Thursday, January 12, 2012
As most of you know I grew up in an awesome home with Godly parents who taught us all about what being a Christ-follower meant. And most of you probably thought that I was on board with that. In fact, up until recently, I believed I was on board with that. I have lived my entire life as if I was tight with God. I lived a decently good life, straying here and there, but in general being a "good person". I also believed in God, believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again in three days. Sounds golden right?
Wrong. My life was centered around that single character, "I". Even the good deeds I did were usually so that people would think positively of me. Over the last year and a half the evil inside of me that I had tried to suppress on my own for so long reared its ugly head. The selfish and destructive desires I had manifested into action, hurting myself and others. It was during this time that I began to see that I was not a "good person". I was, in fact, an evil, destructive, sick person at my core. What a rude awakening, a shock to my system. I had been deceiving myself for so long, thinking that I was so kind, compassionate, friendly, smart, independent when I was actually selfish, prideful, insecure, and a person who craved affirmation and attention from anyone at any cost. Admit it, as you're reading this you know its true! Most saw this in me before I ever did.
I realized that although I have always "believed in Jesus" and have even wanted my friends to come to know Jesus, etc, I had never truly repented, or changed direction, from my selfishness to Christ's lordship in my life. My life had always conveniently been "good" until I was forced to acknowledge the gross, evil, sinful person I am without Christ. I had never been honest about my own condition (fallen, sick, evil) before.
So, I was broken, and truly repented for the first time in May of this year. And the best part was that in my brokenness God's restoring power was shown to me over and over and over again! There was nothing about me that was worthy of forgiveness or a relationship with Christ in those moments. All credit and glory and honor should go to Him. He is so righteous yet merciful; so full of grace! The only thing I did was open my eyes to see my wretchedness and His awesomeness and how He wanted to cover all of my bad things with His good things. In fact, I don't even know that I opened my own eyes to see this...He did this for me too, I think! And after some pride swallowing and soul-searching and prompting from the Holy Spirit, I felt I should go forward and profess my faith in front of my church last month. It is very strange to have the Biblical knowledge and history that I have, yet be in the "new Christian" category, but I am thankful and hoping that God uses this for His Glory.
This was a very difficult decision for me because #1 I had to swallow my pride and #2 I was very conflicted on whether or not I was "overcomplicating" the Gospel. I thought maybe Satan was planting the doubt in my mind about whether or not I truly was saved. I want to write here what I found during this time, in case any of you reading this are also confused about your relationship with the Lord.
#1) Everytime that I would spend time in the Scripture and ask God to show me what to do, I felt prompted to humble myself and ask Lord to take Leadership once and for all in my life.
#2) This is the first time that my "testimony" is less about me and all about the grace and saving power of Jesus Christ.
#3) After my repentance and profession of faith, Scripture truly is ALIVE - powerful, changing, convicting. Not just a nice self-help book. Hebrews 4:12
#4) I still struggle with sin! However, the difference is that these struggles are to become less and less instead of more and more. In addition, there is an overall acknowledgement that without Christ I am fallen and dead, unable to conquer sin on my own. It doesn't mean I'll be perfect from here on out, but it does mean that I know where the power against sin comes from (not me) and that I am living for the Glory of God, not the Glory of self.
#5) The "gospel" that is preached oftentimes doesn't cover it. I have found the following definition of the gospel to be congruent with Scripture: "The Gospel is the good news that the just and gracious God of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that all who have faith in Him will be reconciled to God forever." (articulated by David Platt)
This definition rings true for me because it is more than just "believe in Jesus and you'll go to heaven". It talks about God's character - that He is creator, perfection, judge, saviour (Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 5:6, Romans 2:6-11, Isaiah 43:11). It talks about our need for Him. How sinful and dead and sick we are without him. I think that is the key in our salvation. If we truly see the perfection and consistency of Gods character, then we will see the imperfection and depravity of our own selves and therefore recognize our utter NEED for Him. We can believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins but that doesn't mean we believe we truly NEEDED Him to do that. And once we recognize our need and accept His pure perfect undeserved gift, how can we not want to become more like Christ? It makes sense! And although this road is difficult - very difficult, its one full of peace and assurrance. It is hopeful! It is LIFE!
