New Release!

9780310749691_imageWe’ve had our own brand of crazy over here at the Martin house (more on that soon), but I wanted to make sure you know about this–

I feel super blessed to have shared my thoughts in the study notes for this Bible! Have you picked up your copy? Not for my sake, but because Zondervan has just done an awesome job compiling so many useful tools in this version.

Pick it up for your group or for yourself today!

 

I Believe in You

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I see you wandering there…

When you think you’re all alone.

Can no one else see the ocean that threatens to swallow?

 

 

 

 

 

How did you reach this empty place?

I want to hold you. 

To hit the brakes, grab your hand, and grasp it until you know…

You are not alone.

I believe in your story.

I believe that those who visit the barren places will not return empty.

I believe anyone who ever changed the world first visited the wilderness.

I see it in your eyes–that you are about to spring into a depth you never knew existed.

Dear Friend,

I believe in your story.

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No Longer Three

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On the outside we’ve looked like a happy family of three for some time, and I admit, I was doing my very best to accept that.

We prayed. For several years. God, if another child is not what you have for us… 

Going public about choosing fertility treatments was painful for me. I knew some people would judge–why weren’t we considering adoption when there were so many children without families?

While we haven’t ruled out adoption for the future, this personal decision was based on a know-in-my-gut that if I do not get solid answers while I am in my early thirties, I will always wonder what could have been.

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14 Weeks

Getting pregnant the first time around was not unassisted for me, but for some reason the second time around was like admitting I was broken.

The first thing the endocrinologist told me was that if we did in vitro, because of one of my autoimmune conditions, we might get one or two good eggs out of thirty. On the flip side, someone with other fertility issues would have 11 or 12 good eggs out of thirty.

I left the office in tears.

The next month I was pregnant… sans in vitro and with just some prescriptions (after a year of trying RX’s from my OBGYN).

I stared at the two pink lines that first week and begged them to be true. I’d shot myself up with pregnancy hormone a few weeks before and it was still leaving my system, so the lines could simply be artificial.

The minute I got my blood results I called my mom, who I’m pretty sure stood up and shouted the news out the sun roof of her car. (Actually, it was more of a stunned silence.)

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At week twelve, the nurse handed me this onesie. We graduated. 

It hasn’t been an easy pregnancy. Thankfully the baby is great, but I’ve spent weeks holed up in a dark room vomiting and watching reality TV (probably the cause of my migraines??).

I’ll take it any day if it means I’m growing this little miracle life I knew was meant to be.

Your Gift

free-printablesWe’re emotional creatures, we creative-types.

We don’t have to have mood swings or drama or crazy (though I probably have all three) to be ourselves… but we do have to feel in order to help others feel. And most of us came into the world feeling deeply.

We hurt for the girl with the tracks on her arms at Old Navy. We are physically affected by the thought of kids without homes. Some of us become emotionally paralyzed when our own grief hits, reflecting rather than doing.

{I would argue that taking a little longer to reflect is actually healthier than what American culture tells us… which is, move on without processing.}

I was twenty-one years old when someone told me, “There is nothing wrong with you. Deep feeling means deep caring.” I’d lived my whole life believing I was too sensitive. That somehow, some way, I would grow thicker skin and become “normal”. That eventually my compassion level would switch to average. A gift.

Dear creative friend, your ability to show compassion is a gift.

Your pain, your agony, even, is your gift to the world–one that says, I see your pain. I feel your suffering. You are not alone. Sound familiar? God with us… Emmanuel. His Spirit inside of you.

Keep being you today. Keep feeling. Keep loving. And keep knowing when it is time to hand it off to Him… the one who comforts us so that we can comfort others with that same comfort.

I love you, and so does the one who never ceases to be with us…

When Someone You Love has Been Abused

when-you-love-someone-whosWhen 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.

 

Your Kids Are More Important Than Your Reputation

your-kidsare-more-importantthan-yourreputationWalking 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 dad’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 gift. If we forsake them now, what do we have left?

 

How to Stop People-Pleasing

how-to-solveThere 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.)

Continue reading “How to Stop People-Pleasing”