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Pray Me Through




As I recover from my shoulder surgery, I have pondered what praying someone through  truly means and the importance of praying someone through a tough situation. 

So many times we are asked to pray for someone. So we pray for them. Once. Maybe even a few times. Is that enough? Sometimes it is. When the need is traveling mercies, the result of a test, a job interview or any number of other needs that involve a one time event, prayer for that one time may be enough.  But what about those with ongoing needs? 

Those who have been down-sized after 30 years of working for one company, those with extensive medical problems or residual effects from a medical issue, the child with a chronic illness, the death of a loved one, the mother whose youngest child leaves home, salvation for a loved one. 

Grief doesn't disappear after the funeral, healing isn’t immediate after surgery, joy doesn’t come immediately when your last child leaves home and sometimes it takes years of prayer to see a loved one accept Christ. 

These are the times that as Christians we need to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters and pray until the need has been resolved - this, is praying them through.  There is no time frame, and the resolution may not always be what we want or when we want it.  It doesn’t mean our prayer is not heard or will not be answered. It simply means God answers prayer according to His time frame and His plan.

I have been very blessed during my recovery. I have had many, many friends, family members, church members - and brothers and sisters in Christ whom I don’t even know - praying me through my surgery and recovery.  While I still have a ways to go, God has answered prayer and blessed me beyond my wildest imagination.  I am just a minute speck in all His creation, yet he has heard and answered prayers that have gone up for me.  I stand in awe of His grace and mercy. 


Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing
by the church unto God for him.    Acts 12:5  KJV


 ©  2011 Rebecca Mick     Rebecca’s Hope Chest       All Rights Reserved.








Empty Nest

June is a time of graduation.  Graduation ceremonies from kindergarten, junior high, high school and college are taking place all over the nation.  It’s a time of great joy and excitement for parents and children alike.  A rite of passage.  A time for looking towards the future.

It’s also a time of reflection and great sadness for mothers everywhere whose youngest or only child is graduating from high school and moving on. The joy and pride felt at this great accomplishment is overshadowed only by the realization that their baby is no longer a baby. 

I remember sitting at my youngest child’s high school graduation and seeing the young man my boy had become, walk to the platform, accept his high school diploma, then thank his dad, his sister and me, for the part we each played in his life to get him to that day. Everything seemed to be in slow motion, yet happened so fast.  Graduation was over, pictures were taken, dinner was eaten, and I felt overwhelmingly sad. Where had all the years gone?  There were eighteen of them; how could they have passed so quickly and unnoticed?  I remember thinking it was only the blink of an eye and the years were gone!

As the weeks passed, I was starting to understand why it’s called empty nest. No more dirty dishes in the sink that I did not put there. Large amounts of food were being thrown away - for the first time in my life, there was no one
 to eat what I cooked. No little boy to track in mud and sand, to show me the treasures he put in his pockets during the course of his day, or to throw is arms around my neck and hug me as only a little boy can. No teenage boy to eat everything in sight, ask for the car keys, or to tell me loved me every time he walked out the door.

Fortunately, I had many outlets in my life and being a mother did not completely define who I was.  Yes, I am a mother and like every mother it was a sad time for me. Yet at that time I was also a dispatcher, an AWANA director, a puppet ministry director, a Sunday school helper and a friend.  My work in the AWANA JV club was my favorite outlet. There were several junior high aged boys in the club and I enjoyed watching those boys grow and move on to high school. 

Finding balance in all areas of our lives makes it easier to manage when change comes. Finding balance isn’t as easy as it sounds and we have to figure out what works for each of us. Through trial and error I have found balance my life.  I have to absolutely trust and lean on the Lord in all things.  He is the only one who can fill the huge hole left inside me with each loss I’ve suffered through my life.  My son graduating and leaving home was no different. The more I turn to Christ, the more I find to fill me up.


Rebecca's Hope 

© 2010 Rebecca Mick  Rebecca's Hope Chest   All Rights Reserved By Law.



THE GREATEST GIFT

Tonight as I sat at Bible study, I looked around the room at our group and realized how much they embody the true spirit of Christianity.  About a year ago I was searching for a church, when I walked into their church they enveloped me with love, care and acceptance.  Tonight as we sat in our circle to study the Bible, I was again overwhelmed by the outpouring of love as they each prayed for me as I face surgery in just a couple days.  I wept as I felt the love of Christ emulated in each one of them.  

A little later, during out study, our leader asked, “What do people think when they hear the word Christian?”   My answer  was You’re a good person.   This is true, many believe to qualify as a Christian you just have to be a good person, but who sets the standard?  In the unsaved person's life that standard is set by how they were raised, what their parents taught them was “good”.  

In the life of the born-again believer, that standard is set by Christ.  In I Corinthians 12:28-30, Paul talks about the gifts that God has given, then in the next verse, verse 31 it says,  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet I show unto you a more excellent way.  

As you continue to read I Corinthians 13, Paul says that all these gifts, prophecy, teaching, healing, speaking in tongues and miracles are nothing without charity (love).  In I Corinthians  13:13, Paul reveals what the best gift is,  And now abideth faith, hope charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).   

Love is the greatest gift from God and it seems the easiest to possess.  Don’t we love fairly easily?  We love our spouse, our children, parents, siblings, we love our families and friends.  It’s easy to go out of our way to do for those we love.  Ah, but here’s the test, do we love the unlovable?  Do we love that those who are difficult to love?  We all have people in our lives, whether at work or in church or at the market that just drive us nuts.  We drive passed the homeless and think, get a job!  When a stranger walks into church, do we love him/her, no matter what they look like? That young man or woman who has tattoos every place they have skin, do we love them?  Or do we judge them?

When I walked into this church a year ago, not one person there knew me, yet at the end of the service I couldn't get to the door before being encircled by a group of lovely, sincere people thanking me for coming and asking me to join them for their Sunday night coffee fellowship at a local restaurant.  

But the greatest of these is charity.  

Father, open my heart to those who are unlovable.  Let me see the good in them, Lord.  They are Your children and are in need of Your love.  Let me be the vessel that Your love shines through.  

* All verses taken from the KJV 



Rebecca's Hope 
© 2010 Rebecca Mick   All Rights Reserved By Law.
Rebecca's Hope 

TRUE    FREEDOM 

Sitting in church this morning, July 4, 2010, singing patriotic songs and praising God for the freedoms we have in this country, I had to fight back tears. They were tears of joy and tears of great sadness. Joy that I have been so blessed by God that I was born in America. Sadness, as I watch the very foundation of the country I love so much crumbling daily before my eyes. 

