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Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words

Month

September 2013

Dancing in the flames

This voice is unfamiliar.  So much so that at times I feel caught off guard by it. By her.  By this truth that she is standing on a rock proclaiming.

This newfound ability to know what is setting her free and that it’s not the misguided, wounded words from the past is frightening sometimes.

Yet at the same time it’s a deep inhalation of Grace.

Grace like I wrote about after my #holyshowerwater moment the other night

“Grace ROARS

But is gentle

Grace is impassioned and empowered

Grace is solid and fluid

Grace is a Lion and a Lamb

Grace is Bravery in broken moments

Grace is love”

The days are all hard right now.  There are no breaks in the pain.  No moments away to breathe, to rest or to find solitude.  Even though I am by myself a lot, I am LONELY and my cup is d.r.y.

I feel overwhelmed by the simplest tasks, tired and very irritated when things don’t go the way I hope they will.  In tiredness and frustration and MASS amounts of pain I try to remember another moment in the shower.

I thought about the words I had written on the wall.

“Brokenness is bravery when found in Holy and Sacred places”

Bravery

Courage

ROARing

Those words are spoken to me and prayed over me so often but they feel thick on my tongue.  Like a new language.  Funny,  as I sit and write I have Katy Perry’s new song “Roar” on auto play in my head.

“Stinging like a bee I’ve earned my stripes”

“I went from zero, to my own hero”

“Dancing through the fire”

That’s the line that gets me (among others)

I think of the story in Daniel (Chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach and I call him Abed ) Where they were thrown in the fire for not obeying the king (if I am wrong about that, let me know.  I am not up on my OT bible stories)

I digress.

Point being in Daniel 3:27 it says that they came out with no smell of smoke on them.  I remember being told by someone that once I was healed I would no longer smell like smoke.  The smoke of my past I suppose she meant.  I would no longer be a “victim”

But what if I want to smell like smoke?

What if I want to dance in the fire and smell of the dance?  Come out with my hair blackened with soot, my skin reddened by the heat of the flames.  What if I do come out smelling, burnt and scarred?

At least I danced.

Danced to the other side.

War is not pretty, it’s ugly and no one comes out without scars.  I have several on the outside.  There are the scars on my arms from the years that I tried to war alone.  I have a five inch scar up the side on my right thigh and an eight inch scar up the back of my skull from brain surgery seven months ago.  Those scars are part of why I keep fighting.

I smell like smoke right now.  My skin is red and my hair black (literal and figurative)

Some day’s the flames are higher than others.  My life is dirty, as is the ground around the fire.  Some days I dance and some days I am lying flat on my back because I cannot get up the strength to move.  And that’s okay.

Because I am STILL HERE.  Once I felt the flames of healing, even knowing they were painful; I knew I did not want to walk back the other way.

Today; 9/24/3013…..

I want to disengage.

Delete my Facebook, stay off twitter.  Hide behind the screen watching Netflix because today I am not doing okay.

I NEED HELP.

Yet I know in naming those feelings, in the calling out of my own need to hide that I am further along than I was a year ago, even six months ago.

My thinking is still black and white when it comes to certain hurts, wounds and how I feel triggers and want to respond when my thinking still feels very black and white.

Yet I know that in this process of healing and #thrashing it out that it’s okay to feel the feelings I have.  To experience them on a level I was never ALLOWED to before.  Expose them to the light of Jesus and cover them with the balm of His grace.

What is hard is that even as I type these words out, to share with you; I am having a hard time allowing them to soak into my spirit.

So I will keep telling myself over and over again that it’s ok to feel hurt, to feel sad and to experience those feelings.

I know that it won’t always hurt like this.

I have chosen to dance, like a mad lady.  With my arms up, soaking in the spirit even when it hurts, when I do not always believe that He is in it with me.

I will ROAR loudly, because I have lost the willingness to continue stifling myself and allowing my feelings to be invalidated.

I am not wrong.

