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Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words

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Faith

I’m backkkkkk

I haven’t blogged in 9 months.

My words have felt dry, rusty, and useless.  I had been so checked out of life that I could hardly see five inches in front of me.

Today being new years day 2016 I felt it only appropriate to write the obligatory Oneword, vision for the year, and reflections on last year yada yada yada……..

So here it is.

Anyone that’s been following my little corner of the internet over the last few years knows that they have been brutal, if not at least epically horrific.

I scraped to get abigail and i through before, during, and after my surgery.  It seemed that was going to be the key to get me moving forward again.  Fix the physical and everything else will fall into place.

It did.

For a minute.

Then fell apart, worse than before and I felt so shattered that I checked out of life and from there things went downhill fast.

I couldn’t catch my breath, or find the edge of the cliff I was on.  The darkness I was covered in was so heavy.  Imagine trying to crawl through oatmeal, or a foam pit.

That’s how my days felt.

Until around August of this last year.  Suddenly it felt like things were finally starting to turn around.

Big things happened that altered my course.  I suddenly found myself swept up in all the things I had been wanting for so long. 

And there it was.  What I had been waiting for.

As it usually goes though, three steps forward five (10) steps back.

I made some hard choices, good ones but nonetheless very difficult.  I fell into a weird spot again, got a case of the fuck its, I let my priorities go and gave my heart and soul away to a force that couldn’t accept it.

It takes great people to look someone in the eye and show them the truth.

That’s what December was.  It was an achingly painful but eye opening month.

I’ve done some serious reflecting these last few weeks and it kind of flipped me upside down, or maybe it was right side up?

All I know is this is my fortuitous year.  The year where the unexpected becomes the expected, the reality I’ve always wanted is finally understood, and I no longer feel that soul aching loneliness.

This is also the year that I dig deep and search my spirituality.  I haven’t publicly shared that I left the church (guess I just did) I’ll certainly share more on that topic soon.  The blog post has already been written, I’m garnering the courage to face the backlash I’m sure to receive.

I already know what I believe, it’s what I’ve always believed.  I got mixed up for years and allowed my vulnerability to be used against me in a sense. 

I’m searching, I probably always will be.  Searching increases knowledge, that’s a good thing.

This is also the year of BMX.  I had already been riding for a couple months and just got my first bike for christmas.  It’s an interesting thing learning to ride at almost 35.  I’ll tell you though, the first time I jumped on that bike and took off I felt like I had found a thing that I’d been missing all my life.

I sure don’t feel it’s juvenile or fruitless.  I’m a passionate person, about many things and riding is another way to express my passion for things.

Life is still a little lopsided, and I’ll go out on that note.

The universe has a way of leveling things out.

As Always,

Bethany

I haven’t blogged in 9 months.

My words have felt dry, rusty, and useless.  I had been so checked out of life that I could hardly see five inches in front of me.

Today being new years day 2016 I felt it only appropriate to write the obligatory Oneword, vision for the year, and reflections on last year yada yada yada……..

So here it is.

Anyone that’s been following my little corner of the internet over the last few years knows that they have been brutal, if not at least epically horrific.

I scraped to get abigail and i through before, during, and after my surgery.  It seemed that was going to be the key to get me moving forward again.  Fix the physical and everything else will fall into place.

It did.

For a minute.

Then fell apart, worse than before and I felt so shattered that I checked out of life and from there things went downhill fast.

I couldn’t catch my breath, or find the edge of the cliff I was on.  The darkness I was covered in was so heavy.  Imagine trying to crawl through oatmeal, or a foam pit.

That’s how my days felt.

Until around August of this last year.  Suddenly it felt like things were finally starting to turn around.

Big things happened that altered my course.  I suddenly found myself swept up in all the things I had been wanting for so long. 

And there it was.  What I had been waiting for.

As it usually goes though, three steps forward five (10) steps back.

I made some hard choices, good ones but nonetheless very difficult.  I fell into a weird spot again, got a case of the fuck its, I let my priorities go and gave my heart and soul away to a force that couldn’t accept it.

It takes great people to look someone in the eye and show them the truth.

That’s what December was.  It was an achingly painful but eye opening month.

I’ve done some serious reflecting these last few weeks and it kind of flipped me upside down, or maybe it was right side up?

All I know is this is my fortuitous year.  The year where the unexpected becomes the expected, the reality I’ve always wanted is finally understood, and I no longer feel that soul aching loneliness.

