Your Hidden Gift

I was a teenager alone in a dark bedroom with a flashlight and a pen. There was a fire burning deep within my soul to put my words and my thoughts to paper. In a quiet house filled with sleeping minds, my thoughts were set ablaze and absolutely nothing could get in my way.

Except for the lack of paper. Come to think of it, not much in my life has changed in that regard.

It was at my little white desk under my flashlight and the glow of the moon that I would write letters of encouragement to those around me. The second my pen made contact with paper, my heart pounded and I felt a rush of relief. I truly felt called to write these words to those God had placed in my life. I even saved up money to purchase stamps and envelopes to ensure delivery.

Thank God for email. Free. Fast and reliable in most cases. Cure for my soul indeed (and my constant search for paper).

Yet, it seemed so astonishing to me to see that “encouragement” was among my top spiritual gifts. You see, I completed the assessment and thought, “I understand my other gifts, but how is encouragement really a gift? Isn’t it just normal to want to encourage others?”

It is normal to WANT to encourage others.

It’s a completely different reality to lose sleep unless you write an encouraging note to someone you know needs it the most.

I have the gift of encouragement and honestly, I never really knew it until just over a year of so ago. Since that time, I feel the urge to email or dare I even say snail mail a card with fancy paper – and I literally feel God’s love in such an amazing way. Now I know that God formed me with this gift in mind. Every single time I feel it just bursting inside of me, I fall in love with the Gift Giver.

God is good like that. His timing is always perfect.


If you do not know what your spiritual gifts are, perhaps it’s time to take the brave first step and take an assessment. I love using assessments with my clients and really enjoy the moment when the dots connect for them. Their voice gets all excited and they just can’t quit smiling.

“God was doing that all along and here I thought I was just strange” one client told me. I smiled and responded, “Our gifts are never hidden from God, but remain undiscovered until we decide to find Him in these areas of our lives.”

When you find God in your giftedness, be prepared to experience Him in an entirely new way. Yes, it gets personal, real and completely amazing. There is no limit what God can do through you – unless, you choose to leave your gift hidden.

This post was my first 5 Minute Friday entry in a very long time. Indeed, writing does wonders for my soul. Would you like to join me? Find more information here: http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ 

#UnMaskedBook Launch Team

A Note About TRUST And Your Invitation!

My finger just stopped. The mouse cursor taunted me as it hoovered over the “Post” button. Honestly, this was not that difficult of a task to complete, but my heart rate proved otherwise.

Trust is not a noun, it’s a verb.

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I was about to share the first two chapters of my book with a group of friends. Up to this point, this book project seemed to be a great idea.

I wrote.

I re-wrote.

I edited.

I critiqued.

I rewrote more.

But in order for this project to become a book, “I” had to become “we.” 

“We” requires trust.

“We” requires action.

Inviting others into our dream requires a faith like never before. It requires a deep sense of peace, knowing that God has this process in His control. That is trust. I’ve had to rely on God in brand new, extremely uncomfortable ways throughout this group editing, professional editing and formatting process. I had to remind myself that this was His timing and His way (believe me, I would have done things much differently).

Here we are, just a few weeks until “UnMasked: The Journey from Surviving to Thriving” releases. Trusting God more as I take this step out into the world of published authors.

But I don’t want to take this step alone. 

“I” needs to become “we.” 

Will you be part of my “we”? 

I love this quote:

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I see us going father, together.

 

To join the UnMasked Launch Team, simply click HERE to ask to join the Facebook group. You will help share graphics and media on your social networks during the month of November. You will also get to see the first three chapters on the UnMasked book (will be shared later) and insights into the book writing process from myself. I look forward to seeing you here!

I wrote UnMasked because the more I speak, write
and coach, God brings others into my life that seek freedom.
They desperately want to know how they can tap into the feeling

of letting go of what others think of them and experience really
living in the moment.

How would your life be different without
the negative, self-doubting lies that tend to define your
possibilities?

What does it really look like to trust God wholeheartedly
and see beauty in the very person He created us to be?


After living for many years behind my mask, I finally cracked
its grip through believing in God’s Promises – a constant battle
that continues even today. UnMasked is just a
glimpse at my journey from surviving to thriving. I share my journey through managing a life with disabilities, battling brain cancer, becoming a wife and mom of three boys and my quest to find God’s purpose. When you take
off your mask, you are vulnerable and so far from perfect, yet
free and completely filled with His purpose. I want others to
experience this divine love our Abba has for His children,
unmasked and fully His.

Book Cover4

Grab Your FREE Survivor To Thriver Ebook And START Moving Forward Today!

