Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Goodness

When I awoke this morning, I went to my usual place to spend time with God and pray. I had a lot on my mind, but before I could pour out my heart to God, He had a few things to say to me first. We've been wrestling with the same issue for a long time, those of you that read my blog know, I get afraid. I tell you, I bring it to God, He tells me to give it to Him. Around and around we go.....
Don't be afraid, it's in the bible over and over again, 365 times, right? I continually remind myself of that. And, then, something comes up and I feel the fear. I don't always understand where it's coming from, or why I have it, it's just there.  And, I'm not even void of peace, if that makes sense. There's just a fear, that I know shouldn't be there, so back to God. As I sat in the stillness of the morning and listened to my God this morning He simply asked me "Why? " To be exact, it went like this: "You have not wanted, child, I have walked beside you and given you light. I have wrapped my Robe around you and put my boots on your feet, my hat and gloves on you,  why are you afraid?  I am Your Comfort,  Your Resolve,  I am here all the time for you to come to and I will love and accept you, so why, my dear child, are you afraid?  And, when you are with others, I am still with you. I am bound to you, Bethany, knitted to your heart, and breathing within you, just as you are deeply rooted within my heart. My blood is running through your veins, child, we are related. Why are you afraid?
I am your Armor. I am your safeguard. I am your protector. Look at your soul! What do you see? It is pure and safe, fragile and innocent, full of love, because I have been beside you all the way. I have protected the very core of you! I am here still, now, and always. I do as I say I will do. Do not be afraid!
It is resolved, at the cross. Your eternity, your soul's protection. You are mine and only mine. Captured and free to look at life without fear. I am Your Goodness. Go ahead, step into what you see as fear and fly!"
I read Romans 12 just after hearing this from God, and there's a little part in there that says this "The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."
Jesus, I know that You have done everything for me. You have brought me into light, into speech, into hope, and courage, and boldness, into YOU. And, you are telling me to stop going back to fear. You have brought so much goodness.
Say That Again.  Keep Saying it to me. Push me out of the nest, so I will fly even higher!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Upheaval

The woman took a peek back, and all she saw, for a brief moment was upheaval. She watched the mad dash of life, the destruction in her own life and in the lives of others, upheaval, over and over again.
The woman didn't like what she saw, but knew she really ought to look, because looking was learning. In all the looking she could see that there was a lot of growing and a lot of changing.
The upheaval was totally caused by fear. It was the root of it all. Fear, it's like mold, it made her sick. Fear, it's like the leak in the house, leak, leak, leak. It completely destroyed the woman and created a mask. Fear, its one of those things that simply took over, and years later, it still pokes through, in various places. Fear.
The women walks. She tries to talk. She wishes she could run. The mad dash is tempting, still.
The upheaval of emotion, churning, moving, tossing, leaking. The woman knows that life never stays the same from one day to the next. Hearts hurt. Memories flare. People come, and people go. There is only one thing to be counted on, and that is God.
The woman is every woman. We reach out to each other and hold on. We grasp every moment we can with each other and laugh, cry, sing, pray, dance, and remind each other that we are loved. Step away from the mad dash, breathe through the upheaval, tell someone about the fear. Be a friend.
Jesus, I am the woman you talked to at the well, the woman that touched your robe, the woman that washed your feet, and the woman they brought to you to be condemned.  All of them in a moment of upheaval, all of them in fear, all of them full of emotion.  Jesus, you resolved it all.  Say That Again, You resolved it all

The Heartache

I find that as I grow older, my older friends are becoming frail. I have two friends in their 80's, they have been in my life since my teens, and they are now both growing very frail. Yesterday, I received a call that one of them has suffered a massive heart attack. She is now in the hospital, asleep, and no one knows if she will recover. Her sister, my dearest friend, is so sad. She loves Jesus very much and trusts that whatever happens is best, but still her heart is hurting. She knows, just as I know that there is eternity, but for this moment the pain is here and the ache is deep. The memories of all the times we have happily spent together, all the years now gone by, a life well lived. She is frail now, she is laying in a bed unable to keep herself alive, dependent on doctors.  Others are just waiting to see what the next day might bring.
I am eager for the day when there is no more sickness. I am eager to be in a place when there is no more death. I am eager for a place when our bodies no longer become frail and ill. I do not like watching my friends grow old and seeing them become helpless, I do not like growing old myself. It is a painful, vulnerable place to be. And, it happens to most everyone. If I do not die young, I will die old. My body will become frail, and I too will need someone to watch out for me. The younger people in my life will need compassion, love and support around them, people to hold them and listen to them. For when I am frail, they will need someone strong.
Jesus, You are the healer, You are compassion. Take me and use me in these situations to be who you are. Until You come, Jesus. Say That Again, use me to be who You are!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Ten Year Old