So many have died for the freedoms we enjoy, freedoms we take for granted, and there are many still willing to die for freedom and liberty, as evidenced by so many young men and women who have volunteered to fight this war we are involved in now. 

It seems to me, such an oxymoron, to be sending these young men and women overseas to fight for freedom, while here in our very own country, our own government attempts to remove the Christian foundation and freedoms of this country! 

I love this country with all my heart, I always have. I remember as a child how I got goose bumps learning all those wonderful songs that are no longer taught in school. I remember the 4th of July parades and how my eyes would mist up when the veterans passed, sometimes looking like a rag-tag bunch, but always carrying the flag proudly.  People stood then, and saluted the flag, as well as, the veterans.  

People also stood and waved American flags when the National Anthem was played. I remember feeling like the luckiest kid in the world to be part of such a celebration and a citizen of a country with so many freedoms. The sight of American flags hanging in front of most houses made my heart swell with love of country. 

Today, as I was overtaken with the sadness I feel at losing all this, I heard what the preacher was saying and I am filled with such joy because I was reminded that I am a child of God and in the end none of this will matter.

 My freedom is not in this world or dependant upon men. My freedom is in God my Father. 

Slowly, God is turning His back on America because of this county’s insistence that He leave - and anything Christian  be removed from public view. 

Sometimes I forget, and I get so weary with all the emails and news coverage of the liberal goings-on in government, but in II Chronicles 7:4  God says, “If My people ( i.e. the Christians of America! ) which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.” 

There is hope in this verse, that God will always hear His people, and He has mercy for those who truly repent and ask for forgiveness. No matter what happens to this great nation of ours, I know where my freedom truly lies. 


© 2010  Rebecca Mick  Rebecca's Hope Chest  All Rights Reserved By Law.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
 in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.  
Philippians 4:11 KJV

Contentment

How often are we content with what we have in our life?  There is always something we want, whether it be material or emotional, we want.  Sometimes the thing we desire most is the thing that seems to be the most elusive: love, companionship, or intimate friendship.  These things cannot be bought, yet everyone desires them.  

In the years after my divorce, I longed for the emotional intimacy that marriage brings.  Yet, I never found it.  I  cried out to God, “Lord, why won’t you give me the thing I want most in my life?”   Why would God deny me this, when I had so much love inside, that was screaming to get out?  Why were there women all around me who divorced and remarried within just a few years and seemed to be happy and loved?  WHY? 

Doesn’t God know us better than we know ourselves?  God has a plan for my life and marriage might not be in it.  I was angry when this thought first dawned on me.  Then as the years passed, I had to wonder, is marriage what I truly want most in my life?  

What I really wanted was for my marriage to have turned out differently, but by the time I realized this, there was no way to change it.  I came to the realization that no matter who I was involved with, that man was not the father of my children and the family I longed for was gone forever; I couldn’t get it back by being married to someone else. 

Maybe what you long for is not the same, but there are many situations in our lives that we are unhappy with.  Some are easily resolved, others take a lifetime to come to terms with.  I didn’t resolve my issue overnight.  It took years of walking with the Lord, of being angry at times and being grateful at others. 

Exactly how do we become truly content with what we have in this life?   Know that this life is temporary.  Look to the Lord for all your needs to be met.  There is nothing He won’t supply. The key is to come to the realization that He knows what His plan is for your life, and even when we veer off on the wrong path, He will bring us back to what was intended for our life.  

When I realized there is no getting back what I threw away, I turned to the Lord.  (Don’t we always seem to turn to God when there’s no place else to go?)  The Lord gave me friendships and a church family that took away much of the ache for what wasn’t available to me.  I found that the more I trusted in the Lord, the more time I spent in His Word, the more time I poured into ministry, the less I hurt for what I didn’t have.

We can buy the material things of this world, but we cannot buy contentment, friendship or love.  These things come to us through the effort we put forth.  Once we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about God - and how we can serve Him - the emptiness is somehow filled up! 

Winter Blessings

                                  Fall has finally come! A beautiful transition from the hot summer months

                                     to the cold, damp, snowy winter! I love fall and winter! I love the chill in the air that causes us to go to the closets and bring out sweaters, scarves, mittens and hats! I love the colors God paints the world this time of year. The blazing yellow, red and orange leaves, the pink and purple sunsets, and the last bits of green as the grass fades.  

Oh!  The brilliance of the sun reflected from crystals and prisms of ice which hang from the eaves of houses and bare branches of trees make my heart glad!  The night sky takes my breath away!  It looks like black velvet with diamonds sparkling on it.  Then comes the beauty and quiet of waking up to a fresh snowfall and the hush of  the early morning winter, when it seems the whole world is asleep except me!  Wrapped in the warmth of my kitchen, looking out the window onto a world covered in an undisturbed blanket of white, I know the hope and peace in the quiet of that moment is something only God can put in my heart.

In the midst of all these physical changes in the world, come my favorite holidays!  Thanksgiving and Christmas!  We sometimes forget what these holidays are all about.  We all have much to be thankful for, but it’s so easy get caught up in the preparations for a grand Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration that has nothing to do with being thankful, or with the birth of our Savior.  We rush around trying to make the day perfect, only to be disappointed because there is no perfection in human plans.  

This year start a new tradition.  Make a list of all the things you are thankful for, then actually thank God for those blessings.  Ask each person who will share Thanksgiving and Christmas with you to share with everyone just one thing they are thankful for.  This gives everyone a chance to reflect on the year passed and to see what blessings they really have been given. 

Only Gods’ plan is perfect and the only way to see Gods’ plan is to be open to it, to give thanks to Him and to ask Him to lead in your life.  

My hope for each and every one is that as you prepare for your Thanksgiving 
and Christmas celebrations, you will slow down long enough to reflect on your 
blessings and to thank God for what He has given you this last year.

© 2010 Rebecca Mick  
Rebecca’s Hope Chest
All Rights Reserved By Law
Rebecca's Hope 


© 2010 Rebecca Mick  Rebecca's Hope Chest   All Rights Reserved By Law.
Rebecca's Hope 



 MY JESUS DWELLS WITHIN

I woke up late this morning, the sky was dark and gray.
As I stumbled out of bed, not quite ready to start my day.
I went to the kitchen to put the coffee on,
I thought, this is a bad day, as I stifled a yawn.