Leave me a comment below, tweet me or connect with me on Periscope! If you have subscribed to my blog and read this message in your email, simply hit reply to start messaging with me right away! I love hearing from you!

I’m now on Periscope! To see my recent videos, click here to download the free app today! I would love to connect with you!
Would you like to receive personal email updates from me and grab a FREE Survivor To Thriver ebook? My special newsletter features coaching availability and discounts, upcoming speaking opportunities and updates regarding my book release! To join, simply sign-up here! The best part is, it allows you to have a personal one-on-one connection with me through email. Feel free to reply to any of the newsletters you receive! You will always get a response from my end! 
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I Need You

Creating A War Room: Your Life Coaching Moment

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I’ve been sharing on my Periscope videos this week, how excited I am about my recent War Room place. After watching the movie with friends late last week, my heart yearned for a little section of our shared closet that could be my battlefield of prayer. I wanted a safe place to come and be real with God on a daily basis. A place I could stand, sit and even lean into God’s arms of grace, compassion, mercy and power. I wanted a place my kids could come and connect with God in a new, ongoing way. I wanted this War Room because I needed God.

Don’t wait until you need God to spend time with Him.

Don’t fight the battle yourself that you can’t win on your own.

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.

I spent time on Saturday cleaning out my section of my closet – you know, making room for God among things that have crept into His spot in my heart. My closet was stuffed with clothes, games, Easter baskets and frankly way too many shoes. I needed to purge. My 5 year-old loved assisting with my Goodwill bag project as we added several clothing items to be donated. Soon, I had enough space for my War Room – a corner of our shared closet became my resting place of prayer.
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I started the week with a Bible, pen, notebook and a sketch pad neatly stacked on a shelf. I placed a blank bulletin board which I wanted to have covered in verses and prayer requests…someday. Today, just 4 days later, my board is completely filled with handwritten prayers for myself, my husband and each one of my kids. In the center are two prayers written to God by my older children. On the sides are prayers from friends that I have prayed with this week.  I’ve also handwritten verses that have really spoken to me about the importance of this prayer battle. Life as I know it has changed for the better in our house. Now, to keep it going!
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My time in the War Room has:

  • Allowed me to just be still and really rest in the hands of my Abba.
  • Provided me with a safe place to find His love.
  • Forced me to write out prayers and spend intentional, focused time with God.
  • Made me rearrange my day to spend time in prayer for our family and others.
  • Created a new tradition for my kids and their prayer time.
  • Allowed me to get out of the way so God can really work.
I could keep going, but I feel like you get the point. We have a small house where space can be very tight, especially in closets. But we need a dedicated prayer space in our home. I’m excited to be on this new journey!
So, how do you create a War Room? Here are a few simple ideas.
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Create Your War Room

  1. Designate a place you can meet with God in private.  “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)
  2. Decide its use. Will you include your spouse and your kids in this time? Do you have a place to hang prayers? Is your space big enough for others to join you? “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.…” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9)
  3. Start with God’s Word. Find verses that speak to you about your War Room and place them on your wall. “With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.11Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. 12Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.… (Psalms 119:10-12)
  4. Use it! Add time to your calendar, add reminders and be intentional about your consistent use of this new place you have created to meet with God. Don’t let it go unused! 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.… (Psalms 23:2-4)

If you are a wife looking to connect with other women on this War Room journey, I’d love to invite you to join the War Room Wives private Facebook group! Just connect with me through my Facebook page and let me know that you would like to be added! 

I’d love to know, have you seen the movie “The War Room”? How has it impacted you? Share in the comments below!

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Book Cover4

Grab Your FREE Survivor To Thriver Ebook And START Moving Forward Today!

Leave me a comment below, tweet me or connect with me on Periscope! If you have subscribed to my blog and read this message in your email, simply hit reply to start messaging with me right away! I love hearing from you!

I’m now on Periscope! To see my recent videos, click here to download the free app today! I would love to connect with you!
Would you like to receive personal email updates from me and grab a FREE Survivor To Thriver ebook? My special newsletter features coaching availability and discounts, upcoming speaking opportunities and updates regarding my book release! To join, simply sign-up here! The best part is, it allows you to have a personal one-on-one connection with me through email. Feel free to reply to any of the newsletters you receive! You will always get a response from my end! 
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Wherever You Go

When my life was completely shattered during my battle with double brain tumors, I began to write in a way I never thought possible. I could care less what others thought of my words. Yet, my story was like a fire within me that literally had me longing to push through the pain to get my words out on my blog each night. When my mouth failed to pull out the right words, my typing fingers could tell the world how I was feeling. I posted my thoughts publicly. It avoided the initial awkwardness for friends starting the conversation each day. It also eliminated my need to retell my saga of events countless times. But it allowed something even bigger, deeper perhaps even something life transforming to occur. Others started reading my posts. Complete strangers. God used my words to reach out to people I will never meet face-to-face during a time in my life I could barely express verbally what I was feeling.

