Guard Your Heart

Guard your heart above all else,

for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)

Sometimes spending time immersed with something you love results in a heart change. In my case, that “something” I've been enjoying lately has been extra time with my husband Steve and of course our two boys. To go nearly a year on and off bed rest, going to and from treatments, days living in the recliner, days I could barely get out of bed at all…days I literally shut off communication with those closest to me because I myself was scared…those days. To go from that to completely energized, excited, planning fun things for Steve and I to do when he gets his break from school, having a BLAST with him and the kids in Orlando at the NACC! My days are going by SO quick now…and to think I almost missed this heart-reshaping opportunity.

Just a few short weeks ago, I found myself sick, barely walking straight and feeling worse than I had in a VERY long time. I was tired, beyond frustrated and nothing seemed to be equating any answers. It was suggested to me…okay, it wasn't suggested, it was mandatory that I take a month off of my duties at church with pay. I still remember trying to get out of it thinking, “There's no way…they can't do that to me…they NEED me!” We all are needed at our jobs, that's why we have one…but I had no idea how much my family really needed me more. My priorities were completely and utterly out of wack and it was plain to see from those around me…I'm glad I was put in my place at the right time.

Because I was sick, I couldn't do work even if I wanted to. So I slept. then I headed to my miracle weekend of treatment for my official “GBS” diagnosis. It took a few days to kind of “test the waters” of my ability going, ” There is no way I can be feeling THIS good!” I'm still feeling JUST as good if not better tonight, still resting here in my same comfy chair, but looking at pictures Steve and I have hung around our house, looking at dirty ice-cream dishes from our keeping the kids up just a while longer snack, smiling at the picture I took of the boys during our bike ride today…

What you define in your heart asmost important to you does indeed shape your life. YOU tell your heart…your mind is SO powerful and you do have a choice to decide the rank of important people and things in your life. I feel like God has truly given me a second chance to reorganize my heart and in return live the abundant life He has called me to live.

Sometimes, being in ministry, I feel the need to be on-call 24/7 which sends my husband and kids to the back burner. It's been SO easy to do at our current ministry (I say our because our family is in this together). Our church has become a tight family with us during this past year…loving our entire family in ways I could never imagine. I just now feel like I really grasp the reality of the church established in Acts…I always thought of it as a goal, never really a reality. Our church has become extended family to us…BUT sometimes I said “yes” more to our church family than I did to my own. My heart was led to thinking, “God called me into this role so my family will understand” when in reality, God called me as a child of His first, a wife second, a mother third and everything else falls in fourth. Like I said, my priorities were a little out of wack.

I can't begin to tell you what an AMAZING month this has been! I remember thinking on July 4th -I'm going to be SO bored and lonely…I really need to get work done! Today, I still haven't really done much ministry-related tasks…except show-up at family activities (I kind of feel like a normal church member…WOW!). Without needing to balance this idea that I was needed somewhere else, after I started feeling better our family started reconnecting…and after the year we've had, WE NEEDED THIS!!! I started trying new recipes, Steve and I have been working on the house together, we have taken the boys a few places…but Saturdays are OUR time…and I REALLY like it!!! I've never had the opportunity to reshape my heart and work out my callings, in order, with God. I am so thankful for this time I had to get my life back together from literally the ground up. I am thankful for a church that has leaders so bold to conquer this task and see it through. I'm glad to be at PBCC, but I love my husband and kids more to see I'm going to have to slow down and put them first again. Oh the joys of balancing!

I'm not sure if anyone in ministry, with a young family truly has this balance thing figured out. Now add in a new house, a year of life-threatening illness, a husband in nursing school and two boys (yes, gender DOES make a difference) both under the age of 5…well, I've written myself a recipe for insanity! Whew…good thing others out there looked in and saw what I needed, when I needed it the most…even when I couldn't understand it at ALL at the time.

So, how are you? Are your priorities in line? Are you trying to spin just one too many plates? Spending too much time away from family? Need a heart transformation? Just remember, others do see your heart…you can't hide it! You may think you can…but be warned, what is in the heart truly does become known to others in due time. Catch yourself now…or maybe there is someone you care about going down the wrong path – take care of your heart, don't let your heart lead you astray.

And for those wondering…I'm still in a project with Caden's room, but I've been assigned some AMAZING opportunities for the Fall at PBCC! So, don't worry…I'll be working myself back in to things SLOWLY…but all I have to say is that the Fall at PBCC is going to be such an awakening experience…I'm GLAD to be here and part of it right now! Gods timing is just perfect!

Bethany is an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor to women and an author. Bethany defines herself as a child of God who loves to use her passion for change to inspire others. She has overcome disabilities, wading through the trials and rewards of marriage and motherhood. She enjoys being a wife to Steve for 10 years and mother to three boys (ages 7, 5 and 2). She is a double brain cancer survivor, a 9 year veteran in the field of youth and children's ministry and has published poetry, featured blog posts for numerous ministry websites and children's ministry curriculum contributions. Bethany is currently working on her first book to be released this Fall as well as various freelancing projects. Bethany always welcomes new coaching clients and speaking opportunities!