I sat down at my computer, just to check my mail.
I chatted with my daughter and played the games offered there.
As I sipped my coffee, suddenly, it was revealed: 
How blessed I am to be here, my earlier thought repealed.

I looked out the window, at the tree bending against the wind,
And heard the wind howling outside, but I was safe within.
I thought about the people in Haiti, those without a home.
I looked at my surroundings and realized how blessed I truly am.

Oh, my furniture is nothing fancy and worn with years of use,
But here I have warmth and safety and my Jesus dwells within.
I have so much to be thankful for, too much to even list.
So how could I forget so quickly, the things that matter most?

Then the Lord opened my eyes, and I began to see,
The problem isn’t with the day, the problem’s within me.
My day should always start with my reading of the Word,
How else could I have the protection of God’s Mighty Sword?

I bowed my head and asked my Lord for forgiveness in this sin,
The peace that fills my heart assures me, my Jesus dwells within.




© 2010 Rebecca Mick  Rebecca's Hope Chest  All Rights Reserved By Law
Rebecca's Hope

Grace

When asked to define grace I thought it would be easy.  I always thought of grace as receiving what is not deserved.   As Christians we sometimes use the words mercy and grace almost interchangeably.  We define mercy as not receiving the punishment we deserve and grace as receiving blessings we don’t deserve.  These two things can become confused, and this is a simplistic definition of grace.   Grace is so much more.

Grace is a character trait of God.  It’s a trait all Christians should aspire to possess.  Some people seem to have been born with grace, but for others it’s something that needs some work. 

According to Strong’s Concordance the original word used in the Bible was Charis (khar’ ece), which means “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, grace of speech, goodwill, loving kindness, favor“.  Some of the older King James Version (KJV) Bible translations uses “favor”.  The New American Standard (NAS), uses “blessing”.   

Personally I prefer the word favor.  It denotes being special, like a favored child or a best friend.  Anyone can receive a blessing from God, but not everyone is favored by God.  In the Old Testament (OT) God blessed many people, not all were His favored people.  One of my favorite stories of God’s grace can be found in Joshua 2 and 6.  It’s the story of Rahab.  She helped the two Israelites when they were sent to spy out Jericho.  She knew who they were, she knew of their God and feared Him.  I believe she must have known of God’s grace, too.  When the Israelites attacked Jericho, the lives of Rahab and her family were spared because she helped God’s people.  She was shown God’s favor.

Another example of God’s grace was when He sent Jonah to Nineveh.  Jonah didn’t want to go, but as we know, eventually he did go and preach.  When God spared the Ninevites, Jonah became angry at God.  Jonah passed judgment that the Ninevites didn’t deserve to be spared.  God showed favor to the Ninevites because after Jonah’s preaching, they believed and repented. 

Numerous times in the Old Testament the Israelites turned their backs on God, yet He showed them favor, or grace, and didn’t destroy them (Psalm 78:38).

In the New Testament (NT) God’s grace to humanity is shown in Jesus.  In John 1:14 it says, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.   In John 14:17 it says, For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth come by Jesus Christ.

In Titus 2:11, Paul wrote, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.

Throughout His ministry Jesus showed grace though His words as well as His works.  He was recognized by how He spoke!   In Luke 4:22, it says, And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words, which proceeded out of his mouth.  And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 

Could you imagine someone who never laid eyes on you recognizing you by your graciousness, having your reputation of speaking kindly to people precede you?  In Matthew 9:36, it says Jesus was moved to compassion when He saw the multitudes of people.  When we have compassion for people we tend to be more gracious and less judgmental towards them.

Throughout the Bible there are many kinds of grace, but as Christians we tend to think of saving grace first.  There are numerous verses that tell us of the saving grace of Christ, but I’ll just reference a couple of my favorite.   When I substitute the word favor for the word grace these verses are so much sweeter. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 comes to mind, For by grace are ye saved through faith,; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.  

Romans 3:24 says, Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is Christ Jesus.

As children of God we are favored by Him.  To me that’s like being favored by my earthly father. 

God gives us sustaining grace.  In II Corinthians 12:9, God tells Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  

How do we manage to get through the crisis’ and catastrophes that befall us throughout our lives?  The loss of a loved one, a child who becomes involved in drugs, gangs or a multitude of other self -destructive behaviors, a marriage that is destroyed, financial set -backs.  How do we cope with these things?  Do favorite Bible verses come to mind?  Is there comfort in being in God’s house and near God’s people?  Who do you turn to for advice and comfort?

Lastly is the grace I believe we should aspire to, and that’s common grace.  This is grace that’s shown to all men, no matter what their spiritual condition.  It’s how we treat people, whether in our home or when we’re out and about.  In Colossians 4:6, it says to let your speech always be with grace.  In I Peter 5:5, it says God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus says to love your enemies and to pray for those who hate you.

It’s only through our relationship with Christ that we can be gracious to others.  God has shown us favor, is it not only right to show grace or favor to others?  I have decided to strive to be like Christ in Luke 4:22, I want to be known for my kind words.  

How about you?




© 2011 Rebecca Mick  Rebecca’s Hope Chest


© 2010 Rebecca Mick  
Rebecca’s Hope Chest
All Rights Reserved By Law
Rebecca's Hope 


Sticks and Stones


As kids, most of our parents told us, “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.”  What a lie!  As kids, how many of us believed that?  How many tried to believe it, even when other children would say cruel, wounding things to, and about us? How many finally realized how untrue those words were, and still are?

James 3:8, says, But the tongue no man can tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  This is true when thoughtless children cruelly taunt their classmates or siblings.  It’s true when adults participate in gossip. It’s true when disagreements become heated arguments and cruel hurtful words are spewed out in anger.  

In James 4:11, it says,  Speak not evil one of another, brethren….. Yet, Christians are not immune to participating in gossip or spitting out angry words at their spouse, children and friends.  If the words once said would dissipate into the air, it wouldn’t matter what came out of our mouth.  The problem is those words strike the heart of the victim.  Words can cause wounds that never heal.  They can destroy marriages and friendships and they can destroy a child‘s self worth.  Words can destroy a church.    

There are numerous Bible verses that tell us how difficult it is to control what we say.  So, how do we control the words that proceed out of our mouth?  

James 4:7, says, Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

James 4:10, says, Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. 

Ephesians 4:31-32, says, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

How many of us don’t think before we speak?  We say something thoughtless or repeat something we’ve heard.  It doesn’t matter
 if we have first hand knowledge of a situation, it’s gossip unless the person it involved has given permission to pass the details along.  

