The Spirit of Silence

Do you hear that?

Me neither.

Just silence.

False silence.

Because the silence…

It isn’t really there.

It’s actually LOUD.

It’s the secret you’ve been hiding

The pain that you’ve been feeling

The words you want to say

But remain unsaid.

That

Is the spirit of silence you’re clinging to

and

it

hurts.

The secret things

The hidden things

The words that aren’t being said

They hurt.

There is a need.

A need to beat the cultural norm that says SECRETS SAVE PEOPLE

Because they don’t.

In reality they suffocate.

And in the moments when you feel

As if you are drowning

I desire for you the chance

To turn your face in to the wind

Bringing a change of view

And the chance to remember

That you

were made

to breathe.

Today is the start of National Suicide Prevention Week. To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) has a goal of raising $75,000, all of which will go to treatment and recovery. If you would like to find out how you can be involved go here. The theme for this year’s campaign is “We’ll See You Tomorrow” because we each have a vital role to play in this thing called life. I started writing spoken word last March. In that season, I felt like the Lord was calling me to be a voice for the voiceless, to tell stories that go untold. I love people and I love their stories. If you or someone you know has or is struggling with mental illness I wold love to know your story. But more importantly, know that you are valued. You weren’t put here by chance but for a purpose. And I want to see you tomorrow.

So here is to seeing you tomorrow. And the next day.  And the next day. And the day after that.

B

TWLOHA

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Do You Ever Dream

Do you ever dream that people in pictures would come to life in your very presence? That words written would be words spoken in truth, not meant to mask the mysteries of things unseen. Do you ever dream of her smile fading, giving way to honest answers of “How are you, really?” That you would be the one she confides in, instead of confiding in herself giving way to the haunted things. Dreams become realities when actions are taken.

This is my action in love, a declaration to your heart my sweet friend. This day was made for you. Live it, as deeply as you can.

A Story Teller

I was born into a family of story tellers.  At every family gathering my dad joined by his brothers and sister (seven in all) relive events from their childhood. Grandpa laughs. Grandma roles her eyes. But Grandpa, he is the real story teller. From sonnets written to my grandmother to personalized poems in birthday cards. He’s the story teller.

So I thought I’d try my hand at following in my grandfather’s footsteps and become a story teller.

The Lord has given me a strong gift of empathy. This past March I was struggling with how to steward that gift well. I came to the point where I asked the Lord why he gave me this gift because I did not particularly want it. A week later I sat across the table from a friend discussing the topic of spoken word [definition: poetry that is meant to be spoken aloud]. I thought I would enjoy spoken word because 1.) I love writing and 2.) I love public speaking. So it’s kind of perfect. As we talked my friend mentioned that you can’t write spoken word about emotions you’ve never felt before. Easy. I can feel all the feelings all time.

So that day I sat down and started writing. Within 48 hours I had completed writing my first spoken word. But it didn’t just stop there. As I sat in a living room with my new residence life staff, our resident directory described how he sees his job as being a story collector.

That is what I am to be.

My dream is to be a collector and teller of stories, my own and otherwise. With the help of my sister and brother-in-law, I have developed a video of one of the first spoken words I wrote. You can find it here.

Through it all, my overall desire is to glorify the Lord with each word that falls from my lips.

So here is to doing just that.

Until Next Time,

B

For The One

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Probably one of the most well-known Bible verses in this thing we call the world.

I was on my way to youth group Wednesday preparing to teach a lesson involving this scripture. My desire for the youth, and for my community, is that we will be able to catch even just a glimpse of how much the Lord loves us. That said, I was considering having each youth write John 3:16 on a note card and put their name in place of “the world.”

Then I thought: “Well that’s dumb, cheesy, corny and all the other things.” 

As that thought entered my mind, the Lord quickly reminded me of Luke 15 and the parable of the lost sheep. I felt like the Lord was saying even if the verse read, “For God so loved Bethany,” he would have sent his son. He would have sent his son even for one of us. When I think of that kind of love, I am overwhelming. I cannot even begin to fathom how vast his love for one single being is.

Overwhelmed.

The song You Don’t Miss A Thing has been running through my mind ever since. In a crowd of 10,000 Jesus sees the one–with their past, present future, with their triumphs and their failures, with their pain and prosperity. And he chooses them. Over and over and over. He chooses you, every time.

Allow the mystery and wonder of his love overwhelm you today.

Until Next Time,

B

 

Like An Ocean

The sea is perhaps one of my favorite things [right after the mountains of course]. I don’t particularly want to be on it, or in it, but rather on the shore looking at it. When I was younger my family lived in Texas and would frequent the beach. [I know, I know. I’ve lived in the two largest states. Go big or go home, ya know?] One time when we were at the beach I got caught under the water with huge waves crashing over me. Young little Bethany was being swallowed up by the sea when all of a sudden cute college boy came to the rescue. He picked me up out of the consuming water [probably one handed] and said, “Bethany, will you spend the rest of your life with me?” Ya, okay. Maybe that didn’t actually happen. Probably he just handed me back to my dad and went on his way. So good story.

During a worship night this week I was beyond frustrated with myself. I wanted to just be and worship but life was getting in the way. I was working through these things with the Lord in my heart and pictured myself as a hand, my fingers being areas I am strong in. I then pictured the Lord filling the spaces between each finger with his hand, his fingers representing the grace he gives for the areas I am beyond weak in.

Sometimes I think we have this view that the Lord will only give us so much grace and then he’s out. Gone. Done. I had the realization that he is okay pouring out massive amounts of grace because he has unending supply. We have all heard the song How He Loves. If you haven’t, are you even Christian? Jokes. Anyway, now when I hear the song and it says, “if grace is an ocean we’re all sinking,” I possibly don’t hate it anymore. I know that I will never fully understand the Lord’s grace but for now I am in complete and total awe that he is willing to fill all the spaces I need him to. In a way, Jesus is like the cute college boy but instead of pulling me out of the water he gives me the ability to swim.

So here is to letting him fill the empty spaces of our lives.

Until Next Time,

B

Boxes & The Woman at the Well

John 4 tells the oh-so-popular story of the woman at the well. This unnamed, Samaritan woman is asked, by a man she doesn’t know, for water. Her response? “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”

Point numero uno: she doesn’t know this is Jesus. Numero dos: she put herself in a box.

By stating the fact that she was a Samaritan and this random man Jew, she confined herself to a box, limiting herself. I wonder how many of us limit ourselves by claiming things as our identities that–in all reality–don’t define us. This could be things such as: illnesses, disorders, relationships, jobs, kids, failures, accidents, grades, money, success, etc.

The neat thing is this: the woman at the well was not confined to her self-proclaimed box for all of eternity. After conversing with this man, Jesus, she recognized that there was something special about him. She goes back to her town to rally some of her peeps to meet this amazing man who was, quiet possibly, the Christ.

After the other towns folk interact with him they said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

The Lord is ready to use each and every one of us to build his kingdom. Too often we are limiting and disqualifying ourselves from the work he has called us to. He sees us as: pure, white, immaculate, his sons and daughters. The sower longs to rejoice with the reapers of his harvest. To do that, we need to join in the work of the harvest.

So here is to breaking down boxes and stepping in to the freedom of being a harvester.

Until Next Time,

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