Today is my son's birthday. He is ten years old! He is our youngest son and for both my husband and I it is hard to believe that he is ten years old already.
He was born on my husbands birthday.  On the day of his birth we decorated the room with a banner that said "happy birthday" and we had cake. Friends and family were there, balloons added to the festivities. It was a joyous day.
Our three older sons were somewhat fascinated with the little creature that was their new brother, and each one of them picked a name for him. Each one of them has loved him deeply and richly and influenced him in very impacting ways.
We celebrated his birthday, along with my husband's birthday yesterday.  Everyone in the family came together to show them love. We laughed. We played games. We ate. My son spent time with his brothers.
I praise God that He has given my son such a rich blessing of influence and love. My ten year old is growing so fast. Ten more years, and he will be like my other adult sons, all grown up. But, for now, he still likes to wrestle with me, tickle his sister, cuddle and sit on my lap. He loves to play with his friends, and ride his bike and skateboard. He likes to spike his hair, and he complains about taking a shower.
God has put him in my life for relationship and for love.  It is an amazing gift. As challenging as he is on some days, he is the best gift ever! And, this is something I am learning about relationships, as challenging as they are, they are this amazing gift. Nothing should get in the way.
My relationship with God is first and the more I nurture that, the stronger I will be. He will make me a strong branch, the bridge for others, fruitful and loving. Then, the relationships I have with others, even with the challenges, will be loving, fulfilling and my priority. This is my desire, because this is the way Jesus walked on earth. He lived for God and for others.
As I watch my son live, I have realized that it is the way he lives. His life revolves around relationship. He is learning about God, and everything else in his life is about his family and his friends. That is where his value lies.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, build me up to be in relationship Your way. To see Your way, walk Your way, talk Your way. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Son

Yesterday I had a very lazy day, I mean soooo lazy.  I stayed in my bed and read, and watched  a movie on my computer, and did some writing.  I ate my lunch in bed. I snuggled with my children in bed, and my husband, and of course my dog. And, I took naps, and had coffee. I only got up to let the dogs outside and feed my children. Then, I went back to bed. Finally, by 4:00, I made my way to the dresser to get on my jeans and prepare for the day :)
In our town, on the day after Thanksgiving we watch fireworks and a tree lighting. So, that was our evening activity. The air was crisp, the mood was jolly, the feeling was full of anticipation for the season of Christmas.
We sang Christmas Carols, and I thought of that night, the night Jesus was born. The gift of The Son of God. It is far more than my mind can even comprehend. I am blessed with four sons, all of them so special, and so dear to my heart. Our first born has always been so loyal, respectful, someone I have been able to count on, he is smart, handsome, funny, the list goes on....Our second born has all the same qualities, loyal, respectful, someone I can count on, smart, handsome, funny, the list goes on. Our third son has the same list, he is loyal, respectful, his family relies on him, he is handsome, funny, etc, etc.  We don't see him as often and last night when I wrapped my arms around him I didn't want to let go. He felt like warmth and home. I ruffled his hair, like he was my little boy again, and remembered reading books to him. He is in my heart, I keep him there, forever.  And, I know that there is not a single person on this earth that can take him away from my heart!
This is how it is for me and God.  I am Captured in His Hands, living in His heart, forever.  And, no one, nothing, can ever do anything about that! I cannot be snatched away from Him. The Enemy may try.  People may try. But He is holding on to me.. Just as I am holding onto my own son, he may walk away due to life circumstances and the people in his life, but that doesn't take him out of my heart!
What a joy this brings to me! And, even more so, I know that Jesus will snatch him up as well. Jesus will bring my son into his heart forever and there will be eternal reconciliation. This is His promise to me.  Nothing and no one can prevent this from happening. And, so as my arms continue to wrap my son, and the arms of Jesus wrap me, I will hear Jesus Say That Again to me: I am the gift of life, Bethany, you cannot be snatched away, nor can your son!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Bridge

