Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words



31Days of Faith – The Beginning

I haven’t read my bible in six months.

My prayer life is inconsistent at best.

I haven’t been to church in almost a year.

I miss Jesus.

I didn’t think that any of those words would ever come out of my mouth. After I started following Jesus I went from one side of the pendulum to the other. It was easy to go from being a drug addict to a legalist because of who I was surrounded by and my own struggle to be perfect.

I have compassion for myself these days and can see why I that swing happened. It was about acceptance and love, I wanted both. I deeply wanted God to love and accept me and I wanted the people around me to accept me. The only way I knew how to do that was to work really hard and not make anyone mad.

When I went forward for the alter call that day in February 2006 I really had no idea what I was doing ie: salvation. I went forward after a rush of emotion, it may have been contrived; it also may have really been from the Holy Spirit, urging me forward.

My early days of faith were spent in a Jesus bubble. I was either at church or with people from church 24/7. Living in the crisis pregnancy home that was run by one of the bigger churches in South Florida gave me the opportunity to change my life. It was a home run by the church so naturally Jesus was the answer to all change.

We were always doing something church related and now I can see why everything seemed so easy in the beginning. I was in a bubble of Christians, church, bible studies and 3 services a week. It made faith simple and without struggle. It was when the bubble popped that those legalistic ideals became stronger.

God seemed like He was who I needed Him to be. He was supposed to fill me with a love that was unequal to human love. That sounded like heaven to me after the first 24 years of my life. I need someone to love me; it seemed at that point like God was the one. He was supposed to be faithful to his promises, He wanted his children to love him but if they didn’t then BAM hell it was.

As the years went on though something didn’t fit. There were things I was told I have to believe in order to “be a Christian.” Those things were paramount to faith and Christianity. I was told to defend my faith, to stand up for what’s obviously right (conservative, right winged politics, giving beyond what you realistically can.)

The ever ready defense of faith started to slip though and I found myself thinking every time I spoke that I was a fake. Still I held on to the hope that every bible study I did, every conference I went to or every time I spoke about God that I was living the way He wanted me too. In my mind I was sure to wind up on a platform like Beth Moore, jabbering away about Jesus.

I had set up a faith life for myself that didn’t really fit and I was so entrenched in believing that I had to do this or that to keep myself in God’s good favor that I couldn’t see that I was trying to wear something too big for me.

I look back now and see all the signs of where I was either led astray by someone else or by my own thinking. The God I was presented with was a pretty, passive aggressive God who was in a faith box with a pretty pink bow around it. Even though He is God that box seemed pretty small for who I thought He was supposed to be.

Everything started to crumble around my faith in 2012 and for a really long time I lost sight of faith and Jesus and even reading my bible again. I heard the people around me constantly telling me to just trust Jesus; however in light of how my circumstances that was hard to believe.

I had to find it out for myself first, and then I do believe I had to walk through this season of not reading my bible or going to church. I needed to miss Jesus, even though He wasn’t what I thought He was.

He was not bound between the pages of the bible; He doesn’t require that I attend conferences or bible studies. He doesn’t even mind that I don’t go to church because He is outside of all of that.

That’s not to say that those things are good or beneficial, because they are. What it meant to me was that I could lay down all the work, all the tired striving, all the mess my faith had become and just sit with Him in the stillness after the storm.

I learned that it doesn’t bother him if my life is messy, if scripture triggers me, or even if my beliefs about homosexuality or abortion have changed. My mess is His mess as He literally is the perfect parent.

As I find my way out of the darkness that my faith had become and the road begins to clear I realized that the missing him isn’t missing who I thought He was. It became an ignition source to light the fire of faith like never before.

Honestly, it’s hard. I want to walk away some days because my circumstances are out of control. I try to believe this and then that happens. None of those things separate who He is and how he loves his children.

When I struggle the most seeing him as the perfect parent helps. I look at my relationship with Abigail and how I parent her and it makes it easier to believe that His name really is love and hope and peace.

I don’t know where this road is going. It’s different and new but I know that He is on this path with me, as murky and muddy as it gets.

