Category Archives: adventure

the hope adventure LAUNCHES!

Hi friends –

Do you ever get to the end of a journey (which is really just the beginning) and wonder how you got there? I’m in that place right now and the only-sometimes-obvious answer is, “by taking one step at a time.”

Really that’s the only way we can do it. And I’m thankful, because otherwise, life would be too overwhelming!

But speaking of journeys and beginnings… I want to announce to you that I launched my podcast today! It’s called The Hope Adventure and is a place where we’ll explore the truth that The Greatest Adventure is His Presence.

I travel a lot. When I do, my parents always bid me adieu at the airport or in the driveway with the same encouragement, “Go find another story.” ⁣⁣

This podcast is a culmination of those stories and the deep spiritual meaning that can be found in a simple story.⁣⁣

I believe that God is always speaking to us if we would just tune our hearts and ears to listen. My prayer is that this podcast helps us do that together. ⁣⁣

And if nothing else, if you just want someone to pray over you weekly. Listen in. There will always be a moment for that.  ⁣⁣

[To listen, click on the link above or visit iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, or Stitcher, and search The Hope Adventure.⁣]

Please subscribe and leave a review so that more people can join us as well! ⁣⁣

Let’s adventure together…

x Bethany

He Is & Always Will Be: Thoughts from the Spring ‘Fire’ of 2013

ImageMany of you know that I went through a difficult & challenging season in the Spring of 2013, where I experienced a deceptive & dangerous ‘gospel’ first-hand as a staff member of a mega-church.

I don’t believe in bad-mouthing institutions (I use that word intentionally because this was one of those ‘church run as a business/institution’ not as a church kind of situations).

I DO believe in speaking the truth… & the following is what I felt God was saying to me through my experience there. It’s a strong reminder that the Church is about HIM & must always come back to JESUS.

 
“WARNING! Do not align your hearts to the deceptive culture…
that says wealth is your reward for serving Me…
that says comfort is the means to life…
that says Jesus is the way but requires loyalty to a leader…
that says we support orphans but we stay in luxury hotels because dirt under our fingertips ruins our manicured nails…
that says ‘Spirit, come’ & then the clock runs out…
that says we see God but we don’t bow our heads to pray for even 3 minutes in a 3 hour meeting…
that says take a step towards Him, but make sure you are wearing the right shoes… 
that says we welcome you, but only special people can come in & sit at the front…
that says we are the church, but you can only be a part if you do it our way…
that says be a part of us, but first sign your name & serve our leader…
that says Jesus’ words bring life, but we quote our leader more than the Jesus because he’s quippy & creative…
that says we’re here to build the Kingdom but the only empire to be seen is the one that stands empty 5 days a week & shines with the glitz and glamour of high-dollar…
that says it’s all about ‘the reach’ but only to fill empty front-row seats to present a good ‘look’ for the TV cameras… 
YOU SEE, THE CHURCH IS ABOUT ME. I WILL NOT TOLERATE A MAN-MADE EMPIRE THAT ROBS MY GLORY, THAT DISTORTS THE TRUTH IN A GREY JOYLESS VEIL, MAKING ROBOTS OUT OF MEN. JESUS IS MY GLORY. WE ARE & ALWAYS WILL BE. THE SANDS OF TIME BLOW AWAY, BUT WE REMAIN. WE ARE THE BRIGHT MORNING STAR, SHINING OUR GLORY FROM AGE TO AGE. WE REQUIRE SOLD-OUT HEARTS & LIVES, NOT EMPTY WORDS. EMPTY WORDS BRING DESTRUCTION; ONLY OUR WORDS BRING WORDS OF TRUE LIFE.
Reflecting on 2013 today, I find myself utterly grateful for God’s grace & redemption this year…
That despite the fires & trials of life, He is & always will be. 
That through the storms of life, He is & always will be. 
That through the deceptions (though well-intentioned), He is & always will be. 
That when I feel lost & floating, He is & always will be. 
That when I have no idea what’s around the corner, He is & always will be. 
That when life looks different that what I imagined, He is & always will be. 
That above ALL ELSE, He is & always will be. 
That God always speaks truth because He is & always will be. 
I am ever grateful for His truth, His guiding, His providence. Praise be to God & may His Church glorify HIM and no one else.
“Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands & step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Here’s to an Irresistible Future with Him in 2014! Be blessed.
Bethany x
 
 
 
 

  

I am the Limbo Queen.

DSC00066

As a child of the 80s, I spent many hours under the roof of a place called “Skateland,” celebrating my friends’ birthdays & sometimes my own. This place smelled of old skates, popcorn, & sticky fingers.

Put my chicken legs in a pair of roller skates & my permed locks looked like a blur speeding by as I raced around the rink. I loved skating. There was something about the thrill of negotiating sharp turns on wheels & managing to stay upright.

