Saturday, May 28, 2011

Encounters With God: Becky Memmelaar

I first met Becky when I arrived at Springfield Friends Meeting in October of 1986.  She was the daughter of my new boss and Senior Pastor, Max Rees, and she had two daughters in the children's ministry.  She was single at the time and wearing a sweatshirt that proclaimed "Marry me and fly free!"  Marilyn and I knew right away this was someone we would love, and we did.  Through our 8 years at Springfield, her marriage to Captain Ron and two more children, we shared a lot.  Her oldest children; Stacy and Jill, were a huge part of our student ministry at Springfield and we love them dearly.  Since that time, Becky went back to school and is now pastor of the First Friends (Quaker) Meeting of Whittier, CA.  She's the only one of my guest bloggers that I sought out, and I am honored to have her share her story with us today. 

When Carl asked me to write a blog about a time when God showed up in my life, I thought sure I can do that. As I was thinking about this question I realized that God shows up in numerous ways each day.  The difference is that most of the times it takes me being so down and out, scraping the bottom of the barrel kind of down to get me to recognize the powerful, amazing presence of our God. 

I was a flight attendant for 22 years.  My husband Ron is a pilot.  Together we’ve invested a great deal of time in the airline industry.  We’ve ridden the rollercoaster ride of highs and lows of successes that accompany, the glamour of flying. 

We were both home on 9/11.  It was our son Max’ 11 birthday.  We were sharing our coffee getting ready to buy cupcakes to take to his school, to celebrate the day our life had changed 11 years earlier.  When the planes began to fall from the sky that day and our life changed irreparably. It was as if we entered a different time warp, a new time continuum, or a worm-hole from Star Trek.  Ron had been a captain at an airline on 9/11.  On 9/12 he became a stay at home Dad.  I became the primary breadwinner for our family. As air travel returned so did I, but never with any surety that I’d kiss the faces of my sweet children again.  Perhaps that sounds melodramatic, but let me assure you it is an accurate description of how I felt.  I kept going, kept flying, but make no mistake I was not rejoicing in all things.

At the time I was an international flight attendant and I commuted from Greensboro, NC to Philadelphia, Pa.  It was my ritual to do my Bible study as I commuted.  One particular day, about a month into the whole post 9/11 drama I pulled out my Bible and my study and began to work.  It was a Beth Moore study, (while I don’t agree with Beth’s theology, she groups scripture and has a love and passion for God and scripture like no other). Anyway, this particular day was a study of how God spoke to us through clouds.  You know the whole Exodus story, of God speaking to us through the cloud. You know, the cloud moved from in front of the Israelites to lead them and then moved to the rear to guard their flanks.  I had always missed that God had changed position to guard their flanks.  This whole day's lesson had taken us through the Bible, through the times God spoke to us through clouds.  It hit me that during my cloudiest times is when I could hear God the most clearly, even though I like smooth sailing and sunny days best.   I was at that moment in one of the darkest, dreariest times of my life. I felt that quickening, that feeling when you know something is getting ready to happen and Beth hit me with 1 Thessalonians 4:17“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

I looked around recognized that we were flying through a cloud. I looked out every window I could see.  I wanted to laugh; I wanted to cry, because I recognized that God had totally surrounded me by a cloud and was speaking to me in that dark moment. I realized at that exact moment God met me in the air, was going ahead of me, was guarding my flanks, and was in fact surrounding me in a cloud.  I was alive and there was absolutely no place I could go outside of the incredible, powerful, amazing presence of our beloved God.

~Becky Memmelaar

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing, Becky. Now I'm headed to I-Tunes to see if they have the cleasic old David Gates song, "Clouds." I hope our paths cross again soon!


Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!