Thursday, April 25, 2013

What Would Bread Raining from Heaven Look like in the 21st Century?

   Yesterday while one of the interns here at We Will Go ministries was reading Exodus 16, she asked God what bread raining from heaven would look like now.
   That's when her phone rang. It was an associate pastor from a big church a city over. He was calling to ask if we wanted any chicken? Because he had been at a lunch board meeting and they had fifty pieces of fried chicken leftover plus cases of coleslaw, potato salad, marshmallow fruit salad, pork 'n' beans, and garlic bread. Ashley, our intern, said come on.
   A few hours later while he was unloading the fifty pieces of fried chicken and sides, Ashley shared my family's story with him. She told him about how there are nine of us and I'm graduating from high school in two days and my younger brother David has his 16th birthday party this Saturday and this food will really bless them because they only have a little over a hundred dollars to stretch and pull for the rest of the month.
   The associate pastor listened quietly while Ashley spoke, and when she finished, he said, "I found this on a drain pipe this morning," and pulled out a hundred dollar bill from his wallet and handed it to her. "Give this to that family."
   That's what bread raining down from heaven looks like in the 21st century. It looks like the daughters and sons of God living like princesses and princes in inner-city Jackson, Mississippi. We bought decorations for David's party, supplies for my graduation display, and groceries with that manna and feasted on fried chicken, garlic bread, salad, coleslaw, marshmallow fruit salad, pork 'n' beans, and potato salad that night with a visiting ten-member missionary family.

   "In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp.  And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: "Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.'"  And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat." -Exodus 16:13-18

   When it was written that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, they were writing truth. He overcame death and the God of daily provision and meat for dinner and bread for breakfast lives today. Sometimes we make Him so super-spiritual; and He is super spiritual, but He is also extremely practical. In the same moment of time, He was sitting on His heavenly throne, robed in glory, while an army of angels bowed before and walking through a field on Sabbath with his homeless friends, dressed in dusty rags, breaking off heads of wheat because they're absolutely famished. Why don't we let Him be both? Because He is both people: a mighty king, and a carpenter working to provide food for his mother and brothers and sisters. 
   I've just never ate the quail and manna before because I never allowed Him to be the God who provided my daily bread for me before. He has always been that God and will always be that God, I've just not always been on this level with Him. After all, He is a lover, not a rapist. He will never force Himself or His gifts on you. He is a gentleman and will wait on you forever. The manna and quail will never be given until we extend our empty plates and empty hands and say, "Please, Sir, can I have some more?" And He will give more every single time. He will give immeasurably more than all we could ever ask for or imagine.

Friday, January 4, 2013

God in 2012

    As we ushered out the last moments of 2012 with choruses of Auld Lang Syne sung under showers of glitter and confetti and good cheer, I found myself sitting quietly and remembering. Remembering the valleys and mountains of the past year, the highlights and greatest hits of the last twelve months. Holding my college acceptance letter and then soon after my first--and hopefully not last--first scholarship award letter. Leading worship for my church's youth group in the first three seasons of the year, and then for a children's ministry in the ghetto in the last season. The Hunger Games premiered in March--that was a big deal right there. Sitting in my room in my childhood home, packing up the past seventeen years into labeled cardboard boxes and then unpacking them the next week in my new room in my family's new house in inner-city Jackson. Then there were the less significant moments, like upgrading from reading glasses to "driving" glasses, donating blood for the first time, and getting a new job at a frozen yogurt shop. That was 2012 for me. Overall, it was a good year.
    Not every year has been that good, though. And maybe that's how 2012 year was for you: not good. Maybe as you look back through the months, you see more valleys than mountains. Maybe you see more moments you spent surrounded by your blankets and cats and Criminal Minds marathons than moments you spent surrounded by family who values you and friends who love you. Maybe you bombed your finals. Maybe you left home and don't know how to go back. Maybe you're not friends with any of the same people you started the year with. Maybe it's your fault, maybe it's not. Maybe maybe maybe.
    As we stood together on that New Years Eve night, though, and surveyed 2012 before we welcomed 2013, we couldn't help but see one constant in each of our separate lives. God was good. God is good. Maybe this year wasn't, but the Lord and His character are not influenced by circumstance. He is good all the time and all the time He is good and He was good in 2012. He was good. Like the Matt Redman song says, He was good because never once did He ever leave us, never once did we ever walk alone. He was with us. He was faithful and He will continue to be so. I know that the Lord began works in my life this year that He will bring to completion and I know that the Lord began works in your life this year that He has promised to bring to completion. It may not be in 2013, or even 2014 (if the world can survive the next apocalypse and we live that long), but He will see it to the end and I am so excited to see what goodness He will pour out again this year.
    The year is only four days old, but I know He has already begun to.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