I believe it’s through a personal relationship with our Lord that we can control what we say and how we treat others.  We need to turn to Christ to give us the wisdom we need when dealing with others.  We need to confess to the Lord when we’ve said or behaved in such a way that caused injury to another.  We also need to humble ourselves and go to the person we’ve wronged and ask for their forgiveness.  Without forgiveness there can be no healing. 

We need to teach today’s children the Golden Rule.   It derives from the Bible in Matthew 7:12, where Jesus said, Therefore all things, whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is [the fulfilling of ] the law and [the message of ] the prophets.

I supervise a lot of younger people who have grown up believing everything is about them, and they have the right to say and do whatever they please regardless of the impact on anyone else.  As a result there are at times a lot of hurt feelings.

I want to put a huge banner on the wall above my desk that says:

  TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERS TREAT YOU!

 ©  2011 Rebecca Mick    Rebecca’s Hope Chest     All Rights Reserved

*All Scripture from KJV                    

Won’t you be different, too?  

© 2012 Rebecca Mick     Rebecca’s Hope Chest    All Rights Reserved By Law.


How Should We Live Our Lives? 

So many people want to do big, grand things for God, but they want to do it in their own might and they want to share in the glory of it.  There are literally thousands of mega-churches, televangelists, and radio broadcasts, but not much of God’s word is actually being preached.  Some of the leaders of these mega-churches achieve fly-by-night popularity, yet, they are not the true mighty men and women of God.  Their sermons are watered-down, so as not to "offend" people.  Some are not even teaching from the Bible, at all!   People need to be offended, they need to have their hearts pricked with the Word of Truth.  The Holy Spirit needs to have His foot in the door (so to speak) to d His work with their hardened hearts and seared consciences. 
God doesn’t call us all to be Mother Teresas or Billy Grahams.  Those folks didn’t plan to do huge things.  They simply stepped out in faith and followed what God laid on their hearts, one day at a time.  As they completed each task given to them, and continued to steadfastly follow God, He led them further..  to where He wanted them to go.  It's interesting that when Mother Teresa first realized her Calling was to be on the streets of Calcutta, she didn’t know - nor did she stop to think of - the impact she would make on the whole world!  When Evangelist Billy Graham followed God’s leading, and stood for God's Word and way - no matter what his friends said or did - he had no idea the size of impact he would make on Christians worldwide.  He didn’t stop to think, 'Hey world, look at me..I’m going to do big things for God! ’
We also need to stand strong for what’s right in the Lord. 
Ephesians 6:10-20 encourages us to prepare, and stand strong (or endure).  My favorite verse is 6:13 - 'Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.'  
The whole armour of God is fundamental gear for ALL Christians!
So, what about those of us who are not Mother Teresas or Billy Grahams?  What is it that God expects from us
We are those who are Called to be mothers and fathers, police officers, firefighters, teachers and office workers, doctors and factory workers...   The list goes on and on, but first and foremost, God calls all of us to have fellowship with Him.  That’s what we were created for!   
God wants us to grow in His Word so we will be the best we can  be - this side of heaven!  So that, as we go about our everyday life, we are able to live it to God’s glory!  We are to share the love of Christ in our words and deeds.  When the opportunity arises, we are to witness to Christ IN US, with both acts and words.  We cannot all go into the uttermost parts of the world, but we can all impact the world around us, for Christ!  
For every Mother Teresa, or Billy  Graham, there are hundreds and thousands of everyday people who impact their own part of the world for God.  People who are neither famous, nor wealthy. 
Jesus taught love and kindness, compassion and (righteous) tolerance.  Today many of us are so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t have time for things like compassion and tolerance.  I once heard a preacher give a service about homosexuality.  There was no compassion for the sinner.  Hate the sin and the sinner, was pretty much the message.  Those are not Christ’s words, and I believe it’s the wrong attitude.  We are never to tolerate sin, but we can love the sinner and hate the sin; we can show compassion, and yes, "tolerance", for those who don’t know Christ (nor accept/understand that they sin) and are living in the depths of hell.  We may be the only glimpse of the love of Christ they ever see!  Why would they want Christ, if we, who are His followers, behave as unkindly as those without Christ?! 
The biggest compliment I have ever received, was when a co-worker told me she knew that I was a Christian.. because
 I am different.  
Rebecca's Hope 


Retirement 

Who would have thought I would be retired?  I can hardly believe I’m old enough! 

My thoughts go back……was 1956 so long ago, after all?  I close my eyes and I can remember being three years old and waiting for my dad to come home from work, going to first grade, meeting a lot of new kids in sixth grade, being a Girl Scout and going to camp, attending 4H Club, High School football games and being on the Flag Team.  I remember the smell of October, when the air turned cold and the leaves dropped from the trees, the Thanksgiving pies, and Christmases with snow so white you were blinded by the brilliance of the sun reflected from it!

I recall my wedding day, the birth of my children and the many subsequent birthday celebrations, my children’s high school graduations and their own passages into adulthood, and then, the birth of my grandson.…..can so many years really have passed? 

Can I have lived so long…....  can I really  be retired?! 

When I was in my 20’s, I was young and in love, life seemed so good, and I just knew those wonderful days would last forever!  

But life has a way of changing things as the years roll by.  I remember my 30’s as both wonderful and almost unbearably difficult.  I had so much to learn, and some of those lessons were painful, but just as in giving birth, the pain fades.  Fortunately, the lessons learned remain. 

During those tough times, after many difficulties, hurts and disillusionments, I did what many others do - I turned back to the only One left -  Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  And I chose to follow the path God had planned for me.  As I got a little older,  life got….well, not so much easier as….just a little smoother. 

As I poured my energies into ministries, God blessed me, and provided for me beyond compare. 

People have told me they envy me my retirement at this age. I did not obtain it without sacrifice.  Sometimes I look back and remember all the missed birthdays, holidays and special events, and I wonder, was it worth it?   Then I ponder what other path could I have taken, since I believed God provided this job for me for this very purpose. 

It seems that reminiscing is part of getting older, and a part of retirement...  when we’ve slowed down enough to stop and think about our life and the living of it.  As long as we don’t dwell on those things that we think we could have done differently, or better, it’s not a bad thing to remember the past. 

To remember the past is to take a fond look at it, but then put it away again, and live in the present. 

When I first retired, well-intentioned co-workers and friends asked me if I wouldn’t be bored, or miss working!  A few even asked if there was anything they could do to “help me get through and adjust” to being retired!  

