was leaving with the ship, and Josh was staying in Lake Charles. I refused to lead the way into this, a relationship I deeply wanted. I wanted to be the second part of a couple with Josh, but so often in my life, I had taken the first step...a step not mine to take. So when Josh asked me why I was crying, my only response was "It's a girl thing."

Josh knew my favorite food was a Ruby Tuesdays Ribeye. Josh told me he wanted to take me out for steak before I left. I was excited, and left my shopping for the voyage for that evening...October 31st. I was excited all day long! As soon as the clock struck 7pm, I jumped into the shower. I dressed in a black shirt and some awesome pants. I put my hair half up, and went to knock on Josh's door.  I knocked...but there was no answer. The shower that Josh usually used was unoccupied, and I was confused. I went up to the quarter deck where I found Josh...eating supper...

Confusion is a funny word. Confusion and frustration mingled on my face, as my emotions always do. The answer was simple, and Josh was quick to give it. The job he was doing wasn't done, and he needed to finish it, or we would not have food on the way to Israel. He would be done by 9:30p. He mentioned still wanting to take me out for supper and my shopping trip...which I REALLY needed to go on, or I would not have soap or shampoo! =P

True to his word, Josh was off the Grace at 9:30p and we were off at 10p. I had changed out of my fanciness into a nasty yellow long sleeved t-shirt, and my hair was up in a pony-tail. We ate, and went to Walmart. After my shopping was done, and we were checking out, Josh had a goofy smirk on his face. I asked him what he was smiling at, and he smirked and said, "It's a boy thing, you wouldn't understand."

I knew he was mocking me, and so tried to explain to him that I really liked him. After five whole minutes of stuttering, I finally spit out, "It is like a rose. If you force it open, it won't be beautiful." To which Josh replied, "Some roses open faster than others..." and before I could guess what he meant, he went on to tell me that he thought we would make a good match...and that when I came back, he would like to announce a special relationship (a Friend Ships way of keeping everyone informed, rather than gossiping).

Neither Josh nor I ever would have said that God made us for each other. At the same time, I have no doubt that God was leading and guiding us in every way.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Free Will, God's Sovereignty and What it Has to do with My Marriage (Part 1)

My response to (neither proving nor disproving) the blog post "everyone" keeps sharing called "My Husband is not my Soulmate."

Back in the day...I read I Kissed Dating Good-Bye...and I did...I decided I wouldn't kiss till my wedding day. An easy thing to do when you have no prospects on the horizon, let me tell you.

Then one day (April 2000), it happened. I met a guy that fit my bill for marriage-able material. Can you believe it? God let me find a guy who was taller than me, loved God and had double-jointed thumbs. What can I say? I was shallow when I was in high school! I was actually out of high school when I met J...and it seemed to me that this relationship was what I had been looking for all my life. I wanted to kiss him, but remembered my vow...until the day two of my most trusted family members told me I was ridiculous for NOT kissing him. So I went back on my vow. And suddenly, a budding friendship turned into a kiss-a-thon. What had been a "beautiful and much prayed for thing" turned into a horrible mess. We broke up. I got the line "I can love you better as a friend than as a boyfriend or husband," and J walked out of my life completely one warm summer day, two months after the relationship began.

Heartbroken, thy name is Rebekah.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

That Kind of Woman

We may not know their names, nor  even their faces...but they are there. They are the ones we forget to thank, for theirs is a thankless job. And quite honestly, they probably don't want our thanks...they want their husbands.

They could be the single Mom you saw shopping at Walmart. That woman you passed in the store, her face a mask hiding her loneliness. They are the women who cry when no one can comfort them. They are the women who have to be Mama and Daddy for lengths of time no one wants to think about.

Most of us can't fathom that kind of lonely, that kind of waiting.

They are Military Wives.

This song by Plumb makes me think of my sister. She IS that kind of woman. She is my hero. And she is doing a FANTASTIC job keeping the home fires burning.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Because Someone Might Find Encouragement

A friend asked me this on a facebook group, and I thought I would share:
I was just wondering what brought on the changes we've been seeing as of late? Were there any steps that you started with? Was this part of a plan?
Please, do tell!!!
Well...I have hated myself since going above 200#. My size has always been a major sore spot with me, and the depression (PPD and regular/clinical) seemed to compound things A LOT! I was always angry, and loud when it came to my kiddos. I wanted another Baby, figuring that would solve my problems (I will pause while you contain your laughter). My "problems" were emotional eating, plain ol' bad attitude towards life, frustration with myself, normal hormonal-ness...the list goes on, and on, and on etc...