They Had A Purpose

      We all have a purpose--and you don't have to read that on a doilies in your great-grandmother's hallway to know it, either. Every single page of God's Word screams it, every word Christ spoke proclaims it. You have a purpose.
      We human beings have an incredible talent at looking at our situations, circumstances, and surroundings and allowing them to lessen us in our eyes. We're not hard on ourselves at all, or anything. We find, and then latch onto, the most ridiculous, miniscule details or faults, blowing them up to crazy proportions until you can't even see yourself behind them anymore. You are them. You become them. We invent excuses like, "Well, I'm just a girl" or, "I'm just a boy." We tell ourselves, "I'm too young" or "I'm 67, I'm too old!" When we have worn out our age and gender, we move on to physical appearance. "I'm just a little ole white lady!", "I'm so fat, though.", "I'm just a black kid.", etc. etc. We obsess over these unimportant external details, convincing ourselves that God is even more engrossed with them than we are. We sell ourselves short so many times because we honestly do not think that the Lord could have an incredible plan and purpose for someone who is just a girl or just a boy, someone who is so young or so old, someone who is white or too fat or black. And when I say "we", I actually mean "me". I, myself. I have an incredible talent at looking at my situations, circumstances, and surroundings and allowing them to lessen me in my eyes. I am hard on myself. I find, and then latch onto, the most ridiculous, miniscule details or faults, blowing them up to crazy proportions until I can't even see myself behind them anymore. I am them. I become them. Etc. etc.
       Do you really think, though, People Who Are Reading This Blog Post and Betsie, that God is at all confined or deterred by these ridiculous, miniscule details or faults? You don't think that God knows you're "just a girl" or "just a boy"? He made you to be so! He knew that you would be young at 12, or someday old at 67, and yet He still has a purpose for you. Still. Every single day, every single year. All your life. These ridiculous, miniscule details or faults do not ruin His plan--no, they are a part of it!
       I think a great example of God having a purpose for your life, no matter who you are or what your circumstances are, is the Roman soldier who nailed His Son, Jesus, to a cross. (Bear with me.) God created us. He knit us together in our mother's womb. He molded our hearts and taught them how to beat. He formed our lungs and breathed life into them. He has been planning our existence and creation out from the very beginning of time. Not only that, though, but He has also been planning our future and individual purposes before He even started the knitting and forming and molding! So, with all that said, don't you think that He knew when He created that Roman soldier, that some day, that very same soldier, would be a part of crucifying His only Son? He knew. He knew and could not forget, and yet He still created him. You read about all these times in the Old Testament when the Lord would send blazing lightning down from heaven to strike and instantly kill all these people just because they grazed the ark of the covenant. But when this Roman soldier pounded the nails into the Son of God's hands, He did nothing. Actually, He did do something: He kept that Roman soldier alive. While he was beating Jesus senseless, the Father continued to teach his heart how to beat. When he was spitting in the Messiah's face, mocking Him, the Lord kept breathing life into his lungs. God gave that Roman soldier the strength to crucify His own Son. Why? Why would He do that? Why did He even create any of those Roman soldiers in the first place?
      Because they had a purpose.
      I don't know what it was. I might get to heaven someday and see one of them there, completely redeemed and restored. Or maybe one of them fathered a man who led hundreds of people to Christ. I don't know what their purposes were, or the plans God had for them, but I know that they had a purpose, and I know that He had a plan for them.
      God is not confined or set back by your past or your race or your gender or your age. He made you just the way you are because He knew that your exact age and gender and race would help you to better accomplish the purpose and plan He has for just you. Nothing you can ever do or ever be will erase the fact that Christ has a wild plan for you. And it's going to happen either way, it's just more rewarding and enjoyable if you embrace it and walk out in boldness in it. It is yours. It cannot be taken away from you. Even if you are just a girl who is too young and white. Even if you are just a Roman soldier.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The "D" Word