I needed no adjusting!  I did not retire from something, rather, I retired to something better!   I am ready to embark on the second half of my life - a blank page waiting to be written on!  What wonderful things does God have in store for me now?  This is an exciting time, not a time to cry over what has been! 

In recent days I have felt more alive than I have in years!  I open the doors and windows and feel the cool early morning air welcome me, as the breeze gently whispers through my house carrying the scent of jasmine from the front porch.  Once a week I make the short drive along country roads to a local farm to pick up my share of fresh-picked produce, and I thank the Lord that He has been so faithful in providing for me. 

There is so much to do!  To learn again, to look for new experiences, to make new friends and reconnect with old friends, to try new recipes, to plant flowers and trees, to play in the water in the hot afternoon sun - to rediscover the things I used to love to do! 

Curling up on a hot summer afternoon with a good book and a pitcher of fresh-made lemonade is one of the simple pleasures I looked forward to, and am now enjoying!   I am content, and I am open to whatever God has planned for me…   Lord, please let me recognize Your voice! 

So what does tomorrow bring?   When I am tired of my new, simple life, I’ll let you know! 




© 2012 Rebecca Mick        ~  Rebecca’s Hope Chest  ~      All Rights Reserved By Law.


      





President Obama once made the statement that the United States is no longer a Christian nation.  I was outraged when I heard that statement, and that outrage stuck until this election; when as a nation, we re-elected Barrack Obama as our President.  But maybe he was correct in his assessment….yes, let that sink in….I can see how he could look at our country and see a nation of un-Christ-like people.  I look at the school I attend and see the same.

The definition of a Christian is a Christ-follower.  Someone who truly loves and follows Christ should, and would, want to live a life in which they strive to be Christ-like.  Today there are people who claim to be Christian, yet they lobby for marriage for homosexuals, and abortion on demand.  People who claim to be Christians, believe concessions should be made for religions other that those who worship the One True God.  How can anyone call themselves a Christian, and yet lobby for the very things that are an abomination to God?

In Exodus, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3 specifically tells us, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  God could not be any more clear than that on the subject of worshipping other gods, yet we’ve become a nation of tolerance to the point that the one true God is being pushed out, and being replaced by false gods, and we Christians stand by and allow it! 

In Jeremiah 1:5 God is speaking to Jeremiah and says, 'Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.'  God knows every one of us, He has a plan for each life He creates.  We are planned by God from the moment of conception, yet some who profess to be Christians, support abortion.  How is that possible? Under any circumstance?  Are we so arrogant that we believe we know God’s plan?

God has been pushed out of our country in every area.  God will abandon this great nation, because this nation wants nothing to do with God!  Which has resulted in the very behavior spoken against in Romans 1:18-32.  Romans 1:27, specifically speaks of homosexuality. Yet “Christians” stand up and call it an “alternative life style.”

Today’s Christian wants to take the love of Jesus out of context and excuse the sinful behavior of man; the judgment of God is completely ignored and the truth is scoffed at.  Today’s Christian doesn’t believe their God would punish “good” people and send them to hell.  It is believed that we can all live however we please, and God will just turn a blind eye to all that sin and everything will be good.  That’s not the God of the Bible. 

After months of seeing and hearing mud-slinging advertisements about why each candidate should not be elected, it’s finally over.  America is in for more change at the hands of a liberal leader, who by everything I have seen, hates this county and hates Christians and everything we stand for.   This country will suffer more change in the next four years at the hands of people who are not Christian in any way that I can recognize. 

But, there is always hope!   II Chronicles 7:14 says, 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear them from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.'  

We still have a voice, Christians have not been silenced yet!  People need to hear the truth and it’s up to us to educate our friends and neighbors with the Truth.  It’s up to us to make sure our children and grandchildren are exposed to Christian stories, movies, books, schooling…the list goes on and on.  We need to know why we believe what we believe, and we need to stand firm in our beliefs.  We need not be afraid to offend people who believe differently.  There is tolerance - as in tolerating someone else’s opinion - but then there is tolerance as in allowing their opinion to silence us!  In this country everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it does not mean we have to agree, or be silenced by it. 

We still have a voice in government, too. More conservatives representatives were voted into both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but they can’t do their job alone.  We still have a duty to let our voice be heard through the men and women who were voted to represent us.  It’s time-consuming and it’s tedious, yes, but we must be aware of what’s going on and call our representatives to make our position known.  Does it mean we will always get what we want? No, it does not, but those who speak up are more likely to get what they want, than those who sit back and let the other guy do it all. 

Being a Christian does not mean - nor has it ever meant - that we must roll over and not be involved with what’s going on in the political arena.  There are Christian men and women in the government, who we never hear about, who need our support.  They know we’re out here, lets start standing up and letting them know we want our Christian nation back.

God set up the government and as Christians we have a duty to honor our government leaders, however we can.  Let’s be heard! 

No matter who the President of the U. S. is, Jesus will always be King! 

© 2012 Rebecca Mick        ~  Rebecca’s Hope Chest  ~     All Rights Reserved By Law.
Rebecca's Hope 





With every passing year I see more and more destruction of the beautiful America I love so much.  I’m not speaking of the physical destruction, although that, too, is occurring due to the indifference, ignorance and lack of respect for the resources and beauty that God bestowed upon this great nation. 

I am speaking of the values and freedoms we once enjoyed as Americans.  Little by little, year by year, our lives as American citizens are eroded.  We look at the politicians and blame our law makers, but they are just pawns in the bigger picture. 

For the last 100 years we have allowed non-Christians to force their beliefs on our children through our public school system.  We have allowed big government to “take care” of our poor, we have allowed liberal politicians to make decisions for us.  We have been lazy in learning  what’s going on in government and becoming involved  in stopping what we don’t like.  In our thirst to have more, be more, earn more, we have become self- serving, and self-absorbed and have allowed ourselves to become complacent in the things that matter the most.  

We, as a nation, have been turning our backs on God for the last 100 years. 

While I could write pages from my soap box, I won’t.  I only want to bring your attention to one verse of the Bible; II Chronicles 7:13. 

If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 

The only way to restore our beloved country is to turn back to God!

Do we pray for our nations’ leaders? Not for their decisions in making laws, but for their very salvation and service to God, for that is what will move their hearts towards God and allow God to open their eyes to the evil and harm that is being done in this country. 

