Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

The Important Things

We had a full and fun week of exploring. I have always loved Disney Land, and this week was fun for me because I spent two days there. As my kids and I, and my husband for one evening, toured around the "happiest place on earth" I watched people.  Lots of smiles and laughter, fun and games were all around.  Everyone was happy, families were enjoying each other, and being fully engaged with each other. I loved seeing the families that came dressed alike, Moms and dads in Micky shirts and kids that followed.  Families that walked the streets hand in hand, arm in arm.  Disneyland brings families together, and it is a happy place.  My kids love to go there and they are teenagers, they are already talking about bringing their little nephews and neices, and someday their own children, just like I have done with them.  As I listened to them talk the day we weaved our way through Disneyland, it came to me that we have built a family legacy of connection through this place, this happy place. And, it has been a wonderful gift given to our family. It's not the rides, although we have fun on those, or even the sights. It's the tradition of a connecting point. It's the stories we can tell each other about the rides, the characters, the fun times and people we were with. The memories we create every time we go. 

I continue to learn the value of legacy.  It's so important.  It might seem silly that I want to leave a legacy of fun times at Disneyland, but I do. When my children take their children I want them to tell stories like I do: "I rode this exact ride when I was your age, and your grandma rode it too, we would laugh and sing the entire time!"

When I am old, or older, and I am still going to Disneyland, I want to continue to learn about the importance of legacy. I want to carry that whereever I go and instill it into the hearts of my children and grandchildren, so they too will carry it forward.  Legacy is light; it touches lives everywhere, and isn't that what Jesus does?

So, what's important to you? 

 

The Best Things

 

 

The past couple of weeks I wrote about meeting up with long lost siblings and legacies gone astray. Today, I woke up having no clue what to write about.  Usually when this happens, and I begin to pray about it, God will pop a thought into my head and the words begin to flow.  This time, all I got was that "the best things" are always there, we just don't always see them under the wrapping. And, oh how true that is. I don't always see the best in everything, especially in difficult situations. Sometimes I do not take the time to pull back the wrapping and even look for the best, so I miss out on what's there. 

This last weekend, we went to the beach and I stopped in to grab a coffee. As I was waiting in line for my Americano, a gentleman asked me why I was happy.  I said I was happy because there was so much to be thankful for.  He then asked what there could possibly be to be thankful for, and I began to list all the wonderful things God had blessed both him and me with that very moment.  A beating heart, seeing eyes, hearing ears, coffee, etc.  He stood with his mouth open as if he hadn't expected someone to be so readily thankful!   As I left that coffee shop I was thankful for the encounter, it was the best thing for my heart. God brought me someone to encourage!   And, it strengthened me for the day to simply see the best things that we sometimes take for granted.

What are the best things in your life? Have you looked under the wrapping to really take a look? When things are difficult, are you still able to find the best things in life? 

When The Unexpected Happens

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent my childhood searching for my absent father. I was not successful in finding him, he had moved to another state, and there was just no way I had the means to contact him. God, on the other had knew where he was the entire time, and knew the aching pain and emptiness that was so deep within my heart because of this.  I desperately wanted to know about my father!  I, at least wanted to see him, or hear his voice, or at least decide for myself who he was.

I was engaged to be married at a very young age, 19 years old.  And, about one week before the wedding, my mother and I drove to my grandmothers house to pay her a visit.  Upon arriving, my grandmother was very hesitant to open her door, and her behaivor was so strange.  She did finally let us in, she had company. There was a man visiting.  He sat quietly in the lazyboy while we all talked to each other.  Both my mother and grandmother seemed uncomfortable, but the conversation went on about the wedding plans and life. Then, the man suddenly announced that he was going out and would be back later.  As soon as he went out the door my mother told me that he was my father.

I raced out of the house and intercepted my fathers path, preventing him from getting in his car. He couldn't look at me. I simply asked him if there was anything at all that he would like to say.  He said no. In my young mind I believed I knew that he was a frightened man, and I did not need to search any longer.

God showed me a man that was running from himself, not from me. And, in time, I was able to get to know the man that ran. Even though he left a legacy of pain and negativity in many lives, he also taught me a lot.  He taught me that it's not okay to run away from your children, or yourself.

Even when you don't expect them!

He taught me that loyalty to the people we love is of great value. I could not count on my father, not ever.  But, I want the people in my life to count on me, and I want to count on others.  This is who God is, and who He wants us to be.

 He taught me that love is present. I never heard my father tell me that he loved me. NEVER. 

And, he taught me that unexpected things happen all the time.  I'm not going to know what to do some of those times, but God always knows, He's always prepared. God has my back. God knew the moment I was conceived that my father would run. God also knew that I would discover my identity comes from my heavenly Father not my runner father!  

When the unexpected happens, keep going.

When the Past Comes Knocking

Everybody has a past, some like to talk about it, others don't. Some remember their past better than others.  For some of us, that past is a happy one, for the most part, parents that loved us, siblings that stood up for us, a home that felt safe and secure.  For others, it wasn't that way at all, we lived in homes with emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. We had parents that may have been addicted to drugs or alcohol. Our parents may have been divorced once, or many times. We may have experienced many losses of loved ones, and suffered through the pain of death and many sorrows at a very young age. We could have been seperated from our parents, our siblings, our homes.

I spent a good share of my childhood searching for my father. He and my mother married and divorced in a short period of time.  I never really knew him. But, I was determined to find him.  I was given opportunity to know his mother, my grandmother, and his sister, my aunt.  And, I would ask them all the time of his whereabouts.  But, to no avail, they would not tell me.  I searched phone books, I begged God, I schemed of ways to figure out where he could be, and then one day I found his son.

I was 16. I drove to the shop where his son worked and told him who I was. I asked if he knew where his father was. He did, but was not willing to tell me either. The search continued for years and I did finally find him.  I did get to know him a little  before he died, and it was healing to my heart.

Now, years later, that brother I confronted has contacted me, along with a sister. Stories of who my dad was has began to pour out of the past into the present, and the effects of how he impacted many lives is becoming very evident. Unfortunatley, his legacy was one of negativity rather than light and positivity. This grieves my heart for not just him, but for all the ones that were so deeply wounded by this man, the man I searched for so desperatly for so many years.

I thought that if I found this man I would know who I was. I would have an identity and a clear understanding of who I truly was meant to be in this world. I was so wrong.  I thought it would make my hard, broken life easier, and give me a way of escape.  In reality, God was shielding me from more pain. He was protecting me, and keeping me from having an even more painful past. I just couldn't see it at the time.

When the past comes knocking, thank God for the light He is showing you. Thank God for the truth He is revealing to you about that past, and the beautiful path He chose for you instead.  I'm going to do that today.  Let it be to me, Dear God, as it is according to Your Word!

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