Why?

Because God is indeed with us, wherever we go. Through the storms. Through cancer. Through tucking our kids into bed at night. God shines through our vulnerable moments in amazing ways. When we break apart, He holds us together in ways we never knew existed. Don’t be afraid to shine in your brokenness – let others in to see Who holds your life together when it matters the most. 

Here is my blog post originally shared as “Our Song” published in February 2012

It’s late and I almost headed to bed without updating, but this song, mine and Josh’s song just could not get off my mind…I just had to update.

My day today was…and still is, rough. My stomach literally HURTS. Sprite wouldn’t even stay down today and my amazing husband ran to Walgreens at 8:30 tonight to grab some Gatorade. I went from feeling really good last night to, well, back to my “normal.” BUT it was a nice break! I was up early with the kids, watched the boys so Steve could go to worship practice, my eyebrows fell out (seriously…Josh was picking up hairs off my pillow trying to put them back on my eyes…kinda cute but kinda not), my stomach hurt, I was exhausted…and patience was not present with me or the kids today. It was just one of those days…I know you have them too!

So tonight when Josh begged me to put him to bed, of course I agreed. I knew I snapped a few times today and although everything in my body was telling me to stay right where I was lying, I got up and prepared for our nightly routine. Both boys brush their teeth, both boys get Jammie’s on and both boys join me on Josh’s bed to watch a Looney Toons video on my iPad. The boys LOVE this…and they aren’t on tv anymore. Tonight as they were watching Tweedy run for his “little life” I glanced over and saw Josh lying down with his arm cuddling Caden…both boys were smiling. It was one of those moments that you want to grab a camera, but you know you’ll miss the shot. The boys LOVE this special time with mommy…oh and mommy really likes this time too!

Caden is reluctantly escorted by daddy into his room to be put to bed. Josh and I lie in his bed together and read a book, then we pray together, then we make up a short story (this story involves Josh picking up some friends and taking any mode of transportation to a fun place and then returning all of his friends IN ORDER back home). Josh gets the order right…I really don’t try anymore. Then I lay with him and eventually him and I both end up asleep. I usually hear the coffee maker going, which wakes me up and tells me it’s 9PM (Steve’s nightly coffee time).

But tonight we made it to that part where we drift off to sleep…I was halfway there, but Josh hadn’t even started. I heard him talking, but I really wasn’t listening.

Finally he asked, “Mommy, are you STILL sick?”

Oh I HATE that question. I understand why he asks, but I hate answering it.

I sighed and said “Yes buddy, but the doctors are working hard to make mommy all better again.”

He knew the drill and he knew the answer. Usually that did it, but not tonight.

He rolled back over and asked, “Mommy, are you scared? Are you going to die?” Okay…you moms out there no EXACTLY how I felt at that very second…but how was I going to answer my 4 year-old son, who really doesn’t understand the complexity of what’s going on.

I didn’t know how to answer and I didn’t need to…God did.

No sooner had I been thinking of what to say, Josh chimed in, “Mommy, why don’t you sing your song to me anymore?”

MY song could be anything from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to The Wheels On The Bus. There for a few short months MY song according to Josh was, “Baby Baby Baby Oh”….ummmm, no.

“Which one?” I asked him.
Josh sighed, “Mommy, you know! The song you sang to me when I was little. I would close my eyes like this and you holded me and rocked me night night.”

He remembered our song! I was dreaming of this day when I started that the day he was born. That first night in the hospital, when it was just him and me, I held him and I sang our song. You know it…and I think you will know why I decided to sing it to my son Josh. It goes like this:
Have I not commanded you
Be strong and courageous
Do not be terrified
Do not be discouraged
For the Lord Your God will be with you
Wherever you go
Wherever you go

When it was just weeks away from his appearance, he would kick and stretch inside of me to the point I would almost be in tears. I remember sneaking into the nursery one night and sitting in the rocker and just rocking, singing softly this song to this miracle in my womb. Immediately he calmed down inside of me and I ended up falling asleep in there…a few times before Josh was even born!

I would continue this tradition, before books, videos and even prayers came to be a part of our routine. One night, probably around the time Steve and I agreed the rocker needed to go, Josh informed me that he was a big boy now and he didn’t need that baby song. So, it stopped. I accepted…eventually, that he was growing-up and he needed to tell me these things.