This is also the year that I dig deep and search my spirituality.  I haven’t publicly shared that I left the church (guess I just did) I’ll certainly share more on that topic soon.  The blog post has already been written, I’m garnering the courage to face the backlash I’m sure to receive.

I already know what I believe, it’s what I’ve always believed.  I got mixed up for years and allowed my vulnerability to be used against me in a sense. 

I’m searching, I probably always will be.  Searching increases knowledge, that’s a good thing.

This is also the year of BMX.  I had already been riding for a couple months and just got my first bike for christmas.  It’s an interesting thing learning to ride at almost 35.  I’ll tell you though, the first time I jumped on that bike and took off I felt like I had found a thing that I’d been missing all my life.

I sure don’t feel it’s juvenile or fruitless.  I’m a passionate person, about many things and riding is another way to express my passion for things.

Life is still a little lopsided, and I’ll go out on that note.

The universe has a way of leveling things out.

As Always,

Bethany

The Lonely Place

I haven’t written anything of substance for over a month.  My heart has been in an incredibly barren and angry place.  Everything I try to write comes off either whiney or selfish and that’s not where I am trying to go.

It’s no secret that Abigail and I are in a rough spot.  It’s seems as though 2014 has been the year of “everything falling apart.”  Each time that I felt I was back up on my feet, something else would happen and I’d get knocked back down.  I’ve spent the better part of the year feeling sorry for myself and trying to will my way out of this situation.

The deeper into it I get the bigger the ache gets.  I spent a good three weeks barely getting out of bed, not showering, and distracting myself with copious amounts of tv and gummy bears.

I slowly feel like I am pulling out of my funk.  I spend more of my days reading, journaling, and painting.  Not being absorbed in TV has helped dramatically.  Being intentional and focusing on Abigail has also been a defining factor as motherhood is one of the biggest things that keeps me fighting.

Yet even though there is all of this, all of the people who have so graciously helped us out financially and otherwise and those deep soul friends who have stuck around and reminded me that I am brave, a warrior and have coconut balls.  There is this deep sense of loss, of grief and of loneliness.

I am no stranger to these feelings, they have been bubbling under the surface for a really long time, only over the last year have they broken through the barrier I had been holding up and have made themselves known.

It seems so silly to say this that I hurt when no one comments on a facebook or instagram post.  I see the gatherings of women on facebook and I feel on the outside, once again.  I lived the majority of my life on the outside, looking in on people that seem to get one another, that seem to click and love each other.  It feels easier on my heart to stay on the outside rather than risk feeling lonely and getting hurt.

This insecurity in relationships I assume stems from a lifetime of feeling insecure and being on the outside of everything.  I spent more time alone as a child/teenager than I did with friends.

To really put myself out there and be vulnerable I would tell you that when I was in high school I would pretend like I was hanging out with my friends instead I was driving around, alone in the dark listening to The Eagles and Bette Midler.

I still feel those same old insecurities that I am not good enough to have friends, or that there is something inherently wrong with me, and that my whole mess is just too much for people.

So I slink on the outsides, I join groups but never say anything, I text a lot of people on those days I feel especially lonely and I snuggle with Buster, my sweet little service dog.

I don’t want to do this anymore, I want the loneliness to escape and slink away at the sight of my bravery (the ring I wear with the word engraved helps) I want to really embody the words that people speak over me.

Warrior

Brave

Fearless

Tenacious

Wild Woman

Those are the things I want to cling to, not that I don’t belong or that I am too much.  I am pretty sure that most people feel this way at some time or another.

I know that a lot of my own feelings get in the way of this happening, my fear of being worthless, of less than valuable or “that depressed girl who is so needy”

Today, I am not going to allow those lies to worm their way back into my heart.  Today I am going to believe that I am in fact who and what people say I am.

Bold, brave, fearless, wild.

As Always,

Bethany

31Days – I dare you

I dare you.

Yes Bethany, you.

To look in the mirror right now and say

“I love you”

Bethany I dare you to see beyond what people say and do

I dare you to breath in grace every morning

I dare you to hope for bigger and brighter things

I know it’s dark now

But I believe the light will shine soon.

Don’t dare to stop dreaming

Don’t dare to stop believing that there are people who love you.

As Always,

Bethany

I have joined up with some friends for the Five Minute Friday link up.

Today’s topic is dare.  So I dare you to sit down, set your timer for five minutes and write, no editing, no spell check just your heart.

