Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Is Your Life Unmasked?




Most places require a mask for shopping, movies, church, etc. Wherever there is a crowd of people, and we are not able to remain a safe distance apart. Traveling has changed significantly as a mask is required on an airplane and in other countries as well. I understand this, and I wear a mask. A lot of people have struggled with how political mask wearing has become, I see that too. For me, I like to talk about what it all means for different people and how they are handling the situation.

Okay, so this post is NOT about the masks, ALA face coverings that many of us wear. This is about the masking of our hearts, our spirits and our souls. Some of us, wear a mask over our hearts from the very first time we felt deeply hurt, betrayed, or shamed. For others, we add one mask upon another due to childhood trauma, adult hardship, pain in relationships. The list goes on, right? There are a lot of reasons to hide our hearts behind a mask. Some of us have a lot of secrets…

The desire to live Unmasked has been with me for a long time. I want to be seen, loved, accepted and known; even when the path of getting there is not easy. Writing my book, I AM REAl/BE Unmasked has brought all of this and more to the forefront for me. When I talk with others, I see that they too desire to have a heart that is Unmasked, they too desire to live in a way that is real and free. Loved and accepted.

As I take steps in my life to be internally unmasked, I feel a freedom that is well worth the work. Everyone is different, the masks that you hide behind will not be the same as mine. And, some have more than others. When we experience fear of being seen, fear of man, the masks only become tighter around our spirits, making it difficult to move and breath. I’ve watched people in 2020 with their face coverings; it reminds me of that lost, empty, eerie feeling. Eyes pop out of our faces with an expression of fear and pain, questions of the unknown cover us in silence. This too, happens in a heart that is masked.

A few years back I decided to remove the mask of pleasing man. That meant, for me, I was going to stop living my life in a way that pleased man more than God. I decided to check every motive before moving forward on decisions, and if my motive was to please man over God, I would back away. I took off the mask. I’ve done this with several issues in my life, including the choice to write a book. Slowly, my life has become more Unmasked, enabling me to live life that is real and filled with joy.

Ask yourself today if you are living a life that needs to be unmasked. Is shame, lies, past pain, masking your heart and spirit that you cannot move forward? Pray to your Father about it all and ask him to Unmask you. 

Jesus wants to be unmasked in your life. He ended his book with Revelation, which means unveiled. What masks are you wearing that keeps you from seeing Jesus unveiled in your life? He will unmask you, so you can see!

BE Unmasked, spread the word! 

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Leaning Into Promise




"Yahweh says, 'Let the people return to me. Build! Build up the road, clear the way, and get ready! Remove every obstacle from their path.' For this is what the high and majestic One says, the one who fills the eternal realm with glory, whose name is Holy: ' I will dwell in high and holy places but also with the bruised and lowly in spirit, those who are humble and quick to repent. I dwell with them to revive the spirit of the humble, to revive the heart of those who are broken over their sin. You will not find me continually accusing them or holding anger against them, lest they feel defeated and lose heart before me. For I am the One who gave the breath of life to my people. It was their sin and greed that made me angry, so I struck them and hid my face from them. But, they continued in rebellion, following their own desires. Even though I've seen their ways, I will heal them. I will guide them forward and repay them with comfort, giving mourners the language of praise. I offer peace to those who are far from me, and I offer peace to those that are near, and I will heal their deepest wounds,' says Yahweh."

Isaiah 57:15-20

This year, 2020, many of us have become acutely aware of the unrest that rivals through out our entire country. In history we have certainly had times of unrest, but in my lifetime, 2020 has been the worst yet. I hear many people questioning the reality of God's words, His promises to us. I see political parites fighting and calling each other names, even within our own families. Fear continues to rear its ugly head as we approach an election that has many of us on edge. Both sides fear that the others nominee will be elected, both sides have reasons why it will be the end of everything precious! Both sides work hard to offer up compelling evidence in an effort to convince the other party. I find it all very interesting, and this year more than any other year I follow it all closely.

At the same time I am encouraged to lean into the promises of God, His words. For I believe that even though He was referrring to the people of Israel in the verse above, He also says these things to us today. His love for us is not limited to time, place, or people. He is calling all of us as a nation to return to him. He is urging us to build our lives in him, and to pray for every obstacle to be removed, and there are many obstacles right now. God is eternal, he inhabits eternity, and eternity is filled with his glory. Nothing will ever change that.

He sees far more than we do in the circumstances before us, he sees our sinful ways, yet still he is longing to dwell amoung us at an even deeper level. He is offering to revive hearts, minds, and spirits. We as a people accuse each other pointing our fingers and flinging unkindness, yet God does not accuse us. He sees the brokeness that causes our pain and fear. He sees no reason to leave us in a place of defeat, whatever the outcome. God is the One that gave us life imn the first place, His breath. Why do we waste it? Why do we allow this unrest, bitterness, violence, and hate towards each other to suck the breath of life right out of us?  Even with such outright rebellion, He is there to heal.

