A Thankful Heart, Dear.

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It has recently been thanks giving over in America and it really got me inspired me to write all around thankfulness. Funnily enough, it’s exactly what the Lord has been pressing on my heart to do more of lately.

Psalm 36:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.”

I am a very happy, energetic and confident person. I have always been someone who chooses optimism and positivity first but if I am honest, the last few months have felt SO opposite to that and it’s been so conflicting. It’s like I  was constantly churned up and every time something wonderful happened I would feel this tug on my heart and this unexplainable sadness filled the pit of my soul.

I have been in this constant up hill climb and I haven’t been able to see the top. I wrote in my last post about my gratitude for my friend Tess. I spoke about how I started to feel like myself again, for the first time in months.

Do you want to know why I started to feel like myself again?… Because the Lord invaded my heart and refilled my spirit with Thankfulness.

We are called to be Thankful in all circumstances of our lives. When we Praise and give thanks to our incredible Jesus we are ridding ourselves of the very thing the devil is trying to hold us down with. When we give Thanks, we receive blessing. When we choose to focus on the good things, we actually reap the benefit of the blessing by just feeling full again.

There is nothing more beautiful than the feeling of pure, genuine thankfulness. Our God wants us to live a life full of abundance and relentless Joy. He wants us to recognise his work and Praise him for everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I look at Characters of the bible like, Job, David and Paul. God – honouring men who poured their heart and souls to God with Thankfulness. They were faced with awful circumstances yet still they were able to walk out their day covered in crazy, unexplainable peace, simply because they were Thankful. 

My prayer for you is to always have a Thankful heart, that no matter what you are facing, you choose God and you trust wholeheartedly that you belong to him, the King of the world.

My Challenge for you is to count your blessings. As you wake up instead of scrolling aimlessly on social media, spend time in the presence of God and Thank him for all the wonder and beauty in your life.

What are you thankful for?

How has God moved in your world?

When did he carry you out of that place you thought you were going to be stuck in forever?

Who has he placed in your life that has made a positive influence over you?

I can 100% promise you, you are going to be setting your day up for success when you start it like this.

Beth xx

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I Surrender.

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Story time!

2017 takes the cake for the most change I have ever experienced in such a short amount of time. Around February/March the Lord told me to quit my job. A career I had studied for and worked hard at for 3 years. I had no fall back plan, nothing. Just like Abraham, he told me to get up and move. It was one of the most incredible testaments to my personal faith I have ever experienced. During this time God was also preparing me to serve at camp Sonshine – Nebraska, U.S.A, Where my life changed dramatically in the most indescribable way.

I have been seeking God about what my next big move is going to be since I quit my job 9 months ago. I found the first few months of my waiting season amazing. I was able to do things that I always desired to do but after every high comes a low. I came home from my trip from America and felt instantly lost, direction-less and purpose-less from the moment I landed back in Australia. My waiting season became quite tough and the dark days much outweighed the light ones.

Psalm 27:14 – Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

The Lord gave me very, very clear instructions of what he wanted me to do when I got home. He wanted me to rest. But me being me, I allowed my anxiety to get the better of me and I started to plan out what I thought would be best for my life and what would be best for the future. We all know that works… NOT! I burnt myself out to the point of being physically sick. So, began doctors appointments and further tests to find out what was going on with my body. God literally didn’t give me an option of being able to do anything, he forced me to rest.

You would think that would have been a pretty clear indication for me to stop, wouldn’t you? After putting my health at risk I still tried to continue to do things in my own strength.

I hit an extremely low point the other week. I had an anxiety attack and I just went through a stage of pushing everyone away. I preferred to be alone. In my ‘alone’ I was constantly reminded of a conversation I had with my beautiful friend Sarah. She was in a season of transition and she said: “Beth, I am trusting God with everything, I am completely giving my life to him and I have never felt better.” I finally waved my flag and I surrendered. I surrendered.

Lessons Learnt!