So you see, tonight when he asked me about Our Song, my excitement was there, but this song wasn’t meant for Josh tonight…I believe it was Gods message to me.

I would sing this as a prayer over my son…from that first night there in the hospital, to nights I felt like sleep was an oxymoron, to the night he went to sleep without a bottle, to the night he walked into my arms, to the night he got his first big boy cars bed, to the night before his first day of preschool, to the night he started asking about girls, to the night he asked me if I was “scared.” Every step of my sons life I wanted Him to know God was with him and to be courageous. One day he will start a relationship and he will understand this love the Father has for him first hand.

But until then…like God told me tonight, my son Josh can learn courage through me.

I get my courage through Christ.

As I sang that song to Josh tonight, he asked me to sing it again. After the encore he sighed, comfortably and drifted off to sleep. I was wide awake watching my son trust in me for his protection…his source for strength.

I guess bad days are allowed because “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I WILL TRY AGAIN TOMORROW.”

I will try again tomorrow…and you should too.

Have a great day friends. I will update soon regarding my new treatment plan as I know many of you have emailed me with questions. Just thought somebody out there needed God singing this over them.
Have I not commanded you
Be strong and courageous
Do not be terrified
Do not be discouraged
For the Lord your God will be with you
Wherever you go
…Wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9)

 

God Did It Again

A few weeks ago, I shared how our family seems to discover God’s fingerprints in the strangest places. When the van engine exhaled a deep sigh as it completely surrendered that afternoon in our driveway, I honestly thought we had seen all there was to see. God guided our clan home safely and our boys loved watching the van as it was helplessly loaded onto the back of the tow truck. God’s fingerprints were everywhere. Our boys fingerprints covered the front windows of our house from constantly observing all of the excitement.

I rested my head on my pillow that evening truly thankful, but also going, “Okay God, one day like this is enough! Thanks!”

But God wasn’t quite done yet.

The next day, my schedule was completely rearranged in order to pick-up the van which required an alternator replacement. The cost was so incredibly minimal, I was actually anxious to test drive it to see which brand of duct tape these guys used in order to keep the repair expense so low. I was beyond skeptical. My husband dropped me off at the car shop with our two younger boys as he rushed off to work. The two boys played carelessly on the waiting room chairs as I discussed the repairs with the salesman.

All was going along well until I realized we had exactly 5 minutes before my oldest boy needed to be picked-up from school. The second I was handed the receipt, I grabbed two little hands and off we rushed to the school. Making sure seat belts were tightly fastened, I slowly turned the key in the ignition.

You would have thought I had inserted a quarter to one of those old vibrating beds. Perhaps Florida really does have earthquakes?

I gazed in the mirror to view the reactions from my two children – one smiling, the other in a mild state of confusion.

“Oh mommy, not again!” my middle kiddo exclaimed. “I’m not feeling good!

Awesome. Not only do I have a vibrating, duct taped, roof caving in on all of us van, but now the roller coaster ride made my backseat rider sick.

We were now officially late to pick up the oldest child.

My mind whirled. If we stayed, who knew how long it would have taken to have the van looked at. Perhaps I could at least pick-up my oldest from school and return to “Let’s Make A Deal” later?

Off we went, bouncing and praying hard for no bright, blinking dash lights.

We made it without too many bumps to the school. We even made it halfway through the car loop before I heard that dreaded sound.

No, not the dinging of another warning light. A sound much worse. The noise that turns a mother’s stomach.

Our middle child vomited all over the back of our van…repeatedly. Still in the car loop, I just felt stuck. I couldn’t stop and hold him. I couldn’t even clean him up. We aren’t going to even discuss the smell…

As I drove forward, I was met by three warning dash lights.

A little further and a fourth joined the party.

Our oldest jumped-in and grabbed the front seat. I found the next closest place to pull over and assess the damage. I imagine if the van wasn’t vibrating as bad, the damage might have remained in a general area. Not such the case.

I immediately called the car shop and told them about our vibrating problem. The gentleman assured me that we could swing by and he could quickly take a closer look. I warned him quite a few times about our backseat rider, but he insisted he could handle our mess.

We arrived and the owner immediately got right in the van, not even referencing the smell. After popping the hood, he grinned. He then showed me a lose wire that needed reconnected. After a flick of his wrist, the cord was connected, hood down and all lights off. He then made a point to open the side door of the van, right into our mess and asked my kiddo how he was feeling.

We saw God, again.

In a moment of pure exhaustion, God knew who to send my way.

A reminder how He goes into my mess all the time.

He conquered my mess –

He even died for my mess.

When was the last time I willingly allowed myself to move into others mess?