Join me in leaning on the promise of peace. Pray with me for our country, for the people. Give him your deepest wounds and watch what he will do. 

please comment below your prayers as we join together.



Don't Let Trouble Keep You From Love!


"We can only be defined by who God says we are."

So, we have a new puppy. Our nine year old "puppy" Oscar is adjusting, he has been the center of attention for awhile now. This puppy is for our daughter. This is a big deal, because the last time we got a puppy for one of our children, we convinced ourselves it would be the last time. Over 15 years (Whoa! where does time go?) ago we gave our son a little dog and named him Freddy. He was tiny, and so cute. The first night with Freddy was long, as he howled the entire night. Then, most days with Freddy were long as he refused to be potty trained. Not just that, but Freddy was full on trouble. He peed on the legs of guests, as well as their pillows.  He picked fights with the German Shephard down the road. He ran away, even through the electrical fence. Freddy did whatever Freddy wanted to do. We had him for a long time, and we did love him. But, as I said, due to Freddy's unbelievable behaivor, we told ourselves that buying a pet for our kids was a bad idea. 

Then our daughter began to ask for her own dog. We said no. She asked again, and again. We said no. But, as time progressed I felt a tenderness in her that needed to be shared. I saw a yearning in her to have something of her very own, and I related in many ways as I myself had my own dog as a child. I loved my dog soooo much, and I think he literally saved my life on more than one occasion. He was smart, well behaved, and sweet. A little different than Freddy! We've had a lot of dogs over the years, each different in peronality, all loved. None have been as full of trouble as Freddy! My point? We loved him anyway. He expanded our hearts in so many ways, and even with his sometimes deplorable actions, it wasn't enough to keep us from loving him. 

So, now we have our new puppy. I don't anticipate that he will be anything like Freddy, but, really who knows? I do anticipate a lot of love.  There's a lot of trouble that comes our way in this world. A lot of people that can sometimes be hard to love. Sometimes it is very easy to get distracted with a persons personality and believe that it is all that defines them. I don't think this is true. We can only be defined by who God says we are. When trouble walks around, seeing God's definition is our road to kindness.

Feels Good!

"It was a great book...."

The best part of my day was reading a text from my son. He had just finished reading my book, I Am Real/BE unmasked, and one of the things he said was this: "It was a great book"! While writing the book I was very aware of my children and how it might impact them. I spent a lot of time in protective mode. And, eventhough four of my children are adults, that feeling of wanting to keep them protected and safe never goes away. I want life to be good for them all the time. I wanted to be able to speak my truth without causing harm to them. So, when my son sent a text praising my book it felt so good I couldn't stop crying. It was amazing.

To add to the "feels good" moment, I read a prayer that someone left for me on FB. And, a very tender plug from another son; that was so touching. It was empowering, thoughtful, and kind. I read it over a couple of times and I felt a release of joy in my decision to write this book. My husband has been praying that there would be a special annointing on my book, and that too has carried me through. It all just feels so good. 

All of this brings me to my study of Isaiah 55 this morning.  "For you will leave your exile with joy and be led home wrapped in peace. The mountains and hills in front of you will burst into singing and the trees of the field will applaud! Cypress trees will flourish where there were only thorns and myrtle trees instead of nettles. There will stand as a testimony to Yahweh's renown, everlasting signs that will not be cut off."

Isaiah 55:12-13

These verses are a metaphor describing the return of God's people out of captivity. The very thing that once limited His people as a barrier, the mountains and hills, now celebrate with singing as God's people leave captivity and come into their full God-given purpose.  The thorns are a symbol of sin, and Jesus is the man like a tree, he replaces the briars and thorns of our flesh with the flourishing tree of life in us. (TPT)

I relate a lot to this. I know what it's like to feel as if I am in captivity. I've felt as if there are huge barriers around me that keep me trapped. I've also experienced the incredible miracle of those barriers turning into blessings, and being used in my life for freedom! Every day I experience the fullness of God's purpose a little more as I am wrapped in His peace and given room to grow!

 It feels good!

God wants us to experience freedom. He wants us to be full of praise for Him, and as I was crying from the praise of my son, I pictured God doing the same when I praise him for who He is! Tears of joy that are followed with peace and the continued everlasting knowledge that I will not be cut off from this immense love of God, not ever!

So, I'm thankful for the feel good moments, and even for the not so good, as I can see how God has led me on a path that certainly led to joy.

What's your feels good today?

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