As I was driving to see a friend last week  I was talking to God about relationships and connections and He said to me that I was a bridge. He told me that He was using me to be a connection for many women to build relationships with each other, and to be a bridge between them. And, from that bridge there was fruit. He gave me a mental picture of women coming to our ministry, connecting with other women through me by the grace of Jesus, and building relationship, growing in love, trust, hope and strength of His Spirit, and then connecting with even more women. Building their own bridges.
Sometimes, I forget about being a bridge. I become a draw bridge, and women can't cross.  I let fear or my own issues get in the way. Sometimes, I simply forget that God is going to take care of me in His wondrous way, I do not have faith. I draw the bridge, and run away.
But, this morning as I was praying, God simply said to me again, "Bethany, I am here always. I have never left you. I will never leave you. Child, my love for you cannot be measured. It does not have boundaries. I am your home, Bethany, your safety, your place to rest. Be my Bridge."
People walk on bridges. Bridges are stretched out, laid out, and used for the connection of one place to another. They are needed. They have purpose. Be My Bridge.  He continually stretches me to speak, connect, move, seek, run to Him. He asks me to believe, have faith, love, obey, get up and listen!
It's another day with Jesus, and I'm asking Him to SAY THAT AGAIN!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Happy Thanksgiving

I have a lot to be thankful  for  this Thanksgiving.  I am so richly blessed with my God who has saved and redeemed me, He has given me breath and life. He has given me this very day that was filled with laughter, friendship, family, peace, joy, love, hope, and His Spirit. This day was a day of Thanksgiving.
We missed one of our sons today, our third son. He did not join us for Thanksgiving. It's okay. My heart misses him, but I am at peace with the choices he has made. I know God is working in his life, and it won't always be like it is now.
We did see all our other children, and it was a delight to my heart. I am thankful every time I see them and I feel blessed that God has given them to me. As a mother, I know that I am blessed to see my sons, and to have daughter in-laws that come to my home. We made Thanksgiving dinner together, and it was fun.
Friends came to our home for the day as well, and this was a blessing to my heart. They also joined in with the festivities of dinner making and laughing and conversation. My heart is full of Thanksgiving for loyal friends and family who love me and care to share their day with me! This brings me joy, and shows me the love of Jesus.
I want to reflect this to others in my life. Through Jesus, I want to be a blessing, a testament of who He is and what He does. Through Jesus, I want to shine and produce a spirit of thanksgiving and joy.  Through Jesus, I want to be a bridge for others to build relationships with each other.  Jesus, Say That Again to me, use me, send me, take me into Your spirit of Thanksgiving everyday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Unlikely Story

As I reflected over my year today, and praised God for all that He has done, I also realized yet again that He has brought me to an unlikely story. The circumstances, the people, the miracles, are all unlikely and can only be explained by God. When I tell my story and someone asks me how it all came about, I can only say "God".  It's true, from a world's point of view "it's an unlikely story."
I cannot explain all that He has done, or all that He asks me to do.  I just know that I will obey. I know that there are times that I look at my situation and think it's unlikely to work out for good, and find that I am wrong. For God has promised that all things will work out for my good, because I serve Him and love Him. I have found that the unlikely circumstances do not determine my future.  The unlikely relationships do not determine love or depth. The unlikely path does not determine joy. God is in control, and He determines it all.
I just need to obey Him. Often, it doesn't make sense!
Jesus, I'm an unlikely story, many of us are. Your love for me is an unlikely story. Say That Again to me, You have loved me so fully and given me an unlikely story to share with others, thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Trust

I have discovered that while working on relationships this past year I am pretty slow to build trust, especially after I feel like trust has been broken. I take such small steps, and then I kick myself for not leaping and being more of a risk taker. If only I could just heal my heart right away, and make everything all better. But it never works that way.  I take a few steps forward, then a couple steps back.  As I have prayed everyday for God to continue to reveal His truth to me and to heal wounds in my heart and in relationships, He has shown me the areas that are most hurtful, and He challenges me to have a voice in bringing up that pain in my relationships.  That requires an element of trust.
I had lunch with a friend yesterday and we have been working so hard on our friendship, we both admit that it has been challenging and that trust has been difficult and that we have felt wounded.  We also both know that Jesus wants us to stay in relationship and learn to love and trust. I want Jesus to just make me trust, but He doesn't seem to work that way, He instead makes me work for it. I have to go through the movements of figuring out why I'm not trusting first and what will help me trust better and then I have to voice it.  Oh, how it challenges me with this friend because I get afraid that she will not stick to her end of the deal! It's silly, I know. My brain tells me it's silly, but my heart  thinks otherwise, and so I have to plead with God to fight for me and give me a new way to cope, His way. Not my old ways.
He wants me to risk for love and friendship, I want to run.  I want the comfort of my safe friends, He wants me to risk for others.  I want the comfort of acceptance, He wants me to step out and walk like He does. Sometimes, I want to just be quiet and wait for it to feel safe, He wants me to speak for Him, take the risk, obey Him now.
Trust, trust, trust, this is what He is saying to me and I am stepping forward today.  No, it is not easy for me at all.  I'm crying about it actually, asking my friends to help me in many ways----HELP!!! I need help! I will keep stepping though because My Jesus has told me to, and I will obey.
Say That Again, Jesus, you have asked me to trust You, and to move forward in relationship to a deeper level and to trust.  Okay.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Longing