[tweetthis]He conquered my mess -He even died for my mess. When was the last time I went into other’s mess?[/tweetthis]

 

When was the last time I asked God to stretch me way outside of my comfort zone?

When was the last time I trusted God more than my jumping, vibrating van to get me exactly where I really need to be in life?

This same gentleman even called later just to make sure we were doing okay. Yes, we found our new car garage and I was reminded that God works through real lives.

God truly uses anything to teach us more about Him – even jiggly minivans, vomiting kids and an auto mechanic.

This world is messy. Let’s get dirty and love by stretching-out until it feels uncomfortable – way outside of our minivan (still airing out I might add).

[tweetthis]This world is messy. Let’s get dirty and love by stretching-out until it feels uncomfortable[/tweetthis]

 

 

Remember Your Maker

As a life coach, I believe God has placed a God-sized dream deep within the fabric of our DNA. This dream flows so easily from His creativity built right within us! Yet, so many do life, comfortable with routine and completely miss what could be.

I’m glad I risked my comfort to follow my dreams of sharing through written word, spoken word and helping others uncover a thriving life through coaching. My uncomfortable moments filled with uncertainty leave me humbly yet confidently by His side. I know to Whom I belong. I can step out into my unknown knowing fully He has destined me for these moments. I may rise or I may fall, but He defines my worth. At the end of the day, I feel complete because I made use of how He wired my personality, gifts, values and passions. I feel completely alive.

One of my dreams has always been to write a book. My first manuscript is currently going through the group review phase and is due out in the Fall. I’ve often been asked, “Bethany, how did you know writing was part of your dream?” Ever since I was little, I loved writing. Essay projects were actually fun for me to complete, not a miserable journey through endless math problems. In fact, I began to write poetry during my senior high years that I saved. Not just a small collection, but well over 150 poems stretching from high school through post-college. I would have my journal open, writing my thoughts to God one minute and then a poem would just start flowing! My heart would pump faster, my palm would sweat as I tried to move my pencil faster. After completed, I would read the words back and just be in awe knowing completely this was something God did, in my handwriting, so effortlessly on my part. Some poems became notes of encouragements to others. Some never left that collection of poems. Others became songs that I would sing to my campers late at night as they curled tightly into their sleeping bags. My girls loved listening to these words and as I worked at this Christian camp all summer, many campers fell asleep listening to these created melodies.

A few months ago, I connected with a past camper of mine through Facebook. She asked me if I ever recorded “The Boat Song.” I knew exactly what she was talking about, but informed her that I just didn’t think I could record the melody with my voice. The chat went silent. A few awkward moments later, she typed back, “But that song kept me going when I needed God the most. Could you record it for me?”

I sat there stunned. Was she kidding or being serious. I waited. Swallowed hard and responded, “I can send you the words if you want.” 

Her response gripped me hard. “But Mrs. Bethany, I remember the words! I miss your voice singing them!” 

Honestly, I thought she wasn’t thinking quite straight. This camper and I had crossed paths back in 2002, over 13 years ago! Seriously? She still knew the words from a song that guided her to sleep from her one week at a church summer camp? She heard these words louder than all of the other songs that filled the airways? Why? How? 

So, I did the next best empathetic move in this humble situation. I quizzed her.Okay, what are some of the words you remember?

All my eyes could see were those annoying Facrbook message bubbles for the longest 5 minutes ever! I sat in my recliner thinking, “She didn’t remember. Now she is scrambling for the right words, pushing the backspace and then trying again.” I prepared myself for a gentle let down. I could handle it. Maybe?  

And then she replied.

Not just with a few words, but most of the entire song, word for word!

My jaw dropped. Literally. My hands froze. All I could think was, “Oh no, she seriously thinks this song is good and I created it just from my time with God. No. I can’t record it!”

I sat for a few minutes desperately trying to think of a way out of this. I was overcome with emotion. Proud. Scared. Happy. Sad. Excited. Terrified. I need peanut butter. Now.

I ended the conversation telling her I would work on it. Truth being, honestly, I have shared several poems that friends have begged me to record into a song…and they are still waiting. I have been too scared to take action until now.

Who out there has the resources needed to make a few dreams become a reality? Who knows how to take words and make it into a melody with music? I’m officially ready to see where this adventure leads…and completely terrified too. But I am a dreamer who is tired of being comfortable just staying where I am in life.

How about you? What is a big dream of yours? What makes moving towards this dream uncomfortable for you? What if you didn’t try? Would anything change? 


And now, the song I hereby dedicate to my campers, wherever they may be today.


