Always?


One of the best parts of teaching at the school where I work is that our students regularly lead us in worship. And our praise band is “if they cut a record I’d buy it” good. 

They are talented, but they are also so honest in their walks with the Lord. I spend enough time with them each week to know their hearts. I see them worship with abandon and then get snippy with a friend or parent. I know they’re fallen and fallible. And they know it, too, which is one reason I love them so much.

Tonight was Awards Night, and our praise band and chorale led us in a time of worship. We sang Chris Tomlin’s song “I Lay Me Down,” and when we got to the bridge, the student leading closed her eyes, raised her hands, and proclaimed, “This is my favorite part of the song,” before singing the statement, “It will be my joy to say Your will, Your way, always.”

Immediately my heart responded, “Always?” I realized that so much of my silence, my frustration of the last two years has been that it has not been my joy to say, “Your will, your way.” Not at all.

This time six years ago, I was working at the YMCA in Wake Forest, NC, interviewing to teach history at an English speaking international school in Kabul, Afghanistan. I was chasing my dream: Bekah Mason, world traveler for Jesus.

Four weeks later I was living with my parents, back home in Chattanooga. No job, no degree, no globetrotting.

It was not my joy to say, “Your will, your way, always.”

It was not my joy when a counseling position I was developing for a ministry with a local office didn’t receive needed funding and was eliminated.

It was my joy to receive a phone call about a long term sub position to finish the school year at a local Christian school. 

It was my joy because I had always wanted to teach there, AND it was for the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year, after which I intended to move to Louisville, KY, and begin my PhD. My plan, my joy.

Six years later, through changes in departments, internships, starting and failing that PhD, coaching, learning, and loving, it has become my joy to be here still. Not my plan, but still my joy.

I am reminded of the man in Mark 5 whom Jesus delivered from the legion of demons. The text says that the man was imploring Him that he might accompany Him. And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

Go home to your people. For those of us with a wanderlust that is often unquenchable, there is no joy in Jesus telling us to go home. 

I love the travel, the short term, the excitement of new places and people and challenges. But my life is not about me, and in these last six years, I have learned one valuable thing about myself: to stay is to be known, and being known is a hard part of sanctification. Being known means tears and vulnerability, it means people knowing your weaknesses. Being known can be terrifying, but to be useful in community, we must be known.

The girl who moved to seminary nine years ago with plans of never coming home has ended up back in the same zip code her family has lived in for 21 years. I live in my grandmother’s house, teach at the school my sister attended, have the children of my friends in my clasess, and it is my joy. 

So is it my joy to say, “Your will, your way, always” in my heart? I’m still not there. But He is. Through the urges to run away, to self-destruct, to doubt and question and second guess. HE is always, and He is enough to bridge that gap on the days that I haven’t quite found my joy.

Because, you see, He is my joy, and He always finds me.

Beauty For Ashes Uganda Update


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Ok, friends! I just chatted with Brandi to get updated numbers and info for the gift bags for the mamas in Orobai village. Brandi is headed to Uganda next month with Beauty for Ashes Uganda and they will be hand delivering our gifts!

These are going to the mamas you’ve supported the last couple of years with mosquito nets, cows, chickens, tuition for their kiddos to go to school… Now we have the chance to send them small gifts and words of encouragement!

There are 34 mamas in our village now, so we need 3 dozen of several things:
Travel sized hygiene items (many of you have already been collecting these)
Boxes of pencils
Deodorant
Pictures of family with notes of encouragement
Candy (dum-drums, other hard candy)
Any other small items that will fit into a small gift bag (a paper lunch sized bag)

You can bring things to church, message me about meeting up some time, or you can make a monetary donation and we’ll go buy things. It would be great if we could collect enough to help provide for mamas in other villages as well!

Message me with any questions, and thanks in advance for your support!

Exodus Freedom Conference: The Reality of Grace


Last week’s Exodus International Freedom Conference was a HUGE blessing to all who attended! This year’s theme was “The Reality of Grace” and each speaker brought a message of that reality to those in attendance. God’s grace IS a reality in which we can rest, and it was such an encouraging reminder to me of His love and grace.

The workshop I presented with Salida Brooks was well received and encouraging to many. We spoke about the role of the church and the counseling community in the healing process of those who have suffered trauma.

Please continue to be in prayer for those who counsel and minister on the “front lines”. Pray that those seeking healing will find it in the Great Physician.

Several opportunities for further ministry with other groups around the nation were presented; please pray that God will open doors for unified work with other ministries.

During our workshop there were several excellent questions asked that we were only able to give very brief answers to due to time constraints, so over the next few days I will be addressing some of them at length.

If you have questions concerning ministry with people who struggle with overcoming past trauma or same-sex attraction (both were topics addressed in our workshop), please post them in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.

Ministry Update, Summer 2010


Hello Prayer Partners!

I hope you are all having a blessed summer and are enjoying some time with friends and family.

Here is a quick update for you so that you know how to pray for this ministry.

Tomorrow I am heading to Irvine, CA, and the 2010 Exodus Freedom Conference through Exodus International. This will be three days of much healing for hundreds of people who seek freedom from homosexuality and much equipping for friends, family and ministers who seek to walk alongside men and women in that journey. This is the 35th anniversary of the Exodus Freedom Conference, and it is returning to the site of the first conference. As you can imagine, the atmosphere in California is not particularly welcoming to a conference that is designed to help those leaving the homosexual lifestyle. Planning for protests and rallies and pro-gay gatherings has been going on almost as long as planning for the conference. Here is how you can pray over the next few days.

Safety for those traveling to the conference.
That we will have opportunities to share the Gospel with those we meet on the way.
That those who come seeking healing will find it
That worship times will be freeing, authentic and Christ-centered
That those who come to protest will have positive experiences and will see the love of Christ in conference participants
For boldness and compassion for those who are speaking and teaching
For wisdom as we counsel many hurting people
For supernatural strength and encouragement for those who are working in the Conference.

This will be a very intense but encouraging time for everyone involved. Your prayers are greatly desired and appreciated!

Back here in Chattanooga we have some good things going on as well! God is greatly blessing the group of women that began a discipleship small group together in February. They are all fighting hard to find their freedom and identity in Christ and it is a rich blessing and encouragement to watch their faith and confidence grow each week. We have expanded our group for the summer to include women who come from all walks of life. We are going through the study Believing God by Beth Moore. We began this past Saturday night and will have over 20 women participate with us! These women are single, married, divored and widowed, they are ages 16 to 67 and come from many diverse backgrounds. But they are all unified in their desire to genuinely believe God so that they are equipped to live out the faith they claim. The excitement in the room was tangible as women openly shared of their desire to move past lives of mediocrity in order to enjoy the rich blessing of abundant life in Christ! Please pray for this group over the next ten weeks. We meet on Saturday nights, 6:00-8:00, and they have all made quite a commitment to give up their summer Saturday evenings in order to have this time of discipleship and fellowship. Please pray that God will bless their faithfulness and obedience richly and that their growth will ignite the sparks of revival both in their personal lives and in their respective churches.

God is doing an amazing work in the lives of the women I get to work with each week, and it is a blessing to see that growth. As a teacher, whether in the school room or in a church or conference room, there is nothing better than watching the lights come on in the lives of your students as they have “Aha!” moments. God promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:11-13). There is an ever-increasing desire to know and to love the Savior, and transformation in the lives of women who faithfully seek after Him cannot be denied.

Thank you all for your prayer support! I will send out an update next week concerning the Exodus Freedom Conference.

Blessings,

Bekah