I have always been pretty blessed in the sense of not having to spend long periods of time waiting for an answer from God. Everything has always been a fairly quick process. So when I came up against something new like this I instantly thought taking matters into my own hands would speed the process up.

  • Don’t rush a head of God’s plan! It tells us in Jeremiah 29:11…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

Before we were even born God numbered our days and planned out our lives. He knows what’s going to happen today, tomorrow and 5 years from now. All we need to do is trust him through it. When we rush ahead of the wonder he has for us we can miss it and make a mess in the process.

  • Count your blessings in the waiting! 

Ephesians 3:20 – God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (MSG)

It was coming to the end of camp when this verse popped up for the first time. That was over 3 months ago now. I have received this verse at least once a week since then. God kept telling me he was going to do something amazing and I was getting so excited and looking so far into the future that I missed was he was doing in the process.

I was so fixated on the outcome of my wait that I didn’t even pay full attention to the fact that he had already begun doing anything beyond my wildest dreams. I was missing all these beautiful blessings he had already poured out on me. I have realised the things he does in the wait is preparation for what he has next. Don’t miss it like I did.

*Everything thing has purpose and plays a part in his divine plan for you, regardless if you understand or you can see it or not.  

  • Stop doing it on your own! 

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

I can’t even count how many times the bible talks about the strength of the Lord. Our God is good and he is faithful. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He freely, graciously and willingly gives us his strength. So, why do we constantly try to do things on our own? I spent months doing it on my own, fully aware of what I was doing yet still continued to do it. I can’t explain the complete freedom I am experiencing right now. All because I am allowing God to do what he intended. Since doing this I have also received incredible blessings and the Lord has placed new dreams and desires in my heart because I am at a place of understanding now.

This season has bought SO much growth already, its unbelievable.

  • What does God want you to do for him in the mean time? 

Because I spent so long focusing on what the end result of my wait was I completely forgot to be asking God what I can do for him in the meantime. The in-between stage is where all the growth and preparation happens. I should have been spending more of my time completely open to God’s will for my life and by doing that sooner I could have been used by him in amazing ways.

Closing thoughts!

If you are currently in a waiting season I want you to know you are not alone.

1 Peter 5:9 – Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Take this opportunity to rest in the Lord and his incredible promises for your life. I understand the daily struggle of waiting. As humans we can be really impatient and feel defeated because we think we know what is best for our lives but we don’t, God does. He has a perfect plan for you and he is going to take you to places you’ve never been before. All you need to do is trust the prosess! He’s got you!

Beth xx

How can I pray for you?

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A few weeks ago I posted the image above on my Instagram (@bethcalverley) and spoke about the Power Of Prayer.

I was reflecting on the fact that I have recently started a Prayer journal and the absolute wonders it has done for me and my prayer life. I have been a Christian since the young age of 3 and I have grown up going to church.

Speaking has never been one of my strengths. I am petrified of public speaking, I often find my self stumbling over words, stuttering and embarrassed that I’m not making sense. Unfortunately, those fears were much the same when I was trying to talk to Jesus. I thought that my prayers were pathetic because I constantly compared them to the ones Pastors would say on the stage of a church. You know the ones with passion, the ones where their voices would raise as the band behind them would get more intense with their instruments. There is nothing wrong with that but The Lord has been persistent with me and this year he has taken me on a new journey with my prayer life. He has given me a new and honestly, refreshing perspective.

The bible talks to us time and time again about Prayer. The book of Psalms is one of my personal favourites and such a beautiful example of Prayer. It is simply coming into the presence of the Saviour. This is exactly what David did. He came as he was, with Thanks, with Requests, with Hurt, with Honesty.