But as much as I loved the speed, I loved ‘Limbo’ even more.

You know what I’m talking about: the ‘rink rats’ (a term my friend who formerly worked at a skating rink lovingly calls himself!) would gather us all into the middle of the rink & pull out the ‘Limbo’ pole (usually decorated with pink & purple pom-poms for girl parties). They would then blast the “Limbo Rock” by Chubby Checker & those of us little limber people were on our way to winning the prize: free ice cream at the skate bar!

Genetics gave me chicken legs & a skinny frame which, admittedly, worked in my favor for winning ‘Limbo.’ I was pretty bendy & could avoid that pole like a hot potato. I had a knack for doing that insane roller-split move that seems incredibly impossible to my not-so-limber self these days.

In any case, I usually ranked in the Top 3 if I didn’t make it home covered in ice-cream goo from winning the prize.

As much as I love the thrill of negotiating the turns of life these days (while managing to stay upright!), I had a conversation last night where I was jokingly told my career/profession was ‘being in limbo.’ I guffawed at this, but thought ‘Yes, if that was a profession, I’d be the Queen.’ (And I’d probably take the cake, too, but simply because I love cake. Especially birthday cakes. Especially at skating rinks. I digress…)

But seriously. I am the Limbo Queen.

Despite the fact that I grew up in a very stable environment (same house from 2-24 years, parents with an incredible marriage, a family that was fun & hilarious, grandparents who were very involved in my life, friends from childhood to now, etc.), I have spent the past 10 years living in ‘limbo.’

Many of you know that my travel/international living resume includes the following (with stints in the USA dotted in between):

  • France -03-’04
  • Switzerland – ’05-’08
  • South Africa – ’08-’09
  • Australia – ’09-’11
  • England – ’12-’13

All that to say, I’ve consistently been on the move, pondering what, when, & where is next. Wondering when that pole just might fall on top of me, or when my flexibility will fail me & I’ll come crashing to the ground, wheels spinning & ankles hurting from trying to bend in places that don’t bend anymore.

People talk about seasons of transition like their long-lost relative they haven’t seen in awhile. My seasons of transition are more like my best friend that I see & talk to every single day.

I am in a constant state of transition. I am in a relationship with Limbo.

I am the first to tell people that I ‘thrive in the unknowns of life.’ But lately, the ‘unknowns’ have been smacking me in the face, as if trying to wake me up from some sleepy day-dreamy daze. I’m opening my eyes slowly, one at a time, because too much light, too quick, stings at first.

Because normally for me, the ‘unknown’ comes in a package that is beautifully wrapped with the flag of another country.

The ‘unknown’ for me right now is a place that I actually ‘know’ pretty well. My hometown, where I grew up. Where I spent my foundational years doing just that, living on a foundation of stability.

And yet, it feels very ‘unknown.’ I’m in a season where there are lots of NEW things in my life, lots of uncertainties, lots of choices, lots of paths. And it is all happening in a place, that in some regards, feels more ‘unknown’ to me than any of these other places before.

So, like I said, I am the Queen of Limbo. And I still like it, but sometimes I just wish that the song would finish, the pole would drop & someone would win that free ice-cream already. I really hope it’s me. And I hope it comes with birthday cake.

Sometimes Singleness. [thoughts from the thick of July 2013]

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 5.39.12 PMSometimes.

Sometimes singleness is a drag.

Sometimes singleness is one of the most thrilling, freeing adventures of my life.

Every day is a choice. Some days it’s harder to choose ‘adventure’ over focusing on the things I don’t have in my life… i.e. husband.

I just spent the last 10 days serving with a phenomenally talented group of artists & musicians at 6,000 feet in Littleton, Colorado. We led worship, hosted a Kidz Worship & Arts Camp, & sang with our cover band, “Rumblestone,” at festivals & in a juvenile detention center.

Something about turning your back on your normal routine long enough to allow God to take you to an open space (mission trip, vacation, etc.) is very healing for perspective. I was yet again reminded of the goodness of God, and more importantly that this life is not about me. It’s about Him & therefore it’s about serving others.

But I always find it strange to come off the adventure of fresh perspective & ‘good feelings’ from a mission trip & step back into a current reality that has lots of challenges. Right after my trip, I immersed myself into the social scene of spending 1 1/2 days with 3 of my best childhood friends & their sweet kiddos. They are all incredible wives & mothers (& well, people, in general). But despite this fact, I always struggle to focus on the fact that life isn’t about me when I’m surrounded by friends & peers who seem way further ahead in life than me.