I love this once-great Nation, and it breaks my heart and brings me to tears when I look around and see the destruction of the very foundation it was built upon.  I go from hopeful to hopeless, and back to hopeful.   I listen to the younger generation and I know they have been brainwashed to believe our founding fathers were atheists and that our nation was founded on selfish individual rights, rather than Christian beliefs.  

I will endeavor to pray daily for the deliverance of our nation as II Chronicles 7:13 promises.  

May we all stop to think about what July 4th actually represents! 

                          © 2012 Rebecca Mick   ~  Rebecca’s Hope Chest  ~    All Rights Reserved By Law.
Rebecca's Hope 
 My America
Rebecca's Hope 
A Different           America
 A Different           America
Rebecca's Hope 
Rebecca's Hope 

We always thank GOD,
 the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, 
when we pray for you, 
because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
 and of the love which you have for all the saints,
 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.  
Colossians  1:3-5

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 She has a nice-and-easy writing style..  like a female John-Boy Walton, she quickly takes you into the heart of the matter.. and then, blesses you in the going!   So I've taken then liberty of tossing them onto the page, like a big bunch of throw pillows... and I have recently refreshed her page and made room for her next parcel lot!   So take a "deep scroll" down the page.  Now get comfortable, Beloved.  Just sit back, and enjoy the read!      ~ Rev. Rhonda

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This Christmas

Every year I start thinking about Christmas in October, and this year was no different. I started making mental lists of gifts for different loved ones, then reality began to set in as my husband and I talked about finances. The harsh reality is we just don’t have the luxury of buying many gifts this year. I am ashamed to admit I was not very gracious about it. I became depressed and did a lot of crying, and when I was finished with my childish tantrum, I began praying. Not for money to buy gifts or a change in our circumstances, but to be the wife my husband deserves, to be able to cheerfully honor my husband and in doing so to honor God; and to enjoy this wonderful season with my loved ones for what it is, the celebration of God’s gift to a sinful world.  
I started thinking about Christmases past, realizing I have wonderful memories! The most cherished memories are the time spent with people I love, baking goodies to give instead of store bought gifts, having a pot of stew or chili on the stove for anyone who stopped in, playing board games for hours on end with loved ones, and having a wonderful Christmas day meal with family. Funny thing, I don’t remember a single gift I received; only the people I spent my time with. 

This year if I go into a mall, it will be for a hot cocoa and a pretzel, not to pull out a charge card to buy what we cannot afford. When we decorate our home this year, it will be with well-loved decorations from years past, not something new that I “just have to have.”  

For every material thing we don’t have, God has blessed me beyond imagination with a wonderful husband, beautiful children and an amazing grandchild. God has always (and always will) provided my every need and many luxuries. We are rich in the things that really matter, and I am so very grateful and thankful that our heavenly Father knows what’s best for us and gives us what we need, not what we think we need. 

This year instead of too much debt and the all too familiar anticlimactic after Christmas let-down, as we pack away our well-loved decorations for another year, and winter fully sets in with gray days and rain, we will have a light heart and the satisfaction of knowing we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas and honored God with good stewardship of what He has blessed us with.  

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! May God fill your celebration with the knowledge of the true meaning of Christmas:
 love, family, and many blessings!


Love, Becky

© 2014 Rebecca Mick   Rebecca's Hope   All Rights Reserved By Law.
​Rebecca's Hope 




















Celebrate Jesus this Christmas


Every year at this time there is much talk among Christians as to whether children should be encouraged to believe in Santa Claus. Some believe Santa Claus detracts from the celebration of Christ’s birth, others believe it does psychological damage to children when they are suddenly confronted with the truth that Santa is fictional, and mommy and daddy are actually who puts their gifts under the Christmas tree.  

While almost every country has folklore or legend surrounding who we in the United States call Santa Claus, not all are rooted in paganism. The Santa Claus we have built legend around is based on a combination of many figures over the centuries with roots in legend, folklore and history, but our modern day Santa is predominantly based on Saint Nicolas of Myra who lived from the year 270 to 343. Saint Nicholas of Myra was a Christian bishop who gave gifts to the poor. His most known gift was dowries to three sisters who could not get married without his gift. Later, Saint Nicolas was remembered on December 6th, by giving gifts to children. During the Reformation, the date of giving gifts to children was moved from December 6th to December 25th, to draw the interest of children to Jesus instead of Saint Nicolas, and was spread by Martin Luther. 

Many of the traits of our modern day Santa Claus has evolved from Thomas Nast’s drawing “Merry Old Santa Claus”, which was published on the cover of Harper’s Weekly in January 1881; and Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St Nicholas” helped create Santa as we know him today. Over the years many stories and songs have enhanced and spread the legend of Santa Claus, and society as a whole has moved away from celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior to an excuse to gather together to eat too much, drink too much and spend too much on gifts that are an extravagance beyond our means. We spend months after Christmas paying off all those gifts that are forgotten within weeks of receiving them. 

It is possible to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas without being drawn in to the commercialism. It’s also possible to allow children to be children and enjoy receiving gifts without destroying the wonder of Santa Claus. It’s all a matter of where we put our focus. To instill in a child the joy of giving to the less fortunate, whether it be time serving a meal or packing shoe boxes teaches the spirit of Christmas is loving and giving to others, and this is the most wonderful gift we can give our children.  

I love everything about Christmas. I love the music, the decorations, the foods, being with family and even giving a little gift that is needed and unexpected. If it gives me such happiness to give a small gift to those I love just to see the joy on their faces, how much more must our Father in heaven feel when we accept the amazing Gift he has given to us?  

Whether to allow children to believe in Santa or not is a personal decision for parents to make, how it is handled and what children are taught is the bigger question. For me, the real reason to celebrate Christmas has always been, and always will be, the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. Is our focus on Jesus, or is it on the world?   

What will you celebrate this Christmas? 

 Do you realize: There was no Christmas on Planet Earth?!   No -  not until Jesus Christ was born! 

 Now you can read about it for yourself  in the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke 2:1-14!





© 2014 Rebecca Mick    Rebecca's Hope     All Rights Reserved By Law.

Rebecca's Hope 
Rebecca's Hope 
Rebecca's Hope




I woke up this morning with the sun shining, the sky blue, and the air cool. I love these mornings! It’s going to be hot later, and I know fall isn’t quite here. This is God’s gentle reminder to me that the hot days won’t last forever, fall days are not too far off, and everything about fall that I love is not far away - cooler days, winter foods, and thoughts of the holidays that will be upon us before we know it!  


