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    chase a rabbit

    “In order to get what God has for you, you can’t stay here. Sometimes God guides by what He withholds. “-Pastor Steven

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    One of the many amazing things about God is that He speaks to you in ways that you’ll understand. Maybe not fully in that moment but when He speaks, its always an invitation to journey into greater understanding of who He is and who you are.

    So toward the end of our season in Charlotte, I heard the Lord say, “I’m giving you many doors like Alice in Wonderland.” My mom said, “I only remember that she went chasing a white rabbit.” I went and refreshed my outdated memory of the long ago read book and watched “the door scene.”  Trying to catch the fullness of what God wanted me to know, I created a Wonderland Pinterest Board full of quotes He used to speak to me. She was surrounded by many locked doors but it wasn’t until she drank the juice and shrunk herself that she was able to enter the tiniest door in the room.

    I said, “God, Am I believing this next journey is beneath me? Am I going to have to shrink (become less) in order to enter in to this door? After being at Elevation church, all seems small in comparison but not in God’s eyes.

    The next day we arrived to one of our interviews and I was greeted by a little girl who asked me, “Do you want to see my white rabbit!?!?” She showed me her fully alive white rabbit hopping in its cage and God had me laughing. We then checked into our hotel and our room number was 217 with an image of a lantern beside it. He reminded me, “My word is a lantern to your feet, a light to your path.”

    A lantern only illuminates the next step, not the whole journey.

    Let me introduce you to the PLOT TWIST…Prior to this, I had gotten an offer from Proverbs 31 for a DREAM job with Online Bible Studies. It included writing/choosing the content for blogs/calls/etc.

    But after much prayer, the Lord said, “Bethany, are you chasing your dream job or your dream God, because I can be served anywhere. Do you have to work at a company that’s well known or can you serve at church that’s known by Me?”

    It’s so hard when two people in marriage are called. Caleb was ready to drop his dreams for the sake of mine but I couldn’t handle telling him to not fulfill a prophetic word that has been chasing him for 10 years. The white rabbit to me represented Holy Spirit. Running after Him to see where He leads us and what He created for us to do.

    So after months of tons of job interviews, moving back in with my parents, seeing God provide just enough each week, we are MOVING TO

    Starkville, MISSISSIPPI

    where Caleb will be the Student Pastor at Pinelake Church!!! Oh and this is our new house we are renting!


    Other funny things:

    • we were listening to Heidi Baker and she said “You know like on Alice & Wonderland, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!”
    • my parents were listening to a sermon to check out the church we were applying for and the pastor said, “We’re gonna go down a rabbit hole for a minute like Alice & Wonderland”
    • a blue butterfly like in Alice in Wonderland became the search but one day Caleb had a huge yellow butterfly fly by him for a moment that stood still. He was telling me on the phone that he felt God say,  ”Don’t just look in one direction.” I said, oh do you think He was talking about MS?” As I said that, a huge yellow butterfly flew in front of my car.

     

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    the fig

    imageHealing seems much easier when we don’t have to pick off the scab and realize we just re-opened a wound that’s still bleeding. But its in that moment we find it is a perfect time to throw out the welcome mat and let Christ have His work within the doors of our heart.

    Oh no! Christ is coming over? A panic sets in that screams, “I’ve got to clean the house and remove the clutter so He doesn’t trip or think it’s completely disgusting that I haven’t dusted in months!” We fall into the curse of hiding that Adam and Eve stood behind so long ago. Grab some fig leaves y’all, we can’t let Him or anyone see us like this! We mustn’t be exposed in frailty and shattered in our shame.

    But love comes walking through the garden of our hearts and calls out, “Where are you?” There’s been a loss of connection from our heart to His so He comes to find us hidden in the darkest spot we could find and tags, “You’re it!”

    Once we let the love of God find us in our worst, most ugly moments, we let the light in and can run to find someone else to share how He found us in the depths of our darkness. He didn’t leave us there and He’ll never leave us again. The best part is God loved us so much, He took separation out of the vocabulary of those who accept Jesus into their broken places and chooses to heal us.

    In Mark 11:12-14, Jesus sees a fig tree full of leaves but without fruit. He was hungry and looking to eat so He withered the tree and cursed it to never live again. Just like that tree, we gathered our shame and hid but through the cross He withers the fig leaves that we held up to hide our hurting hearts. He melts away the false pretensions and navigates through our darkest night. He wants to eliminate shame from our lives and bring the deepest healing that only He can provide.

    We were made for love. Have we received it? Maybe we’ve received a false expectation, or catastrophic devastation from the way life was meant to be in our eyes. Experiences can easily shape our definition of who God is in our lives but who He is will not change. The more we receive the love we were made for, the less we strive to fix the problems we are facing ourselves and start receiving the solution, which is Jesus.

    As we reflect, I want us to ask ourselves these two questions:

    What scar tissue do I have that makes me hesitant to fully trust God as my Father?

    What leaves of shame can I let Jesus wither in order to receive healing?

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    Ruffled Feathers

     “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

    -1 John 3:3

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    “Don’t get your feathers so ruffled!” has always been a term related to stressed out people, but after studying bird behavior, I have learned from this process. It is necessary to their survival. The ruffling of feathers is how birds keep clean, waterproof, and in flying condition. They bother their feathers in order to remove the debris after every bath and meal.

    A powder forms as they break apart each feather, keeping them warm when the cold comes. Then they shake off the dust, forming a cloud of debris to leave behind.

    As a child of God, I bathe in His presence and eat of His goodness but do I bother some places in my heart in order to remove the debris? If birds aren’t ruffling their feathers, they will be extremely ill or uncomfortable in there living situation. How often do I become like that tattered bird who has stopped the process and need to see my situation with new eyes? Without this process of examining my own heart, I cannot be lifted higher than my circumstances or be waterproof when the waves of life arise.

    Birds shake their tail feathers to release tension and I wonder what am I storing up? Is bitterness, resentment and discouragement hiding beneath my actions? It leaves me asking myself one question, “What’s ruffling my feathers?”

     

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