As Always,


31Days of Faith

It’s October 1st.  That means the start of fall.  This is the season I could stay in forever.  The days are crisps, the nighttime smells like the mountains.  I get to combine my two favorite wardrobe choices; scarves and cardigans AND it rings in the pumpkin pie errrrrr I mean holiday season.

It’s also the first day of the 31days blog challenge, which encourages bloggers to write and post everyday for the month of October.  I have never done it before and considering that I am inconsistent at best in posting I am going to give it my best attempt.  It will be good for me to write with intention, which isn’t something I always do.

I am picking a topic that I struggle with and giving myself permission to write shorter posts.  I tend to write 1000+ word posts.  This is all a new area for me so I am wading in with pessimist toes.  I really want to follow through because my topic is one that I could use some serious writing about.

What’s my topic?


I haven’t written about my faith or faith in general in a long time.  I have been dancing around the issue mostly because I am partially afraid of the response; from both myself and those around me.  Honestly this is probably the hardest topic for me to write about because I feel like I am in such murky Jesus waters (I don’t know what that means, it just sounded good.)

It’s highly doubtful that I will be raw and vulnerable with each post.  I might even do some research and post about other faith related matters as well.  Honestly, not knowing exactly where this is going to go is kind of exciting.

Will you join me in these murky Jesus waters as I wade through my faith over the last eight years?  It would be a pleasure if you all would join me in conversation as I talk about matters of faith.

As Always,


Truer Words Have Never Been Spoken

Coming up with a cheesy one liner doesn’t seem appropriate for this.

When the person who decided to report me to CPS took a random chunk from my blog about how I cannot take care of our basis needs ie: grocery store and pharmacy. It was totally taken out of context. To the blog as a whole and to that specific part of my life.

The premise of the blog was “feeding your neighbor” it was part of Esther Emery’s link up for April.  What I wrote about was that, without a car it makes it the things like going to the grocery difficult.  Yet in that very same blog I explained how we have all these awesome people who give us rides.

This person completely missed the point,

I explain that to the case worker and explain that reading the whole blog would help.

The basis for the investigation is that I don’t provide Abigail’s needs, such as food and safety.  Well food we’ve got and stocked cabinets.

The questions of my safety and mental health sting more than others.

When discussing my mental health I get very passionate about how I was treated growing up.  Thrown into therapy and on meds as a young child.  I apologized for my defensiveness and I explained everything to her.

The person who filed also mentioned my suicide attempts and cutting.  As if they are active things I am taking part in.  I almost laughed.  I haven’t even thought about either of those since 2005.  Again I was honest, but whoever it was they don’t know me because I am open and honest about those parts of my life.

I am open and honest about my past.  There’s no reason not to be.

My past is checkered and marred with abuse, neglect, being abandoned more than once.  I have made huge changes because of getting off of drugs and finding my identity as a child of Christ.

And then I got pregnant.  My life was altered.  I have shared this many times.  Our lives have been difficult for the last two years and getting on our feet is a struggle.  But I have known more joy, more peace and more intimacy with God.

He has been faithful, always.  So have the people in my community.  The women that were a part of the writing community I belonged to that raised the money for Abigail and I could go to Austin for thanksgiving.  Coming home our suite case was stolen from the baggage claim in Denver.  I had EVERYTHING in it.  These ladies pulled together and sent money, replacement items and love.  Always love.

I feel demolished in spirit especially after checking myself into the psychiatric hospital so that I could get myself straightened out after I was raped.  That was done out of love for myself and Abigail and to have that questions as I attempted suicide, that’s why I was really there.

I can assure you it’s not.

I have a feeling no matter who is it, it will feel like a betrayal; because whomever I shared those words with; I shared them because I openly trusted them with where I was at in life.  And we have had some rough year.

Now I feel like I cannot be as open and unfiltered as I was before and that makes me sad, its part of who I am.  I am the goofy one with the funny stories.  I have serious stories to share also; that is why I started my blog.   I plan on continuing to write because of this:


I stumbled onto your blog & just completely fell into it. This is no exaggeration– I was up until 4:00 a.m. this morning reading (& re-reading, in awe) your posts.

