small kiddos, loaves of bread, and fishies

September 11, 2015

As most of y'all know, I don't spend a ton of time on Facebook, but yesterday I had a day long test at the hospital and spent about an hour catching up with some old classmates, friends, and co-workers. I happened upon a page of a friend of mine from graduate school who has accomplished a ton in the years since we graduated. Somehow the guy that convinced four of us to spend the night under the stars in 30 degree weather on a grad school retreat and that led the charge for the arctic dip in the ocean several days later January had the ability to give all around him encouraging pep talks with words that are imprinted on my heart forever. He is not just off exploring or teaching or writing a book to waste time but to live. I smile for the boy that I knew has become a man destined to shape the world around us. 
As I caught up on my friends adventures and several others from my "pre-Lyme life" I contemplated the way that my life had changed so dramatically in the last several years. The way that my Septembers used to be filled with busy school schedules, the joy of teaching, friends, community service, ballroom dancing, and feeling like there was a purpose that I had that went beyond the need for hospital testing, blood draws, IV's, meds, and countless supplements. A purpose that went beyond an inconsiderate and hurtful comment about my weight. A purpose that went beyond resting and healing and laying in bed as I administer one more thing for Lyme. 
As I waited in the hospital for the next round of blood draws as the clock slowly ticked by I was struck by the difference of what so many are able to do and how truly little I am able to do. It seems like so many people are doing these “BIG” things for others and for God. And then an email arrived in the middle of this hospital day from a pastor whose church I was supposed to speak at in November (that we have had scheduled for a year) telling me (politely) that he had decided "my story just wasn't big enough" and "my platform really wasn't courageous enough" to fit with his church. On one hand I was in shock, but on the other hand I agreed with him. Young single Christians (like myself) are doing amazing things. They are traveling the world, building wells for fresh water, adopting a dozen children in a different country, and writing life changing books. Young marrieds my age are moving to the inner city, leaving their jobs and changing the world for Christ. 
If you think that I am sarcastically criticizing any of the people that I have mentioned or the ones that I haven’t named but you know who they are then you are wrong. Instead I am raising a question many have been afraid to voice in the midst of the grandeur. The question that in many ways this pastor voiced that I have in the back of my head. In the midst of all of the miraculous is there a place for the ordinary? Is there a place to offer small offerings among the "BIG"? These questions swirl around me as I question how a girl like me can attempt to change her world for Christ if I don’t even have the strength or energy to walk down the driveway or carry a conversation with her non-believing neighbors. What happens if I am not healthy enough to go to far off places or even work a full time job? Is there a mission field truly for my little world? If so, what does that look like? What if my life is not as "successful" as I think it to be and what if it doesn’t make as much of a difference as I long for it to simply because I am unable to reach the shores of a distant land? What if the little loaves of bread and fish that I have to offer are not enough for my great big God who I long to bring glory to?
I just want to make sure that I am honoring the God that I love so much.

On my agenda for this fall I do not have the most miraculous of plans. In fact, I have what most would say is beyond boring and ventures into the territory of the mundane. My goal in the next couple of weeks is to finish this treatment round strong and then when I return from the cruise, I will immediately start in on the "pre-cursor" meds for the PICC line that will happen in the middle of October. The two big prayer request that I have that is constantly going through my mind is, "Lord, please provide all of the finances for this trip" and "Lord, please don't let me have an anaphylaxis reaction to the meds we try."
Yesterday I spent my energy talking with numerous nurses, having blood drawn multiple times and having a not so fun hospital test. At the end of the day I was beyond exhausted and wondering if I truly accomplished anything for the Lord. The pastors not so kind, but truthful words resonated deep within my mind. The days of leaving the classroom feeling like I had imparted biblical knowledge and touched a teens life are long gone and the feelings of usefulness are drying up quickly in the wind. While some call me young I feel like I have lived a hundred years in the last 3 years (especially the last 18 months) and yet the journey is far from over. I wonder again if I am accomplishing anything of value for the Lord. Anything that looks remotely like a loaf – even a crumb that I can offer up to Him? 
My life that I envisioned years ago before Lyme and the dreams that I have hidden in my heart seem like a worthy life to offer up to the Lord. My life that I envisioned with a loving husband and kiddos and an open house to where we love each other and love those that enter in. My life that included rescuing kiddos in the foster care system who have been abandoned and unloved, reaching out and loving on their families, reaching out to the broken, to the students that I had in my classroom, and loving all of those we encounter with wild abandon and freely pouring Jesus’’ love on the lost and the hurting. "Surely this envisioned life would be so much better than the reality Lord?" I pray again. 
 But what about if this new agenda… this new role… this new life is the real me? What if this life that I don't think has much to offer can be an offering to God?

In the midst of all of my questions throughout this journey I have come to love the story of the young boy with the loaves of bread and fish. John 6 (verses 8-14) states:

Jesus later crossed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or the Sea of Tiberias). A large crowd followed him because they saw the miracles that he performed for the sick. Jesus went up a mountain and sat with his disciples. The time for the Jewish Passover festival was near. As Jesus saw a large crowd coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” Jesus asked this question to test him. He already knew what he was going to do. Philip answered, “We would need about a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.” One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother, told him, “A boy who has five loaves of barley bread and two small fish is here. But they won’t go very far for so many people.” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” The people had plenty of grass to sit on. (There were about 5,000 men in the crowd.)  Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to the people who were sitting there. He did the same thing with the fish. All the people ate as much as they wanted. When the people were full, Jesus told his disciples, “Gather the leftover pieces so that nothing will be wasted.” The disciples gathered the leftover pieces of bread and filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the miracle Jesus performed, they said, “This man is certainly the prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus realized that the people intended to take him by force and make him king. So he returned to the mountain by himself.”

