What is something God is teaching you right now?

Recently I was asked this question and I wanted to share my answer with you here:

To abide in Him. John 15 says “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

More than ever before, I know He is reminding me to ‘abide’ in Him. To depend on Him completely. To go to Him in prayer with everything. Talk to Him. Walk with Him and live this example with my children. We pray about everything together.

We were in a car accident, hit from behind while stopped in rush hour traffic this week. The next day, I was driving with them, again in Houston rush hour traffic and feeling extremely anxious that we were going to be hit. I saw the car coming and couldn’t do anything to stop the accident. It was a feeling of helplessness, but a reminder that we are not helpless. We have Jesus to depend on. We have the Father who loves us completely and totally. And, the Holy Spirit moving within us. So, I told my children (who I affectionately call “the Els” which is short for our last name El-Hakam) about how I was feeling and I led them in prayer as we drove. We prayed out loud and prayed some more. We started with praying that God would protect us and remove the anxiety that I was feeling and we moved into praying for things that are on our hearts. My dad was in the hospital and one of the Els’ teacher’s baby is very sick. So each of the children wanted to add their own special prayers.

Last night, Houston was hit with very hard rains flooding our neighborhood streets. So much so, that the cars that were parked on the street in front of our homes were flooded. Cars down the street that were attempting to drive in the flood, were left abandoned and left blocking the street. We had people waiting for the water to recede on our front porch. I offered them assistance while trying to keep the Els occupied inside. The water was continuing to rise and more cars were getting stuck. The people on the porch continued to wait it out. I started attempting to put the Els to bed. It was hard because there was a car alarm going off the entire time. I went back outside to move my car further into my driveway so another couple could attempt to get out by turning their car around in my driveway. That mission was successful. But, the people on the porch kept waiting. I went to give good night kisses and my youngest son, who is only four years old, asked if we could pray. He wanted to pray for the rain to stop, for the water to go down and for the people to be able to get home safely. We sat on my daughter’s bed, held hands and we prayed. When we finished, I went back to check on things outside and as if the dam had been released, the water on the street which had been 1.5 foot deep was now completely receded. I went inside, told my little guy and he was able to sleep peacefully. I knew instantly that by abiding in God completely and living that example for my children, they are learning by example, not just by words how to abide in Christ Jesus.

So, I leave with you this word: ‘abide.” Think about what it means to abide in something or someone and how your life might be impacted if you begin to choose to abide in Christ Jesus. 

I also want to share with you my friend’s blog. It is called Celebrate the Family. http://celebratethefamily.org Teresa is a living testimony of abiding in Christ and going to Him in prayer. I am thankful for her inspiration at this time in my life. Blessings. -Rebekah

WHAT I WAS MADE TO DO….

How many times have you heard that said and wondered “how do you know?” “How do you really know what you were made to do?”

Here is how my calling (God’s calling on my life) came to be known by me:

The first gift. I began singing just after learning to whistle and before I could talk. I’ve witnessed this with a couple of my own children, an ability to sing the tune of “Ode to Joy” before ever uttering an understandable word. So, I believe this to be true.

A relationship that will never end. As I sat on the edge of my bed, at the age of 8. I heard Him call my name. And, I answered. I asked Him to come into my life. I asked Him to be Lord of my life and to live through me. On that day, in 1985, I asked Jesus into my heart. It was the start of something that would change me forever.

Opportunity. When asked to sing, I said yes. Even if my peers made fun of me. Or, I knew it was the 20th time I’d sung the National Anthem that year, I still said “yes.” And, I was happy to sing any chance I was given. This opportunity also started young. I was blessed to be able to sing at a young age and have adults in my life who recognized this gift and wanted to help me.

Falling in love. I always loved singing. It was a passion. It was a gift. But, it wasn’t until I fell in love with worship, true uninhibited worship, free before our God, that I learned to sing from my whole self, my whole heart, my entire me. While living in Los Angeles, in one of the most difficult times of my life, I found a little church in Eagle Rock. In that church, and by church, I mean in that group of Christ-loving people, I experienced true worship. The worship pastor, Tommy Walker, taught the congregation how to worship through his example. The music was some of the best I had ever heard. The message was tender and true and we experienced it fully. We used to sing a song “I Will Never Be.” Some of the lyrics that I will never forget,”I will never be the same again. I can never return. I’ve closed the door. I will walk the path. I will run the race. And, I will never be the same again.” Those lyrics were true to me then and they are still true now. Once I experienced worship in a true way and experienced God like never before, I will never return from that. I can’t go back and “unknow” what I know now. I know Him and I connect with Him in a very real way through worship in song.