Your voice, your tenacity, & your courage are remarkable. I’m just at a loss for words to express how very beautifully your heart shines through your writing.

Although you didn’t ask, I would like to contribute to your Portland trip. How can I make that happen? Do you or your friend Rachel have a PayPal account?

I’m a middle school Special Education teacher, so I’m not exactly flush with cash, but the portion of fishes & loaves I do have are a blessing from above, & they are meant to be shared. His grace & abundance are meant to be multiplied, right?

Thank you for sharing your heart. I hope for you an outpouring of grace & peace, & safe passage for you & A on your journey.


Then yesterday morning I got this email and it caused me to realize why I tell and will continue to tell my story.

As  Always

It was only a sip


I had lost my words right?  Everyone heard me say it.  Blogging felt dull and when I did blog it took me 1-2 weeks to get it done and posted.

Then I was raped and spent a week in the hospital and ALL the words, probably other people’s words too started flowing.  I am thankful they let me keep my journal because I wrote so much.

I had a hard time writing about what actually happened and I didn’t want to.

However the poetry, oh the poetry.  I wanted to dance around that my words came back.  I would have except that might have earned me an extra week 🙂

Here is another one I wrote.

One sip

Black as night

Clothes tossed to the side

My soul screams

You took something

My memory

You used my body

I couldn’t fight back

You left me naked on the bathroom floor


Dignity now in the toilet

I remain numb

Indifferent to your choice

Except you did not take my voice

As Always,



As Always,


Holy Table

This poem came out of my experience with leaving the evangelical church.  I attended a women’s bible study and over the course of three years these women loved me like I hadn’t ever been loved.  What I soon realized is that they loved the fake Bethany and the Bethany that they wanted me to be.  When my faith shifted and I started sharing new ideas, in excitement because I wasn’t relying on anyone else for the information, they promptly shut me out.


There is no longer room for me

At your perfectly lavish table

Told once I always welcome

It is the banquet table of God yes?

Now my name slips past their lips as if there were a death

Lips that used to speak love

Hearts that said I was one of their own

Now I have walked away from the God they see

As I have found Him on my own

My seat has been taken by a rule follower

And I am no longer welcome in their banquet hall.

As Always,


My Feminist Heart

Feminism didn’t come easily for me.  I fought it tooth and nail because everything I knew about feminism was “bra burning liberal flaming left wing anti birth women”  How wrong was I and I am saddened by the fact that I turned around and tried to spread these legalistic beliefs to others because in my core I believed them to be true.

When I became a Christian my new baby Jesus heart was told I had to be a republican, I had to hate abortion and homosexuality was definitely something to abhor.  Life now was all about America the beautiful and how God was going to bless us because we were a Christian nation.  Now that I followed Jesus my blood was filled with bright red blood, guns, Jesus and America.

The liberals and feminists were here to take over our God Blessed country; and we were to do anything we could to stop them.  I memorized Romans road and had my evangelism speech down pat for whenever I came into contact with a “non believer.”  Can I let you in on a little secret?  I could not go through with it.  IIt did not seem right to walk up to a stranger on the beach and ask “do YOU have a personal relationship with Jesus?” it was awkward and felt staged.  Why was I supposed to be “winning souls?”  They always paired us boy/girl just in case it needed to be explained fully.  Had I known better I would of walked away; but I didn’t.

I feel like I was a prime candidate for the “salvation Stepford Wife” sort of experience.  I came from severe abuse, I was a drug addict, alone and pregnant.  I was open game.  I don’t lay blame or think that any of the early teaching was done with Malice (some was) I think that there are generations of misinformation and poor theology that no one corrects or stands up to.

It makes me sad to write all of that out because I know that I alienated so many people from my life simply because I felt my beliefs were right and there’s were wrong.  They were going to hell because of their non belief and I was going to heaven.