Remember Your Maker My Friend 

 

As a lonely child stands beside a river bank,

His pockets empty and a piece of wood in hand,

He begins to carve a boat, hoping it would not sink,

A piece of love made upon his willing demand.

 

He sang – This is my pride and joy,

My love makes you much more than a toy, 

You have a purpose, you were made by my hand,

Please remember your maker my friend.

 

As the boat meets the water, the boy’s hands touch the sky,

The piece of wood now floats calmly away,

The boy shouts, “Come back, you are my prize,”

And he hopes the boat will return to him someday.

 

He sang – You are my pride and joy,

My love makes you much more than a toy, 

You have a purpose, you were made by my hand,

Please remember your maker my friend.

 

As the boy walks down the sidewalk a few years down the road,

A small boat in a store window catches his eye,

His masterpiece now for sale, costing much more than he ever owed,

Paying all that he had – holding his boat by his side,

He said, “I made you and bought you, that makes you twice mine!”

 

He sang – This is my pride and joy,

My love makes you much more than a toy, 

You have a purpose, you were made by my hand,

I made you and bought you,

Please remember I love you my friend.

 

God crafted you and placed you in this time,

Though this worldly river may drift you away from Him,

He has already bought you back – costing Him His life,

Please remember your Maker my friend.

 

God sings to you – you are  My pride and joy,

My love makes you life a gift to enjoy,

You have a purpose, you were made by My hand,

Please remember your Maker my friend.

 

Oh please – remember I love you My child, remember your Maker my friend.

 

Look What God Did

Look What God Did A

I believe the fingerprints of our actively loving God can be seen all over the events of our day. In fact, His presence is just begging to be discovered. Are you covered by the evidence of God’s presence? When was the last time you were singled out?

 

[tweetthis]Are you covered by the evidence of God’s presence?[/tweetthis]
I sat frozen in my mommy taxi position, literally holding my minion passengers hostage. The van tired squeeked to their halt. A deep sigh could be heard coming from our backseat 7 year-old driver. My heart was still going the speed limit, about to drive clear out of my mommy chest. We had all witnessed the amazing power of God and frankly, it was overwhelming. 
You see, earlier that morning, our blessed yet troublesome minivan made it all the way up to Orlando so my husband could visit with a family friend. He brought our youngest kiddo along and the two had an uneventful, blissful few hours together (needed side note – mommy got to spend time at the beach…alone). Our 4-wheel family companion sat parked in the driveway until I prepared to pick-up our older two from school, just a mere two hours later.
That was when God entered our day in a huge way.
The trip was moving along just fine as I picked-up our middle child and found my place in the elephant-trotting carpool conga line to grab our oldest. As soon as my kiddo flung open the cargo door, a light radiated the display screen. The warning chime, which honestly, should sound more alarming than a simply chime, is normal for our 4-wheeled friend. I knew this simply meant we needed to head home so all of us could rest. But it continued to decline.
As I pulled out of the parking lot – another light, another chime.
As we drove slightly faster than normal on our 2 mile track home, you guessed it – a third chime and another light.
The boys sat silent. As I gazed back in the rear view mirror, I saw three silent bobble heads. It honestly freaked me out a bit more than the disturbing chiming warning lights that now illuminated my dashboard.
Go gadget mommy brain! Wait…go? I can’t get it to ever turn off!
Compute…
Weird lights on dashboard….
Kids know something isn’t right…
Mommy knows something isn’t right…
Can we make it home? 
Should we try? 
Flashback – oh I remember sitting with three sweaty boys waiting for a tow truck. But a mom, all alone, with three scared boys, on the middle of a three lane highway is not where I wanted to be today. No. We were headed to home.
“Ummm mommy” my middle kiddo broke the thought train. “I…I…ummmm…I need to pee, bad” he exclaimed.
Of course you do. Now I do too. Awesome!
I don’t think I even answered him. I just pressed down harder on the gas pedal, gripped harder on the steering wheel and clung to God’s hand.
“God” I silently prayed, “Please just get us to a safe place…or a really big tree. My kid needs to pee. I need to pee. We will make it work. We are flexible. Just protect us right now.” 
Yes, mommy friends…you get this. You are out there nodding, smiling and you are agreeing right with me.
We turned two corners to our street, both turns of the steering wheel ended with yet another pleasant chime and another warning light. How in the world does our dashboard have so many lights? Seriously!
Just as our house came into view, another chime and you guessed it…another light.
I seriously heard laughter coming from the back seat. This melted my heart. With our driveway in view, my kiddo knew no matter what, we were going to be safe. I felt lighter in that moment. Though the next few minutes were completely uncertain, I could breathe.
As our minivan jumped the curb into the driveway, adrenaline pumped continually through my veins. We inched-up as close as we could get to the garage door and I switched the gears into park. No sooner had my pant left the big white “P” label, did our van collapse on the scene. With what seemed to be its last breath, it died. Right there. Running to completely silent. No lights. No motor. No a/c. Nothing.
My oldest’s comment broke the silence of that van death defining moment…
“Ooohhhh…mommy….look what God did” he yelled. I had heard this similar statement tattling on his brothers, but wait, he said God, right? As if he knew exactly what I was thinking, he mustered enough courage to repeat his bold statement and added, “Cause we made it home…boo yah!”
At that, the van erupted with cheers and boy screams. I’m pretty sure the neighbors were confused, more than our normal after school rampage. Yet, nobody was exiting the van. It’s as if we all wanted to stay in that moment there, with God, together.
I sat frozen in my mommy taxi position, literally holding my minions hostage. A deep sigh could be heard coming from our backseat 7 year-old driver. My heart was still going the speed limit, about to drive clear out of my mommy chest. We had all witnessed the amazing power of God and frankly, it was overwhelming.
Just a short time later after our middle kiddo reminded all of us of his need for either a potty or a tree, I found myself on the phone sharing what just occurred with a friend.
“That’s awful!” That’s the response our God experience granted from her viewpoint. No, we had no clue where our van would be going, why it stopped running or even next steps. But you see friends, she missed the obvious. She missed God in the midst of the mess! 
look what God did b
Our van could have died in Orlando with my husband and our youngest in its grips, flying down the interstate. Our van could have sent me spiraling down the highway with our three kids dinging our way to glory. There must be a million different ways this could have occurred, but God answered in a huge way. I saw that. My kids saw that. And after you see Him, you just can’t see the world the same again.
Why would you want to? 
Have you seen God? Oooohhhh…..what did God do? I would love to uncover His fingerprints in your life too! Share with me! 