Today my daughter and I are taking my grandson shopping for a Halloween costume. While I choose not to participate in most Halloween activities, I do enjoy seeing the joy my grandson derives from the decorations and going trick or treating with his cousins. We will soon put out our fall decorations that make me smile as they remind me of the fall leaves and crisp air, and I can’t wait to pull out warmer clothes and pack away the things of summer in preparation for cooler weather. These are the signs of passing from one season to the next.


When I think of the seasons, I think what a sweet reminder from God that life has its seasons as well. Spring brings new life, making us yearn to be outdoors; Summer invigorates us to do many family activities; Fall slows us down a bit to enjoy the blessings God has poured out on us, and Winter is the end of the year, just before the newness of what God gives us. 


There is beauty in each season, just like there is beauty in each season of life. I think sometimes we rush through life and miss some of the blessings in every season, and then spend the winter of our lives seeing what we missed out on, and wishing we’d done things a little differently.  


When we are children we want so badly to be grown up, as young adults with young children, we rush around trying to do everything possible in an attempt to be something the world deems as successful, in doing so we miss the best blessings right in front of our eyes, and we miss the joy in the small things that daily life brings.  


Then come our retirement years; we often want life to just slow down, and we wish we could go back and raise our own children all over again – just for the sheer joy of seeing them young again and having them at home. Then we are given the gift of grandchildren! Oh what a blessing! A joy that you cannot know until you hold that little bundle of a miracle in your arms and look into the sweet face of your own child’s baby! There just are no words for the love that floods your soul!  


At some point, before we even know it, we enter the winter stage of our life. Although I have not reached that stage of life yet myself, and cannot really speak to it, I pray that when I do get there, I do so gracefully, and that I lean on my Lord and Savior to carry me though those years until He takes me home.  
There is beauty and purpose in each season that God gives us, His word tells us this very thing. One of my favorite passages is Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8


To everything there is a season, 
A time for every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die:
A time to plant, and time to pluck what has been planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain. And a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war; and a time of peace. 


In this passage God covers every situation, and every season of our life. There is a time and place for everything; along the journey of our life, we just need to walk with the Lord and ask God to guide us and to give us the wisdom to know what His will is, what choice He wants us to make, and to make the choice that will bring Him honor and praise.  


I want to enjoy every blessing God gives me, and every season of this life, but when my life is over, and I stand before the Lord, I want to have lived my life well, a life pleasing unto God. 


© 2015  Rebecca Baldwin     
Rebecca's Hope   
  All Rights Reserved By Law.
Pastor Mark & Mrs. Rebecca Baldwin


When the Gypsies Came To Town












Early in the summer 
In our little town,
 The peace and quiet was broken 
By the whispers all around. 

We heard about the Gypsies,
Were warned that they had come.
All should be on guard they said,
And maybe get your gun!

The Gypsies steal your babies, 
And take with them your clothes!
You never see or hear them,
But everybody knows.

I’d never heard of such a thing, 
I knew it couldn’t be true!
Why, what in heaven’s name
Would they want with me or you!

 I rode my bike all over town, 
There was not a soul in sight.
The doors were locked, the curtains drawn,
And windows closed up tight! 

Those Gypsies must have felt like outcasts, 
Shame and anger deep inside,
Because of a reputation 
That came before they arrived.

At the end of summer
The Gypsies pulled up stakes,
They left as quietly as they had come,
They didn’t leave a trace. 

It was as if they’d never been,
Except still in my mind,
What if someone had just gone down
And welcomed them to town?

I still think about those Gypsies,
The thought still comes to mind,
In all that little Christian town,
Was everyone so blind?


© 2015  Rebecca Baldwin 
   Rebecca's Hope
  All Rights Reserved By Law.

Love and Kindness

The other day as I listened to a children’s radio story about chivalry with my grandson, it struck me how far we, as a society, have fallen away from basic common courtesy. Not that I haven’t noticed it over the years, but it struck me all the more because of the huge contrast between people today and the 12th century characters in the story. While I wouldn’t want to live without some of the modern conveniences we enjoy today, and take for granted, there’s something to be said for living in a time of chivalry.  


Loyalty, valor, bravery, gentility, civility, kindness, consideration, good manners… these are just a few words that are synonyms of “chivalry”. It’s easy to look around and see such a lack of manners and consideration; even – or maybe especially - towards people we are supposed to love – family members. Family is treated hatefully, friends treated as enemies, and acquaintances treated rudely. Mean and nasty has taken the place of kind and courteous and has become the norm. There’s such a lack of sharing time with others that it has become easier to be unkind, and kindness becomes something to be rolled out only when there is something to be gained.  
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. If this is how we are to treat our enemies, how much better are we to treat those whom we profess to love?  
We live in such a fast-paced world that gets smaller and busier by the day. It’s too easy to go about our business without being mindful of how we treat those around us. We rush from work, to running errands, to home, never taking much notice of those around us. Many are so busy that they don’t even notice when a friend or loved one is going through a rough time, or if they notice, many are so wrapped up in their own life they don’t slow down long enough to show they care.


Close your eyes, just for a moment, and imagine a world where we once again smile and greet those we come in contact with along the way as we go through our day, imagine waving to neighbors, or stopping to sincerely ask a friend or neighbor how they’re doing – and truly showing an interest in their response, or smiling and really taking notice of the clerk who rings up your purchase, or the server who brings your meal to your table. Now, imagine you are the recipient of those small gestures. How much more pleasant would your day be? How many new friends would we make if we treated others like this? It costs nothing, it takes only a little time and effort to bring a little pleasantness into someone else’s life, but it could mean the world to the recipient of your kindness; however, I think the biggest benefit is that it makes us feel so much happier to be kind. In Proverbs 19:22, God tells us what is desired in a man is kindness…


There is only one way that we are able to treat others the way God calls us to on a daily basis, which is to start the day in the Word. Just a little time with the Lord each morning gives me peace so I don’t feel so rushed during the course of the day. Starting the morning quietly with the Lord puts me on the right track to be a little more selfless and loving towards others. 


© 2015 Rebecca Baldwin 
   Rebecca's Hope 
  All Rights Reserved By Law.
With Rebecca Baldwin
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Seasons









For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you both a hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11


When I met Mark I wasn’t looking for a relationship, in my mind that ship had sailed years ago.  My friend, Jen, asked me to meet her for lunch, she had recently reconnected with an old high school classmate and they had gotten married.   She wanted to tell me what God had done, and was continuing to do, in her life.   Little did I know my life was about to change, but God knew. 

