Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words



Messy Pieces

Jesus never said “take of your cross and follow me but make sure you leave any doubt behind because I don’t play with doubt” 

I am pretty sure that Jesus never said anything like that.   Rather He comes along side us with gentleness sharing stories from the bible with us about great biblical figures who doubted.

Even Jesus had his doubts in the garden; who wouldn’t?”

I was always told that it’s a sin to doubt or lack faith.  According to the people that introduced me to the evangelical world, doubt is caused by sin that hasn’t been confessed.  I would pray and pray, on my knees begging God to take away this sin that I didn’t even know I had.  Doubt is wrong I was told, just look at Job.

I soaked it up because it seemed reasonable at the time.  So I would pour myself into the world, into women’s bible studies and serving at church.  I hoped that doing those things would clear up the doubt and lack of trust in my heart.  My reasoning was the more I did for Jesus, the more he would love and accept me.

All I wanted was for God to accept me.  I was terrified that if I did anything wrong that he would remove his love from me.  I was incredibly misguided and the theological standpoint I had at the time was one of an extremely rigid God who expected perfection from his followers.  Grace was not a concept I understood.  So I worked for God rather than believing and growing out of that belief.

I wanted to be a ministry girl also.  I saw the women in ministry as super Christians and I wanted to be like that.  I so desired to have an extremely close and intimate relationship with God like these women all seemed to have.  Women’s ministries can be extremely oppressive and I am only able to see that now, being out of it.  I was in ministry for a long time and it was one of the most uncomfortable times in my life. 

I was trying so hard to be perfect and impress these women with my totally radical life changing God moment (I really wish you could put tone and facial expressions in) Ministry just sucked the life out of me because not only was I trying to impress God I was also trying to impress the other women in the group.  I didn’t and it was right around the time that things started to shift that I knew I had to quit.

Bible studies were also strongly recommended so that one could constantly be surrounded by Jesus loving women.  The thing is, I never fit in.  I didn’t fit the mold of a pink, wrapped in a bow cookie cutter Christian.  I was loud; my music choices were not something most of them would listen to.  I kept going through because that was the only way I was going to heal and get to my earthy promised land.  That was one of the biggest lies that were taught to me.  That there is a place on earth where once we get through our “stuff” It was pressed into my life that one day I would “get there” Yet “there” was elusive. 

I did a Beth Moore bible study about the Israelites crossing the Jordan and getting to the Promised Land.  I was taught that there is indeed an earthly Promised Land that we would reach.  That meant in some way that I would “get there” I figured that getting there meant that I would no longer struggle and the pounding waves of pain that were crashing into my life would stop.

I became a “Beth Moore groupie ministry girl” And I really thought that was going to do it.  I was talking with a friend this morning who just couldn’t believe that I had ever dressed nor acted like that because it’s so different from who I am now.  My internal identity is very well worn on the outside.  I was trying to play a part, like a little girl dressing up in her momma’s high heels.

I kept waiting for this promise land that was written in all of these books and bible studies I was pouring myself into.

It never came.

The flood came, life was ripped apart and I was left with dirt and sticks.

The God I thought I knew had failed me.  He promised me a land of safety and freedom and I got losing my career and brain surgery.   I am angry, still.  I realize that.  Underneath anger is hurt, fear and anxiety. These things and people that were supposed to be there for me vanished.

Yet I have grown over the last two years since I sat in my car and wailed out at God.  I don’t believe in the god I did in the years prior.  I am thankful for that and the way He has shown himself to me.  The angry, wrath filled god who would smite you for even daring to question him; that god has died.

The God I found was one of hope, peace, acceptance and grace.

Feeling God’s grace wrecked me, in the best way possible.

I did used to miss the routine of the faith life I lived before.  When I look at the shattered pieces of the last two years I can find some peace as I begin the process of putting them back together.

A God of love.

As Always,


Accepting a Reality That Breaks You

***Trigger Warning Strong Mentions of Abuse of All Forms**

But it’s worth it to read.

I was 22, and I have shared this before that I met him in the Kansas state hospital.  There is so much about my adolescence and early 20’s that is messed up and scary and me landing there is no surprise.  Neither is moving in with a man I met there, 8 ½ years older than me.

I talk about Abigail’s “dad” in regards to him not being here for her and his absence in her life.  However I have never spoken about him in regards to the pain he caused me.  Not just in his leaving and making the choice to walk away from us both but the pain and abuse he inflicted in our relationship.

In breaking reality is terrifying, heart pounding and unbearable at times.  It involves acceptance of what is true versus what was perceived by victims of trauma because mostly we thought what we were experiencing was normal.

