Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words



Lent and the Glory of Jesus as Human

I thought knew who Jesus was.

I don’t; but I’m learning.

It’s said that people often see God/Jesus the way they saw their parents.  I absolutely see that being true.  I saw Him being someone that I had to work hard to be accepted by, that I had to constantly be earning His love and that nothing I did would ever be good enough.

I heard the message of Grace and Mercy; how I was loved beyond anything I could imagine and that I did not have to earn God’s love.  I heard the words but the message did not click.  Nothing clicked.

I worked, I told God in my prayers, in my journal and in my actions that I was worthy of being accepted and loved by Him.

I thought that as long as I smiled at the grumpy guy at the pharmacy that I was sharing the love and that was good enough.

My asking the checkout girl at King Soopers about her day and how busy she’s been was exactly what God was after.

Making sure that I served at the Rescue Mission or in the nursery once a month was what I needed to do to show God I had it covered.

Those were outward things.  Outward because I always did outward things to show my parents I loved them.  Mostly after Abigail was born and things had settled.

I would bring home an extra milkshake or dessert for my mom.  I would make sure the house was extra clean because I knew they liked it that way.

I would try and keep Abigail quiet because I didn’t want to upset the delicate balance in their house.

None of it mattered because I couldn’t make them love me.  They had decided long ago that I was unloved.  Now that I know this it makes sense to me that I would do anything to earn the love of this God I had just come to know.

All these messages I was hearing never sank in.  They never made sense.  I wanted them too but they never did.  I wanted to believe that this God of the Universe could love me unimaginably but why, why would he love me.

No one ever had.

I didn’t know any of this.  I didn’t know that I God could just LOVE me.  Me for me in all my messiness.

Enter Jesus.

Realizing who Jesus is as a part of the Trinity helped me formulate this idea of the of the love of God.

My life has been messy for a really long time.  So has my relationship with God; I never understood the trinity until recently.  Jesus in his human form but also as his god-man was a confusing concept for me.  The more I left my fundamentalism roots the more I began to see Jesus in a different light.

It was a beautiful light.

The more I read the Gospels I began to see Jesus as someone who noticed people.  He saw beyond the exterior that they showed people and into their souls.

The woman who bled for 12 years and crawled through a crowd to touch Him; he saw her.  He not only saw her he wanted everyone in the crowd to see her as well.  The text says that Jesus felt the power go out of Him and that he asked who touched him.  But he already knew that it was her.  He reached down and he pulled her up.  I can only imagine her shocked reaction as this Messiah she had had come to know reached down to touch her when no one else would.

They were in the middle of a crowd and He made sure that everyone saw her, that everyone who wouldn’t go near her because of her bleeding saw Him heal her.

That is the Jesus I came to know and love.

I have been feeling this darkness sweep over me and now knowing the humanity of Christ is a beautiful thing.

I was always come to the Garden of Gethsemane when I feel my most hopeless because this is where I see Jesus in His full humanity.  He wept, He ached, He sobbed and lied in the dirt and begged His father to take this thing away from Him that He knew He was going to have to do anyways.

I don’t doubt that this season of darkness is purposeless.  I don’t doubt that somehow I’ll come out of the fire a little more refined than I was before but still smelling like smoke because that’s where the story is.

I don’t always understand why or even anymore do I ask because it proves fruitless, sometimes there isn’t a reason.

But now I see more of Jesus in His full human form, the Jesus who wept, and knelt and asked His Father why.

As Always,


Lent and The Beauty of Grief

I feel guilty when I hear my friends who have lost their parents talk about how much they miss them.  It grieves me.

It grieves me because I am grieving the loss of my parents only not by death.

I am grieving by choice.

My whole family is still alive except I do not have relationships with them.

I have not spoken with my father in almost six years, same with his side of the family.  I recently cut off contact with my mom and her family.

I don’t take this lightly either.  It wasn’t a rash, reactive decision.  It was one born out of years of abuse, neglect and abandonment that did not stop once I became an adult.  I only realized the truth of what my childhood was once I entered therapy.

The reason I feel guilty is I technically suppose I could still have a relationship with them and somehow feel that my grief isn’t valid or “like theirs” because my parents are living and I am the one who chose to walk away.

Yet in a way my family is dead.  They died when I realized that my father had been sexually abusing since I was a young child.  They died when I realized that my mom in her narcissistic ways was using me and my trauma responses as a way to make things about her.

They ceased being my parents when they dropped me off at the ER and left me after I attempted suicide.  When I think about all the years and times that I needed a solid and stable family and did not have that because they chose to leave me in a state where I had no one and no money and wound up in the state hospital.