I visited my old familiar church today, they had a guest speaker there and both my husband and I wanted to hear him speak. We've read his book, my husband has heard him speak before, and so we made the trek back to our familiar home to listen to a word from him. It was good. I haven't been there in awhile without feeling some kind of anxiety, but this time, God spared me of all of that, and it was good. I was at ease with the place and my focus on God was good, and it was nice to see so many old friends and catch up on how everyone was doing.
The speaker talked a lot about how we as a Body need to love. The beauty of love for God and the beauty of love for each other. I think we, and I think I, miss the mark way too often. I do not love as God loves, and sometimes I do not feel loved. There is a longing in me and in each of us as God's children to be loved. There is a longing in me to reach out as He does to others and to know how to be His hands and feet and to know how to love as deeply as He does. There is a longing to be the Acts church.
To be, to give, I must continue to surrender all that I am. I must continue to go back and persevere, even to places that I find difficult and painful. This is what I learned in the foyer this morning, relationships will hurt me and they will trigger me. And, sometimes I will need to take a break from some of them to catch my breath, but God's love will ask me to go back and persevere and rebuild in some way. He will ask me to love and not run.  Even if it means just loving in the foyer for a little while in my old church building.
The longing is from the Spirit and I hope it never leaves, He is deeply rooted and He is speaking to me. He is prompting me to move deeper in relationship and to love even when I don't want to. Even if I feel fear or I am leery of trusting. It is Jesus that I need to trust and focus on, Jesus that I will fear and obey. It is Jesus that will walk beside me and guide me through the course,  and only then will love prevail.
I want to live in a radical way for my Jesus everyday. I want the longing I have in my heart to push me over the edge for Him. I want the longing to push me into relationship and love for others, and away from self. This is my prayer and my stand. Who stands with me?
Jesus, Say That Again! You want me to walk a radical path on earth, You want me to love in an amazing way, and You want a longing in my heart for others that endures forever! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Light

My phone has an app on it called flash cards. On the flash cards, I can put whatever I want on them, so I've been putting bible versus on them. I've been looking up all the versus about Light today, starting in the book of John. The first verse I keyed in was in John 1:4,5 "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."  Then, I moved on to John 3: 19-21 'This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
I think it may take me awhile to get all the versus in my flash cards on LIGHT. But, these two versus  are a good start, because they make it pretty clear. If I do not choose Light,  which is life and Christ, then I will walk in darkness. I will be fearful of being exposed and I will stumble around in darkness. I will actually hate the Light!  But, if I practice living IN truth, that is speaking truth, believing truth, learning truth, knowing truth, I will come to the Light, and my deeds will be manifested as if they were shaped by God!
I continue to ask God to reveal His light and His truth to me. To shine His Light brightly so there will be no darkness at all in any place. He is Light, He is Life, and He does expose all things. He is the revealer,  the transformer, the renewer, the redeemer.
Jesus, Say that Again to me everyday. Shine Your Light on me and through me, use me to further Your Kingdom and Your Light today!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Belonging

In my devotional this morning I read about how we all want to belong. We all need that sense of security and safety, and the way to achieve that is to know that we belong to God, but also to know that we belong to each other. If we do not have each other to go to in times of joy and sorrow, to know that we belong to someone, then we have a sense of being empty and lost. We are disjointed, a puzzle that is not yet put together, the body that does not work in unity. God established human community, it is not good to be alone.
I belong to my God, and I belong to my husband, my children, my friends. I feel like I am a part of many communities of people, and I belong. I am not lonely or set apart. God has blessed me in that way. But, it hasn't always been that way; it has been a lot of work to feel like I belong.
God has challenged me to be intimate in my relationships, to be open and transparent. He has asked me to share my life with others, and to share Him with others.  He asked me to give away my secrets. To step out of my box and into the box of others and see their worlds, without judgments.  He has asked me to stay in lives and love others.
Because of this, I belong to Him. I need prayer because sometimes I fail. My life is messy. And, I don't always meet the challenge in a graceful way. God is Love and He captures me in His Hands and whispers to me to keep on trying His way. Love His way. Go back to His people and listen His way. Just as He does with me, His way.
Jesus, say that again to me, You have never given up on me. I belong to you forever, and You love me. You walk beside me, always. The Belonging, we are His, now and forever!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Mask Breaker

