Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Love over Fear

 

When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm. How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?

Psalms 91:8

I have a confession. I bought extra toilet paper. Not a lot, but yes, a few rolls. There's been way more discussion on toilet paper than I've ever seen, and I've joined in on some of the funny stuff we see on social media. The reality is, if I am not able to get to the store, the extra toilet paper will come in handy for my family. 

The coronavirus has already made an impact on our lives. Plans have been cancelled. Hands have been extra clean. Friends have been stuck on cruise ships. Faith has been challenged as fear grows. Critics have blamed and pointed fingers. It's a big topic!

It's hard when our normal routines or travel plans are disrupted. It is scary to see an unknown virus creep through the country. It can be challenging to stay in a place of peace and be assured that whatever turn life takes, God is there. God will calm the fears when we ask. God will give wisdom, when we seek it. God will shield us from evil, just like any parent would shield their child. He is there to walk the journey with us.

When I listen to the news I can feel the anxiety begin to seep through my pores. There's so much bad news, all the time. When this happens, and I pray for help, I receive His presence of peace. I receive a reassurance that wherever i go, He will go too. He will be there to shield our hearts from the lies the enemy throws our way. He will be there to help us process the fear, which is a dangerous disease of the heart. He is there to give wisdom so we will know how to maneuver through the threats of life, and there will be threats. Things will happen that we do not understand, still He will be there. He is always there.

The lives of some have been far more impacted than mine. When disease strikes and lives are lost, questions arise. Faith is challenged. Fear can get a stronger hold. I am praying that I will have compassion on those that feel this way, or have walked through such losses. When I'm the one feeling fear or loss, I pray that I will have compassion upon myself, and that others will too. Judgment of someone else's fear does not dissapate their fear! Love, on the other hand, will instill peace. This is what Jesus does.

"I know I walk in the flesh where Coronavirus threatens me, but I do not war in the flesh. My weapons are mighty through God and i have the resurrected Jesus Christ within me. I have the power to pull down the stronghold of Coronavirus over my family, and I choose to cast down every imagination abut this virus that torments my mind. I command every thought about Coronavirus to line up with the Word of God and become obedient to Christ." Shawn Bolz 

The Gift of Your Voice

 

 

 

 

"When we hate the process, we are unknowingly wishing for a religion of rules and legalism with a distant God."

Jenn Stockman

I've been reading a book by Jenn Stockman (The War on Your Voice),  the process of our stories and the value of using our voice to walk through that process. So far, I love this book! I'm still in the beginnng of the book, but my highlighter has been working overtime. 

"To live your story with your voice is to live with a deep value for process."

Our voices hold a lot of power and authority. Your voice is the authority on YOUR story. Stories are meant to be told, to be processed, and to move through the pain to a place of joy and peace. It is with our voice that we are given the freedom to express our love for God and for others, our voice promotes our growth and plants seeds for others to grow. When we have a story, something crucial about our lives, but we hold it deep inside; there's the potential of being stunted. Our voice is there to give us the gift of freedom, to bring our stories into a place of healing and joy. Our voice is a pathway to freedom. It can bring life to places inside of us that lie dormant. When we use our voice to speak chains break.

The enemy of your soul does not want you or me to use our voice. He will do everything he can to bury you so deep that you begin to believe your voice does not work, it is not heard, it is pointless to use. He does not want you to utilize the power you have been given with your voice.

This has been an area of challenge for me for a long time. Using my voice to tell my story is scary at times, but the more I practice the stronger I feel.  The process of my story has been long, painful, confusing. It has also brought me so much joy, love, peace, and hope. All of that is process. My process. It has taken time to learn to love the daily process of finding words and voicing them. 

This is partly why I decided to write a book. I've had a long journey searching for the identity God has given me. I think we all search for identity to some degree, for me it has felt like a lot of searching. I have needed to learn how to process this journey in various ways, blogging, talking, and book writing to name a few. Still, after all these years of work, I find myself afraid to use my voice and of what the process may entail. I also know the enemy is working hard to stop me, instill fear within me, and keep me quiet.  I have to choose everyday to take authority over  my voice and speak my own reality and truth.

