When What You Do Becomes Who You Are

As I write this, my baby’s tucked quietly in bed; the house is a wreck; I’ve been traveling all weekend.

If you were to ask me who I am, I’d say I’m a mother. A journalist. A wife. A terrible housekeeper. An adventurer.

The reality is, these are my roles; they are not who I am.

Roles can be stripped away in a heartbeat. I learned this years ago when a period of chronic illness took away my ability to do much. I found myself lying in bed, wondering… who was I? What had I become?

I was human. 

Sometimes I think roles get in the way of how we evaluate each other (a habit I wish we didn’t have at all). We want to hang out with someone if they’re popular, if they’re gifted, if they’re entertaining or if they make us feel good.

But underneath, when we evaluate, we lose the ability to tell… that everyone is valuable. That you and you and you were born into this world the same way as everyone else. That God planned your life before the beginning of time, and nothing you say, do, or do not do will change the value of who you are.

God loved you before there was time.

And today, as I recover from a crazy weekend and a debilitating migraine… as house filth and deadlines and speaking engagements loom…

I rest.

Because I am who I am. Human. Valuable. And loved beyond my wildest dreams…

Change

Home For Sale Sign in Front of Beautiful New Home

It’s been a year since we walked away from everything we knew; everyone. We stepped out to this place, not really knowing where we were going.

Ethan came ahead and I stayed home to sell the house. That lasted for two weeks until in my utter despair I realized Facetime wasn’t the same as sharing a blanket on a cold day.

We dragged our over-sized furniture up two flights of stairs. Within a week our polite downstairs neighbors broke their lease and moved out.

Thump thump thump. How do you teach a two-year-old to tip-toe?

It’s been a full year. New beauty. New places. New friends.

But it’s also been a grief-filled year. For the family and friends we left behind.

We are grateful. For this place, for this time, for this adventure.

And yet, in this moment, we pause to feel… to remember… to acknowledge that this fall season–the one in which there has been so much change–also has much to celebrate. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever…

When Someone You Love has Been Abused

When you love someone who’s been abused,you approach her gently, as the wounded startle easily.

When you love someone who’s been abused,your heart aches for the way her scars sometimes tear into open wounds once again.

When you love someone who’s been abused,you count the cost before you commit; you may not know what the future holds, but you are willing to walk through it with the one you love.

When you love someone who’s been abused, you accept that there will be good times, and there will be weeping times if you feel at all. You will come to the end of yourself some days, and that’s okay, because…

 When you love someone who’s been abused, you know there is no greater love, because God himself laid down his own desires… and it is by that power you will love someone who has been abused.

When you love someone who’s been abused, you will encounter a depth of experiences your own life didn’t offer. You will know not only dark sorrow, but amazing joy, because when someone who has been abused is
loved…

It sets that person free.

How do I know?

 I am she.

***

Reblogged from May, 2013. We’ll be back to our regularly new posts soon. 

True love is when the dog is vomiting

wedding

Originally posted April 27, 2013.

Every now and then I walk past our wedding photo, and I see my dark tan and shockingly white teeth, and I barely recognize that girl.

Don’t get me wrong. I still take care of myself. But on weeks like this one–when the stomach bug runs through our house faster than a wild mustang stampede–time to sunbathe simultaneously with Advance White Vivid on my teeth is a little less available.

And yet… when my man pokes his head around the door at 5:00 and I’m still in my mismatched socks and snotted on blue jeans, his eyes light up. And he says, “You’re cute.” And all I can do is roll my eyes and wonder,

How deep does this guy’s love run?

True love is when the dog is vomiting, and the peas are on the wall, and the only action in bed that night is the noise of the keyboard going clickety-clackety (working on deadline for a new book idea).

True love is when the car payment’s due, and the grocery money’s gone, and the laundry’s piled higher than the kitchen table, but you sit down and watch a movie anyway, because you missed the smell of his skin all day.

True love is when you’re trying for a baby, and the artificial hormones leave you more bloated than a mama sperm whale, and your gums feel like they’ve been injected with Botox, but he still thinks you’re beautiful.

True love is pacing the floor at 4 a.m. with a squalling newborn when the artificial hormones work.

True love is forfeiting the motorcycle for Elmo because your wife has another column to write. True love is taking a four year pay-cut so she can work on her “voice” before even selling a book. True love is never wavering that the book sale will take place.

