Becky’s Broken Girl Story

We are big fans of Becky. She is a woman who embodies Broken to Beautiful. Becky walked to Jesus with all of the broken pieces of her life and asked Him if He could make anything out of it. And HE DID!! He made something that makes you stand in awe. Not in awe of Becky (though she is pretty amazing) but in awe of a God that redeems the ugliest of stories.

Becky is the founder and director of Saving Grace. She is rescuing girls from the very life she endured and is helping them learn to give the broken pieces of their lives to God. Saving Grace is a non-profit ministry that is in need of your prayers and financial support. We believe in them enough to put our time and our money where our mouth is! If you’d like more information about how you can support Saving Grace please hop over to see what you can do.

Becky will be joining us on Tuesday, January 24th to share more of her story at Bella Vista Assembly of God. If you’re in NWA we’d love to have you join us.

And now, here’s Becky’s story in her own words. I pray that her words help you find hope in a loving God.

Love~

Keri & Jennifer 

With each blow of the belt on my bare flesh, I gasp from the pain. The sound of the box fan in the window creates an eerie harmony with the screams coming from the one who hates my existence.  I cry quietly, since responding to the violence invokes her wrath.  I try to be still and accept the beating since any reaction to defend myself fuels her rage. She grabs my long hair and jerks my head back to the point I almost can’t stay conscious….finally the room goes black.  The unconscious moments provide a temporary escape, but when I reveal my consciousness the abuse will reconvene.  She continues the assault until she is spent and unable to continue.  She stops suddenly with a deep sigh, almost as if she’s defeated.  She leaves the room and I hear deep breathing from the next bedroom.  I get dressed and make my way out to the back yard…still the deep, quiet sobs shake my seven year old frame uncontrollably.  In our backyard, I lay down in the grass again, as I often do and look up at the sky, wiping away the tears with the back of my hand only to find blood trickling down my neck from my ear, not realizing my eardrum has been ruptured from the blows.   I wipe away the blood, longing for kisses to take away the hurt.

Today, the blows were delivered because I was out playing and she lost track of me, at least that’s what I think it was.  Often I had no idea why I was attacked, but today I was beaten because she was afraid I was in danger.  The little girl I was didn’t know to ask why someone so concerned about my safety would harm me with such reckless abandon.  In the future I would learn to be more careful.  I did my best to leave and return home undetected; ideally when she was sleeping.

The fear subsides, sobs fade and my breathing steadies. My tears begin to dry on my little cheeks.  “God, did you give me to the wrong mommy?  I really like your sky today!  I can’t wait to live up there with You and Jesus.   God, can I have a mommy and daddy who loves me some day?”  I go to sleep this night with the fear mama may decide to choose today to be the day she will take my life.   I sleep with a Bible on my chest believing it will protect me like a shield.  Days go by and mama stays in bed.

The cabinets and fridge are empty… except for mustard and some dry bread.  All too often my days were spent searching for things for my little brother and me to eat, and many days were faced with no options.   Mama warned me not to ask the neighbors for food or they will call social services and we will be separated and never see each other again.  I couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from my family.  My older brother and sisters have left home and now it is up to me to keep the peace at home and help mama with the little one.  Betty the milk lady stops by with her weekly donation of milk.  The gallon glass jugs are difficult to handle with my small hands, but I quickly learned to manage.  The cream on the top fills our tummies and thanks to her kindness we aren’t as hungry and we drink our fill of milk for the next several days.  I take solace in knowing with school beginning soon I will get to have breakfast and lunch most days and be able will to save some things to feed my little brother.

School begins and provides an escape… my teachers are all that is kind and good.  My favorite teacher is Mrs. Genung.  She greets me each morning with a warm hug, even though I had often gone days without a bath.  She daily escorts me to a sink and helps me brush my teeth, wash my face and hands, and pulled my long hair back with a ribbon then tops it off with some good smelling lotion.  I love her and secretly wish she was my mother.

School eventually becomes a burden… I begin to flunk out of almost every class.  Years come and go and the fierceness in Mama’s anger for me grows as my small frame grows into the body of a woman.  I am sexually abused by neighborhood men and shame builds its ugly wall.  Mama begins to call in the elders from the local Pentecostal church to anoint me with oil and pray over me after her fit of rage, believing I am possessed… it will be years later that I praise God for allowing them to pray for me.  The older sisters come home for a time and leave again… only trying to survive this life… older brother stays with absent father.  I find a family in a group of adults who aspire to get high, cook crank and live off welfare.  I get arrested at the age of eleven for possession.