What does the process look like for you? Are you using your voice to tell your story? Or, like me, does fear sometimes grip you and your voice goes still? Do you have to grab ahold of who God has created you to be and let your voice be heard through the fear? I know I sometimes do. 

Today I pray for all our voices to be heard. I pray for each one of our processes to move us forward in growth and life. I pray that our God-given authority and power over our own voices will not only change our lives but raise dry bones everywhere we journey.

It's Time

 

 

So many times I hear people say there isn't enough time.  Life is spent running against an unseen clock, hoping to catch an hour, a minute, or a second of time.  I use to feel this way at times; it was very challenging for me to go throughout the day without my watch on, I had to know the time.
But, I've discovered that with or without it, time passes by at the same pace. Many people spend most of their life living in the same cycle, as if each cycle were the first time. The same issues, same obstacles, same everything.
It takes courage to STOP.
Time races by, and we choose each day how to respond. You can lean into each moment and with strength choose to savor the life given you, or you can run.
I've done both.
To savor we accept responsibility for our own lives. We stop poking the person next to us and expecting them to change first. We set boundaries that bring life to ourselves and our family. We seek truth and sometimes boldly speak the hard truth.
To savor is to stand still long enough to recognize the blessings all around us. To stop talking and listen. To savor, one cannot manipulate, twist, and control.
What is happening in your life today that recycles year after year? What are  your options? Are you thriving in the blessings God has given you, or pushing them away?  Are you grasping at past mistakes and pulling them into your present? Do you feel entitled? Are you running from the given time of this moment?
Many times in the day I need to pause and just ask Jesus for help. He knows every situation, every heart and thought. I don't have the answers, but I can choose to have the faith that He does. It is up to me to stop running against the time I've been granted, and let it all go to Him.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, You created time, you hold my heart, and You've got it all under control today.

The Freedom of Armor

 

 

 

Put on the whole armor of God

Just recently I listened to Brene Browns video "the call to courage." She had me laughing, crying, and pondering. It wore me out, actually...I laid down after she was done talking and had a little nap. While listening to her, several thoughts popped in and out, like " I could do that!" "I can't imagine doing what she does!" "I need to work on being more courageous."  "Being vulnerable is way tooooo scary for me!"

Through it all, I came to the conclusion that she is absolutely right. To be courageous, we must be vulnerable.  Then, the thought of God's armor flooded my mind. I wouldn't normally put vulnerability and God's armor together, so I opened my Bible to read through Ephesians 6, again.

"Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil......Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness., and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace: above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."

To be courageous, we must be vulnerable enough to tell the truth, to live truth, to allow truth to penetrate our entire beings. It must be firmly girded around our waist, holding up every action and thought. It is the foundation of righteousness, and the stability of peace. Truth enables us to hang on to faith and face the battles with courage and hope.

The quest for truth has been at the center of my life for a long time, and I've learned that it involves a lot of soul searching. Truth is incredibly vulnerable. When we live in that place inside of ourselves it requires the courage to ask ourselves a lot of questions. We have to be vulnerable with ourselves and courageous enough to tell ourselves the truth of our motives in our everyday situations.

For me, this can be big things in life or small simple choices. When I am faced with choices, I am also faced with the question of motives and identity. What does this choice  say about my motives? Does this line up with who God has made me to be? Am I living in the truth of Who God is? sometimes I am able to be vulnerable with my self and others and answer courageously, other times, I falter. Even in those situations, the times I falter, it takes courage to recognize it, and vulnerability to talk about it.

I've discoveerd over the years that when I ask questions of myself and of God, He demonstrates courageous  living to me. Jesus is the truth. His examples of courage inspire me to continually live in that place of vulnerability with Him. He was courageous with everyone around him. He stepped outside the box and spoke truth in ways that changed lives. He showed others his heart, which in turn challenged them to look at their own hearts. This is courageous, for sure.

So, I'm continuing to set out with the armor of truth wrapped around me. The motive of righteousness secure in my heart, and the assurance of peace in all that I do. The lies that fly my way will not prevail! 

May you walk in courage today as well!

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