#6) There must be repentence, a turning, from our sin and ourselves. (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19)
#7) Although the gift of grace is free, works (in ever increasing measure) are the evidence of our salvation and a relationship with Jesus Christ. (James 2:14-26)
There is so much more I've learned in recent months that I want to share but I'm not articulate enough nor do I have enough room on this blog to share. So, if you want to know more about the essential saving Grace of Jesus Christ and how you can have this, here are some resources:
iamsecond.org - this website was a game changer for me. See the short video testimonials of people with a variety of struggles. I'm sure you'll find at least one person who's story helps you.
http://www.disciplemakingintl.org/media/schurch/series_list/?id=88 - A 6-hour long podcast that explains salvation and the gospel in detail directly from scripture. Put it on your iPod and listen in the car. This changed my life.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
My grandfather is about to die. The doctors have just told us he has a few days. I'm shocked and heartbroken and trying to process it all. But, I'm not without hope. Why? For the same reason that there isn't a divorce in my family. In honor of my grandpa, I'm going to tell you the secret to the success (not monitary by any means) of my family. My family is whole and purposeful and has joy because of Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that my grandpa has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of that I know that his last days on earth are not his last days at all. Because I know that my grief is more for those of us still here who will miss him.
My grandpa isn't perfect at all. He knows that. He recognized his need for a Savior. When Grandpa accepted Christ in his life he made Him Lord and Leader. His relationship with Jesus wasn't without serious bumps in the road, heartache, and sin, but Grandpa made it his goal to become more Christ-like with his life. God came first, then Grandma, then his children. Because of his (and Grandma's) values and principles his children accepted Christ and follow Him whole-heartedly and have healthy marriages too. And his grandchildren, and so on.
Do you know Jesus Christ? No matter your situation, you need a Savior. I do. And my savior is Jesus Christ. Ask me about him, I'd love to tell you.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
James 1:26 26 If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue, but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless.
James 17:28 Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning, when he seals his lips.
Proverbs 15:1 1 A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath
A few things I've learned from this:
- **major revelation alert** I've always said "This is just my personality, I can't change it" or "I'm just opinionated. Can I not share my opinion? People just don't like to hear the truth". It has been revealed to me that a) You CAN change your personality. In fact, God is calling me to change CONSTANTLY! Not to change into what the world wants but what HE wants. b) I'm not as smart as I think I am. My opinion isn't always gold and isn't always right. And if it is right, it can spoken in a way that is not condescending and builds others up.
- Most of the time it is best to just be quiet. My motor mouth started out with good intentions (to be friendly) and has turned into a mess (attention getting, off-putting). Working on it!
- My tongue/mouth/words can do 1 of 2 things: can encourage others to move towards a relationship with Jesus Christ or pull others away from Him. I'm trying to remember this before I say ANYTHING.
- It less about the actual words I say but the tone of voice I speak them in.
- This one got me. My words can actually render my beliefs useless if they don't reflect the truth that Scripture holds. James 1:26 26 If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless.
I encourage you to chew on this with me (get it? chew...tongue :) Please pray for me as I work on this majorly flawed area of my life. All 14 followers of this blog :) ha! For those of you that know me personally, please keep me accountable in this. Its a habit that has taken years to develop but I'm hoping to un-develop it faster than that!
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
In the meantime, here is what we've been up to.
Visiting Trav, Reba, Zion, Norah, and Jordan in the burgh. It was awesome.
Laying Heated Tile in the Bathroom
Midnight showing of Eclipse & an Office Sleepover
Spontaneous Trip to Destin w/ Hale, Andi, Samuel, and Jamie
Friday, April 09, 2010
Because my last post was about fake children, I thought I should follow it up with a post about REAL children. I think that my brothers' offspring are really really cute, so I have hope that my future children will be too. I think we must have pretty good genes. Unless of course ALL of the cuteness comes from my SILs...possible. :) I have the cutest nieces and nephews of all time. That's right, I said it. Please don't hate me but I do think my nieces and nephews are cuter than yours :)
Meet Zion, the oldest. She's 3 and she rocks. She has a very sweet heart. She's a goofball like her dad and looks like her mom. (Trav and Reba)
Meet Calvin. He just had his 2nd birthday. He's hilarious and has a very exuberant personality. He loves basketball. Check out his crazy eyebrow. Its awesome. (Shawn and Jill)
Meet Norah. She's the newest addition born on New Years Day. We think she's going to be contankerous because she decided to come on her own time and miss tax deduction by a day. :) I haven't gotten to meet her yet but I can't wait to...how can I not love her already with a face like this. (Trav and Reba)
Meet Clark. He is coming this summer and we can't wait. Even in black and white, he's precious!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
So here goes...drumroll......
I had to go off the pill for a bit while E transitioned to new job. My doctor wouldn't write me any more prescriptions til I came in for my check up but I didn't want to go in until I was on the new insurance. So, I've been off the "little pink pill" for about 2 months. So, yeah...