When I had to flee my abusive boyfriend, four months pregnant with is child they accused me of taking money and smoking crack with it instead of hearing me when I said I had paid his rent at the motel we were living in.  There was no offer of help there were only random phone calls and updates of what I was doing.

Looking back I needed to be on my own when I left Jeffrey because if my mom had been there I wouldn’t have done the things I needed to do my way and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

But when I moved home almost 9 months later with a three month old baby after not being home in almost four years I expected things to be different.

They weren’t.  They were passive aggressively different and because I had my new Jesus life where I thought everything was great and I was forgiven I thought that things were going to be fine with my family.

In truth I had stuffed down the 900 pounds seething monster and moving back in with my parents brought that monster to life.

It took the next six and half years for me to really realize, one interaction with them at a time for me to realize that I was still an outsider and always would be.  I may have come home with the first “prized” grandchild but I was looked at different.  Suddenly no one knew how to talk to me when really all I wanted was for things to be normal.

They couldn’t and wouldn’t be normal, the years I was gone some terrible things happened and I had been on a lot of drugs.  But I was clean and I wanted to everyone to know that.

I again tried so hard to get my parents to see that I was different, that I was clean and that I was a good mom.  That I loved my daughter and that I was going to everything I needed to do to be a good mom.  It wasn’t enough though.  The approval that I was trying to gain from them wasn’t coming and I was tired of trying to win it.

When I got into therapy three years ago and started to dig deep and really talk about what growing up was like and what relationship with my parents was like now that’s when the realization set in that I hadn’t grown up the way I thought I had.  That when diagnoses were given to me and the medications were thrown at me it was done to make my parents feel better, not to help me.  My parents saw me as acting out behaviorally.   I learned that what I was experiencing were trauma responses, fight or flight and what is now known as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

That is when things with my family started to change.  I didn’t want to spend time with them even though they wanted to spend time with Abigail.  For the most part I was okay with that until I started to notice things that she would say when she would come home.  She would react to me in certain ways when they would drop her off.  I started to become really uncomfortable with them spending time with her but cutting off ties?

There was a part of me, a wounded child part that knew I wasn’t ready.  I already felt the loss of never having a mom.  I would search out relationships with nurturing older women who could “mother me” because I needed that.  I became attached to the majority of my elementary school teachers and the ones in junior high and high school that were kind I formed bonds with.  Without a mother figure to look to I needed someone to fill that gap.

Things fell apart when I came home from Africa and found out how things had been with my mom and Abigail while I was gone.

It was bad.

Then I started to get ballsy and bring things up to my mom that I remembered from childhood and she point blank denied it and told me that I have deep psychological problems.

After that I was done.  We didn’t talk much after that.  I got sick and had surgery and had to lay down some pretty tough boundaries because me being sick is something they thrive on.

I stopped spending time on them unless it was necessary and when I did I was ignored, made fun of in a roundabout way for my “Jesus Beliefs” or just not made to feel welcome.

When Abigail said to me that she didn’t understand why my parents paid more attention to my niece and nephew than they do to her I realized that I couldn’t let Abigail grow up with the same abusive, passive aggressive manipulation that I was.

I cut off contact.

I blocked their numbers.

They kept calling.

One night Abigail got a hold of my phone and called my mom.  I was sick and had the flu and had been sleeping for most of the day.  Abigail brought me the phone and said my mom wanted to talk to me.  I hung up.  I wasn’t going to bring them back in my life.

Ten minutes later I had two sheriff deputies knocking on my door saying that my mom had called in a child welfare report.  They deputies came in and checked everything out.  Obviously everything was fine and I explained my situation with my parents.  Turns out as the deputies were leaving my parents were getting off the elevator.  They let them know they were not welcome at my house and they needed to leave.

This brings where I am now.


I don’t like grief; I honestly don’t know a single person who does.  I have 32 years of a lost relationship to grieve and I honestly don’t know how.

I have never had that mother daughter or father daughter relationship that others have and I ache over that.  I can’t even watch Disney movies with Abigail where there is a Father/daughter.  It’s too hard.  Everything about this kind of loss is too hard because it leaves me feeling unwanted.

That feeling of being unwanted translates to every other relationship in my life.  Friendships, relationships, even people online that I do not know very well.

I still wish I had a mom and a dad that had wanted me that want me now and would love me the way I know I deserve.

I wish I had gone to a father daughter dance, or muffins with mom.

I didn’t and I have to grieve that.  There is Jesus in His humanity to bear that grief with me and I am holding on to that tonight as I write this because I feel unwanted and unloved.