As a writer, starting a prayer journal was THE best thing I have ever done. I haven’t been doing it for long but I have noticed a huge difference in my personal relationship with the Lord. It’s a sacred space between only him and I. It has enabled me to express myself in a way that works for me. Not just insecure little prayers when I am too focused on how I sound rather than what I am actually praying about instead my prayers are heartfelt from the very depths of my soul.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Another positive and beautiful thing I have found from having a prayer journal is: Because I am physically writing my prayers out I am able to visually see where there is need but also where prayers have been answered. We are all well aware that God listens, cares and answers us according to his will for us. It sounds so silly and simple but I honestly have never experienced recognition of prayer in such an impacting way.

The Lord has been pressing on my heart to share the impact I have had and take it further. This is where YOU come in! Community is really important to me and there is something about being in a community of prayer that makes you feel connected, supported and encouraged no matter what season of life you’re in. With that being said, My simple question is How can I be praying for you? 

Please, If you have certain things in your life that you need prayer for, if you are in a season of struggle, whether that be heart-break, finance, relationships, anything! Let me pray for you! Or maybe you are in a season of thanksgiving and complete gratitude? Let me Praise and give thanks to the Lord with you! I want to encourage you!

Head to my contact section in the drop down bar in my menu located at the top left hand side of my blog. Send me an email or write a comment. I would love to hear from you!

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I will finish off this post with a little challenge for you! Prayer is honestly such a beautiful way to connect with Jesus.

  • The first part of your challenge is to allocate a specific amount of time + time of the day set aside for Prayer – Your sacred time with God.
  • The second part of your challenge is to find what works for you. You might be a very verbal prayer, writing might suit you better, you might enjoy praying in the shower or in your car. There is no right or wrong when you are praying. God just loves to hear from his children.

Beth xx

 

Embrace YOUR Body!

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I have had a stirring in my heart to write about body positivity yet again. Surprise, surprise!

Earlier last week I was scrolling through my Instagram and I became quite irritated. The more I scrolled the fire bubbling up in my belly became stronger and stronger. I sat shaking my head, thinking how truly disgusting society can be.

These days, Instagram is full of Women in bikinis, diets, workout routines. You know how it goes… and for what?

Why are we so desperate to keep up with the next “in” trend of a body type. Do you understand how much that irks me? And how sad it is that A Woman’s body type has become a trend!!!!!

Think back a few years ago… What “body goals” were women trying to achieve? Petite bodies with a thigh gap.

What is it now? Small boobs to prance around in a little bralette, a tiny waste and a big butt.

I have been watching women work them selves to the ground just to achieve these results. What are they really going to gain from it though? Validation and acceptance of themselves because in societies standards they are “Beautiful”.

As women we should be spending more time in community, empowering each other to embrace OUR own individual body type.

As you know I am a Christian and I have grown up in church. I often come back to this bible verse. Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In the Christian world it is such a well known/ used verse that it can become repetitive and easily overlooked. I am here to drill this verse into your being like there is no tomorrow. When you actually sit down and take this verse in, it’s life changing. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the universe. He made you as an individual. You are your own person and you are the only person in the world with your exact body type. How do we not see that as the coolest thing ever and why the heck are we not embracing that more?

Recently, I have had an incredible awakening in my personal journey of body image and after a lot of prayer, seeking, crying and self hate I have experienced healing in a way that I never have before.

I am able to write of the body trends above because that was me not too long ago, trying to seek acceptance in all the wrong places from all the wrong people.

I was ashamed of my body, the way I looked and who I was as an individual. My journey has been very up and down. I have battled through issues and habits in regard to obsessive eating, exercising and fixating on numbers that I didn’t even realise was happening because it was so normal to me. I speak a lot more in depth about this in the book I am writing.

When I was in my mid teens I killed for “the dream body”. I wanted to be skinny, I wanted a thigh gap. I wish my 21 year old self was there to tell me that would never be achievable for me. Not in a harsh way but in a place of love. You see, that would never be achievable for me because that’s not my individual body type, that’s not how God created me. I am a curvy girl with thick thighs. I get that now, I accept that and FINALLY, I am embracing that.