I run for what seems like forever… I find my sister and she runs too.   We are broke and I watch as my sister gives her body to feed us and at times is brutally raped by more than one to keep me from harm’s way, all the while the rapists threatens to kill us when they are done.  Our days on the run bring brokenness that can’t be described… adding to the wall of shame.  We return home.  Mama calls the police and I’m immediately taken into custody.

The drive to the children’s home, a place I would call home for the next seven years is long… yet so beautiful.  It takes me back to a place I hadn’t been in a really long time… to my conversations with God in my back yard after one of Mama’s raging storms.  It’s June 9th, I’ve got on “Chick” jeans and a white T-shirt.  This day is etched in my heart for a lifetime.  We go into a small office; I meet my house mother, she seems kind and I’m not afraid.  She take me in a truck for a short ride up the road to our house… where I meet the house dad and all of my new brothers and sisters… I’m 12 years old and the youngest girl.  We go to a dining hall and eat with other families who I will get to know over the next few years… we have soup and grilled cheese, it’s Wednesday and we go to church.  As I sit with my new family I wonder if I’m going to hell, I’m certain I am… I’ve been a horrible child and the church I went to with Mama said I am going to hell if I don’t follow their rules… nobody in this church is following their rules with all the short hair, pants and makeup on the women and girls….

We head back after church and go to the playground where I see a man on a horse and realize that maybe… just maybe God isn’t so mad at me after all… He gave me a mom, dad, brothers and sisters… AND horses! J  I go to bed later this night feeling safe, with a sense of hope… I will wet the bed later in the week… and then never again, not ever… after wetting the bed every night for as long as I can remember.

I thrive through the years making good grades in school for the first time and being loved by amazing people who push me to work hard… however things happened to me at the hands of a few who were meant to protect me that would add to my wall of shame.  It would be twenty years later that God would slowly and with the sweetest care begin to tear down this wall… one brick at a time.

I graduate from high school and head off to a Christian college, mostly because I have no other place to go.  I don’t know what I will do for Christmas and with a few deliberate moves I am pregnant and married by Christmas.

There is much more to this story of a broken girl, with broken dreams, a broken heart and at many times a broken marriage.  God blessed me with three beautiful daughters and countless others who would call me mom.  Kent and I grow to love each other and eventually fall in love… it’s the most beautiful kind of love… grown in the fertile soil of God’s amazing Grace.

Kent has always called me his wildflower…He says “You bloom where you land”.  In Psalm 30:10-12 NIV it says:   

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

This is what that same passage says in The Message:

You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.

This really isn’t “my story”, it’s “God’s story about me”!

I’m His forever grateful girl!

Rebekah Lynn

El Roi ~ The God Who Sees

There weren’t many things that Hagar was certain of, but she was certain that her son was dying and that she couldn’t stand by and watch. So she hid. She was also certain that she had no where, no one to turn to. She was an outcast. Rejected by her master, cast out by her son’s father. With no friends and no resources Hagar was in every sense of the word, alone.

Yet she wasn’t. And this wasn’t the first time she had hid in the desert. Nearly two decades earlier she found herself despised and rejected. Belly swollen with the same son who now waits to die, she ran away from all that she feared. And there in her fear, in the dessert, the angel of the Lord came to her. That day Hagar was comforted and she named the place where the Lord appeared to her Beer Lahai Roi, well of the Living One who sees me.

And now once again she finds herself in a desert place. Yet she had forgotten the promises spoken to her from the One who Sees. And in His rich mercy He again appears. For a second time the God who Sees sees Hagar. He sees and He provides water and life and hope.

The famine had finally made its way to her house. It was just the two of them, the widow and her son. The cupboards were bare save a handful of flour and a few drops of oil. Desperate with no one to turn to for help she does the only thing she knows to do.

She left the boy to go gather enough wood to cook their final meal and then watch her son slowly die of starvation. It is there that she meets the Prophet of God. Their meeting is not chance or coincidence, the God who Sees arranged it.

There she is presented with the opportunity to serve this Man of God, and she does. She fetches water for him. A momentary distraction from the reality of her situation, she willingly stops her work to give to the Prophet. And the God who Sees sees her. Sees her lack, sees her desperation, sees that with nothing to give she still gave. And the God who Sees sent provision, sent food, sent hope.

She was hot, and tired. Tired of drawing water at midday. Tired of the shame she wore. Tired of searching for love and never finding it. Once again she travels alone to the well to draw water for her family. But this day there was a man at the well. A man who wanted something from her. This she was used to, for there seemed to always be a man who wanted something from her. Today the man’s request was water. But there was something different about this man, he a Jew and her a Samaritan.