I will get up.

I will use my words because God gave them to me for a reason and…….

DAMMIT I’m gonna dance in that FIRE.

As Always,

Bethany

Nightmares and Other Random Stuff

I had nightmares last night.  AGAIN.  It is not a new thing that I toss, turn and tremble about in my sleep.  I have come to learn that it’s my brain’s way of fleshing out and healing the deeply buried trauma.

The ones I had last night were different.  They were about my words, this sacred space and the things I post here.  Even though I have found my voice and and allowing myself to ROAR I struggle every time I hit publish.

Second guess myself.

“Should I say this”

“What are they going to think?”

It’s long been hard for me to say what I am truly thinking about, what is deeply felt within me for fear of it being thrown back in my face, called ugly, terrible or the worst….

MY FAULT

The nightmares I had last night were about people commenting on my posts and saying nasty things about me, my words and my heart.

I posted an extremely raw post yesterday and admittedly was upset when the views on facebook went up but it did not seem as though it was being read or heard.  It was an tough and albiet graphic subject matter.  Understandably some may not be able to read that. 

I felt like I had put my heart on the table and then it laid there, naked, bleeding and cold.

Then as I was lying in bed I got a Vox from someone whose writing and friendship I am deeply greatful for:

“I read your post.  I love you, I am glad we are friends”

I was heard.  Then again, by these fellow life travelers whose hands are all bound together by the same spirit.

“I love you”

“I am thankful for your story, your words.  For YOU”

I am learning that my desire to write is not about the person reading it but my heart. What I need to say, how I have to flesh out my heart and soul through words.  I do not always articulate things very well when I speak but when I write I sometimes feel as though I am able to communicate on a different level with people, with God and now with myself.

I suppose my nightmares were maybe more about me not hearing me.  And being afraid of what my own heart was saying after sharing my experience with suicide.

It’s a common factor among bloggers ( at least for me it was ) to want to be famous, a top dog blogger and get to go to all those super cool blogger conferences and get super sweet swag.  Okay maybe there is still a part of me that wants that.  I don’t lie here on my blog.  The title is Truth Be Told so….

I want swag, and conferences and one of those cool score thingy’s (I forget what they are called)

I digress.

Baring my soul is tough shit.  I cannot do it alone.  Yet I have had some amazing conversations this week about what my desire to write is about, where it’s coming from and what I really want to do with it.

For now I am going to do it here.  Bare it all, piece by piece, layers.  Like a trifle 🙂

If someone comes and says something hurtful, harsh or mean then I suppose I have to take a step back and look at it from on outward perspective, which is what I am trying to do in many areas of my life.

AND sometimes I say harsh, hurtful and snarky things so “Bethany, point taken”

Also I swtiched to black tea today over coffee so I feel like I lost my mojo halfway through this post.  Which makes it awesome that I am not a top dog blogger because then my followers would be like

“What the WHAT? Did you have a ghost writer today?”

Also I am not typing this on my computer.  I am downstairs in the business center, on the crappy computers and somehow there is no spell check.  SO I am sure there are misspelled words and bad grammer, but hey #messyisthenewbeautiful

As Always,

Bethany

 

We are more than just stories… We are names and faces

*** TRIGGER WARNING.  GRAPHIC MENTIONS OF SUICIDE AND SUICIDE ATTEMPTS ***

Eric Charles Parra.

March 9, 1994

It’s been 19 years and I still tear up when I say his name.  I still remember every single detail about the day I found out he was gone.  I remember what I was wearing the day before, when I hugged him before I left school.  Then he went home, went into his closet and took his life.

I had only known the pain of death once before.  It was my great grandmother and she was older.  This was different.  He was 13, I was 12.  He took his own life, in his closet, his brother found him and tried to save him but couldn’t.  I tried to grieve but couldn’t.  I still struggle.  Not just with his death but with my own struggles with thoughts and attempts at taking my own life.

