|Be still, my heart. I love this one.|
Also, we both have amazing skin. Go us.
[I really wish there were an alliterative "b" word for friend there.]
I wanted to do something really special. Bigger than a Facebook post. Better (I hope) than just some cash for a gift. Though she's also getting some cash for a gift. :) I thought about Becky, what best makes her feel loved, and I just knew that writing something about how incredible she is, what a gift she is to me, would be a sunshiney burst of love into her sweet and tender heart. I hope this is even a shadow of the gift of grace God has given me in your friendship, Becky!
My first thought when I met Becky was, "She is so beautiful. No way will she want to be my friend." It's true that Becky is gorgeous outwardly. It was a lie that she would then be ugly and shallow inwardly. She is definitely not! Her undeniable outward beauty is surpassed exponentially by her undeniable inward pure gorgeousness. So even though I found her intimidatingly beautiful, assumed she would want nothing to do with me, I was drawn to her. Sometimes I just get this, "You and I are meant to be good friends," feeling about people and so I just tell them that. Becky is a rare gem who said, "Yes! We should definitely hang out!" and then we actually did.
[Have you heard of the Seattle freeze? It is very real. Basically, we're really nice, and when you say, "Let's hang out!" we say "Definitely!" and then we not only never initiate making that happen but we also subtly, politely blow you off and never get to know you. I won't lie--I do it. But who says, "You seem so awesome! But to be honest my life is crammed full and I'm just not interested in putting someone else into it. Best of luck finding friends!" to someone? Apparently non-Seattleites.]
|Becky and her love, Josh|
So, I am a person who just goes there right away. You ask how I'm doing? I'll tell you about my pain and the mess and my heart and exactly what I can see Jesus doing and exactly where I want nothing to do with him. But I expect you to just listen and say, "That's nice." I'm learning to let people love me and speak into that. A lot of my growth there is because of Becky; more on that later. So we went there right away. Just the real, raw, deepness of life. The first time we hung out.
[I think this is rare in the real world. I also admit I am coming from 16 years of my deepest relationships tending to be with Christians, who unfortunately are notorious for thinking our Christian faith means we're supposed to clean our lives up and our worth to God is in "helping" him clean up other people. But I also am coming out of 7 years at a church that tragically regularly confused living by grace to mean doing all the things in Jesus's name, including sin-hunting in others so they might not miss the glory of God. So Becky? Someone willing to be real about her mess and not trying to impress me with her leaning-on-Jesusness? Who also wants grace for me in my mess and not to feel good about herself by playing a significant role in my growth in leaning-on-Jesusness? Truly, a grace diamond in Mars Hill's performance-based rough.]
|Becky and her first love, wine. [I kid, I kid!]|
You see, people think that the way to help people grow in Jesus is to listen for the stuff that doesn't sound right and then say, "Look at this verse. It says to "be anxious for nothing"! You have Jesus! Believe him and don't be anxious!"
That. Does. Not. Work.
Not for me.
And, I think, because you are human, not for you either.
The truth is, God tells us not to be anxious...yet he knows we are and will be anxious. The verse says, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Do you see it? I boldfaced "but" because God knows we will be anxious. It's not, "Be anxious [since that is totally possible] and just totally trust everything God gives you because, duh, Sinner, he's good." God knows we'll be anxious. The context of this verse is Paul asking for help for two women who love Jesus and spreading his Good News but struggle in relationship with one another. Paul references his own struggles in the Gospel (you know, jail and beatings and eventually being beheaded simply for telling others about Jesus). Seriously, go read Philippians 4. It. Is. SO. Good. But, FOR REAL, talk about reasons for anxiety. God knows we'll fret about not getting things we want and getting things we don't want. I mean, find me ONE person who has NEVER fretted about relationships or health or financial security or just general happiness and comfort in the future, be it tomorrow or 50 years.
Oh. Right. There is exactly ONE. Jesus Christ. The rest of us have failed, and if you've failed once then you have failed completely. But therein is the beauty of my friend Becky. She is so graciously skilled and humble in the seasoned blend of grace and truth. The truth is that God is good and I can trust him. Yet the grace is that he knows I am anxious. Becky gently reminds me of these two truths, but my favorite thing about her, and why she is a true iron friend, is that she intently listens, identifies with my pain/frustration/general sinful ridiculousness because she struggles, too. And then she just asks me this two-part question, in one form or another: "What does Jesus think of you? What is he saying to you?"
|Becky and her beautiful baby bump, just a few days before Gabers entered the world.|
A big reason Becky is able to do this so effectively is because she has allowed Jesus to minister to her in both her suffering and sin. Becky is radiant--brilliant blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes. In my heart, she is glowy. She glows because what radiates isn't just physical beauty. In her humble reliance to keep turning back to him no matter what ugly comes out of her heart; her refusal to give into the temptation to control her responses and look really good and godly, Becky simply emanates Jesus and that illuminates my life with more of him. She personifies the truth that when we are weak, he is strong.
|Me meeting baby Gabe. He's the best.|
Yet I am more reliant on Jesus than I have ever been. I am in less bondage. Becky is why. One of the single most poignant moments in my life came during a 3 hour conversation in my car, you know, just quickly dropping her off at her car after hanging out. But she listened to me ramble (shocker) about how this battle rages inside of me and she said, "Tami, I want freedom for you."
And she meant it. She craves my unshackling with a selfless love that was just completely Jesus's heart toward me. A revelation of his love. A seminal moment in this incredible "it is finished" journey that Jesus has whisked me into over this last year. Death to performance, life in liberation. Becky is a crucial role in that journey, and that is why I am not just waxing poetic when I say that no matter how I try I can't pretend to be to her what she has been to me.
|No, seriously. THE. BEST.|
That is why Becky is so extraordinary. I feel awkward because I keep talking about me, but I don't know how better to express what an incredibly safe and special person she is. The reflection of Christ and his tender compassion for other people flows so purely through her. The Holy Spirit is sought and actually listened to by her.
My word, you are a beautiful and incredible person, Becky Glaser!
So, beloved Becky, happy birthday. Today, may you be overwhelmed with how incredibly precious you are, first to Jesus, but also to those of us incomparably blessed to call you Friend. I have many amazing people in my life, but the honest truth is that no one has quite wiggled their way into my heart and been the pure grace to me that you are. I hope to be even a smidgen of the friend to you that you are to me, because even a hint means you are getting very loved on. That's how truly amazing you are. No amount of effusive words could ever make clear how much I adore you, treasure our friendship, but I had to try!
|I mean, come on. How do you not love that sass? It is impossible. Love is imminent.|
I love you, Becky! Happy birthday, beloved friend!
My other gift to you: praying that our adorable chubster baby Gabe will have a miracle long sleep and give you some solid rest. Readers, pray that with me? We all know that the best gift for any new mama is sleep. Today baby Gabe is one month old so let us pray little dude sleeps so his mama can sleeeeeeeep!
xoxo to you, Becky Lecky!
<3 Tami Rami