Jen and I met a few days later and enjoyed our visit as we talked about the amazing journey God had her on.  The man Jen had reconnected with was in prison for stealing a car some years earlier.  God had a plan and He changed Bob's life.  By the time Jen reconnected with him, he had become an ordained minister working on his master degree.  As we talked her eyes suddenly grew as big as saucers, she slapped her hand on the table and exclaimed, “I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before!”  Then she proceeded to tell me about this wonderful, amazing, Christian man she thought I should meet. 

I just looked at her and smiled, I was already skeptical.  I’d been hurt in the past by men who professed to be Christians but weren’t - in any sense of the word - besides I was happy, content, and comfortable in the life I was living.   Then she said, “Just one thing, he’s a felon.”  

I looked at her shocked at the suggestion, and laughed, but she wasn’t joking!  I told her I’d think about it, but in my heart I had no intention of ever meeting this man.   I was retired from a law enforcement agency.  She worked for law enforcement, what in heaven’s name was she thinking?!  Was she out of her mind?

Two days later she sent me a message that she had contacted Mark and he was interested in corresponding.  Without hesitating I responded back with my email address.  The only explanation I have is that God moved me.  After I sent it to her I couldn’t believe I did it and almost told her not to forward it, and then I thought, 
“He’s in southern California, I’m in Central California, no harm in just corresponding via email, and I’ll never actually meet him.”  I had no idea that God was about to turn my life upside down!

Be still and know that I am God. ~ Psalm 46:10  

Mark sent the first email a couple days later.   As we corresponded by email he told me his story.   He told me every bit of his past, how he grew up, how he had hurt everyone in his family and that he had burned those bridges.   He told me how he was arrested for drugs, and under the then-new "three strikes" law received a prison sentence of 25 years to life.  He also told me how God had gotten hold of him and how his life changed as he followed God.  He became a licensed minister, and lead Bible studies in prison.  The rebellious young man slowly matured into a true Christ follower.  

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.~ Philippians 4:19

Mark’s family kept in touch with him and saw him change over the years in prison; they prayed for him and let him know he wasn’t forgotten.   In 2012 when the three strikes law was repealed, and he was released after 19 years in prison, his sister and her husband opened their home to him and helped him get on his feet.  They set him up with a truck and gave him a job at their family business.  God blessed Mark with an amazing support system; he had a place to live and a job, he adjusted to life on the outside well with the love and support of his family.  

I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 
                                                                                                                               ~ Psalms 34:4

At first we emailed every day or so, then started talking on the phone every evening. By the time I actually met him face to face a few weeks later, I loved the heart of this man.  I saw a kind, gentle, tenderhearted man who loved the Lord.   I could have closed my eyes and mind to God’s leading, but I had spent a lifetime making decisions based on my own will, and it always turned out badly, I wanted to be open to what God’s plan was for me.  

I knew God would guide me if I just had a willing heart to follow Him, so I spent a lot of time just sitting still, with my eyes closed talking to God, and meditating on His word.  If we were going to pursue a relationship, it had to be from God.  One of my favorite verses kept coming up in my reading, when I listened to messages on the radio, and even at church.  

Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wife be to their own husbands in everything. ~ Ephesians 5:22-24

Four months after that first email Mark asked me to marry him, and we were married a month later.  We sold my house and I relocated back to Southern California.  We rented a condo and started adjusting to our life together.   

To say the adjustment for me was difficult is a bit of an understatement.  I had to adjust to Southern California living again, being married after living alone for many years, renting a condo after owning my own home, being part of a fairly large family, sharing my personal space, and downsizing my belongings.    

Some of the hardest adjustments though were communicating my thoughts and feelings, and not making all the decisions myself.  It was a matter of giving up control, and some days were harder than others and I just kept talking to God through it all.   God brought us together, and the key to a good, solid, happy marriage is putting God first and following His word. 

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct you Path. ~ Proverbs 3:6

When we started on this journey I spent hours reading God’s word and praying.
I had asked God for wisdom and discernment throughout my correspondence with Mark, when I met him, and when I married him.   I knew I just had to read and meditate on God’s word to know the direction He wanted me to go.  

We both know that God brought us together, and He continues to bless as we go through life together.   Our love grows stronger daily and now I cannot imagine my life without my husband; I don’t even want to think about that.  I believe that God brought us together because we need each other.  

Our marriage is like every marriage, imperfect, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it. As we grow together, we learn to love unconditionally, to forgive easily, to not hold grudges, to apologize quickly, to ask for forgiveness.   I have never been loved so well, so completely and so unconditionally.  

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 
                                                                                                                            ~ Romans 8:37
Life is not perfect, so I don’t look for perfection, I look for joy and contentment in what God has given us.  I look at my husband and I see a man who lost a huge chunk of his life due to his own bad choices, I see a man whom God loved enough to chasten, and I believe God had compassion on Mark and gave him a second chance.

 I look at my husband I see my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my biggest cheerleader, my encourager, my protection, my everything.  I know this love is a gift from God and I cherish it and will fiercely protect it.  

We have never doubted that God brought us together, or that we are perfectly suited for each other. Our strengths and weaknesses are complemented and strengthened by the other.  God saw our needs and heard the cries of our hearts, and I believe He prepared us for each other, and when the time was right He used my friend to fulfill His plan and bring us together.   I am so very thankful that for once in my life I was not stubborn, and I followed God’s leading.  

But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. For He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again. ~ Psalms 78:38-39 


© 2017 Rebecca Baldwin 
  Rebecca's Hope 
  All Rights Reserved By Law.
Against The Grain
​Rebecca's Hope

Shattered Dreams





As my body grows old I have stories untold,  
Of a long ago time when I was young, and so bold. 


I watch as the clouds in the sky so serene,
Pass slowly, and gently like life in a dream. 


As the dreams of my youth were shattered and gone,
God gave me the strength to carry on. 


As the years roll by, and my youth continues to fade,
I look at the life my choices have made. 


No worldly riches, or mansions, or fame,
Just quiet and peaceful, no dragons to tame. 


My life turned out different than I expected it should,
But, God blessed me in ways I never dreamed that He would. 


© 2017 Rebecca Baldwin 
  Rebecca's Hope 
  All Rights Reserved By Law.



​Rebecca's Hope


To everything there is a season, 
A time for every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die:
A time to plant, and time to pluck what has been planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain. And a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war; and a time of peace.