The first time I tried to kill myself was a year later.  I was 13, in 8th grade and I lied on my bedroom floor and swallowed an entire bottle of anti-depressants that I was given “to help me concentrate” I awoke in a pool of my own vomit that in the night I had apparently tried to clean up myself.  My mom came in to make sure I was awake, saw the vomit and said “Oh it looks like you got sick last night”

I don’t know where the pill bottle went.

I went to school that day and slept through every single class.  No one said anything.  No teacher noticed, or called my parents to ask why I literally slept through school AT school.

I was not noticed.  It wasn’t the first time and it would not be the last.

When hope is devoid everywhere you look there doesn’t seem to be anything to live for.  There wasn’t anything to live for, for the next 12 years.

A bitter battle was brewing in my soul.  Trauma, neglect and wounding without any proper channel to heal, grieve and grow out of that kind of pain left me feeling like I had one choice.

Death.

I don’t know if I really wanted to die.  I wonder if I just wanted a way out, or someone to see how much pain I was in and NOTICE.

Notice me.  My heart, my pain and the struggles.  To see beyond the external and go into it with me.

See that everything hurt and I could not do it anymore.  Medications and hospitals became the solution though and it only seemed to add to the problem.  Labels and diagnoses became the fix it and the “well this is who you are now so if you do THIS thing or that thing you will get better”

But better meant nothing to me; hope was still devoid.

Crystal Meth and Crack I am sure did not help the feelings in my gut that there was no way out, that I could not see past tomorrow and that the rest of my life was going to be spent taking 14 different medications a day and going to the mental health center.

*I do have a lot of frustration towards the mental health system that I was thrown in as a 13 year old.  A lot of that came from my family wanting a “quick fix” for these symptoms they saw.  Now that I am in the place I am in I have realized that the “symptoms” I was experiencing were trauma reactions and absolutely appropriate for what was going on in my family system.  Where my struggle lies is those symptoms were pushed and forced on me to the point where I gave up and said “Well fuck, everyone believes this about me so I might as well live it UP”  It is important that mental health professionals are aware of everything of everything going on and aren’t just quick to diagnose and medicate*

Hope did come at the age of 24.  By way of a God-man named Jesus.  He offered me something I never knew was possible.  Life.  It just wasn’t the life I thought it would be.

It didn’t have a pretty bow like I wanted.  It wasn’t wrapped in a shiny box with pretty blessings inside.  I am not trying to push aside the straight up fact that God (and me) has done a shit ton of work in me; inside and out.

Life still hurts.  People still take their own lives.  Believers, lovers of Christ; those who KNOW He offers that water that can quench that pain.

I haven’t tried to take my life in over 8 years but I will not lie and say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind since then.  Although now it’s more of a mere fleeting thought.  A gut wrenching prayer:

“Jesus I DO NOT understand this anymore and I feel like if I were to just be gone that it would be easier”

But NO it WOULD NOT.

I have a babe.  A seven year old babe that God chose for me to mother; in the midst of that shit I was in.  My life is worth more, SHE is worth more, I AM worth more.

Yes, I AM WORTH MORE than those feelings that drive me to think that death would be the easiest option.

I only wish that Eric had been able to see that, to feel that and to have people speak that kind of life and truth into his weary soul.  I know he had been battling a very heavy load in the six months prior to his suicide and what it all included I do not know.  I can empathize with where he was; his death was almost a catalyst in my own journey.

Life is messy, it hurts, we thrash and crash against the waves of pain.  Sometimes they are so torrential and never stop and there is a tragic ending to some stories.

My prayer this week and even beyond this week (being suicide prevention and awareness week) that ALL of our hearts as people would be open to the stories of hurt and pain.

Leave your theology at the door.  Check your opinions before you start talking to someone with a painful story.  If you have never experienced this kind of grief, from either side it might be best to just listen; wrap your arm around and hold that person close.