My broken-record mantra to people usually goes something like this: “I don’t have a house, a husband, a car, or a job (currently!); I own clothes, shoes, & my computer. Oh… and I get to travel the world on adventure with God.” I find myself speaking this phrase to people as a matter of admitting that I know culture declares I’m ‘behind the curve.’ But I also say it so that my ears can hear an audible reminder that my life is amazing. It is the ultimate adventure. And when my surroundings taunt me with ‘you are missing out on life, Bethany,’ God gently reminds me that He IS life… living in me.

*I’ve literally been ‘behind the curve’ in my attempts to blog this summer, so take this as a belated post. I will write more soon that’s more apt & accurate to my shifting season of life.

Fireflies in London.

Prayer walking on the village green

There are little moments in my life that bring shimmer to my soul like flickering little fireflies. Of course we can’t live our everyday lives in hopes that they would always feel like that. But we can live in hopes that those little moments would give us the spark that’s needed to once again awake our sleeping passions & inspire us to BE as we were created to be.

I’ve had countless ‘firefly’ moments in the past 9 days:

  • Sitting on a train into London talking through life, culture, & spirituality with an Iranian family
  • Being exposed to patriotism & loyalty in a way that I’ve never experienced before while walking 4 miles along sardine-packed streets of millions to stand in a giant field in the freezing cold rain to watch the Queen wave from her balcony for 5 minutes (not to mention watching every other Diamond Jubilee event on the TV!)
  • Walking across the Goldhill common in my little village, praying blessing & God’s goodness over the 1000s of lives that will be attending our “Run the Race” Olympic community festival
  • Exploring the way God takes our little offering & makes it big amongst a group of diverse & international leaders across various ministry focuses in a place titled the “Grace Bar”
  • Smiling as a Latin band jumped on the underground & wooed us with their smooth sounds (apparently though normal in Paris, it seemed a rarity here because everyone pulled out their phone cameras to capture the moment)
  • Gleaning from the passion of church members & volunteers that have committed their time & energy to loving people as Jesus does, even in nations where their lives are on the line

This is one of the beautiful things about displacing myself out of my context, into a place where I don’t understand things naturally, and therefore become a keen observer. By God’s grace & strength in my life, it results in this flood of soul-igniting moments.

I’ve only been treading the green grass of this village for barely over a week now, but I am expectant for more firefly moments… more glimpses of God in this new, fresh (a tiny bit chilly!) everyday.

Praying for nations to be touched by nations

House of Parliament

Bethany

My Next… wherever. whenever. whatever.

For those of you who know me well, you realize that I am intoxicated by movement… change… newness. I’m sure you have your own opinion of this aspect of my life, but I chalk it up to a very dangerous prayer that I prayed back in 2007…

“God, I will go wherever you ask… whenever you ask… to do whatever you ask. I don’t care what I must sacrifice. I am Yours. Send me.” 

Just re-typing these words sends shivers down my spine because I realize how REAL the outcome of that prayer has been in my life. I have been honored and blessed and privileged to live in lots of amazing countries, and even more blessed with the friendships I have gained.

In my life, I’ve come to realize that, on one hand, the sacrifice IS relationship. And on the other, the gain IS relationship. And just as with other parts of our lives… it’s about GIVE and TAKE. So…

My next “wherever” is LONDON, England.

My next “whenever” is Friday (June 1st).

My next “whatever” is serving with Gold Hill church: leading worship, helping to build their 18-35’s community, project coordination for a 2-week Olympic outreach community festival, & assisting with a cafe/pub church plant in the heart of London (Picadilly Circus).

I’m on the move always changing, chasing an unchanging God who is always on the move and always there.

Delivery.

We all have secret dreams, visions, and desires planted deep within the soil of our fertile hearts. And sometimes the soil of our hearts is so rich and thick, that those dreams get buried or pushed aside, to be forgotten for ages.

And I find that when I’m in a season of waiting, it’s really easy to become numb to the pulsating of those buried dreams. It’s easy to become engrossed in day-to-day living that actually results in pseudo living. Because when I think about real living, I think about life that comes out of heart and soul, infused with passion and drive, and a conviction that won’t let you stop to breathe.

I think about the vivid color of summer strawberries, and want my life to look just as vivid. I think about the zesty taste of a lemon, and want my life to taste just as zesty.

And as I’ve been mulling about how life can so quickly become mundane, I was aptly reminded by our great God, that He says in His word: “Do I bring the moment of birth & not give delivery?” (Isaiah 66:9)

That’s right.

All the things stirring in my heart are not things I planted there. They are not things I gave birth to; they are things that God has given birth to.

And so I am claiming this verse for all of us… those of us who feel like the dreams once birthed in our hearts have died… those of us who feel like our passions have been covered with dirt… those of us who are convinced that our desires are starting to rot…

I proclaim that God has brought birth, for the purpose of DELIVERY. So even now, He is working to restore your dreams, renew your hope, and breathe life into death. Birth = delivery. AMEN.