As I look back over my life, the many years of wearing various masks, it brings up different memories from periods of times in my life. I think we all wear masks at times, its a protection. And, at some point, some of us get brave and take the masks off, all the way or maybe a little. But, I want the masks to be broken, so I can never pick them back up. Jesus is my Mask Breaker and He has already broken many of my Masks.
I'm finding that Masks come in so many sizes and disguises. They can also be deceiving. I have been praying for God to reveal truth to me, truth about myself and the world I live in. He has been removing masks for me that I didn't see before. He has been asking me to do things that I didn't think I would ever do, or didn't ever want to do! He has been removing masks that I hadn't seen.
I've asked God to break my mask of fear. I am afraid of seeking counseling from a therapist. When I think of doing that, I run the other direction using as many excuses as I can think of. It's not that I won't go talk to someone, I just can't commit to a steady plan. I put the mask on of "once in awhile will do" and off I go. But, the truth is, I was once severely wounded by a therapist, and the only way I will recover from that experience is to go back to a caring therapist and be safe. I have to let Jesus take off the mask, break it, and heal my heart. This is not going to be easy for me, truth be told, I'm scared out of my wits!
Give me some kind of mask to put on so I can hide my fear, please.....the funny mask, the sarcasm mask, the irritated mask, there's got to be something left.  I've worn them all, and I've handed them all to God and asked Him to break them all.  But, I'm pretty crafty, I've made new ones too.
So, today, I am asking Jesus to just break the masks that I try to wear. Keep my eyes on Him, focused. I am alive, complete, full IN Him. I love Him, and He has brought me to this place. He will continue to reveal truth and capture me In His Hands!
Jesus Say That Again, You are the Mask Breaker, and I am giving You permission to break all my Masks!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Delight

We woke to snow yesterday, it was just a dusting, but everything was white. My son was full of delight!  He could hardly wait to get outside and play in the snow so he put on his new snow pants, his coat, gloves, hat, and boots and off he went at 6:30 in the morning! I watched him out our bedroom window as he slid down our hill, kicked some snow, and gathered a pile off our mailbox. He seemed to be in snow heaven. He stayed outside for over 30 minutes enjoying the little bit that was there, using it all up I'm sure he was wishing for more, dreaming of the next snowfall.
To me, my delight was watching him. His excitement of a new season, his childlike joy.  His ability of play alone outside and be happy about God's gift. His anticipation for more, the long winter ahead with more sledding, skiing, snowmen, forts, and Christmas. To me, watching him was a gift.
Jesus has given me so many gifts. And, He also looks at me with delight, because I am his child. He blesses, keeps, loves, and nurtures me.  He holds me together, wraps me in his love.  Through all the years, all the stuff He has knit me together, and brought me along on an awesome journey.  What a delight it must be for Him!
I know for me when I think of the journey I have traveled with God I am humbled at His throne. It so totally amazes me that God, our big holy God, has taken the time to delight in me! He has taken the time to care for me, love me, put me together, and love me on a daily basis---walk with me! That is really big.
So, I can delight IN Him today. I can focus on Him. My Jesus, He is the source of all.
Say That Again, Jesus, you are my delight.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Mad Dash