E started his job today. He's excited about it for a couple of reasons. First because its a paycheck. (Yay!). Second, we get insurance and that insurance has a maternity policy. I think you get where I'm going with this. So scroll down for a picture of our big surprise!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The couch of my dreams!
Its $4000. So come to think of it, I couldn't get this couch. My car is only worth $3000. Dangit.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Remember when I said we'd signed a contract on a home to be built? (Bethany Happy) Well that was the plan, until the neighbor next door to it wanted to buy our lot. The builder, seeing an opportunity to sell 2 lots at once accepted the neighbors offer and called us and asked us to take a different lot. (Bethany Angry) The builder also offered $2000 or an upgrade because we had to choose a different lot (Bethany still angry but seeing opportunity).
While deciding if we wanted to keep our original lot or move and take the upgrades, we remembered a spec house we had been in that was more expensive but had a floor plan we really loved. Even though it was significantly higher priced, it had been on the market since September and was costing the builder money every month. We decided to counter offer the builder: give us the spec house for the same price as our original contract or we keep the original lot. (Bethany Anxious). Well guess what?? After a little negotiating and small changes to the agreement, the builder accepted our offer. (Bethany Happy Again!)
We have certainly been blessed during this process. We knew it would be difficult to live with people for so long but thankfully Rick, Kelly, and Owen have been so awesome and generous. We really appreciate them. Allowing us to live with them so affordably has allowed us to save a great deal of money to put towards this house. We were expecting and excited purchasing a very small, old, fixer-upper. But, God, knowing that we are both too busy and worn out to do all the work neccessary for a fixer upper, put this deal right in our lap. And its amazing, a house we could have never purchased within our financial guidelines for ourselves if the Lord hadn't been apart of it.
Pro's of this Deal compared to other house
- House is slightly bigger
- Way better - open - floor plan
- More kitchen cabinets
- Jack and Jill bathroom upstairs
- Seperated sinks in bathroom
- Bigger closets
- More storage space
- Beautiful gunstock hardwoods already installed
- Huge center island in kitchen
- Has a big laundry room
- Enough space for a baby grand or grand piano
- More expensive house for the same amount of money
- Its built! So we move in late April instead of early July!
- Half brick and half siding (the other was 3 sides brick)
- Countertops aren't granite (not really a con though because we got some granite from a friend and will install it ourselves.)
- Carpeted areas have the cheap carpet that is your typical new home carpet (will have to be replaced fairly soon)
- Laundry room is upstairs
Here are just a few things I love about my grandparents:
- Grandpa and Grandma are still in love. They still adore each other, kiss each other good morning and goodnight, and are attentive to each others needs. Its so sweet and gives me hope that we can beat the divorce statistics.
- There isn't a single divorce in that family...pretty cool statistic.
- Grandpa is the original Dave Ramsey, seriously. He and Erin talked about the right way to do real estate all weekend. :)
- Grandma, even with her Alzheimer's/dementia, still has such a great sense of humor and personality.
- They are faithful to the Lord and put their faith into practice.
- They both have a sweet tooth - that's where I got it from :)
- Their main concern in death is each other and their children, not themselves.
- They love music and dancing. (As evidenced by how much they LOVE the Lawrence Welk show)
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Can I just tell you how much I love my husband? No? Well its my blog so I'm gonna tell you anyway :) Just a few reasons I love my hubbs.....
1) He leads by example more than words. Erin knows the Bible and is a dedicated studier of it. He actively pursues a relationship with the Lord and I see it and follow his lead. He never asks me to sacrifice something with out equally sacrificing first.
2) He works hard for our family. E is a provider through and through. He wants to provide me with my needs and often gives me a bunch of my wants. He is also willing to work hard for our goals. He does what it takes.
3) He watches Cheaters with me late at night and we laugh. (side note: cheating is not funny, its wrong. But Cheaters the T.V. show, on the other hand, is a riot. Joey Greco uses more polysyllabic words than a dissertation)
4) He has a super long fuse.
5) He works hard to communicate with me in a way I'll understand. E isn't a big talker but he knows that I am. So, he works hard to communicate with me in that way. If he is upset about something, he calmly tells me. I love this because sometimes I don't realize I've done something wrong until he tells me...then we can take care of it.
6) He intelligent and thinks I'm smart too. and treats me like an equal. We like to have intellectual conversations and this is very validating to me.
7)See picture. Need I say more? :)
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Reason #1: house stuff. Still can't tell you. But after I put my pen to paper on Sat, we should be able to speak it.