There is likely a good majority of trauma victims/survivors who never had their experiences, traumas and abuses acknowledged or validated, when it finally happens it can be a huge struggle to finally say or accept that what happened is TRUE.

This is a place I have started to come to about certain events in my life.  It has been so painful and reality shaking that I struggle to grip and grasp onto saying yes this happened and yes it was bad.

The reason why? I didn’t know our relationship was abusive until I had been out of it for six years and had been in therapy for almost one.  Once I started to see what boundaries and consent are, what abuse actually means and consists of and my brain began to clear up and show me the reality of our relationship—I was able to see the truth.

It’s a painful reality to accept that someone you loved, that you truly thought loved you and was looking out for and taking care of you was actually abusing and controlling you.  He would do things like demand all the change back and the receipt from when I went grocery shopping because he would accuse me of keeping money to go shopping for myself.  His constant insistence that I was his property and that he claimed me was the one thing I tried to fight back on because it made me angry.  I am able now to look back and see that it was triggering a deeper emotion and trauma reaction from my abusive childhood.

Including the trauma of being considering (and told that I was) “the property” of the people who abused me.

I was never wanted, nurtured or loved the way a child should be, deserves to be.  A baby comes into this world, typically to parents who have planned or at least become ready to love the baby coming.  Mine did not do that.  I was a pawn to them. A nuisance who just got in the way or was along for the ride in whatever they needed or wanted to do.

Weekend drunken parties; sure.

Being told that it was my responsibility as a 10 year old to take care of my younger brother and sister; meet their needs.  Even when it meant that my basic needs where not being met; and I was parenting myself.

Being accused of doing things I did not do and being punished for them.  Yelled at and violently screamed at and called names.  Pinned down and having hands around my throat because I refused to continue to be screamed at by the man who was supposed to be “my step dad.”

I tried to leave that night—to go stay at a friend’s, to be safe.  I was scared and he threatened me with calling social services and having me taken away for being a “bad child” or me never seeing my mom, brother or sister again.  When my mom came home that night she took his side.

I never thought that what I was experiencing was abuse because it started so young that I thought it was normal.  Moving in with Abigail’s dad and starting a “life” with him seemed like the next right step.

I shared at the beginning about meeting Abigail’s dad and in my mind it seemed like the best way to “start over”  Here was this man who promised to love me, cherish me and take care of me.

His words were “Nothing is EVER going to tear us apart.”

We started using drugs immediately and it just seemed normal.  I started using drugs at 12.  With the childhood I had it was a safety mechanism.  I coping skill.

The drugs were the only thing that kept our relationship together.  When we were smoking crack, pot, meth or doing cocaine we were “perfect together.”   But when you are high everything seems perfect – ish.  We were relatable and the things we did bonded us.  I am not proud of what I did but I am no longer ashamed because I realize now that it’s all I knew how to do.

This is why I didn’t’t realize that what he was doing was abusive.  His behavior was all I knew.  His sexually abusive ways were so linked to my father and to the other men in my life that weren’t outright abusive; but passive aggressive about it.  His forcing me to do what we did didn’t seem unacceptable or my saying no did not seem strange to me because consent was a foreign word.

His controlling behavior with money, calling me property, showing a complete lack of interest in my declining mental health, not calling me or visiting when I was in the hospital was all normal because that was exactly what my parents did.  The abandonment was made out to be my fault because I was “the crazy girlfriend who needed to know where he was all the time”

Yet when I really needed him he was out the door.  He made the rules, laid down the limits, thought they were unspoken but very well understood.

That form of passive aggressiveness is sometimes almost worse than being hit, or raped or pushed up against a wall with hands around your neck.  You always have to be on guard because you never know when the next strike is coming.

To say that Jeffrey used my abuse history against me and to his own advantage is an understatement.  Jeffrey knew what to say and do to get under my skin.  He knew what he could do to make me complacent and do what he wanted and make it seem like it was what I wanted.

Leaving him was one of the best choices I have ever made.  I walked away and gave Abigail a better life, a life with a mom who loves her and gives her wholeness even though in some circles “we are missing an element”

This clear ability to break through the perceptions of who I thought he was ( a deadbeat biological specimen provider) did not break through until I had already had intense therapy and a broken hearted truth experience within myself of who all three of my parental figures were.

Or were supposed to be.

And it all ties into one you see.  Each layer of abuse I experienced from each person just added another layer to what I had already been though.  Every experience is somehow intertwined with one another and that’s what makes it even harder to break through and accept that reality.

Because I never really knew what abuse was.

It was all normal.

But it’s NOT anymore.


As Always,


Dependence, Reclaiming and Shattering

At the end of 2012 everything was falling apart in my life.