31Days – Soul Blurts

I have been blogging on faith now for almost three weeks.  It has been incredibly helpful to dive in and clean out those areas where the dust had settled.  There are still so many unanswered questions.

I am really struggling right now.  I have been sick for two years and even after brain surgery didn’t get that much better.  Now I have some weird lymph node thingy that the doctor thinks could be Epstein Barr.  While obviously it’s not life threatening it is just one more thing piled onto a plate that’s already breaking.

I cannot get out from underneath this weight.  The days come and go, sometimes I feel okay both physically and mentally.  Some days I stay in bed because the pain is excruciating.

I haven’t been able to work since February.  My health is the major cause however my truck broke down and I had to sell it.  I am applying for disability but that takes forever and right now I am sitting here wondering how I am going to get through November.   I have been doing this dance for two years, the can I pay my rent dance.  It’s not a fun one.

It is tiring. Not only because I am trying to take care of me but I am also taking care of another tiny human.  Abigail depends on me so much, being I am her only parent.  The days I stay in bed are the hardest on her.  She wants me to play with her and be active and I am really struggling right now.

Staying on top of chores, cleaning and homework feels overwhelming.  There is a deep part of me that wants to pack up and blow town.

That is beyond realistic.

I know I can gather up these feelings about God and His truths, hold them to my heart and somehow believe that it’ll work out.

As Always,

Bethany

31Days – Twitter, facebook and internet love

I had lost or walked away from almost every friend I had.  It was either that we’d grown apart or that there was “a thing” there that prevented the friendship from growing.  Whether it was or the other person is what I have been working through because I know that there were times, years and people that I wasn’t faithful to.  Just as there were people that I needed to be there for me that weren’t.

I have worked and am still working through a lot of the things that prevent me from having healthy relationships, with anyone.  Most of those were worked through as I built a relationship with my therapist.  As I did that my relationships started to change, whether for the good or the bad.

I have walked away from several people who were extremely unhealthy and toxic, including my family which has been hard.  Not a lot of things hurt more than a severed relationship with someone who was supposed to be so much more.

I have waded through grief from losing relationships that were based on so much rawness and vulnerability that losing that relationship hurts.

Grieving that brings out all of those alone feelings.

Then I am reminded of the amazing community that I have built.  Twitter, an amazing writing community that I was a part of, people in my skin life and some new friends that I met through other friends; this is what makes up my community.

I would never have been able to value the beauty of these relationships if I had not been a part of the Story Sessions community.  The women I formed relationships were just as valuable as discovering my voice under the rubble.  Those relationships turned to other relationships that have led me to spending half of my summer with a valuable soul and her family.

I cannot even begin to find to the words to thank EVERY SINGLE PERSON that has helped us.  And there are many.  All of those things happened because of my online relationships.

I have been incredibly blessed by my relationships with each and every person and I want you all to know that my heart is so full.  Each one of you has stood beside Abigail and I as we have waded through these murky waters.

I never imagined that people I have never (well some I have) met would be so generous.  People who were generous with love, kindness, prayers and support when things got out of control.
These are men and woman who I can share my heart with and know that they hear me and they know that I hear them.

These people are my family.

As Always,

Bethany

31Days – Reflections of, the way life used to be

Nine years ago I was a wreck. I was stoned as soon as I woke up and stayed high on something until bed. Jeffrey and I fought non stop and I secretly longed to leave, though that wasn’t even an option. I wanted to go, I was tired of his abuse and I was weary mentally.

Everything made me cry.

We were living in North Florida in a house that wasn’t ours, and our occupancy was contingent on Jeffrey keeping his job. They shut the power and water off on us, right after thanksgiving. The week I found out I was pregnant with Abigail.

The drug use was still constant even after leaving Kansas. Our goal had been to move to Florida and get clean, but that didn’t happen. Without the crack and the meth we were nothing. Fighting constantly led us to both start smoking ridiculous amount of pot.

I look back at the time and hurt for the girl that felt trapped in a relationship that was over six months before I actually left. I hurt for how wounded and anxious she felt. I loved Jeffrey, I really did. I began to see though after I got pregnant that I HAD to leave, to save my life.

I did leave, on a warm February afternoon. I almost slept in my van that night but finally found a place to stay. I went back to motel the next day and knew I was done. I packed my stuff and left. I wanted to make it work with him and be a family but it was obvious that he didn’t want that.