What I love about this story is that this boy comes in the middle of the questions that still haunt us today. While the disciples were fretting about things that worry us in the 21st century just like it did so many years ago this little boy had just showed up as he probably did everyday read to eat. The disciples are worried that they would not have enough food or money to feed the large crowd that had gathered around. One of the disciples, Philip, even pointed out the fact that even a year of their wages could not have fed the people that had gathered even to give them a bite of food. (As a side note: I totally relate to Philip- I am constantly concerned with how the Lord is going to provide even though He always does. It is interesting to note that Philip is the disciple who is always worried about how the Lord will provide- I so relate to that!) And I don’t mean to take away from the miracle of the story by the fact that the Lord provided for ALL of the people that were there that day, but I can’t help returning again to the boy that was at the middle of the whole story.
This boy had only brought with him five small barley loaves and two small fish and probably was planning on eating that food himself. Instead he surrenders the small and meager amount that he has and gives it to the disciples who are fretting about their wages. The fish that are there are small enough that while they are most likely only for him they ended up feeding all of those who had gathered at the hill to hear Jesus speak. And it was through this miraculous event when Jesus chooses to use a little boy's meager offerings that the people are turned to Jesus. “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the prophet who is come into the world.” 

Y'all I LOVE this- God can use ANYTHING- even what we think are small offerings for His glory! Its interesting that scripture doesn’t particularly state the disciples thoughts on what occurred. The concerns and worries that had plagued them earlier were gone and even beyond that there were leftovers!I don’t think anything that God does is a coincidence and so it is amusing to me that there are twelve baskets of food leftover just like there were twelve disciples. Perhaps this speaks volumes to the fact that God is a personal God and there is no detail left out in His plans.
This story gives me so much hope for my days... my ordinary... not grand... not "big story enough" days. Maybe someday I will have an amazing fall plan to share, but in the meantime I have decided that my biggest hope is to be like the boy with the five small barley loaves and two small fish. I am going to keep showing up and asking God to use my meager amounts and keep praying that each thing that I do will encourage people to turn to Jesus. I am going to choose to rejoice in the ways that my friends can live big dreams and live bigger lives then I feel then I able to right now and take some time to rejoice in the fact that God uses everything- even small kiddos, loaves of bread, and fishies to accomplish His purposes.
This may not have been what I was originally dreaming of life to look like, but there are so many blessings despite the pain and the fractured dreams. There are so many opportunities to touch a life for Jesus if I will look around and pray for the Lord's guidance. If you are feeling like I am friends, that you have nothing "big" to offer, let me encourage you to go back to the story of a precious kiddo, loaves of bread, and fishies and find hope that your story- whatever it looks like- is a mighty important part of drawing people to Jesus. Keep showing up everyday, keep praying for wisdom, and remember that NOTHING you do- no matter how small is ever wasted for the Lord. 


  1. I think most people have "ordinary lives" but we just don't know about it! Small actions here and there do not get noticed but they are just as important as big projects in my opinion!

    1. I definitely agree with you Emilie!! Later on in the day the sweetest nurse was incredibly kind and compassionate. Her kindness in the midst of a crazy day (which she didn't know was going on) truly blessed my life. I think we often underestimate the importance of kindness and the far reaching impact it has on a person's life. Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting!! I truly appreciate your time!!
      Happy Saturday!
      Blessings, Rebecca :)

  2. wow. Rebecca, too many hurtful comments in one day! I try to live by the motto 'be unoffendable' but whew - that is so hard sometimes. Sending you love

    1. It was a crazy, crazy, crazy day with timing. I am so thankful for the Lord's mercy and kindness in encouragement and tender love that came from a variety of different places. To be honest the whole thing with the pastor was a little crazy, but I believe the Lord is always guiding these things so it was not the right place to be at. BUT yes, crazy, crazy, crazy.

      Hope you are having a wonderful weekend friend!
      :) Rebecca

  3. Every moment that you show love to nurses who treat you, is a win for Jesus. They see so many hurting, angry patients, that if you show hope and love, they can't help but know there is something different about you :)

    1. Aww thank you Kristin for your kind and encouraging words. It is true that I see so many hurting and angry patients and my heart breaks for what they are going through. I don't mean to imply at all that this is not a mission field or that the Lord doesn't provide opportunities, I just struggle (as I mentioned) with the life I envisioned and the pain and sickness of what is. I appreciate your perspective and your encouragement and challenge to look around right where I am at.
      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment!
      Rebecca :)

  4. We all have ordinary lives, though I don't think many people would like to admit it. So many people put up a facade to show everyone what they want them to see. Your faith seems strong, and it'll carry you through :)

    1. Thank you so much Danielle. I agree that many people have ordinary lives but I am praying that the Lord will use the ordinary for His glory! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!
      p.s. I would love to have emailed you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I look forward to hopefully connecting more with you in the future.