Over the course of their conversation she began to realize that this was no chance encounter with a random stranger. For this man didn’t really want water from her that day. No, He came to give her water. Living water. Water that leaves you satisfies and not empty.

This day she meets the God who Sees. And He sees more than her circumstances, He sees her heart. He sees past her physical need to the unspoken longing of her heart. He sees her pain, sees her loneliness, sees her need.  And the God who Sees offers her more than water for the body, He offers water for her soul, He offers hope.

I relate to all three of these women. For I too am a woman who often feels alone, a woman facing many needs, a woman with a longing heart. I often feel forgotten, unnoticed, overlooked. I worry about provision. I wonder about the future. I question the motives of my heart. And then I remember that the God who Sees sees me.

He sees me when I am strong and full of praise. He sees me when I am timid and afraid. He sees me when I cry in the night. He sees me when I feel alone and unloved. He sees me. Always. He sees and He knows and He provides.

“Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His hear through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth—He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” Psalm 33:8-22

Pruning

Growing up my parents owned a nursery and landscaping company. Most of my early childhood memories involve dirt. I learned to plant and water when I was just barely big enough to hold a hose. As I got older I learned to lay sod, fertilize plants, graft and prune. I was never very good at the pruning. My mom and I worked together. She would give me a quick lesson on each variety of plant and how it should be pruned, then she’d hand me pruning shears and turn me loose. As I would make my way down the row she would follow right behind me re-pruning every plant I pruned. No matter how many branches I cut away it was never enough for her.

If a branch had a flower or bud on it I’d leave it. If a plant started to look too sparse I’d move on. But not mom. No, she whacked away with a vengeance.

Every year it was the same. I would cut too little and she would come behind and cut mercilessly. Every year I questioned her. Begged her not to completely strip the plants back so severely. Every year she would tell me “Just wait. You’ll see. Next spring this plant will be so much bigger and do much stronger”. I couldn’t fathom how her destruction would bring forth new life.

My pruning made sense to me. I cut off the dead and dying branches so the healthy branches could have room to grow. Mom’s pruning didn’t make sense at all. It was just too brutal.

John 15 say that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and that every branch that doesn’t produce fruit will be cut off and thrown into the fire. It doesn’t say every dead or dying branch will be cut off but every branch that doesn’t produce much fruit. I learned through years of experience that a plant can have many branches that look strong and healthy but don’t produce fruit. A plant can also have many branches that produce little fruit that when pruned yield a great harvest.

Lately I feel like God has been pruning me. And He prunes much more like my mom than me. I’ve been questioning Him a lot lately about the branches He’s cutting off. It seems like He has no intention of stopping until there is nothing left.

And maybe that is His goal.

I am the vine. You are the branches.

If God removes every branch then the only thing that remains is Christ. And isn’t that the desire of my heart? For me to decrease and Christ to increase?

So why do we fight so hard to hold on to that which doesn’t produce fruit? To that which covers up Christ? To that which appears healthy but is actually barren?

Is it fear? Fear of being stripped bare?

Is it pride? A desire to be seen and admired?

Is it comfort? A longing to keep that which is familiar?

Or is it simply the belief that the master Gardner can’t be trusted to shape our hearts?

It’s easy to trust the Gardner in the growing season when He holds a watering can. But in the latent season when pruning shears fill His hands? It’s harder to trust then.

And that’s another thing about pruning. It takes place during the dormant season when branches are stripped bare of leaves. When weather conditions are harsh and plants aren’t growing. Why is it that pruning seems to take place when the plant is most vulnerable?

Ideally for most plants pruning takes place right before the growing season, leaving fresh wounds exposed for only a short amount of time before new life springs forth.

And it’s the same for us.

The season of pruning proceeds a season of rapid growth. The wounds will heal in short time as they are sealed by new life. And the sparseness of our hearts will be covered over with a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God.

Then, and only then, will we produce fruit. Much fruit.

And you will be called Oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Isa. 61: 3

A Letter to My Younger Self…

(I wrote this in March 2011. I thought we all might need a little reminder about our worth. To read more about the Broken Girl Journey…click on store. That will take you to our devotional & collaborations of being “undone” in Christ.)

Last night I met a young lady and saw a glimpse of younger self, wide-eyed and hopeful, ready to take on hell with a water pistol. A woman marked by the call of God, waiting to blossom into all the things God the Father has created her to be.

