Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From Rebekah Joy’s website.
I’ve been thinking over some good memories that I have of learning things about God during the time that I was seeking the holy Ghost. One very special thing, that I will never forget, was something from Ashley. Ashley and I weren’t even that close at all at the time that this happened, during Thanksgiving 2001. This was the Thanksgiving that so many young people received the holy Ghost on that Friday night, including Chris, Joey, Tyler, Josiah, Leah (who still lived in WA and had only been to NC once before), and Margo (who had never been to NC before then!) And I didn’t get it. Me, who was 19 years old, been in the meetings my whole life, and was even John Clark’s daughter. I don’t think that it would be possible for me to express how I felt that Thanksgiving, but it was really awful. I felt that God really did not want me. I felt that I would never receive His Spirit. I felt like He must not love me — that there was something really wrong with me. I knew that wasn’t true; but at the same time, I was scared that it was. Looking back, I can see now that there was noooo way I was ready for it at that time; I still had a lot to work on and learn and repent of and change. I didn’t see it that way at the time, but fortunately, that was irrelevant to God. :) I understand now that, although I really was scared and miserable, the real truth was that I was pouting with God — mad that He didn’t do what I wanted when I thought that it should happen. Ha! Doesn’t work that way, Bekah. :) And God is no respecter of persons, either!! But, at the time, all I could see was that everybody seemed to be able to reach the Lord but me. I remember at one point that night while everyone was praying, Daddy sang, “Do Not Pass Me By”. I felt like that is exactly what He did. And it broke my heart.
That, I think, was the closest that I ever came to “quitting”. I just about decided that I wasn’t worth it, and I couldn’t keep going through this. I spent that whole next day completely miserable, and was so humiliated (how silly was that!) that I just kept to myself until most of the out-of-town company from around the world had gone home. It was one of the worst days of my life; and could possibly qualify as the worst. When I finally came out, I remember finding this folded up paper plate sitting on the table that said,
Please let her read it first — request of the author! :)”
I thought, “What in the world??” I mean, I didn’t even really know Ashley much, except that she came to my house every summer that she got a chance over the years. When I opened it up and read it, though, it was like every single word was a tiny drop of encouragement right into my heart. It said:
“Hey Bekah! Sorry about the paper plate, but I had no other form of paper. I just wanted to tell you that I love you very much AND about something that happened Friday night. When you were on the floor praying, I got down with you — whether or not you know, I was there a lot of the time. Well anyway, when I was praying with you, something kept saying in my mind over and over and over... “Jesus knows your heart... Jesus knows your heart” and one time when I was praying with you and Jamie, “Jesus loves you.” I wanted to tell you, but I kept praying. I didn’t know if it was time, so I decided that I’d write you and tell ya!! He knows your heart, Bekah! He knows your heart and what you want! Keep seeking, I know He’ll give you your heart’s desires!!! Trust Him! I love you and don’t forget that! :) Love, Ashley”
I had stayed away from people that day so that nobody would know how I was feeling, and I know that Ashley could not have known what I was going through. After all, most people who are seeking the holy Ghost are sensible enough to realize that it’s a happy and wonderful thing to be seeking God, even if they do get a little discouraged along the way! And I realized after the fact, that nobody thought the things about me that I did. Everybody else knew what was coming if I kept on seeking! And when you’re on that side of it, watching, you can’t help but be excited for anybody who is on their way to what the old saints used to call “the blessing.” :) I have no idea, looking back, why I was always so depressed about it! Well, I guess I kind-of do; I just didn’t have any faith in what God could do for me. Anyway, that is a moment that I will never forget, reading that little note. It did something down inside of me — I could feel the realness in what she was saying, and I had hope again that Jesus did actually feel that way. I just cried, feeling those little tender feelings creeping in, even though they were tiny, of the love of God. On top of that, it really touched me that Ashley would feel that way about me. As far as I could remember, I had never done anything to deserve that from her. But, I could tell that she meant it! And another thing, when I was a little girl, right after Grandaddy died, I found a little tin plaque in his house while they were cleaning it out that had Psalm 37:4 on it, “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” I remember taking that plaque with me and making up a tune to it and singing it the whole rest of the day, and ever since that day, it has been my favorite verse. Ashley didn’t know that either; but Jesus did, and he let me know that he would “give you your heart’s desires.”
I actually learned a whole lot from the KY kids, young people, while I was seeking the holy Ghost. The summer before I received the holy Ghost, summer 2002, everything was still falling apart & coming together at the same time out there in Louisville, and Daddy was spending almost every other week there. I went with him most of those trips, and it was out there that I really learned about the kind of life I needed and wanted. I looked up to Ashley more than anything — to me, she was a rock in the Lord. I wondered if she ever did anything wrong! And, of course, M—— was always like that to me, too — I found an old letter that I had written to M—— back around 1996 and had never sent, and we read it together not too long ago and laughed because I had written, “Can I ask you a question I’ve always wanted to ask you? Do you EVER have any problems? I guess not.” Ha! But, that’s really what it seemed like to me! She was so happy and doing good all the time! I thought that I’d never be able to be like that. I just didn’t realize what the Spirit gives you. :) And Jason; that was the summer that I got to know him, and a good thing, too, because he was my brother-in-law six months later! And all the other young people, too. They were just so... solid. And I wanted that! I wanted to be normal and rooted and not up & down and swayed by this or that. I wanted what they had; I wanted God. It was during that summer in KY that the Lord told me what it was that I wanted to be. The way that it came to me was four “s” words that summed it all up: Simple. Stable. Strong. Satisfied.
Before, I had thought that simplicity = boring. Not in the Lord! Life gets exciting when you keep it simple! Why? Because being simple, spiritually, is what the flesh does not want — it’s a battle to keep it simple! Many people lose out with God or are swept away by other doctrines of man because the way of God is just too simple for them to keep. And stable! Oh my. That was what the Louisville crowd was not at that time, and I learned the great value of being stable in the Lord by watching what happens when you’re not. Up & down all the time is dangerous; that is being on the fence. And you can’t stay on the fence but so long before Jesus will knock you off one way or the other! And strong. That didn’t mean strong willed or strong self-control or strong in being able to resist sin or anything like that. It meant strong in the Lord. It meant being built on higher ground and not on the sand, so that when troubles do come, you stay rooted and unmoved. When I think of strength in the Lord, for some reason I think of the Embrys. That summer, I really watched Junior Embry a lot, and Jason, and they never seemed shaken by things. That is a very, very good thing to strive after. And satisfied. :) So many people, it seems, aren’t satisfied with where they are in God or with what they have from God. If you aren’t satisfied with your function in the body of Christ, it is more than likely because you envy someone else’s place, and that is dangerous because that can result in slander. And if you aren’t satisfied with what God has done for you, then you aren’t thankful for it, and you will surely lose it. Just be happy with what God has made you! Yay! :) Be like a little child; they are just content to be whoever they are. And if you aren’t satisfied with your connection with God or how full of the Spirit you are, then seek after Him until you get satisfied!
If a person is those four things in the Lord, they are going to be doing just fine. If you look at the ones around you who are really happy and free, you’ll see those qualities. And I guess you could add another “s” word: Sweet. :) That’s a good thing to be, too!
Just some good, good memories I’ve been thinking on lately. I think it’s always good to think about your testimony and all the things that God has done for you. It’s healthy; and it’s encouraging, too!
Wow, Bekah, this is very good — very, very good. That is a testimony that is worth telling — or writing about. I am glad that you hung in there. It always pays to trust God and do good, no matter what we feel at the time.