Just the other week I was sitting down eating some food and my last bit of the meal fell into my lap because my thighs were touching. If I looked down and saw that about 6 months ago I would have been so ashamed of my body but you best believe I was praising the Lord for my thick thighs! I picked my food up and I finished that last bite with complete satisfaction.

Every body type IS beautiful.

If you have freckles, You’re beautiful.

If you have a thigh gap, You’re beautiful.

If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re beautiful.

If you have a bit of a chubby belly, You’re beautiful. (I love choccy too much and I’m rocking it)

If you have a flat stomach, you’re beautiful.

If you are tall, you’re beautiful.

If you are short, you’re beautiful.

Self acceptance comes when you beat the mental battle the enemy is forever trying to win against you!

Wearing a skimpy little bikini that covers next to nothing just for you to gain a little bit of attention isn’t going to make you happy. The boy that just “liked” your last Insta picture isn’t going to make you happy. Posting a body photo when your sucking in your stomach to the point of struggling to breathe and sticking your butt out to make yourself look smaller isn’t going to make you happy. Can most of us just admit that we’ve been there at some stage?

I encourage you to try your very best to honour your body. It is so so precious. Looking back I wish I cared for and valued my self and my body as much as I do now. Embrace who you are and do things to nourish yourself the right and healthy way. Stop trying to seek the approval of others to validate your self acceptance and stop playing the comparison game. As soon as you start to compare yourself to others you are allowing complete negative thoughts to grow and that in itself is a really dangerous place to be in.

Your worth isn’t found in a number on the scales, it’s not defined by toxic words people say to you, it’s not placed by how many followers you have or how revealing your posts are, it’s not shaped by a false image we have been led to believe by societies standards. It is found in the very essence of your being – Your heart!

I know that I am no where near where I want to be but because I am finally starting to see myself the way Jesus see’s me and I am spending time filling myself with his truths about me, I have found contentment. It’s crazy, amazing and all things wonderful!

There is only one place you are going to find complete contentment and real self acceptance. Go search, I dare you!

Beth xx

I belong at camp Sonshine!

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I’ve really struggled to start writing this blog because I just had no idea where to start. It’s been two weeks on from finishing camp and I have had time to process and reflect on what God has done over the summer, lessons I’ve learnt and how I’ve changed as a person. So now I’ts finally time for me to share my 2 and a half month journey of my unfolding of how I belong at camp Sonshine.

25th of May, 2017 – My mum and I jumped on a train to stay in Sydney for the night before my journey To Lincoln, Nebraska began. I remember sitting with her talking about camp and reading over the training manual. This was the moment when it all became real for me, when my emotions started to go crazy yet take control at the same time. I was filled with wonder of what could be, fear of the unknown and Joy because God chose me to go on this journey with him. Sitting on that train I had absolutely no idea what I was about to step into nor did I know the experiences I was about to have.

It got to the morning of me leaving and I was an anxious wreck. I have never felt so scared to do something before. My journey to Nebraska alone was 3 flights and about 2 days worth of travelling. Keep in mind I am PETRIFIED of flying and I had no idea what I was doing. If I’m being completely honest at this stage I didn’t want to go. I didn’t think I was capable enough. All I felt was doubt and fear but thank goodness my incredible Jesus stepped in and carried me the whole way. As soon as I said good bye to my mum and step dad at the airport I felt nothing but peace. This was a big leap of faith and a defining moment in my walk with God and I am so thankful I was obedient and listened.

Fast forward a few days – I have arrived! As soon as my plane landed and I got greeted by Lauren, Lulu and Adrianna with open arms and smiling faces. I knew this is where I was meant to be. I knew this season was going to be life changing.

The meeting process began. I remember feeling nothing but overwhelmed at this stage because I felt so connected to everyone almost instantly. I can honestly say I have never met a bunch of people as beautiful as the team I was blessed to work with this summer. Each of them made me feel welcome, loved and accepted. They were each a beautiful representation of what a Christian should be. They were different because Jesus shone through them.

I am changed because of the things God has done in not only me but through the people around me this summer.