This young lady, just barely twenty-three, is connected to a family in our church whom I simply adore. I immediately had to make my way to her, there is just something about her that makes you stop in amazement. She’s just beautiful, but it goes so much deeper than her outer beauty. It reaches into the depths of who she was created to be, a woman called by God- a gift her Father longs to use.

I hugged her; I couldn’t help myself. She beamed as her happiness spilled out…

“I’m engaged.” She said with the brightest smile as she flashed her engagement ring. Her happiness was as stunning as her ring, the symbol of his love

“I’m marrying a pastor.”

My husband chimed in, “Well, Jennifer could tell you all the things you might need to know about that.”

I felt his heaviness from that statement, like he was just waiting for me to say, “Run, like the wind, girl. Make sure you are marrying just a man and not an entire congregation.”

She searched my face and I smiled as she said, “Oh…don’t worry, I went to Bible College…I’m prepared.”

I thought, how adorable.

I patted my husband’s hand, and then I released his hand to squeeze hers and said, “Just look at you. You are beautiful and so happy!”

Flashbacks over the past twelve years of my life and the past few weeks entered my mind. Truth be told, I could have been one of “those” wives. The ones who are dried up and bitter, and yet not an ounce of that surfaced inside of my heart. I can assure you that I am flawed with moments of ugliness that sting, times when I feel rejected, cast aside, times when I feel like I’m not a gift. If bitterness would have surfaced, it would have been right then when my hurt was fresh. But, only God could do such a thing so beautiful in me. 

Spilling out from within was this, “It’s wonderful when that is what God has called you to do, you will be great at it. And you just call me if your Bible college experience left anything out.”

We chatted for a little while, we laughed and then I found my place next to my husband and held on tight.

I forgot to tell her one thing…

Sweet thing, you are a gift.

You have unique gifts; I can see them all over your face. You will enhance that man that God has called you to, not distract or take away from the things God has called him to do. Don’t ever forget, when the critics misunderstand your youthful zeal, that God alone is your seal of approval, marking you for greatness.

Your journey will not be easy, but you are soft and sweet. Don’t let the disappointments of life creep in and rob you of that. You will walk out this journey; you will be stronger, not harder. 

You are a gift.

With aching in my heart, wanting you to get this, I say to you…you are a gift.

As I penned these words, my thoughts have turned towards you and the ones who have taken the time to read this. Do you realize that you are a gift? Have the sorrows of this world caused you to forget the God-given worth and value within?

We offer ourselves to the world around us, we hold our hearts in our hands and say, “Take it if you want, it’s yours.”

Carefully cupping our fragile state. We hold it; we release it, and after it’s beaten down and trampled on, the thing that we now hold in our hands is bruised, swollen with disappointments from lessons learned. What once was the picture of health, beating freely with the hope of things unknown, is now a broken cadence, a murmur, a heart that skips a beat as you hold your breath because the pulsating hurt runs too deep.

And He whispers, “My child, I hold your heart in my hands. This is your safest place. You are my gift, can I take what was stolen from you; the things you carelessly gave away, and offer you something sweeter in return? 

Gifts are to be given, not taken. We give ourselves; we do not spend ourselves. We do not throw away our worth or our confidence, or believe the lies spoken over us that say we are worthless and have nothing to offer. The words that say we are not good enough, the words that say we are not a true gift, that we are merely wrapping paper, a waste meant for shredding, and cast aside.

No, we cast aside our pride by choice and with the help of our Maker.

We throw off the things that so easily entangle us.

And we run the race free without weights of this world, or our former brokenness. We dance the undignified dance of a king in training that delights in the God who knows the heart of the dancer. We sing the lonely songs of a Sheppard boy by fireside and it is sweet to Him. We embrace the spirit of David, running to the cave of comfort in Christ. We say to God, “Only you set us in seat we belong in. My position in life is because you say so; I don’t have to fight for it. You will open the door for me, so I don’t have to kick it down with my three-inch heels.”

You are a gift, what you have to offer…God wants. The pain in your heart; God sees it and longs to bring back the softness and sweetness that comes from refusing to carry around baggage from your broken past any longer.

Sweet friends, you are a gift.

…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29 NIV)

You are royalty wrapped in the finest garments God has to offer. You are not a mistake, nor are you misunderstood. He gets you. He delights in you, smiling down on you saying…

“That’s my girl.”

“That one is mine, see my stamp of approval on her heart?”

“Just wait, till you see what she does next week…as all of heaven applauds.”

You are a gift; don’t ever forget that. 

“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” (Prov 18:16 NIV)

 

Much love from a Former Broken Girl, who travels in & out of various states of brokenness,

Jennifer