    It's a four-letter word, and the first letter is "D". If mentioned in my presence, it used to make me as extremely uncomfortable as I imagine you are right now reading about it. Yes, I'm talking about the word: DATE. *Cue the simultaneous cringes and happy "oohs" and "ahhs"*
    When I was younger, I was one of Those Girls. By the ripe old age of, um, fourteen, I had already read--multiple times, and highlighted--Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliott, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello To Courtship by Joshua Harris, plus numerous anti-dating devotionals that all earned eye rolls from my older sister.  Now, you can't consume that many books on relationships without forming your own opinion on the subject. And I did just that, at the ripe old age of fourteen. Obviously, they were very vague, but yet complicated; logical, but really ridiculous; and all of them inspired solely by Mr. Harris, and Fear.
    At fourteen, I was afraid of love.
    Well, I was not terrified of love itself; just its consequences and affects. I saw so many girls around me with big dreams and beautiful desires for their life sacrificing it all and settling for a boy who would win them, use them, and eventually discard them within the span of mere months. Those girls and their choices made me angry and aspire to be a feminist outwardly. However, inwardly, those girls and their choices scared me and made convent life suddenly look very appealing. Those girls scared me because they and I were not all that different. In fact, I saw those girls inside of me. I could easily become that, do that. Sacrifice it all, settle. What was most frightening of all was that I knew that if I ever did, I would be truly content in that lifestyle.
    Thus I invented my lofty, super-spiritual anti-dating views. I hid behind them like a soldier would behind a barricade for more than two years. Two years I defended them, pushed them on everyone else and their parents. For two years I was not even open to examining my views and asking myself honestly, "Is this right?" because I was right, date it!
     I wasn't, though. Not even close.
     Now, I believe, like Elisabeth Elliott and Joshua Harris, that we are created to love one person (or three, in Mrs. Elliott's case), and to be loved by one person. Or, you can be super cool like Paul, never get married, and just love everyone in a platonic way. Either way, loving someone is involved. But anyways. I think that true love waits, and so we should wait on the Lord to write our love stories because He already has, after all, and it's so much better when we allow Him to orchestrate it. I know that the Lord's love for us is jealous, and that His will for us is to wait and give ourselves only to the young man (or not so young, if you're a character in a Jane Austen novel), one of His sons, that He has specifically raised up to love you like He loves you. I don't think that any of these views are necessarily wrong in the least, but God does not only look at our views and opinions. He looks at our motives. ("People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives." -Proverbs 16:2)  That's exactly what He did, too, a few Sunday nights ago after my youth pastor caught me off-guard with a heart interrogation. He maybe asked me five questions in total, but those five questions of his inspired fifty of my own. My views on dating (or rather, the absence of dating) were not necessarily wrong, but were my motives behind them right? Well, if Christ said that "there is no fear in love" but rather, "perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment" and "the one who is in fear is not made in perfect love" (1 John 4:18), weren't my motives, which were solely fear, wrong? Why was I afraid? Because I had not yet grasped the concept that I was made in perfect love because I am loved by a perfect God! Perfect love casts out all fear because with perfect love, there is no punishment. I am Christ's, He bought me with His blood, and nothing I could ever possibly do--even something as horrific as sacrificing it all and settling for some suave bum--could ever possibly make me any less of Christ's or make him love me any less. There is pure freedom in Christ's love. We don't have to possess complicated, super-spiritual views. We don't have to try--and fail--to earn our salvation or God's love. We don't have to walk through life with timidity, building up impenetrable walls around our new, God-given hearts because we are afraid that if anyone truly sees them, they will say that they're not new at all. They are new, you're new. You're going forward, not back. There is grace and mercy.
     I know that Elisabeth Elliott's view on courting, which she wrote about in her book Passion & Purity, sparked a controversial war in 2002 on what is classified as "appropriate dating" for Christians that is still going on ten years later. I don't expect anything I say to ever end that war, either. But I can end the war within myself between my heart and mind, and I can say to myself, It doesn't have to be so complicated. You don't have to settle, and your actions don't have to be governed by a fear of doing just that. I thought I knew everything there is to know about dating when I was fourteen. I'm seventeen now, and I'm realizing that I knew absolutely nothing because what God is showing me is so much simpler and freer and innocent than I ever imagined it could be. My view on dating now is that when the Lord tells me to date someone, I will. (Happily.) But until He does, I won't. The end. He doesn't want of or require of me a bestseller relationship theology book. All He wants of me is that I will run hard after Him, that I will always pursue Him. And as I pursue Him, someday, the Lord will raise up a man to pursue me. Someday, as I run hard and fast after God, I will look to either my left or right, and I will see a man who is running beside me, keeping the same pace and headed in the same direction. It will be right then, and we will join hands as we run together hard and fast after the God who made us so.