Trying to mother when you need to be mothered yourself is a tiring process.  Making sure that Abigail has what she needs usually comes before me having what I need.   By the time I am done I have nothing left to give for myself and I crash or zone out and watch TV.  Sometimes it’s nice but it’s not very healing.

I want to heal.  I want my grief to fall away like Christ’s grave cloths.  I want to find the way to mother myself, to let God mother me and father me because I know he can do both.  But when grief presses in and causes you to think that everyone around you doesn’t want you either it’s too hard to see God that way.

Grief is messy but it can be beautiful too.  It’s beautiful because as the tears fall the healing comes.  I realize that I am not only healing for myself I am healing for a little girl who deserves a healthy mom.

As Always,


Lent and The Glory of a Borrowed Car

I am writing though Lent as I discover trough these sacramental 40 day days chronicling how I am seeing Jesus in my every day life.  In my world that is sacrifice because things are often over looked as messes, annoyances or thinks I would often overlook.

Today is different though.  It’s a story about a friend of mine, unlikely friends but given our circumstances we were almost thrown together by the hand of God and my life is nowhere near the same without her.

Shelby and I first met when she babysat for the kids during our Tuesday morning bible study. Her mom attended and though we weren’t super close her mom felt tight enough in the group to share her prayers and struggles with the group.

When Teresa (Shelby’s mom) started sharing about the serious health troubles that Shelby was having we were all broken.  Shelby was you, 15 at the time and the serious issues she was having didn’t seem fair.  When she finally got her diagnoses in October of 2011 of Chiari Malformation (seeing a pattern) it seemed as though they had had relief and could moved forward.  Shelby had surgery in February of 2012 and started moving forward.

When I received my Chiari diagnoses in October of 2012 my first thought was “I need to call Teresa” I knew she was the only one who was going to understand what I was going through.  And I was right, she did.  Answering questions, being there and most important was a support.

I needed her in a way I couldn’t understand at the time.  Even though she was going through her own rough period she gave me what she could of herself and that meant more than anything else.

The week of my surgery she sent her older daughter Morgan over to clean, take care of me, of Abigail and get some last minute stuff done.  My surgery was on a Thursday afternoon so Wednesday night Morgan (shelby’s sister) and Shelby picked me us up, dropped Abigail at her  friends, took me for coffee and then home to get the rest of my stuff packed.  And then they spent time with me; I think that was also the night that we tried to make whipped cream from coconut milk in the blender.

That was a no go.

But spending the night before major surgery with people who love me meant the world to me.

Shelby came to see me in the hospital.  Not that I remember anything other than her mom telling me to set my alarm for every eight minutes so I could hit my magic morphine button and the both of them trying to fluff my pillows.

Our relationship really began outside the hospital.  It grew as we spent more time together and shared our similar yet vastly different Chiari stories.  She has no ongoing lingering problems.  I do.  But the comfort that her words provide, even though she cannot fully grasp the ongoing effects of having lingering issues is huge.

She is quite a bit younger than me.  She just turned 19 and I will be 33 in June so I consider her a little sister which is not a role I take lightly.  I am incredibly protective of her and in some ways feel like I am responsible for helping her break out of her home school, naïve shell.  Which I know she is not as naïve as some other homeschooled kids but I love her and I don’t want to her to get hurt.

We were at breakfast last Friday and she looked over at me and said “I am really glad that you are in my life Bethany, I mean it”

I don’t have many people that say things like that to me and mean it.  I took it in my heart and allowed to ruminate.  It felt like a truth I could absorb and I did.

Shelby and I have a special, sacred type relationship.  Like sisters but more.  There is that level of intimacy that is there that would be with siblings but we have also gone through the same traumatic experience and not many people can understand that.

I can try and talk about my surgery with my friends, whom I do but because they haven’t been there they can only understand a depth that Shelby cannot.  I have developed such a deep, protective and sisterly love for this girl.  We know how to finish each other’s sentences, she comes over in the morning with biscuits and stays with me at the bus stop so I won’t have to face a person I don’t want to and she lets me borrow her car.

There are so many things over the course of two and a half years that I have learned about friendship and this is one of them.  Friendship and relationship and can be both beautiful and detrimental to a person.  It takes two people to have a friendship and that is not something I knew until I got sick.  My relationship with Shelby is 100% give and take and that is what I noticed yesterday.

She let me borrow her car.  Mine is broken down, well not so much broken down as it is it died and sold.  I needed a car so I could get to therapy and a couple other things I needed to do yesterday.  As I drove away from dropping her off at work I was struck by the value in our friendship.  By the love relationship that has grown between two unlikely people.  Yet here we are, my little sister and I and I couldn’t love the girl more if we were blood related.