I Survived To Thrive

i survivedAs I sat bouncing my 1 year-old youngest son in the doctor’s office, I expected another fairly routine checkup. He was my high-risk pregnancy miracle baby boy. I discovered I was pregnant just weeks after my final intense round of chemotherapy had ended. My oncologist was so disturbed by the situation he told me that it would be best in the interest of my health to terminate the pregnancy. Our healthy baby boy that doctors told me would not survive the first trimester in the womb is now a healthy, very active boy with mild to moderate bilateral hearing-loss. He is a miracle. I expected his pediatrician to echo this very thought to me as he had done previously on countless occasions. But this visit would be focused on my life.

As the pediatrician entered the room, he was holding papers close to his chest. Papers were never a good sign with my medical past. I was a survivor. After entering this world with abstract vision-loss, severe hearing-loss, a small right arm and then the added flare of chemo, radiation, a pacemaker, blood tests, CT scans and who knows what else – I despise test results given in-person. It pretty much means bad news. I braced myself and my son for what I was about to hear.

….. Read the rest of my story on my guest post today with my friend Holly Barrett’s “Testimony Tuesday”!

Holly Barrett

 

I’m With You

Resting_In_His_Word_Wednesday.JPG

Sometimes I see God in the messiest corners of our little southern home – in places my three boys have completely ravished. I see God in the forts they build and never manage to fully demolish. I hear Him through their laughter, even if the garden hose has secretly been turned on, after bath time. I thank God through their tears and sweat…as I really thank God these smells don’t come from a Heavenly dimension…seriously…that can stay right here in my opinion.

“Bethany, I AM with you.”

Yet, there are days in the motion of my never ending mommy madness that I briefly fall into the lie that I am in this whirlwind by myself. Especially during those hard days when storms may draw near, errands seem never ending, homework becomes a battle cry and I feel defeated.

All moms I believe have encountered this moment several times over.

But that’s why God surrounds us moms with mess – His amazing mess, filled continually with His Message if we can only take notice.

“Bethany, I AM with you.”

Tonight I was rushing to clear plates from the dinner table as our youngest sat lavishing his final few bites of pure bliss. After most of the dishes were washed and put away, I turned to see this sight…

What echoed through my mind immediately literally made me stop and laugh out loud.

Yes, I literally stood in-front of our youngest, with a sincere, yet genuine mommy smile and said, “Thank God it’s only pudding!” Those of us moms with boys know that color can mean big trouble…and we have all been there a time too many no doubt!