During our training week we were asked to write out a vision for the summer, our goal, our purpose, what we wanted to achieve. When I first got accepted into camp Sonshine after reading their visions and values I said to mum “This seems like the type of camp I would have needed when I was younger”.

As much as I knew this summer, the people, Nebraska and camp Sonshine was a part of my new beginning, my purpose for the next few months was about others.

I love to encourage so this summer that’s exactly what my vision was.

Growing up I was an anxious little being and a lot of people Judged me for who I was and I HATED how that made me feel so I wanted to use my past experiences to help empower and encourage young people that they are enough, they are loved and they are worthy just the way they are – the way God made them. Each week I taught my girls about how much God loves them and how important it is to love themselves. I did this through talking about their fears, picking up rocks as a representation of what they had just stated their fears were and threw them into the pond so they are now rid of what ever it is that was holding them back. I did it through reading my all time favourite book – You are special by Max Lucado, I did it by filling up each others buckets – We would get in a circle and say something we liked about the person to our left. I did it by reading them Psalm 139 and then getting them to write down and speak out loud 3 things they loved about themselves to the group.

I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work alongside each age group over the summer. Through each of the precious beings I became friends with came many lessons.

I remember sitting in my room at my host home one Wednesday night, I was praying to God because I didn’t feel as connected my group as I had hoped on this particular week. I was praying for answers as to how to make a connection with them in the space of 2 days. I heard God instantly and as clear as anything.. Be vulnerable.

The more I thought about it the more it made sense and the more I sat on the thought of vulnerability with Children the louder God spoke.

I have been through a fair bit in my 21 years of living and I know that it hasn’t been for no reason so why shouldn’t I share my life with my girls? I prayed for the opportunity to be vulnerable with my little loves and I prayed it would be in God’s time. It says in the bible if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains. Boy oh boy did mountains move that week. It came to Thursday afternoon and my group had become really interested in the concept of Heaven and hell. The girls shot out questions left right and centre during that afternoon group time. I kept praying as we had one more day left that their interest in this would continue. It got to Friday night during the over nighter and I decided to have my group by the archery stalls (right where everyone had their belongings to move into teepees and tents). I didn’t think the group would go for as long as it did but I heard God say loud and clear again.. Be vulnerable. So I struck up a conversation about how I felt the presence of Jesus and I started to share about my personal relationship with him. By doing this that then lead my beautiful girls to do the same thing. We spoke about our fears, things we’ve overcome with God, our self worth, our crappy times and how God has moved in our hearts.

I was super hesitant to share about a few things because the girls I had were 8 and 9 years old but I trusted God and shared about how dad had passed away and how God bought me through that time of my life. Being vulnerable really pays off because my girls shared about their experiences with death too. I remember when I shared this, my girls paused, some came and sat closer to me, some held my hand, others gave me their friendship bracelets they had made from earlier on in the week. There was a distinctive moment where one girl (I call her angel face or joy face because you feel nothing but happiness when you are around her, she is anointed with the love of Jesus and it is so so evident) She looked at me when she was sharing one of her life stories and She quoted the bible verse “Our God is a father to the fatherless”. I was so taken back because I was being encouraged by a 9 year old. She also shared an incredible story of how she felt the presence of Jesus. She said “I feel Jesus in my dreams, I have this dream where I am running up to Jesus on his throne and then we just embrace with this big hug”. This group time went on for about an hour when we were only given 20 minutes. All while these conversations were happening we had so many distractions around us with people moving their belongings, other groups were really loud as well as others packing up from s’more time. God gave me the opportunity to connect with my group in a way I never have before. We didn’t just have surface conversations, we were able to go deeper – We cried together, we prayed together and we felt the presence of Jesus TOGETHER. All because I was able to have the courage to be vulnerable. I will be forever thankful to my incredible Saviour for that moment.