I have written several times about my faith transformation and how it started with Twitter and reading progressive Christian bloggers.  When the word feminism came up I’ll admit I had a pit in my stomach because there were still those old submissive, patriarch strings attached to what I believed.  I also still took everything Paul said in the bible word for word.  I think now that it was one more thing that I was scared of changing.  Of letting go of more ties that were binding me to a false faith that kept me handcuffed to one way of life.

Submissive to a man, with my only worth that of a wife and a mother.  When I started hearing words like Egalitarian and mutuality I was struck by the giving and the taking of both spouses.  How the “traditional”  roles were set aside and both parties worked together.  That was one thing that struck me.  What completely pulled me to the other side and caused my “YES I’M A FEMINIST” flag to go up was reading Rachel Held Evans book A Year of Biblical Womanhood.

No longer did it scare me to say that I’m a feminist.  Every chain dropped off of me like I was a prisoner, wrongly accused of a crime and now being set free without notice.  My beliefs about woman leading and preaching changed, I saw how much Jesus saw the women he spent his days with and ultimately how God loves women and how the basis of faith is to love, regardless.

I hate that one of the hardest parts about leaving fundamentalism unlearning and rewiring all those old thoughts and beliefs.  I spent six years hearing that women aren’t this or cannot do that.  I often get that heavy feeling in my gut when approached with a new idea or if I am speaking with someone on a topic related to women.  I know it’s not my core, Jesus self that feels that way it’s the lies that wrapped themselves around my brain like a spider web and now need to be cut loose.


As far as stories in the bible that show me that Jesus was the ultimate feminist is when the woman who was bleeding crawled along the ground just to grasp onto the hem of his robe.  He felt the power go out of Him and He asked who touched Him.  See here’s the thing, He’s Jesus; He already knew who touched Him.  He wanted to stand her up and allow the crowed to see this woman that He noticed, that He had touched and healed.  He wanted to crowd to see that He loved her above measure.

That’s the Jesus Feminist I know.  That’s what led me to seek out more of what feminism means.  It does not mean bra burning and pro choice and gun hating like the stereotypes from the 60’s and 70’s read.  There are those that carry over yes but far and wide it means equality for all people.  It doesn’t mean that women are to be elevated above men and that every feminist wants to see men down graded to a lesser position, at least for me it doesn’t.

I am a feminist because I spent way too many years having my body be used and abused.  I was owned and called property.

I am a feminist because I am the only one who gets to say what goes on with my vagina.

I am a feminist because I was raped three weeks ago and was afraid to report because I did not know how the cops were going to treat me so I told my female friends first.

I walk the road of feminism because I want my daughter to grown up in a world where she can go to church and see a female pastor who can preach the Word of God to her.  Preach it to her with love, grace and peace just like anyone else.  I want to her to know that she can do anything, be anything and be an equal wherever she goes.

It is sad to me that there are so many churches that see and treat their women as substandard and limit them to certain positions because of their gender.  They are told to be subservient to their husbands, to ask him first before making any decisions and to keep their strong emotions under check.  What happens under this belief system is that abuse and neglect get covered up by submission.

I am a feminist because I don’t want to be told that I am emotional, dramatic or strong willed.  Those things are not inherently bad, nor are they character defects.  They are a part of me, a part of the way God intricately put me together.

I see feminism as an open door to important conversations and not just within the church.  I believe, or hope to believe it a bridge builder when it’s brought with love and grace rather than conceit and embittered attitudes.

I am a feminist because first I am human, second I am a woman and third I follow Jesus.  A Jesus who loves, notices and regards women.

As Always,


Sacred – The Dark and the Light. A Guest Post by TC

I first met TC through an online blogging workshop we were both taking.  We just kind of clicked and turned out we had a mutual friend so our relationship blossomed from there.

Back in February I was joking around one night, posting on Twitter movie quotes and I said that the first person who gets the quote gets a “free” guest spot on my blog.  Ha!

Turns out several people commented so I decided to run another series.  The word sacred has had several different meanings for me and as my faith ebbs and flows my definition runs with it.

Here to kick off our two month foray into the word sacred and it’s many meanings is TC:




There’s something about a cliché that makes my eye twitch.