More opportunity. When my husband and I moved to Houston we pretty quickly found a church home. We were busy with being a newly-married couple and soon we were expecting our first son. After his birth, our church began searching for a new worship leader for the contemporary service. I had no experience with this, so I just kept enjoying the guest worship leaders and prayed that God would bring the right person to lead worship. After a nine month search, the new worship leader was announced. He was coming from California with his brand new wife. Before he arrived, an announcement was made asking for volunteers for the worship band. I listened to the announcement and heard the call. “Do you have a musical gift?” “Please contact us.” “We would love to have you participate in worship leadership if you feel led.” That was me. I knew that I needed to call, email, respond. And, so I did. Soon after, the new worship leader arrived in Houston and he was arranging the band for his very first Sunday. He emailed me and we set a time for me to come to his office. He played guitar, sang the melody and I harmonized. He quickly asked me if I could join the team this Sunday. And, so began a two year journey of learning and leading and worshipping, and learning and leading. I sang every Sunday until the worship leader was called back to California. During the next search for a worship leader, my church gave me the opportunity to lead with our band. It was during this time that God gave me my first original worship song, “Hallelujah, I love you.” This, to date, is the only song I have recorded. And, that was just out of the kindness of our bassist’s heart. He had the equipment and offered to record the song.

One door closes and the gate opens to a new and clear path. When our friends were called back to California and our church brought in another worship leader, a door closed. It was clear. It was hard. It was hurtful. God kept bringing to mind the life of Joseph. In particular Genesis 50:19-21 (from The Message) “Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart. ” I knew that God had a plan for me, a plan for good and not for harm. And, I knew that God was calling me to do more with worship, with music, with worship leading, with writing, with praising, with glorifying Him. When I no longer had a place to do that at my home church, my husband and I knew we were being called elsewhere. But, where? God made the path clear. We began visiting churches in the Summer of 2008. Most were churches we had heard about, driven by or found online. Our church home now, is a little over a mile from our home and at this time they had a VBS sign hanging on the iron fence along the main street. I saw this and thought it would be perfect to send our oldest son. And, we could visit this church around the same time we were bringing him to VBS, so he would be comfortable in a new environment. We enjoyed our visit. The people were kind, friendly and welcoming. But, it was change and change is hard. We didn’t know anybody and we were leaving a place where we had made many lasting friendships. Soon after our visit, I received an email from the pastor. He asked us of our thoughts on VBS and our experience as visitors and he mentioned that he heard about my singing and leading worship and he wanted to visit with me about possible opportunities there. I remember receiving that email and trying not to get too excited. Could this be the answer? Could God be providing the place for me to use the gifts He has given me?

Saying yes now. Well the answer was “yes!” Soon after, I began leading worship at St. Andrew’s and now I have been there for 3 years and 4 months. My job has been an amazing gift to me and to my family. I work half-time and I really believe that has offered me the space and time to write music. The band has been a huge help. As God has given me a new song, I am able to present it to the band with a scratched out chord chart, sing along and viola! we have a beautiful new worship song. And, to be affirmed in the gifts God has given me, over and over again. I know God has given me the gift of worship, the gift of worship-writing and now is the time. I have this gift right now. So, I am not going to take it for granted. I am going to use it. I am going to lift my praises high and encourage you to do so. I’m going to work so very hard to make an album that is true, genuine, heartfelt, beautiful and a reflection of God in me. I am thankful for you, my first album backers. I ask that you continue to pray for me, for my family and to pray with us for God to continue to direct more backers to kickstarter to make this album for Him a reality.

How do I know this is God’s calling? I have been affirmed in the gifts God has given me, over and over again. I know God has given me the gift of worship, the gift of worship-writing and now is the time. I have this gift right now. So, I am not going to take it for granted. I am going to use it. I am going to lift my praises high and encourage you to do so. I’m going to work so very hard to make an album that is true, genuine, heartfelt, beautiful and a reflection of God in me. I am thankful for you, my first album backers. I ask that you continue to pray for me, for my family and to pray with us for God to continue to direct more backers to kickstarter to make this album for Him a reality. Please share my page with your friends. And, thank you for being a part of God’s calling in my life. I am grateful for you.Much love,

Rebekah

2 Corinthians 4:6 Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rebekahme/help-rebekah-maddux-el-hakam-make-her-debut-10-son