The next big lesson I want to talk about is obedience. Obedience to God in my opinion is never going to be something simple but the outcome is going to be phenomenal. My first lesson of obedience on this journey was listening clearly to what God had called me to do. I was in shock when things started to piece together so quickly and so easily for me to come over to Nebraska. I had no idea why I was called to the middle of America to do a summer camp but I knew in my heart that I had a peace that I had never experienced before and I had to go.

It was the end of week 2 when I was sitting in a local church I attended during my time in America (Mosaic! Best church I have ever been to) when I felt God telling me to open up to John 13. I had absolutely no clue what story of the bible it was going to be but I was eager to find out. I began to read, It was the story of Jesus washing his deciples feet. My stomach instantly got butterflies and my heart began to tingle… I knew the Holy Spirit was calling me to not only share this story with my group in the coming week but to actually show an act of love by washing each others feet just as Jesus did. This was petrifying to say the least. I mean, really, who wants to sit and wash someones else’s feet, let alone make this experience engaging enough that the focus will still be on Jesus? The week started and days kept going by, I still couldn’t muster up the courage to do this devotion. This particular week was my absolute favourite week of camp ever because of the bond I shared with my girls completely through Jesus, it was incredible but I was still scared to go through with my devotion. It finally got to Friday and I knew I had to do it or I would be filled with utter regret knowing this is something God had specifically called me to do. We had just finished doing some spontaneous Yoga in the rain because the girls didn’t want to continue with pool time as it was a little cooler that day, we sat down for lunch underneath the white tent and we finished a lot earlier than expected.. It was time. God even gave me an extra 20 minutes to do this devotion. I went to Walmart the night before and bought some bath salts and moisturiser to make the experience a little more fun for the girls. We sat in a circle and I began to tell them the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet, I focussed on the fact that it was a complete act of love. I then told them that we, as a group, were going to wash each others feet just as Jesus did. At this stage I was SO scared of the reaction I was going to get but I was taken by surprise. The girls couldn’t wait to do it! they thought it was super fun and they grasped the concept of why they were doing it. They told me that it made them feel special, loved and relaxed. Then all the girls crowded around me to wash my feet and oh my, it was honestly the most humbling experience I have ever had in my life. We then went on to imagining how it would feel if Jesus washed our feet. I loved watching as their faces beamed with absolute joy and wonder of what it would be like.
My girls have were so hungry for God, so eager to learn about him and were such a reflection of all he is.

A few weeks after doing this, I got a little note from a mum from one of the girls in my group that week. It said.. “Bethany, Anya absolutely loved you. And it wasn’t just that you were fun, when I asked about her favourite part of the day she shared about your devotions and about you washing her feet. Thank you so much for being more than just a councelor. Thank you for purposely living out Jesus to my girl. She already misses you.”

With Obedience comes blessings that you can’t even comprehend.

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As wonderful as camp has been, I’d be lying if I said my growth was only through the good times because everyone that walks with Jesus knows that our real growth comes through the hard times and man oh man did those times come. I’m all about being real, raw and honest with my feelings and my writing so here it goes.

It got to the last few weeks of camp where I really started to struggle, I struggled in ways that I never have before. I struggled because I was doing ministry work, the work of the Lord. Looking back now it’s more of a compliment because the enemy saw me as a threat. There were so many times in those last few weeks where I just wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I was physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually drained. I was burnt out and I knew in those weeks I couldn’t do camp alone. The only reason I was able to finish was because of God’s strength. Working 12 hours days outside in 45 degree heat is not something my body would be able to do for 5 days a week normally. Not being able to talk to my family because I was working so much that when I  would be awake they would be asleep and when they would wake up I’d be doing camp. Not being able to spend more than 20 minutes alone with God because my mind was so distracted with planning for the next day of camp, spending time building relationships with people that I met in America or trying to have some time to only think about myself. From almost fainting a number of times, throwing up in corn fields, being sweaty, smelly and gross my God came through. I cried out to him (literally) because I was done but he wasn’t. I was sitting outside of the barn one night at camp and I was praying for help, I was praying for signs, I was praying for anything to get me through these next few weeks.