"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
    by the gazelles or the does of the field,
that you not stir up or awaken love
    until it pleases." -Song Of Solomon 3:5

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fill Me Up

"Come away with me,
Come away with me
It's never too late, it's not too late
It's not too late for you

I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It's gonna be wild
It's gonna be great
It's gonna be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in"

-Come Away by Jesus Culture

There is a whole, inside of all of us, and it is empty. We attempt to fill it with acceptance, and love, two things that we view with great worth--but I am beginning to learn that the only thing big enough to fit into that hole, big enough and worthy enough to fill it completely forever, is Him. The size of that hole, of that emptiness, is the exact same size as our Father and all the love and all the wild plans He has for our life. We were created by Him, for Him.
It's incredible.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My mother's blog post ( on our fundraiser to send us to Africa next summer:


Last night, six year old Little Miss M came in while I was doing some stuff on the computer and saw a photo of Africa that I was looking at. She immediately said, "text someone and tell them that I love Africa".


The Lord knows how much this blesses my African-lovin' mama heart.

As Jim and I make plans for moving to Swaziland to love and live, one of our main prayers and desires has been that our children also feel called to live and love in Swaziland. When my kids tell me that they dreamed about Swaziland or one of them asks if they can take their blanket to the cold children there, I know that God is answering our prayer. He is turning their heart towards our calling.

Just as God wants us as His children to love and care about the things that concern Him, so I want my children to love and care about the things of God. I want them to learn from an early age that this life is best spent when it is spent for the good of others. I want them to see that it is not the stuff they can get that brings fulfillment but it is the gifts they can share with others. I want them to see that it is actually in serving others that they will find the kind of deep contentment that only God can grant.

I want my children to be totally sold out and passionately in love with Jesus. And I want that passion to pour out of their lives for the least and the lost.

I still struggle with this area. Despite what I've seen with my own eyes --- families living in mud and stick shacks, girls left parentless and unprotected from predators, small children walking alone for miles for a simple meal of corn meal mush and beans --- I still fight against being wrapped up in what I want. I still desire for more stuff than I need. I still eat more food than my body requires. I still cling to material possessions and my rights. I still fight lazyness and complacency.

The secular American Dream for parents has been for a long time that their children would be better off financially than they were. We see this played out as house and closet sizes increase, as pricy vacations that used to be seen as a luxury are now viewed as an annual need. As more and more people are opting to have less children because they want their kids to "have it all".

This totally flies in the face of the truly Biblical worldview. Yes, we are called to be wise stewards of what God gives us. We are called to care for our families and work hard for our daily bread. But we are not called to live first and foremost for the things that we want.

Christianity is, in its essence, dying to self. It is following the example of Jesus. Jesus had it all but He gave it up for us. He lived a life of sacrifice that eventually led to death on the cross.

Where in the world do we get the crazy idea that Christianity is about living our life the way we want, being "good" people, going to church, and apportioning a part of our time and resources to God's kingdom. Our whole entire lives are supposed to be lived for His glory and His kingdom. Pure religion is to visit the orphans and widows in their distress. It is not to follow a bunch of legalistic rules, show up for all the church services, and dress ourselves up in Christian-themed garb.

I firmly believe that the American Dream of financial prosperity is a seductive lie that is leading us to spiritual death, and even financial death, as a nation. Yes, God does bless and when we follow Biblical principles, we will usually do fine financially, maybe even get rich. We see that with various Biblical characters such as Abraham.

But God doesn't give to us so we can just be fat and happy, He blesses us so we can bless others.

The American church must get their eyes off of their selfish dreams and desires and get them on to what matters most to God --- setting the captives free, feeding the hungry, setting orphans in loving homes, helping the widows in their distress, visiting the sick, fighting against injustices, and loving those who think they are without worth.

The NEW American Church dream should be that our children's generation should have a better grasp on what it means to see God's "will be done on earth as it is in Heaven". We should want our children to not have more stuff than we had but more of God. We should want them to walk at a depth and intensity with the Lord that is so much more than we have. We should want to see them serving more passionately, giving more radically, living more fearlessly, serving more unselfishly, changing their world more fantastically. Ultimately, we should be more concerned about investing in their relationship with the Lord, not in a million extra-curricular activities, trendy clothes, and pricy trips.

Giving them more of God and more of God's desire to bring the world to Him should be our very first goal as a parent.

I want this for my children and as time goes by and I see the consequences of shallow Christianity, I become more and more motivated to do what I have to do to make this a reality in their lives and then in their children's lives and down through the generations. I say "no" to generational curses and "yes" to generational blessings.

And when my little girl comes to me and tells me she loves Africa, it is to my ears, God's way of telling me that He is putting in them the love He has for that continent and its precious people.

And it is all just a part of why we are taking our kids to Swaziland to serve and discover for two weeks next year and then to live in two years.


A darling, new friend of mine, Brooke Reece, is a culinary arts major at Mississippi University for Women. She loves to bake treats as sweet as she is. She is donating a lovingly made pumpkin cheesecake to help us raise the money for our Swaziland trip.