…Maybe not literally, but you get the idea.

It’s the same with Christianese and those answers all neatly packaged that serve nothing except to shut down conversation. If I can shut you up with a tidy answer, then I don’t have to entertain your idea as valid. If I lift the drawbridge, then your issue with a certain doctrine or theology shall not pass.

There are those who don’t need to wrestle their beliefs because they’ve arrived at an understanding that soothes their questions. However, there are also those who can’t be in the same room with questions because then they’ll be forced to look that question in the eye, and if they do that, the other questions will line up behind the first, and the faith that seemed to sound, so solid, could get tippy and unstable.

For an example of a lousy cliché, let’s take the beautiful idea that we will never be given more than we can handle.

(This can go hand in hand with the verse that says God will not allow you to be tempted past your endurance, but will always provide a way out. (I Corinthians 10:13))

In the instance of “handling it”, I call bullshit.

We are given more than we can handle, sometimes way more.

Some people don’t handle it – some people don’t have the resources to do so and it isn’t right to expect it of them. Some people could no sooner lift an elephant barehanded than be asked to “handle” one.more.thing.

Some of us are bleeding.

Some of us have heads thick with sorrow.

Some of us buzz with indignation, anger and offense.

We can’t in good conscience be given anything else to handle.

The thing that’s the killer, the thing that makes this both beautiful and infuriating is that many, many times, when we can’t handle it, those are the times when we’ll let someone step into our lives and help us.

Those are sacred moments.

Those are moments I like to avoid.

I don’t want to be in a place where I need help. Darn my pesky individualism but I want to do it myself. I don’t want to be pushed past my endurance. I like being capable, I like managing, I like getting it done. To be unable to “do it” – whatever the “it” is – means admitting a weakness or a shortcoming. However understandable the circumstances, however excusable the reasons, I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be pitied. I’d rather pity the fool while wearing thick gold chains and a Mohawk than be the fool myself.

As someone who generally manages and putts along just fine, to be in a place of need is uncomfortable.

Regardless of how uncomfortable, it is also a divine position.

It is a place where I finally allow others to express God’s care for me. It is a time when I stop controlling everything and let God shower me with his provision, his love letters that arrive in the details and the little things.

Sometimes I need to be the guy on the mat.

Relying on the faith of others

Do you know this story?

Jesus was teaching in a packed out house, no room left inside, people leaning in the windows, not even any more standing room. These guys in town had a friend who was paralyzed, and they wanted him to be healed. So they haul this guy on his mat up to the roof of the house. They work and strain and pull away tiles or hardened mud or thatch or whatever they used for roofs in that area. They’re dirty. They’re sweating. And they’re disruptive – there’s no way to be in the room below and not notice something funky going on with the ceiling. Finally they get through the roof and carefully lower this paralyzed man through the hole. I imagine him being kind of folded up at first, like he’s sitting in a roll-away cot or a pull-out couch, until he’s far enough down for the ropes to clear the hole and straighten out his mat.

They lower him down and Jesus forgives him, which causes a stink with the religious leaders. Then Jesus goes to something that is probably like yawning to him, he tells the man to get up and walk. And the man does it. (Luke 5: 12-23)

Here’s the deal: sometimes I need other people to carry me. For any number of reasons, I find myself unable to walk, unable to believe, unable to bear up under the burden of it for one more day. And even if it is in a mystical, transcendental way which I don’t understand, I need to rely on the belief of others to shore me up until I can walk again. This is the place where the sacred visits the scruff, where the divine stoops down, gently smoothes back my hair and offers a cup of water to soothe my scratchy throat.

It is okay to need help. It is okay to be unable to handle it. In those times of need and exhaustion, Jesus himself tucks his head and slings my arm over his shoulder, places his strong arm around my back, and helps walk me to a place of safety and rest, a place I could not get to by myself.

I’d be wise to accept this, rather than limp along under my own power, but how often do I shun the assistance of others or muscle through it, jaw clenched, heart racing?

Much too often.

