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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You’re Not too Broken

Photo by Microsoft

Photo by Microsoft

Anyone else would have felt like half a man, but this guy–the one with no legs–was the one who knew beyond a doubt that he’d been called.
Called to a tribe–remote–godless–dying. Called to bring relief, aid, and a fresh word from a God who loved them enough to send the broken.
They said he couldn’t do it. Time and time again this man came before churches, missions boards, relief organizations. “NO. You would never survive. REJECTED.”
He listened at first.

It’s Going to be Okay

Photo by Microsoft

Photo by Microsoft

“I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost.”

His life was simple, but that day he lost it all. Everything he’d lived for, poured himself into, believed would be… it was instantly gone.

He’d failed.

I can’t help but feel the same way right now.

I want more than anything for this body to carry another child.

I want more than anything for our daughter to run through the yard with the “li’l brudder” she asks for almost every day.

I want more than anything to see her press her little hand into his.

And so I wait. And I ask for a miracle. Just like that man, that day…

“My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my life…”

I’m like him, this man, this Peter, who lost his dream. He tried to follow Jesus, but found in the end he simply could not come to the death.

But there is a Spirit inside of me that this man did not have. Because of this Spirit I am empowered to follow Jesus to the dark places. I am empowered to see His strength. I am empowered to not waiver, because…

I am frail, but the hand that holds me is not.

Whatever the future… He is in it. And no death-rattle can haunt when He is here.

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What are you struggling with today? How can I pray for you? Please comment!

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The BoyBekah Hamrick Martin is a national speaker and the author of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan).

26.2

26.2

Photo by Microsoft

I wish I was a runner. They look so awesome cutting me off on the highway, with their “26.2” stickers flashing at me from their back bumpers.

For years I thought 26.2 was a radio station.

Do you know what my car says? It says “Author”.

My mother bought me that sticker. Maybe I should buy her an equivalent one that says “Proud Parent of a Nerd”.

Some kids are born athletic. Pictures show my husband coming out of the womb with biceps from doing pushups on his mom’s uterine wall since approximately gestational day 49 when he first developed hands.

I came out of my mother with a mild case of atrophy and a pair of granny glasses dangling from my oversized nose.

You may realize by now that I’m not athletic. Being a nerd is a poor cop-out for exercise, I know. But some day when you, my runner friend, are old and decrepit and atrophied, maybe you will realize how I feel every day of my life.

Who am I kidding? You will still be flying past me with a “26.2” bumper sticker from last week’s marathon on your car butt.

At least I will be too old and blind to see it.

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10289819_686616381391858_2334978961076964519_n-1Bekah Hamrick Martin is a national speaker and the author of The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting & God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan).