I started realizing that things were changing within my heart after my original surgery was cancelled (Dec 5) There are about five other blog posts in that alone so I am not going to go full on detail there and just leave you with something was amiss.  It wasn’t just the fact that my physical health was in shambles, or that I hasn’t worked since October and was living on pure faith to have EVERYTHING paid for.  Which if you have ever done you can join me in saying it’s not at all an easy “just give it to God” 

I have been in therapy with the same rockstar therapist since May of 2011. Our work together, combined with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit being central has been incredible.  Her ability to know when I need empathy, grace, love, her to be a champion, a voice, an advocate has been integral.  So her being very directive and confrontational only comes when it’s a serious matter of me needing it.  I was stuck and I needed to hear it.  I railed against her, yelled, swore at her.  Told her I was going to leave and never come back and she reminded me that I knew where the door was.  Yet in that moment I knew she was right.  I was stuck.  I was between moving forward as the woman God intended me to be which was FREE from all things binding or staying captive to the abuse. Staying trapped to the lack of boundaries, the people who stole my voice, the church who trampled on my ability to be a free woman who is allowed to voice a truth the GOD gave her and know that it’s from God himself and not some “crazy blogger lady” (said with love for all my interweb sisters who are a part of my journey) There was a lot more to my being stuck than just finding my identity but that’s the purpose of what I am writing here.

Once you have already decided that you are not going to live under the identity of who and what someone else expects you to be it’s like all of a sudden these doors open up and the pathway was there. It had always there but God was waiting for me to see what lies I had been believing and today was going to be the day when you said NO MORE.  It took a loving, Holy Spirit filled woman and A LOT of Twitter friends to help me see that there was so much more out there than trying to fit into an image that was never supposed to be mine.

I did not know or realize that there was anything “wrong” with what I was hearing and believing because I was born again into the evangelical, conservative Christian Church.  So I went from bring a super liberal “everything flies in my book” drug addict to having the purse strings tightened and being told that I should cover my tattoos when I went on stage at church to speak for the Maternity home as one of their “success stories” for Mothers Day.  I was told I had to be a republican, I had to spank my child because the bible states “spare the rod, spoil the child and if you don’t they will grow up to be heathens.  I heard a lot of this in the very beginning, right after I gave my life to Christ.  Living in the home we were at church nearly everyday of the week so I was surrounded by it.  When I moved back to Colorado when Abs was three months old it got even worse.  I had no more Christian bubble so it was really me against them.

For the next five years I tried so hard to do it the right way.  I wanted so badly to be the good little church girl.  The girl who had her 3×5 verses flip card so I could memorize the verses that were going to get me out of my depression, because I was told that it’s a spiritual thing and that if I take medication I am not trusting God enough.  But I was suicidal and I was told to PRAY HARDER.  It came down to playing the part to get it right because I just wanted God to love me.  I was so scared of going back to the drug addicted girl that I used to be that I would repeatedly tell God how much I loved Him and was so thankful for His sacrifice that saved me.  My first two or three journals from after my salvation are filled with the exact, NO JOKE exact same things.  ”God I love you.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for the cross.  Lord I just want to do your will, show me what that is”  And not that telling Him that or saying those things were wrong but I was stuck in this trap with people around me telling me it was a “do this and do that and try harder even”  Otherwise the rug was going to fall out and I was going straight back to smoking crack.

My next thought, or how I was directed was to get a mentor.  That sounded lovely, directional, someone to guide me along. My problem was I was looking for a mom and looking back these women just wanted me to be like them.  The good little church girl.  I had to grow up.  I could pierce my nose because grown up’s don’t do that.  Grown up’s don’t dress like like skaters and my appearance was too dark.  I needed to soften it up.  I didn’t realize that even though I was changing, it was because I wanted to be like these women.  Good, strong ministry women.  I wanted a platform.  To speak, teach and maybe even one day have a speaking circuit where I spoke to thousands of women.  Because this was what was spoken over me.  That God had brought me through SO MUCH that He was for sure going to big things with my life.  I started believing them.  I was going to be like Beth Moore and have this huge platform

I lived this way for almost six thinking that I had to be like this woman, or that woman, or had to listen that music.  That I couldn’t make a decision on my own because if I did it was going to be wrong because I didn’t take it through the proper filters.  I started noticing things were amiss when I made the comment that I could be sexy and still be Godly.  Apparently that is the wrong answer in some circles.  Then I brought out the big guns.  I said so boldly one night that I thought that there would homosexuals in heaven that hadn’t changed their sexual orientation.  Well shit you’da thought I’d dropped an A Bomb on the place.  I got a lovely hand pat and a bless your heart we need to have a repentance talk.  But it was this summer, this illness, this time with God alone where I started to see that I, as a woman have more of a voice than church wanted me to believe.  They wanted me, and other women to stay silent for fear of what would happen if we started talking.  And look, look what’s happened.  Us sisters are talking and speaking and our voices are growing louder and they can’t stop us.  This is the identity I have been searching and longing for this whole time.  Where I have a voice and it matters.

As Always,

Bethany

PS: Just to point out this post was written with a bag of orange skittles and orange starburst to get me through.  Abs knows that the orange are my favorite and saves them for me.  That’s a good kid I’m raising right there. 

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