Brooke lives in Starkville while she is in school but her family lives closer to Jackson, in the Conehatta/Newton/Decatur/Meridian area. For that reason, we are opening the auction up to anyone who lives in the Starkville-Columbus area, the Jackson-metro area, and near her hometown. Once the auction is over, the winner will be contacted by Brooke to decide on when they want the cheesecake made and delivered. If the winner is not living in the Golden-Triangle area then she'll need to deliver it on a weekend.

The 8-inch pumpkin cheesecake has a graham-cracker crust and is topped with caramel and pecans. This seasonal treat would be great for a harvest tea time, fall festival offering, autumn birthday cake, or even a Thanksgiving dessert.

The bidding on this luscious baby will begin at $15. Considering how amazing it is going to taste and the fact that Brooke will deliver it makes this quite a bargain!

To bid, just leave a comment with the amount you are offering and some way for us to contact you. The auction will end this Sunday evening at 5:00.

Also, it would really help us if you were willing to tell others about this auction via facebook, twitter, or your blog. This is a way you can support our trip even if you can't make a bid.

Thanks and happy bidding!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Him Fighting For Us+Being a Princess+Galatians 5:1

Last Sunday night, we girls all went to a pottery place for youth group. After painting frogs and mugs, we went to Dairy Queen for dinner and our lesson. I sat in between my new friend, Victoria, and the leader of the week around an outside table underneath a starless, city sky while she told us about our identities in Christ: princesses. (And I now have a sticker-ed notecard with "Princess Betsie" writeen all curlicued tucked into my mirror frame to prove it.) See, because He is our Father, and He is the King of all kings, then we are princesses. We are who we are because of Who He is. Plain and simple.
Now, the world's and our culture's definition of a "princess" is a diva. Privileged. Spoiled. A lot of times, too, in our eyes, a princess and her worth is judged upon the grounds of who her Prince Charming is, or if she even has one. Without Prince Charming there to sweep Cinderella off her feet and take major part in the magical transformation of a scullery maid turned future queen of an entire kingdom, would we even care for the tale? Without Prince Charming, Cinderella would just always be a girl sitting in cinders. Without Prince Phillip there to climb through the thorns and brambles, overthrow the cruel witch, and smooch Aurora with the "kiss of life", she'd still be sleeping. No happily ever after. No story at all, really. Just a pathetic girl who pricked her finger on a needle. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.
However, we as the Lord's daughters, we are defined by the world or our culture. As His daughters, we must be a completely different sort of princess; His definition of the word. We aren't who we are because of wealth or family blood or a ridiculous prince with a savior complex--we are who we are because of who He is and who He has made us.
Therefore, our leader explained, a true princess must focus more on inner beauty than outer; be willing to be different, possibly an outcast; a "lily among brambles" (Song of Solomon 2:2); value her Father's acceptance over man's; give up the world's good things for the Lord's great things; sometimes be alone.
Our teacher shared how she had similar conversations with her son. (Except on how to be a prince, not a princess...) She told us that she was always telling him she would fight him forever. She would fight with him even when he was eighteen, even when he was grown and out of the house. She would still fight him when he was married and had his own family, fight him until the day he died. Why? Because, her voice choked a bit, he is worth fighting for. That's exactly how our Father feels about us, except so, so much more.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!.."
-Galatians 5:1

Now, I have another best friend who is cool enough to be studying Galatians with me, and we discovered this mind-blowing verse during our our very first Bible study two weeks ago. "For freedom Christ has set us free!..."--wow! WOW. For freedom, He has set us free! However, even though I had discovered the verse, I hadn't yet discovered the complete and full potency, its full mind-blowing earth-trembling potency, until then. That's when it made sense. I saw the parallel in an explosion of beauty, and I realized you couldn't have one without the other.

Him fighting for us + being a princess + Galatians 5:1 =

He died for us. Jesus died for us. He looked at us, and He saw something so beautiful--the daughter, the princess His Father created you to be. He saw that, He saw us, and it,us, was more than worth fighting for.
So He died for us; He died for us! He died so that we might have a choice. A choice to never come to Him, to never accept everything He has planned for us, to never acknowledge what He did that day, never love Him. He died, though, that we might simply have a chance to. He died knowing that we would most likely reject Him, yet He still died; just so that we might have the chance to love Him back. That's how much He loves us, that He would die for us while we were yet still in sin so that someday, we might not be and we might come to Him.


My heart and head nearly exploded, so impossible is it to wrap both around His incomprehensible, all-consuming, universe-big love for us! Ahh, He just blows my mind. The end.