So, in the rush of life, and the horror of life, and the joy of life, the woman made a mad dash.  It was a mad dash away from life. Away from the fears of being seen, the fears of shame, the fears of rejection, the fears of judgment. It was a mad dash within herself, she became speechless.
And not only did she become speechless, but within the maze that she had created, she became invisible. It was the perfect place to hide. She had created her own safety. She did not need people. She did not need God!
The mad dash pushed her to the brink of death, emotional death. The mad dash pushed her to the edge of suicide, because when the woman believed she didn't need people or believed she didn't need God, she lived in darkness, and darkness is death. Light and darkness can not mix. She had made the mad dash to darkness and fear, speechless and invisible, lost in a maze.
This is all a recap of the stories you have heard,  and I'm asking my readers, how many of you are wanting to make a mad dash?  How many of you make a mad dash for the TV, or for food? How many of you make a mad dash for work, or for alcohol or drugs? How many of you make a mad dash for gossip, judgments, bitterness, or resentments?
How many hide behind the walls of sarcasm, jokes, lighthearted chatter, texting, or lies? I know I have. Why do I hold relationships at arms length, then cry to God that I am lonely? Why am I fearful of rejection, yet will not let someone inside my heart? These are all questions I have had to ask myself and answer, and then take the steps toward true relationship and friendship.
I've had to take the mad dash towards people and God, and it is scary. God has promised that He will come up behind me and wrap me in His robe. He will safe guard me and never leave me, He will gently prod me along as I walk along His path, this mad dash towards HIS light. It is not easy for me at all.
So, I hear Him. His promise is that He will never leave me nor forsake me, even in the mad dash.
Say That Again, dear Jesus, you are with me always, through it all, even in the mad dash of my life.

"Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light, and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is." John 3:21

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Real Stuff

My kids have good days and bad days, but everyday I have noticed that they are pretty real with each other. They don't play a lot of games, as in "I'm fine" kind of games. They tell it like it is. My daughter is especially good at this, as she can yell at the top of her lungs her passionate thoughts and feelings. As soon as she wakes in the morning she bursts through our bedroom door and she lets us know how she feels. It is usually good or bad. She never hesitates to let her brother know that she feels sad, rejected, angry, happy, joyful, playful, etc...Our son, is good at expressing his feelings by teasing. He will tickle, poke, prod. He will fart, burp, and make all kinds of strange noises. He loves to wrestle, punch, wrestle some more, cuddle, wrestle, tease, and to him, this is LOVE. Occasionally, he will break out in loud song, usually when his sister is sleeping, or make music on the walls.
The big problem occurs when they make each other their punching bags. Or their outlet for name calling, or music making, or strange noises, or too much teasing. Then, it becomes a challenging, not so fun day.
But, always, I seem to know how they feel about each other. They just don't keep that a secret, and that is pretty nice.
I sat with a group of people last night and noticed that as a group we have become like my children. We all pretty much know how we feel about each other. We are vulnerable with each other, open, honest, real. We have learned to get down to the real stuff. And, sometimes, we've even been each others punching bags. The good thing, it's been worked through. We've learned to stand by each other, through some really rough spots, stay even when others haven't, admitted our faults and our pains, our sins.
I praise God that He has blessed me with real stuff people. I sure do like that. The kind of people I can count on when life sucks. The kind that check up on me when I don't feel well, or the kind that help when things are tough. I praise God that I can tell them about my faults and my victories and know they will hear. The Real Stuff is deep stuff and it is good, because God is good. He binds us together for the good and for the tough.
Say That to me Again, Jesus, you have put people in my life to hear The Real Stuff. To surround me, love me, and to give me opportunity to do the same for them. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Maze

There was a maze. It had several rooms. It had several hallways. It had several floors. It was big. It was confusing. It provided rooms for special events.It provided safety. It was a great escape, a hiding place from the real world. It was a place to run.
The Maze had walls. The Maze had bolts. The Maze had doors. The Maze had lots and lots of people.
The Maze was created by the woman and managed well inside her head. It made her crazy. At least that is how other people viewed her. Crazy.
But, it was the maze that kept her alive. It was the maze that fractured her. It was the maze that made her work, and the maze that broke her.
She didn't know God had blessed her with a creative mind. He gave her the ability to cope in unusual ways, to survive, to live in a world that was very different, until He could soften her heart and rescue her. It would take time. She was afraid. She did not trust. It was not safe.
She drew the maze and gave it to a friend for safe keeping. Then God healed her mind, her mind was the maze. He took the woman and touched her, she touched Him. Just like the woman who touched His robe and was healed from her bleeding. This woman's brain stopped bleeding. The Maze isn't there anymore, but it is remembered in some ways, and the woman trembles at the memories.  All the women, with Mazes, tremble at the memories. All the women with Mazes are reaching for His Robe, none of them are crazy!
Jesus, Say That Again, to me Your Woman. Me, Bethany, I was the woman with the Maze and I need to hear from you how much you want me to love others. I need You to tell me to reach out to others in tenderness and compassion, and never let go. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Little House