Even after I left I was still a mess. I wanted so badly to believe that I was fully healed by God. At that time I wasn’t even fully aware of how much trauma I really carried. I was living in a peach colored, happy go Jesus world. It would hit me until I moved back to Colorado and my pretty pink bow life fell apart.

I didn’t understand why God, who had supposedly heal me would allow the struggles I was having.

Even though on the outside I was trying to maintain a Godly image I was dying on the inside. It was a hard thing to do to even get up in the morning.

Then I look at who I am today and how those early days, as hard as they were have shaped me. I know my circumstances right now are terrible but I am really trying to focus on healing. Once I started that process of picking through the pain my internal balance changed even though my circumstances continued to get worse.

When I reflect on who I used to believe God was I can see why everything stayed a mess. Healing the internal was all about what I was doing on the outside ie: bible studies, groups, conferences and mentorship. I perceived that if I wasn’t doing those things than I wasn’t invested in growing as a Christian. So while I knew my bible stuff and worship songs and prayer those things weren’t causing growth.

Sometimes I miss that girl I was 9 years ago. She had such courage, courage that she gives to me today to continue to persevere even though circumstantially things are rough. She was also very faithful, faithful to her friends and God. That girl still lives in me, the one who slept with her bible to fight off nightmares. The girl who put scripture around the house to stay protected. Her hyper vigilance to do those things is understandable. Even though I am not that vigilant these days with my faith, I still cling to Jesus as though I have run out of breath. He has been the one constant.

Through everything Jesus has been the one to show me love and the way to loving myself. I cannot walk away from that.

I know my journey is dark and murky but these are some of the most beautiful times.

Because I learned about self, and that I don’t need to continue berating myself to be equated with a saint.

I am human and so is my journey.

As Always,

Bethany

31Days – Faith and Mental Health

I hold some anger towards God for my adolescent and teenage years.  As if they aren’t bad enough I had a mental illness on top of it.  It wasn’t easy to navigate those murky waters while my boat had a giant hole in it.  I spent many nights crying and asking what I did so wrong to God to deserve what I was going through. I hear that wounded part sobs and it just crushes me that my 16 year old self thought that God was punishing her with a mental illness.

It is partly because of those feelings that I don’t talk about my mental health struggles to often.  There is still a part of me that feels deep shame, mostly from outside sources.

I became a Christian when I was pregnant with Abigail and I have often spoken about how fast things changed.

I was medicated, pregnant and full of Jesus Freak-ness.  I thought I was better, that God had fixed my depression and PTSD.  It was assumed that he did because the change seemed like it happened overnight.

Now I see that it was because I left an extremely abusive relationship and was free from all the toxicity that went along with it.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I started to get comments about my medication.  Things like “When are you going to get off that medication” and “It doesn’t seem like you are really trusting God”  Those messages would be repeated to me for the next three years at the church I started going to upon moving home.

The message was very clear: “Christians who take medication and go to secular therapists are not trusting God”

The underlying mentality was the suffering is beautiful thought.  Often compared to Paul and the thorn in his side people would tell me “Pray for healing” “Trust God” and “Medication really is bad for you and you shouldn’t take it because so and so did and such and such happened”  I was anointed with oil as much as I could be, I got saved like every weekend and that third baptism was thrown in for good measure.  I didn’t want to fail God in any way.

I was in a relationship with a guy from that church who said to me; after I had just told him that I was suicidal tell me that “We need to pray for three months before talking about medication again”

I wanted to be the dutiful, submissive girlfriend I thought I was supposed to be and said ok, that I would wait.

It was an incredibly difficult time in my life.  I was struggling in so many areas and trying so hard to keep up with the people around me.  I wanted them to really see the joy (that I thought was there) radiate from my smile.  In reality I was depressed, suicidal and ready to walk away. I didn’t because I wanted to remain a people pleaser and a good Christian woman.

I was being mentored by a woman who said to my face that mental illness doesn’t exist and that psychiatrists and therapist are tools of satan.  As much as I wanted to stick around and be mentored, keeping up my appearance I couldn’t after that.  I struggled with my mental health and the church’s response.  When she said those words to me I was done.

Thankfully the boyfriend and I broke up a few weeks later and the first thing I did was call a psychiatrist so that I could get back on my medication.

