Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Are We Really With Each Other?

We've entered into an age of authenticity, that is to say, people are tired of the masks.  Our children are tired of seeing one person at home and an entirely different person at church, school, or wherever you may go. They want the truth, they want reality. The Facebook version isn't always real!

I do too. It's been a focus of mine for years. The truth, afterall does set us free.

I have a problem with the church body as a whole, so help me out here if I'm wrong.  But, it seem that overall the pulpit is preaching vulnerability and authenticity, yet placing a judgment on someone when they have the guts to actually be that way.  So, what's the point?

I can be real and upfront with you, but are you going to be with me?  Are you going to still walk with me and love me?  Are you going to have that same inner strength to tell me what it's like for you?  How it feels to be with me and how it feels to be with others or without them?  Or, will you just walk away?

Are we really with each other? Or, do we just tell ourselves we are?

 Sometimes I've walked away so that I could be with myself. There's value in setting boundaries.  Jesus was a great One for setting boundaries and for taking time for Himself. I love how He would go up to the hill to pray and to be alone with His Father. He needed to get away from all the people and care for Himself so He could then care for others.  He walked away, so He was able to walk with us deeply and genuinely. He says it all the time "I am with you!"

So, are we really with each other?  Or has the busyness, the judgments, the fears, the heartaches, and the endless lists of stuff kept us from being real with each other and showing our hearts?

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.

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