I am blessed to be truly loved.

These are my snapshots of true love… what are yours?

Your Kids Are More Important Than Your Reputation

Walking on the SidewalkPosted originally on August 10, 2013

Walking those last ten steps into my dad’s office was like trying to swim through quicksand. I felt close… so close… to crying out for help… and yet I was completely suffocated.

What if he couldn’t hear me?What if I couldn’t bring myself to utter those words… the ones I knew would break his heart? The ones I knew would take away his trust?The ones I knew I would almost have to gasp to get out of my mouth…

“We need to talk.”

How do you tell your pastor-father–the one already burdened by the pain of so many–that you have thought about only one thing for the past two months: killing yourself? How does a man even process those words?

“I need help.”

My words were few, but dad saw it in my eyes. We cried awhile, then he set up an appointment for me to talk with a counselor. It would be years before we knew the reason behind my depression (my autoimmune disease and seizures putting me at 3x the risk for suicide), but suddenly I was not alone.

I was in my daddy’s arms.

I never saw that counselor. I didn’t need to.

Opening up to my parents and allowing them to love me through those horrific feelings helped me start to heal. The fact that they didn’t try to hide my sickness from those around us–the fact that they let me ask the awful, dark questions–meant everything to me.

My parents could have been ashamed. They could have been worried more about what others thought. Instead they chose to care more about me than their reputations. People weren’t always nice. Or patient. They didn’t understand when my parents put everything on hold and let me rest until my body… and my heart… started to heal.

bekah_dad_weddingI cringed recently when my dear friend, the head of an international ministry, told a large crowd of people how embarrassed she was of the decisions her teenage son was making.

I understood her need to vent, but I also remembered that 16-year-old girl wrapped in her daddy’s arms–the safest place she’d ever known. 

And I longed for my friend’s son to feel that safe place– the one that allows you to ask tough questions…. figure out who you are… who God is… and why there are dark places in this world.

Because in the end, our kids are our greatest ministry. If we forsake them now, what do we have left?

babyzoey****Bekah Hamrick Martin is a national speaker and the author of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan, 2013). Most of all, she’s Zoey’s mom… and in about twelve years, Bekah will need to remember that her baby is more important than her reputation… which is why she’s recorded this story for herself on this blog.

No More Secrets

Courtesy Microsoft.com

Courtesy Microsoft.com

Recently I stood in front of 1,000 girls and talked about the one thing I’d always promised myself would remain a secret.

This girl… the one who travels and speaks and hangs out with some of the coolest people on the planet for a living…she knows what it’s like to feel alone.

I walked through high school this way; with some of the most caring, loving, selfless family and friends… but somehow I felt alone.

How could I tell my family as I sat in my room that night–watching the moon reflect off the wall–that all I could think about was hanging myself on the blind cord?

How could I tell them that no matter how tight they squeezed I couldn’t feel their arms around me anymore?

How could I tell them that the truth they spoke–that things would get better–was like the reflection on my wall… it was there; I just couldn’t grab onto it?

One of the darkest times of my life, and here I was… about to tell 1,000 strangers about it.

Best. Decision. Ever.

They pressed in on every side, girls who got it. Girls who were all too familiar with the word “alone”. Girls who wanted more than anything to grasp at the light until the shadows fled away.

They each had their own story, just like I had mine. (Medically induced depression from seizure meds was more than any of us knew to look for back in 1998.) But most importantly, it opened my eyes to how very many people around me are hurting… and just can’t find the words.

I don’t know if you’re one of those people tonight. Maybe this story means something to you. If it does, I want you to know you’re more than just one girl in 1,000.

You are here for a reason.

Jesus brought YOU to this place, to these words, to these promises.

And with Him… there are no more secrets. Because with Him, the truth will set you free.

No More Mrs. Nice Guy

There was a time in my life I so desperately wanted to be THAT woman. To have thick callouses and deep tree trunk roots and strong arms that push back and say Don’t Mess with This.

But I’m The Woman with my guard down. Open. Relational. In a sense I love that… in another, I might as well hang a shingle that says Take Advantage.

(Don’t ask me to tell you the story about the time the Craigslist guy drove off with my car and decided not to bring it back. But I guess I just did tell you that story.)

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