Let’s go beyond trying to just change people and reach deep into their souls and become willing to enter the messy, sit on their kitchen floors with them and LOVE (TWLOHA) them.

As Always,

Bethany

Fleshing it OUT

It’s no secret that I have been struggling lately.  It is a deep, dark struggle at times.  My physical body is being ravaged by a beast of a thing and it’s leaving my already battered emotions bruised and pushed around.  Looking towards Heaven for hope seems like an impossible task.  I don’t want to at times because it feels useless.  My prayers feel like they are bouncing around some sort of dark, empty chamber.  I feel so alone most of the time.  As if somehow God has just left me here, in this mess, to figure it out myself.

“Still when I tried to figure it out, all I got was a splitting headache (funny God, for those that know what’s going on will understand that) Until I entered the sanctuary of God……

Then I saw the WHOLE picture” Psalm 73:16-17 MSG

I can’t figure it out.  It hurts too much to try.  I don’t see the whole picture either but I am willing to enter the sanctuary of God where things tend to be clearer.

I am wrestling.  Like Jacob.  I’m not going to stop wrestling either.  I believe in this God, this Jesus I chose to follow almost eight years ago but right now, in the midst of this shit I do not see Him.  I know He’s there but the air is thick with doubt and dread and there is hardly any light.

I have been thinking a lot lately about this thought of the somewhat mystical “accepting Jesus into our hearts” Like He’s not there; then we say this magical prayer and BOOM He jetpacks His way into our hearts.  I am not trying to be a smart ass, this is just my way of fleshing everything that ruminates in this squished up brain of mine.

My thoughts this morning as I was journaling this out is, we are ALL children of God.  Born into His image, even before we make the choice to be His.  The verse even says that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  I started thinking that maybe sometimes that the salvation experience gets played up into this mystical, emotion driven experience.  But what if it’s really built up over time?

What if it is a more steady, solid and built up over time knowledge that we live our lives in, around and through the very Spirit of that God, that Jesus who did in fact die for us?  Something way beyond:

“Say this prayer with me now, so you too can be saved and have Jesus come into your heart”

What does that really mean?

Maybe this struggle of mine lies more in trying to balance my internal identity with Christ with some sort of label or phrase.  I’d rather rest and meditate on the assurance that I am not in fact by myself.   That this mess of my life isn’t pushed from God’s mind.   If learning to walk completely enmeshed in the spirit rather than some idea that my two handed befuddlement is what I am learning rather than focusing on “Jesus is in your heart” than I’d rather be here.

I don’t doubt that I have the Spirit of the living God taking up residence in every area of my being, my core, soul, spirit, mind and even (hopefully) my physical body.  I just have to learn to flesh out this idea that salvation and Jesus entering my heart as a BOOM emotive and mystical idea.  At least for me, for right now.

A lot of the time what I have seen happen is people run forward to that alter out of pure emotion because they are empty and desperate and they hear about this Jesus who wants to live in them.  That’s what happened with me.  When I “went forward and got saved (I really hate and struggle with the vernacular)” I DID NOT know what I was doing, really.  Looking back I do believe that the Holy Spirit was pushing me but there were also a lot of emotions involved.  Yet after that moment it was like, Oh now Jesus is in my heart everything is cool.  There was no fleshing out what it meant to abide, rest, grow and allow the Spirit to take up every.single.part of my me-ness.

If this teaching or theology is incorrect, I don’t know.  I have had it with theology at this point.  In fact my therapist even told me that I should stop reading all the theology blogs because at this point I just need to rest in God’s abiding love and the true gospel.

For right now I suppose that means fleshing it out here on what it means to follow Christ.  What it looks like in my life, my parenting, my healing and the very inner workings of my heart.

I am going to keep wrestling with God.  Like Jacob I will walk away with a limp.  I already have a few, with the literal scars to prove the battle.  It’s not bad, it’s not good.  It’s messy.

The Spirit fleshes out and sits in the messy and I thank Him for that.

As Always,

Bethany

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