Yet, as I stood there, feeling this smile on my scurried face, it felt so perfect, inviting and calm. I wanted to just stay right here, in this place for just a few more moments. As I looked at my little “Pudding Cup” I noticed that God had provided more than just a moment for me to breathe, but a victory to celebrate. You see, our youngest was born just like his proud mommy sharing bilateral hearing-loss. Mommy wears her hearing-aids but our youngest has fought to the point of pulling out his hair to wear his devices. He is over 2 years-old and is just now tolerating wearing them for more than a few hours a day.

As I looked at him, I noticed the bright specs of blue poking out of his ears. He had made it from noon until dinner wearing his hearing-aids – an amazing achievement! I had been moving so fast through meetings and business agendas that somehow I placed him in his high hair without even checking to see if his aids were still on. Yet, there they were in the midst of a mountain of brown pudding mess.

Our mess.

His Message.

“Bethany, I AM with you.” 

[tweetthis]Our mess. His message. “Bethany, I AM with you.” [/tweetthis]

I wonder as moms how many of us really ever stop long enough to openly combat this relentless lie the enemy is constantly shouting through our everyday chaos? Have you bought into the lie that you are alone?

If so, know I have been there too…so many times. You are not alone. 

That’s right. The Great I AM, the Creator, Everlasting God and Abba Daddy is with you, in this mess…right now. 

A few of His messages to me that I keep close to my heart as I continue along this journey he has called me to as a mom:

Bethany, I – the Lord your God am living among you. I AM a mighty Savior. I will take delight in you, Bethany, with gladness. With My love, I will calm all your fears. Bethany, I will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT)

 For My Word holds true, Bethany, and you can trust everything I do. (Psalms 33:4 NLT)

Bethany, praise Me as your Lord; praise Me as your Savior! For each day I carry you -Bethany- in My arms. (Psalms 68:19 NLT)

Bethany, I have searched you and I know you. I know when you sit and when you rise; I perceive your thoughts from afar. I discern your going out and your lying down; I AM familiar with all your ways Bethany. Before a word is on your tongue I know it completely. I hem you in behind and before, and I lay My hand upon you. Bethany, where can you go from My Spirit? Where can you flee from My presence? (‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭1-7‬ NIV)

I literally have an entire Evernote (a free notes app) document with well over 120 personalized passages tagged for easy reference. There is power in having His Word so close when I need it the most.

Yet, what an amazing moment it is to hear Him whisper “I’m with you Bethany” through the mess! There is not a corner of my kids toenails that God hasn’t blessed, a crack in our tile He hasn’t seen or a mud stain so deep beyond His repair. God is our safe place, dear weary moms. Let His Word carry you through your day whispering His invitation through your mess – “I AM with you.”

And I’m with you too.

HIS Big Day

Last week, I allowed you to sit with me the moment I learned about my pregnancy just weeks after completing my final chemo treatment. It was a day I will never forget, but one I held very deep in my heart. In fact, until last week, it was a moment I had never really shared openly.

We tend to do that, don’t we?

The moments that mean so much to us and redefine our faith, we cherish next to our heart.

And we should.

But…

You are cutting God short. You see, that work He did in your life can change the lives of others. If your story is indeed part of His story, it has His power flowing through every word when it is shared. You have experienced the hands of God in a way maybe others never even thought possible. What if your moment was meant to be experienced by others? What if this great work He has done in you still needs to flow through you?

[tweetthis]If your story is part of His story, it has His power flowing through every word when it is shared.[/tweetthis]

Since posting the first video, I was part of a Toastmasters Area speech contest. God used the making of these videos last week to remind me that Matthew’s birthday was actually on the day of my speech contest. Perhaps this could be His big day? No, not Matthew’s. Notice I’m referring to the big H. Could I actually trust God enough to tell my cancer story infront of a room of people, judges and family? Keeping in mind this is an emotional event and there is just no way to talk about this portion of my life without God’s role. How would this be viewed? Was I ready to go here with Him again?

Last Saturday was His big day. I actually had three prayer warriors storming the Throne praying I could make it through the pressure of that day. I remember standing in the back of the room, waiting to be introduced. Usually the flood of nerves kicks-in. They still attempted a take-over but I was reminded that this was His story, not mine. I’ve never given such a big, close to my momma’s heart speech feeling completely in His control. The words came flawlessly. It was one of those experiences I knew was God orchestrated because I can’t deliver what occurred. And frankly, that’s the awesome part!

Has He made a mark in your life? Have you shared His story? Is it time you gave Him His big day?

Below is the video I made for Gail Swinson’s “A Mother’s Love” book release party last week. It’s so incredibly surreal what God has done through my little breaking of a comfort zone through these videos. And you know, He can do the same for you too.

Love you all! See you next week!

(For those reading this post through email, please click HERE if you cannot view the video above)