On New Years Eve I had an eight hour long Neuro-Psych evaluation to see if I was going to be able to handle the after effects of the inevitable brain surgery that I was going to have.

In October I had been diagnosed with Chiari Malformation .  From that point on things just went downhill, well escalated I suppose.  Life had blown to shit after my return from Africa at the end of June.  It only seemed fitting (pessimistically) that it would continue to fall apart.

The pain, both physically and emotionally were just too much to handle.  My faith was hitting a wall as well.  It seemed that everything I thought I knew about God was also falling apart.  Who I understood Him to be did not seem to line up with where my life was heading.

As each blow came against me I would look up and say “REALLY God, really.”  It started to feel like I was living in some kind of sick Job like year.  I was angry, tired and truthfully starting to get a little bit bitter.

I know that the people around me were trying to help with their comments.  When you are sick, like SICK and the only thing you hear is “just trust God” or “you have to just depend on God alone” or my personal favorite “I just know that God is going to do something big with this” your own thoughts become strangely convoluted.

As the New Year was coming up I started to hear about this OneWord365 and though I really didn’t understand what it meant I thought I would give it a go and see where it took me.

With everything where it was and the truths I was hearing and trying to believe I chose Dependence as my word for 2013.  It seemed fitting based on where I was and what I knew I was facing.  I wanted to depend on God more and let learn to let go of my tight control on everything.

January rolled in with news that yes the surgeon wanted to see me ASAP, February hit with the news that yes I needed surgery.

February 21, 2013 I went under and four hours later came out able to say that I’ve had brain surgery.  I joke, I laugh about my missing pieces and the chunks of time I don’t remember because pain killers and being stoned for well a better part of 2013.

Off and on I would think about this word dependence and what it meant as I was learning to reframe my faith and what a relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit meant, what I wanted it to look like in my life and what religion really meant to me.

I could look at dependence from the aspect of provision.  There was not a single month that went by during this whole time that we did not have groceries, that our rent was not paid or that my truck was not filled with gas.  Learning to depend on God for provision was a big part of this year, it still is.  As I write this I don’t know if I can pay rent for January.  Things are still tough.  I’m still sick, I still struggle.  I’ve been in withdrawal from the pain medicine for the last two weeks and it’s BEEN A BITCH.

Do I believe God will come through, honestly?  I don’t know.  Am I scared?  Hell yeah.

I don’t understand how to live a life where I trust anyone or anything other than myself to get things done.


Because since I was a child (think 4) I have taken care of and parented myself.  It’s always been me to do it and get it done and if I don’t well it doesn’t happen.

I am raising my daughter alone, working, loving her, parenting her AND learning how to re-parent myself at the same time.  I have a hard time re-framing the lens I look through when I think about all of the things I have had to do by myself since I was a child.

Yet when I look back over 2013 and really reframe it I can see where dependence took a turn that I wasn’t expecting and yes it was God but not outright like I, in my old lens of faith expected it to look.

In June I joined this amazing group of women, artists and creators that have accepted, loved and BLESSED me beyond anything I ever thought was possible.

I have been heard.  Seen and known.  Even in my ugly, my rage and my pure, raw vulnerable moments.

These women put together money for my daughter and I to go to Austin for Thanksgiving so that we wouldn’t be alone and when our suitcase was stolen when returned they sent money and replacement items.

It was so much overwhelming love that I couldn’t even respond.

I didn’t see that as dependence until someone in the community mentioned it.  The old me never would have let that happen.  I would have brushed off the help as “Oh its ok I can take care of it”

Instead I allowed myself to depend; to let love flow from a completely unexpected avenue.

And it did.  Not just to me but to my baby girl.  This by extension is me, and fills my heart to the brim to see her experience such love.

2013 was a BAD year in so many ways.  I had to set huge boundaries with people, lost relationships with family and friends that I thought were for me but really weren’t.  I spent the majority of the year sick and in pain.  I am ready to kick this years ass out the fucking door.

This is why my word for 2014 is Reclaim.

I am ready to reframe and reclaim the shattered pieces of my life, of my faith and my heart.

I started the process this year but it got muddled in with everything else and it’s hard to sort out what is what.

There is so much I have to reclaim.  Anniversaries (shit-aversaries) hard times, scary things and trauma that I haven’t been willing to face for the 32 years I have been walking this planet.

Yet it’s time and I am more ready than I have ever been; because I don’t walk this earth for just me.  I have a precious 7 ½ year old baby girl who depends on me to be healthy, strong and loving.  She depends on me.

So maybe this year I can reclaim dependence and what it means to be dependent on the God that I am still learning to follow?

Because my faith was shattered this year.

But sometimes shattering is the best thing that can happen to a girl.

As Always,


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