As Always,


Lent and The Glory of Glitter

Lent has always been a hard thing for me to wrap my head around.  As a child I attended a Methodist church so when the Lenten season came upon us it was something that we were forced to take part in.  As the 40 days of giving something up drew closer we as youth would teasing one another “What are YOU going to give up?” The boys would tease the girls who had a reputation “You should try to give up kissing or sex” while snickering behind their backs somehow knowing that (in their minds) it wasn’t possible.  We always seemed to choose the usual things though.  Chocolate, soda, easy things per say.  Yet it wasn’t serious because it was forced.

There was never any real talk of WHY we were participating in such a Holy ritual, in such a deeply committed sacrament that means so much to the story of Christ.  I believe, at least for the church I went to that it was more about control.  I see it now as keeping the youth in line with the ritual without teaching us the why.  There really wasn’t a lot of why.  There wasn’t a lot of Jesus, or relationship or personal growth, which I remember.  There was a lot of old church member attendance and keeping things the way they were and keeping us in line with that.

My parents didn’t take part in any of the church; they dropped me off and picked me up so I did not get any church at home so I wandered about when it came to Jesus.   I wandered about when it came to Jesus even after becoming a Christian.

When I would talk about my years growing up in the Methodist church I would be met with “That was all religion, NO relationship.”  When I would talk about what it was like growing up in the church I was met with exclamations of “WELL THAT was all ritual and it didn’t mean anything” I began to see my years in the Methodist church as having no meaning.  Lent being one of them.

When I became a Christian it was right before the Lenten season, growing up in the church and knowing nothing about evangelical Christianity I fully expected to take part in Lent once again.  There was no mention of it though.  It was as if the church brushed it off as an old ritual that didn’t having meaning in the “new evangelical way” My mind spun in circles thinking that it was no longer important to take part in Lent and since I never had a full understanding of what Lent really meant I just went about my merry Easter Jesus loving way and participated in Resurrection Sunday (can’t have no bunnies)

Changes began over the course of the last couple of years as I started to fall in love with religion.  Not religion in the stodgy, musty way that I thought it was but a fresh new way of seeing Jesus.  As a sacrament, a sacrifice, a love letter to Him that I am preparing as I spend the next 40 days looking for Him in the everyday.

So here is where I come to tell you about my plans for Lent.  I have a hard time giving things up.  Not because I don’t want to or I am being selfish but because everything that has ever been told to me about giving things up ie: fasting or Lent has been part in parcel to a forced conversation.  The meaning behind it was always well you have to because that’s the only way that Jesus is really going to show himself.  So there is the reason that I don’t fast and that for Lent I am picking up a spiritual discipline rather than focusing on giving something up.

I am going to seek/find and look for Jesus in my every day.  He’s here I think I often miss Him because I am so wrapped up in what’s going on around me and being over focused and stressed on what’s wrong rather than what is so gloriously good.

Yesterday was day 1.

I looked around my house which is a mess and normally would drive me crazy.  Yet as I looked closer and saw what the mess really was my perspective greatly changed.

There glitter all over my counter from a little girl who loves to paint and make beautiful creations.

There are pencil marks on the hall closet door where she measured how tall her stuffed animals are.

Crayons and markers everywhere from creations that she cannot bear to clean up.

Most days I get overly anxious about this stuff and either clean it up myself or get frustrated enough with Abigail so she’ll do it herself.  Yesterday I took pictures so I could remember the beauty of this moment.

This moment where I remember that I am so blessed to have this beautiful little girl as my daughter.  The little girl that the God of the Universe, the God who became fully human and walked this earth gave ME no doubt on purpose (why, I don’t still know) to love.

Jesus in my everyday is sometimes looking past the mess and seeing the glitter is beautiful.  When Abigail was about three or four I believe I was getting ready for bible study one morning.  I was frustrated because I was running late and she was bored and, and, and.  It was one of those mornings.  So I sat her down at the dining room table, gave her the craft bucket and said “have at it” so I could finish getting ready.  10 minutes later she comes in the bathroom and says “Mommy I decorated the kitchen for you” I walked in and saw that she had taken the ENTIRE bottle of glitter, glistening silver, white and sparkling glitter and dumped it ALL OVER the kitchen and the dining room (carpeted nonetheless) I gasped and in the moment I had a choice.  I could either be angry with her for making a mess or be excited with her that she had done something nice for me and decorated.  I chose the latter.   I said “WOW honey it’s beautiful”  Yes I choked the words out, the glitter was going to be a bitch to clean up.  But in the moment I chose to revel with her in her glory of glitter.

Lenten season 2014 my Jesus in the every day.

Glory in Glitter

As Always,


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