And why? Because if the acceptance of a sacred mat requires me to be unable to walk, too many times I have crossed my arms, stayed on my feet and been unwilling to see it for what it is:

a holy opportunity for the sacred to draw near.

What holy opportunities have you been offered lately? How did you receive them? How do you tend to cope when given too much to handle?

Walking on my Knees

Walking on my knees

I have – yes

For many years

With scars

Knees bloodied and torn

From kneeling, praying and repenting


Confessing to God

I would do it better next time

That I would try harder

And be nicer


If my heart were to match my words

It would say:

“Bethany repentance and the blood on your knees – the –

Be better

Do better that you feel you have to be

Those bloodied, scarred knees

That repentant heart

You feel is your responsibility to carry

It’s not”

God Whispers



Repent and mourn

But don’t be good or better

I don’t expect better

I want you – whole –

Not good


As Always,


Sacred – The dark and the light – Part 1

I used to believe that for something to be sacred it had to happen within the four walls of a designated worship center.

It had to lean towards the actual act of worship itself, communion, prayer and the gatherings of God’s children on Sunday mornings.

In my mind (Bethany four years ago) those were the only things that were and could be sacred.  They were wrapped up and hidden in the house of God and no one could see them but God and His children.  I thought that sacred = church.

Then I started having these moments that had nothing to do with church that would give me this overwhelming feeling that something deep inside of me was happening.

It was like a quickening in my spirit and movement in my chest.  I knew that the Spirit was a part of these moments I just wasn’t sure if I could call them sacred.

When my faith started to explode and the God illusion that I had shattered and I started picking up the pieces of what was and putting them in different places, places of what should be; I started to see sacred everywhere.

A look exchanged between two people, a hug, someone doing my dishes or helping to give me a shower after surgery.  Those are things I saw as sacred and holy even though they did not happen within church walls.

They were albeit sacred and secular.

I think many believers shy away from thinking that the sacred and the secular can be combined because of how we are told to be in the world but not of the world.  So to stay away from anything the world has to offer.

In truth, I have found more sacredness in the secular that I have within the four, “called holy” walls of the church.

For me, my most sacred moments are when I look at my daughter while she’s asleep and I say to God “Wow you really wanted me to be her mom didn’t you” and I am awestruck at the fact that God gave life to me when I had no life.

I find holy and sacred in music, and not worship music.  Most of my worshipful moments over the last two years have been with Mumford and Son’s.  The music and lyrics are so powerful and they take me out of where I am and to a place where I may be singing but my heart is in a different place;  a place that I have been able to go in church.

Church always felt very rule bound and strict.  I never felt like I could fully open up and be me in every part of what that means.  If I were to fully express who I am I would be shut down as overly emotional or too sensitive.  So I stifled my emotions.

Those emotions are sacred though. They are sacred because they are a part of me.  They make up who I am, in my essence and my personality and that is sacred.

When I started writing again I was afraid, afraid that no one would listen and HEAR me.  I didn’t want to pour my life out on the screen of a blog to have them bounce all over the cement of an empty room.  My words are part of me and thereby sacred as well.  The more I crawled out of hole and put my voice out there the easier it became, even when I was writing about hard, dirty and non church like things.

Those things to me are how the sacred and the secular cross paths in my life.  I don’t think it matters what’s seen as sacred between persons and with that there’s no reason to dismiss what they call sacred.

I also find red lipstick sacred.  It makes me feel good, wild, free and spirited.  It captures the essence of my soul and puts it in tangible form.

I want to empower each and every one of you to find you sacred, your holy.

Write it down so you know where to go when you are having a moment, or a day or even a week so you have a way to look back and remember.

Put them on a piece of paper and stick it in a jar.  I am trying that this year, so far I did really well in January and have forgotten since.  Writing this post though helped me to remember to get back in the practice of doing that.

I want to hear about your Holy and Sacred.  I am running a series starting today featuring different writer friends from Facebook and Twitter.  Posts will be featured each Tuesday.

Email me with your thoughts

We would love to hear what you think about sacred and holy.  Where it intersects, how it plays out in the world and most important:

How do you find it, see it or practice it in daily life.

As Always,


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