I have been medicated since then and started in therapy, with a surprisingly fantastic therapist.  It’s been three years and I have faced several demons (not literal) in that time.  The layers of wounding keep peeling back allowing more pain to see the light and be healed.  I believe that I was put with this particular therapist for a reason.  She does happen to be a believer and that has strengthened my growth tenfold.  She has been an integral part of why I am able to stay with Jesus.

I cannot ascribe to the “suffering is beautiful” or “suffering is because of sin” mentality.  Life is fucking hard and because abuse happens often it’s victims are left with broken pieces of life.  There is no beauty in feeling so suicidal one would do anything to die.  I have been there, thankfully I am not anymore.  That kind of pain is gruesome.  To tell someone in this situation that they need to trust God and pray more is just asinine.  The people that I know that have been in that place have said that they blame God for where they are.

I know that the more I heal the more I will grow in my faith.  There is a part of me that has to work through my anger at God for those years I was tormented by crazy mood swings, uncontrollable anxiety and fear.  The years I spent in and out (mostly in) different psychiatric hospitals in several different states.  The deeply entrenched suicidal thoughts and self hate; those years were terrifying.  There is no beauty in that.

It should not be this hard.  I know many who have left the church because of their mental health struggles.

Even when a big name evangelical loses someone to suicide it still comes back around to trusting God and His plans for our lives.

I doubt that is how God wants it to be.  I believe that science and medication and therapists (in whatever form) were given to us by God to use for our good.  This is why I don’t struggle with balancing a strung out brain and wanting to please God anymore.

I ache for how many times the “Just trust God” message has been pushed through into my friends ears.

I long for Jesus to whisper to 16 year old me that it wasn’t her fault nor was it God’s.  I had no chance in this world given what I was born into.  God didn’t cause nor did he turn away from my abusive childhood.  Do I have another answer, no I don’t at least not right now.

However I am learning balance and boundaries, safety and compassion for myself and for those around me, especially where there is deep hurt.

I also know the truth about medication and therapy for me.  I have learned what I need to be a whole person, not balancing mental health Bethany and Faithful Jesus follower Bethany.

It has taken a long time for me to get to this place.  I am comfortable where I am at, both in my healing and in my faith.

As Always,

Bethany

31Days – Faith and Motherhood

If you have been a steady reader of my blog you would know that I struggle in my relationship with my daughter.  I haven’t kept it a secret and the reason why is growth.  I am vocal about how hard it was to accept that I was going to be a single mom. I desired to get married so Abigail can have a dad.  My faithful readers know that this last year has been incredibly difficult for me, which thus makes it difficult for Abigail.

If it wasn’t for faith, grace and redemption I wouldn’t be able to write this post.  I started out motherhood incredibly conservative.  As a new Christian I absorbed all the parenting advice I could because I wanted to make sure that I was raising a Godly daughter.

When every parenting book said to spank, I did; even though it felt wrong in my spirit.  I saw how the children around me that were spanked and realized I didn’t want to be like that at all.  Abigail was four and in therapy I laid down ALL of the parenting books. I decided that I was going to start listening to Holy Spirit on how to raise her including discipline.  It was the best time of my life.  Abigail and I started getting along a lot better.  For once I started to have hope that our relationship really could be restored.

We have been in therapy together since she was 3 (stemming from an incident that happened in 2008) As I did my own work, Abigail did her own work and then we worked together as a family.  It was an incredibly eye opening experience as I started to see that many of the things I did in my early parenting were things my parents did.  Having that knowledge set me free to really do things different, and I have.

The last year has probably been the best for the two of us.  I have learned where my struggles are and how they affect my parenting.  I learned that being firm and giving consequences doesn’t mean that I am a mean mom.  It means that I have chosen to do things different and that I am actually showing her how much I love her by being firm, never wavering.

It’s tough to be on top every day; being single definitely has a lot to do with those rough moments we experience.  It more often than not results from me being too busy or too tired.  I have learned to identify what Abigail is feeling based on how she is acting and it usually has nothing to do with what she’s really upset about.

Being a parent with C-PTSD and raising a daughter with PTSD certainly makes for some difficult moments.  It’s in those moments though I have seen God through the darkness and have believed that he’s actually moving.

My faith is definitely under the microscope right now as I examine where I was, where I thought I was and where I want to be. That starts in the right now of excavating my faith and walking through my murky Jesus waters.  I do know He’s on the other side.

God means what he says when he says he loves his children.

I know that much to be true.

As Always,

Bethany

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