There was a big church with a lot of godly people. It was a nice church. The people sang songs every week and they prayed to God every week. They talked in the foyer every week. It was a mighty fine church.
There was a woman that came to the church that had a gift. She knew she had a gift because God told her it was her gift, and she knew when God was speaking to her. He was pretty clear to her.
A lot of the people in the church did not think that God actually spoke audibly to anybody, so it seemed a little weird to them that the woman was saying that God spoke to her. Oh well , some people are weird.
The woman stepped out and offered her gift, but the leaders in the church didn't see the gift as fitting in their box, so they pushed it away.  It was a gift that was not wrapped properly. They didn't really want it, they thought she should keep it for herself. It wasn't time for her to share her gift.
She felt a little sad that godly people were so harsh and could not hear the same spirit. But, God calmed her and gently whispered to move on. She turned and walked away. The woman knew that God would not waste the gift that He had established. So, she opened the doors to the little house in another town and asked women to join her.
Broken women came, and they learned. But, it didn't happen easily. The church might have been happy and used the little house, but instead they chose not to. And the woman was sad.  And, the enemy divided, even in the family.  And, the battle raged. But, God made a promise to the woman that He would expand the territory of the little house, and so He has.  And, God sees victory again and again.
And, the story continues with the little house that sits downtown waiting to shine more and more. It has been given to God to shine for His glory. It is used, and used, and used. Supported by one business, used by many, scorned by some.  A place of healing, God's light, a place to be fed spiritually, physically, emotionally. The little house of memories.
It continues to give, give, and give some more. And, the woman prays. All the women pray. And, the church doesn't see the gift of the little house,  it's torn, it's open, it's raw. It reminds me a lot of the gift that is not accepted in its own town, yet has so much to offer.
Jesus, Say That Again, Keep my heart open to all your gifts, don't let me reject them. I want to see through your eyes, hear through your ears, speak through your mouth. I want to see in the little house, and in the church and bring unity, Jesus, use me, send me, minister through me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Summer Visits

I had no idea what to write about this morning. That is unusual for me. Normally, I sit down, and five minutes later I have a post all down. But, yesterday it was the same way, nothing. And, I didn't bother to ask God because I didn't want to know what He would tell me. Today, I asked Him and He brought to my mind to write about my summer visits to my grandmothers house.  When that come to mind it was a mixture of good smells and smiles, but also I thought of her telling me of seances, spirit guides, and palm readers. She was not a Christian, and had no desire to know Jesus.
I loved my Grandmother. I loved that she fed me meat sandwiches even though I was a vegetarian. I love that she put coffee in my milk,  and sugar on my buttered bread.  I love that her purse smelled like juicy fruit gum.  I love that she held my on her lap. And, I love that when I drew on her wall with her lip stick she kept it there til the day she died! I love that my grandmother adored me.  She canned fruits and vegetables all summer long and baked treats in her kitchen.  She loved to watch game shows like the Price is Right. And, she wished that my mom would marry someone like Perry Mason.
She gave me my Christmas presents early, then went out and bought me more. She always woke up early on Christmas morning and loved to see me all the time. She always had pizza and cold cereal and milk. She never told me that I couldn't eat. She didn't say no!
My summer visits saved me. They were a relief for me. My grandmother was a godsend. I don't know where her heart was when she died, she was unable to speak on her death bed. God knows. Her heart towards me was very kind and loving.
Jesus, thank you for giving me this blessing through my grandmother. Allow me to bless others in this way.
Jesus Say That Again, summer visits impact the lives of others.  I drew on her wall and she kept it for years. She fed me when I was hungry, and she held me. She loved me. You worked Your love through my grandmother!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Stupid Little Dog

Our naughty little dog is now our stupid little dog. He is cuddled up beside me as I write this, for he has no idea that I feel this way towards him. And, I do not intend to let him know. He follows me everywhere, as I've mentioned before, and I know that someday, when he is no longer with us, I will probably miss him.  But, I will not miss the stupid things he does.
This evening my husband and I were sitting in the family room, just enjoying a quiet evening and the little dog decided that he would make a bed out of the blanket that had fallen to the floor. He worked diligently for a long time on this project and I watched him. Then, he walked away from his worked, perched his leg and peed on his bed. Stupid little dog!
He knew right away, when I yelled his name, that this was not an approved behavior, and he ran to the door. But, of course the blanket was drenched in stupid little dog by then.  He stood outside the door peering in as if he had been banished for no good reason.
Now, since he peed on the bed he made for himself, he thinks he needs to sleep on my blanket as close to me as he can get. After all, he thinks he is a sweet little dog. I have friends that have been totally conned by him, they think he is sweet too, they have not met the naughty, stupid dog!
So, once again, I am reminded by my dog, that it is not behavior that brings God's favor upon me. He loves me because He is God and He wants to be in relationship with me. He wants me to sit close to him, even after I've done something horrible. He wants me to follow Him around everywhere He goes, all the time, and listen to Him.
Jesus, Say That Again to me. You love me. You accept me. And, I don't deserve it.