Reason #2: http://www.hunterdixon.com/collection.html
I LOVE these clothes. They are perfectly my style. The spring collection 2009 describes my style PERFECTLY! And the Fall 2008 collection is amazing. (sigh.)
I wonder if I could find these pieces from Spring 09 on Ebay or something?
P.S. I'm going to try and change up the look of my blog when I have some spare time. But in the 15 minute alotment of time I allowed myself to blog, I just didn't have the time to get it quite right :) Excuse the mess.....
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
1) spending QUALITY time with my husband... NOT both of us sitting in the office, not speaking, only working/studying
2) being skinny and tan... NOT holed up in a room eating popcorn constantly to stay awake
3) riding the motorcyle
4) having my own home!!
6) getting a beefalo w/ Hale and Andi and finishing our conversion to organic, whole foods (once we're in our own place again)
7) going on a cruise
8) being able to say "Yes" to coffee with friends
9) going to the pool on the mornings/afternoons I don't work
10) planting a garden
11) crafting and sewing to my hearts desire
12) running sprints in the evenings
14) seeing family
16) playing piano (cause we're getting one as soon as we move....double Yay!!)
17) eating my fave summer foods/desserts like fresh strawberry pie, fruit pizza, limeades, baja style tacos, meats on the grill, fresh fruit smoothies, Sweet CeCe's yogurt (yuck in the cold winter...awesome in the hot summer!).
18) getting a doggie
19) not driving to M'boro
20) Decorating the house
On another note, we may have some positive changes coming regarding our house. I can't say anything yet but I'll keep you posted. Back to studying!!
Sunday, February 07, 2010
We never thought that we would get such a great deal, especially on a new home build, but we found a builder who is doing this for less than $100/sq. foot! Crazy! Also, the selling agent is giving us and our realtor, Samuel, a "certificate for a cruise" once we close on the house, whatever a "certificate" will get you :) Yay...I hear the sound of the Caribbean waves already!
Rick and Kelly (and Owen) have been so gracious to let us live with them this long. We really appreciate their friendship and generosity. However, I think they and we will be ready to get back to life with everyone having their own house :) But, if I had to choose any couple in the world to live with, it would be them. They've been awesome.
Side Note: This is Max, Rick and Kelly's boxer. Max likes me.... a lot. He likes to pee on all my stuff to mark his territory. I don't like this. I'll miss him (he's sweet)... but I won't miss his pee...
Monday, February 01, 2010
1) I found it interesting and it piqued my curiousity. I initially wondered why they chose their profession. How could they teach us about health and nutrition? Why would they harp on not smoking but not as much on healthy eating habits - just as much of a killer. Did the information they shared with us on obesity not scare them to death?
2) Then I felt convicted. I struggled with an eating disorder for a long time. I was way too skinny. My problems were similar. I replaced God in my life with the obsession of food. I understand where they are right now. When I was warned about the bodily damages that would occur through lack of eating, I didn't care... all I cared about was that I was a supernatural person who could live on no food and get crazy skinny (sick I know!) Healthy doesn't mean super-skinny either.
3) So, my point in my initial observation is this: Think about your profession, what you do. Do you really believe what you're saying or is it just a regurgitation? If you can't have integrity in your work (where you spend the majority of your day) then where will you? Christ demands this...even when its hard. Do you trust pastor's who preach the Bible but then have affairs or lie or cheat or cuss? How about a financial adviser who is in debt/bankrupt? Of course not!
My new goal as a nursing student/future nurse: To radiate health and maintain wellness so that I can be an example of encouragement for people facing health problems.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
June 2009 - Debt Free (except the house). "WE'RE DEBT FREE" (cue braveheart music)
- Bought mountain bikes as our got out of debt presents for each other
- My friend Erin Pabst & I audition for "My Fair Lady" at our local community theater & get cast as dancers....yes dancers :)
- Mountain bikes were stolen from our garage (not the first time a "bike" was stolen from the garage - fortunately the second time the bikes were less valuable :)
July 2009- We grow tired of being stolen from, the commute, and want to decrease the debt owed on the house
- Mom, Dad, Travis, Reba, and Zion visit
August 2009 - Decide to sell our house & put it on the market
- Erin purchases "Natalia" (no she's not a male order Russian bride)
- Jordan visits & we drive to Pittsburgh to see Trav, Reba, and Zion's new house.
September 2009 - 6 sold-out performances (total tickets sold 2400) later, I have made wonderful friends through My Fair Lady
November 2009 - Got my acceptance letter to Nursing School! Yay! (Pray my boss will be flexible with my schedule so that I can continue to work through this first semester.)