My sister, Joanna, in a non-invasive kind of way posted a link on my wall for the exercise I am doing. She also included the encouragement, "This is something I think you could do." She posted it almost a month before I started it. One day, I was tired of myself. I had started my own form of the TSFL diet (using whey protein instead of soy and staying below 2000 calories, but above 1000 as the diet recommends), and I started losing weight. Since starting the "diet" on December 6th, I have bounced around in the same 10 pounds for almost 2 months now.
February 1st, I started with 25 jumping jacks. That's it. I felt like an idiot. Boy, did I feel like an idiot jumping around getting winded, and gasping for breath by the time I was done...but I did them. That same day, instead of dragging myself out of bed later than is acceptable, I went to bed early the night before, and got up at 7am. I had the house to myself...and I could look like an idiot to only me and God.
My scale says 222...not the 219 it said yesterday morning (after a 24 hr flu bug), but it doesn't say 230 either! And I am okay with that. I FEEL really good.  I am now on Day 22 of 60 days (stinking flu bug set me back almost 3 days). I FEEL better. I don't look smaller, but I feel smaller. I FEEL stronger. My energy is definitely up from being/feeling like a sloth! Josh says I feel smaller and stronger...and I am holding tightly to that as my encouragement. After doing 20 crunches and 20 leg lifts, I feel like I have Rock Star Abs, and for a couple hours, I fly on that high.
Is it easy? Not if I look ahead at what is expected of me.  If I look ahead, I see that in about a month and a half, I have to go jogging for an hour straight.  THAT SCARES ME. But if I look at today, I only have to do 50 jumping jacks and 25 crunches.  I can do that...because I have already done it in the last 20+ days! Sounds kind of like the Biblical principle, "Don't worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of its own."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Story I Never Told...

I have kept a secret from most of you for just over six years now.

Six and a half years ago, God gave me a gift.  Her name is Ruth Elisabeth Larson.

Ruth Elisabeth

With Ruth, we became a family of three!

A grey cloud hung over this Mama's joy - thoughts interrupted her cuddle and almost awake times.  Dreams that no Mama should ever have about their beautiful gift from God.

As time wore on, the thoughts faded. Life moved on and it soon became apparent that God had another Gift in store for Josh and Rebekah!

Shalom Elkanah! 07-17-07
God  gave us our petite little bundle of Peace!  Shortly after God gave us Shalom, He moved us from Louisiana to Pennsylvania. A long journey for this Mama who was still recovering from a birth, and struggling to learn her place in the world of breastfeeding.  The grey cloud that had visited after Ruth's birth became a little greyer and stayed a little longer.  It would be two whole years before God added another gift to the family...more than enough time for the darker grey cloud to dissipate and be forgotten.

God was gracious to us, and gave us our little Anna Corinne. Within a week or two, it became apparent that this Mama's body was tired. I couldn't produce enough milk for my Baby Girl...and by 5 months -  months of being tired, feeling tied to a breastpump...and nursing...AND taking care of Anna's older sisters - we started Anna on formula.  I felt like I had been ripped off. The grey cloud got darker, and stayed longer.

The March after Anna (06-05-09) was born, I was pregnant. Life at our present ministry was VERY hard. Josh was crispy, I was kind of spacey... We took the month of June off. In August we knew the job was in limbo. September 23rd - at 7 months pregnant - we were jobless, and would have been homeless if not for friends at church. We moved into a friend's apartment on October 23rd, and Josh had a job!

Two days from my due date, two WEEKS before Ezra arrived.

And Ezra makes six!
Ezra Nehemiah was a healing balm to our hearts. He came at a time when we really needed God's Help and Comfort...and He gave us Ezra Nehemiah (his name means Help and Comfort of Jehovah).

A month after Ezra was born...a black cloud settled on my head and heart.  Thoughts no Mama should ever have took over my cuddle times.  Within no time at all, Josh had permission to carry and answer his cell phone at work (against the rules at this job). He worried constantly, wondering what he would find when he got home.

By the time Ezra was 10 months old, we had moved to Missouri. Before the month was out, I 'knew' that Josh was a better parent that I was, that the kids liked him better than me, and that I really wasn't needed at home anymore.  Of course this was completely false, but I could no longer fight the thoughts that overtook my brain. My family was better off without me...if only I weren't scared of what God would say if I did kill myself. That was the one thing that kept me from killing myself,  I - ever the people-pleaser - was scared of what God would say.

Please don't think that we didn't try many avenues to get through and around this depression that was my constant companion.  I tried herbs, I tried homeopathy (two totally different things, if you didn't know)... A year ago this Thursday, I started taking anti-depressants...feeling like I had again failed because I couldn't "heal myself with my own herbs."

After a while, I was well enough that I wanted off the meds.  Because I couldn't comprehend what I was reading, Josh read the book "The Mood Cure" for me.  The book taught us how to use the aforementioned herbs and supplements properly to correct the deficiencies in my body to heal the depression.

I stand here today, a whole woman, able to tell you my story...a story that, but for the Grace of God, could have ended QUITE differently.