God started talking to me through the book of Philippians in the bible. It is essentially a bunch of letters from Paul writing to Philipi while he is in prison, in literal chains for having a faith. I know that my situation is nothing like Pauls but I took comfort in the fact that to some degree I felt like I was able to relate because I had to completely rid myself of me and all the things that I found comfort in to serve God in a way that I never have before. I was reminded that I have been called to Nebraska all the way from Australia to serve God. God chose me! He chose me to love on all of these little American babes and use me as a vessel to pour his love on them. WHAT A FREAKING HONOUR!

I received all of these verses in my time of a breakdown.

Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Philippians 2:13 – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:17 – But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.

Philippians 4:4-7 – Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 – For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:19 – And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 – Always be joyful. Never stop praying.

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The list goes on and on to how much I have learnt and how much God has taught me over these last few months but I am changed because I’ve learnt how to be completely obedient, I am changed because I have learnt how to be vulnerable, I am changed because I have learnt to love like Jesus loves, I am changed because I now know my capability of how far I can push myself and I can only do that because of God’s strength, I am changed because I have learnt how to surrender the things I am comfortable with, I am changed because I let God do what he wants even when I am scared. I am changed because I belong at camp Sonshine.
By Bethany Calverley.

 

Nebraska.

I’ve been trying to write a blog post for the last 10 days. I’ve been trying my very hardest to describe exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve sat in front of my laptop screen that many times and I haven’t been able to write. All the emotions are right there but nothing flowed like it normally would. I couldn’t understand why.

Last night I became very overwhelmed with all the emotions I was feeling and had been feeling over the last 12 days of being in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. I came to realise that I wasn’t able to express myself because I wasn’t sorting through all the things I was feeling. I started speaking to my mum, my roommate and one of my new best friends from America about what was going through my brain. I realised I feel torn. I feel torn because I knew that I would absolutely fall in love with Nebraska, I knew it but I didn’t know I would be blessed enough to experience the feelings I am feeling right now. I didn’t know that I was going to make friends with some of the most incredible human beings I’ve ever met, Ones that are kind and genuine, ones that lift you up everyday, constantly make you laugh and give you cuddles whenever you need it, friends that I now consider my family and I’ve know them for less than 2 weeks. I din’t know that I was going to be blessed to live in a host home with the most beautiful family! I didn’t know that Nebraska would be so damn beautiful, the city, the landscape, THE SUNSETS, the corn fields, the s’mores! I didn’t know that I was going to be blessed enough to work in a place where you instantly feel the presence of Jesus as soon as you drive into the driveway. I didn’t know how much I would feel like I belong at camp Sonshine. I didn’t know that my relationship with Jesus was going to go to the heights that it has because it’s just me and him on this crazy, incredible journey. I didn’t know that my heart was going to be filled with gratitude when I hear what my campers learnt through the day, when they pray to God or that they are just as thankful for me as I am for them. I feel torn because I feel like this is home and that in its self is conflicting because how can I feel more comfortable here than I do when I’m back in Australia? I feel stuck because I just don’t want to leave and I don’t know what’s next.

I was having some quiet time with the Lord just praying and seeking for answers.

He answered instantly with three things…

  1. Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
  2. Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
  3. Genesis 12:1 – “Leave your native country, your relatives and your fathers family, and go to the land that I will show you”.

I’m forever on a journey of trusting the Lord, having patience and having faith. I know that he knows what’s best for me and he knows exactly how my future is going to play out.

I’m embracing this season of Nebraska with all of my heart because I am experiencing more than just happiness being here, I’m experiencing pure joy.

Try and imagine your favourite everything – The things that instantly make your heart bubble up with joy and bring you complete peace. Now times that by 10 and that’s about half of the happiness I’m experiencing.

I am so thankful for this journey so far and I am beyond excited to see what the next 9 weeks will bring if this is what I’ve gotten out of the first 12 days of being here.

By Bethany Calverley.