The Awakening

As I was writing in my journal this morning and reading my bible, God spoke again to my heart and told me to go to the House of Prayer, and to go "now". I've learned that it's best to get up and do what God says when He says it, rather than do it later, so I put my stuff aside and left my house. I headed North to a place called The House of Prayer. As I entered, there were two gentlemen there at the front desk, both of which I introduced myself to.
Our conversation was quick to move to how God was going to bring an Awakening to the land, to our community. And, I did not hesitate to admit that God had put this on my heart. The man that started House of Prayer was there and he was eager to talk about revival, as was I, because I know in my heart that God is going to bring a revival. It is going to be like a hot fire upon our land, in our community and many people will be filled with the Spirit of God. Truth will be on their hearts and in their minds, and I know God will be like a wild wind going through out the land, swirling around us, yet stilling our hearts so we can hear His small calm voice. He has said it, so it will be true.
He said it to the man at the House of Prayer too, and I bet He has said it to others as well. There will be an Awakening, He is all about reviving the hearts of those that sleep.
The sick will be healed, the dead will rise, those that can't see Him now, will see Him. I think that sometimes I don't give God nearly the credit He deserves because I can't even imagine what a revival could be, It will be bigger than I know. God is big. It will be bigger than Elijah knew. Bigger than the disciples knew. Bigger than anyone before me has known, because that is how God works.
And, because His love is crazy for me and for all of us and He wants to save us.
There was a time that I couldn't speak, because it was too scary, and He revived me.
There was a time that I couldn't think a solid thought, and He put my brain back together, He revived me.
There was a time that I couldn't be alone without being tormented, He gave me peace, He revived me.
There was a time that I wished I were dead, He revived me.
Now, because He lives, He washes over me with His blood and revives me everyday. He talks to me and promises me that there is more to come. And, I've seen it happen just as He says, so I believe it. Get ready people, revival is coming!
Say That Again, Jesus, You will Awaken your people with a revival in the land!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Time line

I've been working on a time line for my life, so far there's not that much that I remember. As I've been going, I've been asking God to bring back the memories that He wants on my Time line.
Last night as my husband and I were discussing the time line, we thought about our children and what the time line of their life will look like when they grow up.  Will our son look back and not remember his days of basketball, or the fun summers with his friends? Will our daughter forget when she had her ears pierced or our trips to the beach?
Will they be able to look back at the time line of their lives and see where God has kept them and walked with them along the way? How will they see the rest of us in the family? Everyone has different perceptions, different feelings, different ideas....
This morning as I was reading in Romans 4 about Abraham and his time line of faith in God, there was a one-liner that I grabbed onto: "it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God!"
I think that much of my time line entails me trying to do something for God, or even worse, ignoring God altogether.  Yet, as I look at it, I can see that He was still embracing me, God was embracing me until I was ready and capable to embrace Him. And now, I'm captured in His hands, embracing His freedom!
I only made it to age 21 on my time line, I have a long ways to go. This morning I thought about my future time line and the promises that God has made to me about that.  It entails a walk with Him, embracing Him and knowing that He has a calling and a plan. It's wrapping up the past time line, so it can be used to help others in the future, it's a long process, I've discovered.
Say That Again, Jesus, You are my time line, because you make me who I am and You are my focus and You bring me my resolve. I will look to you for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The God I Serve

I like to write on my walls. It's fun, and it reminds me of important things, like versus that I like, or special quotes. Today I was writing some words on my wall about who God is just as a friend sent me the same word about God being a God of reconciliation in her life!
God is:
God is:
God is:
God is:
The Beginning and The End
He is the in Between
God is the One that holds me together, the one that put all the pieces back.
God is the one that takes the broken hearted and makes us complete IN Him!
God is God, He gives us Kingdom on earth and Light in darkness. God is the way, the truth, the path, the doorway. He is always open, never closed, always with me, my safe guard, my provider.
He Loves Me, God IS, He always IS, He just IS.
Say that again God , You the I AM the One that IS will stand forever. You are GOD.