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 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.

Called.

If you were to tell me a year ago that I’d be sitting and writing this blog in a host home in Lincoln, Nebraska serving on a summer camp called camp sonshine I think I’d honestly laugh in your face. I love, love, love that most of the time God’s plan is not our plan.

This week we dove straight into training and preparation for the next 9 weeks to come. For my first week of camp I have been placed with 8 and 9 year olds. For one of our training modules we got given time to spend in solitude with the Lord and we were encouraged to think of a vision for this summer. Something that will keep us going, something we can come back to when times get tough and something that can be our very drive to keep going.

God says when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. During my moments of solitude I was challenged. I know that being here is a massive part of my personal Journey and It’s a new season for me but I just really felt God say this isn’t all about you. You are here to serve, I am using you as a vessel for others to know me!

With that being said my vision for this summer is to be an encourager!

When I first got accepted into camp Sonshine I remember going out to mum saying..“This seems like a camp I would have needed when I was younger.”

Growing up I was such an anxious, insecure little being and a lot of the time I was teased or judged for who I was. I don’t believe any child should be made to feel like that.

My purpose for this summer is to help every child know they are loved, worthy, treasured and valued by a King who loves them for THEM. I want to empower them to be themselves and be comfortable with who they are.

Psalm 139:1-18

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me.

You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!

I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.

If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

They cannot be numbered!

I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

I know It’s such a cliche thing for a Christian to have a vision like this but knowing yourself and being comfortable in yourself and in Christ is HUGE! I honestly believe it is going to set these children up for a life of abundance and complete happiness.

This week God showed me this journey is not just about me anymore, it’s about others and its about being completely obedient and trusting to his will.

This week I learnt that I have been called to serve, I have been called to be a leader and I now know that I am more than capable of doing this because in his strength he is going to equip me.

What an honour.

By Bethany Calverley.

 

I’m no longer a victim to Anxiety, so why do I feel like this?

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It’s less than 2 weeks now until I leave for Nebraska but if I’m completely honest with you I have felt nothing but overwhelmed. I haven’t even really been able to talk to anyone about it because I instantly feel my eyes well up with tears and my head gets this massive cloud of fog over it.

– Why?

I’ve been battling with that stupid little word for the last month now. I’ve been battling with all these stupid negative feelings for the last month now too.

I hit a really low point last week and that low point was the BEST thing that’s happened in this last month, weird I know. Let me explain.

I was no longer a victim to anxiety, so why did I feel like this? Why was my chest tight, why was my heart so uneasy to the point of uncontrollable crying, why didn’t I want to see anyone, why couldn’t I get out of bed, why couldn’t I write? WHY? I’ve got two words for you – Spiritual warfare.

I messaged my best mate straight away and asked him to pray for me, I didn’t really go into too much detail, I just asked him to pray. He replied with “Of course! When things are going right the devil doesn’t want to lose you and will do anything he can to keep you from God”.

I then went on to read a quote that said “There are no short cuts to any place worth going”.

It clicked. everything clicked. Everything finally made sense. Just as much as God was fighting for me, so was the enemy. It was just the day before my low point happened that I was frustrated with God about my finances, I questioned him and said “Why is it costing me almost $3000 just to get to Nebraska? Why, when I’m an anxious flyer does it take 3 plane trips to get there?” and as stated in the quote above he answered.. There are no short cuts because this is part of my journey, because this place is going to be life changing and because it’s worth going. The summer camp I will be leading on isn’t just fun and games, their sole purpose is to encourage children in their walk with Christ, to get along side them and show them how loved and valued they are. God chose me to be a part of that. Of course the enemy is going to attack because God, him and I all know this is the start of my new beginning. When I really sit and think, if I am in this massive spiritual battle right now, I can’t even begin to imagine the crazy amazing experiences and moments I’m going to have over there and how God is going to use me and open up new doors for me.

It’s almost laughable what happened to me last week. That the enemy used my weakness of anxiety,  He made sure I wasn’t able to write which is the one thing that calms me most and my mum was on a trip 10 hours away so he tried to strike when I was alone. When really, I’m never alone because while he was doing all of that God actually stepped in and took me to this place of surrender, filled my heart with love and allowed my mind to be at peace for the first time in a month.

I can’t even begin to explain what I am feeling right now as I  write this but what I can tell you is to trust God. I have had too many crazy, unexplainable and wonderful things happen in my life and more so in these last 5 months that prove he is real and he is working in me. I will write and share every experience, lesson, triumph, low and heavy heart moment that I can for people to have the chance to connect with him.

Now, when people ask about Nebraska, I feel about 20% nervous and 80% excited beyond words because before I was born or breathed into existence this was part of my journey, this was a part of Gods plan for me and I know that following this through is going to bring so much happiness and a lot of life changing moments. For not only me but for others around me.

I feel blessed and nothing but honoured that God is giving me the opportunity to meet new people with the same love and same passion as me, that I get to see more of a new country and a new state and mostly, that I get to share the love of God with children because as I keep growing and my story keeps unfolding, I’m learning that’s exactly what I’ve been called to do.

By Bethany Calverley.

I AM FREE!!!

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This is hands down one of the most vulnerable blogs I have posted about myself and my experiences to date but there’s been a fire burning in my belly for a while now and I just really feel I need to write about this and hopefully help anyone who has or is going through a similar thing.

It’s hard to know where to actually begin because this has been such a long journey in the making.

I’ll go from the beginning. 2013. It was only a few months after my dad had passed away, I was coping reasonably well and I decided to move back to my childhood church. That was my first mistake. If I hadn’t of done that, the rest wouldn’t have followed, but it did.

He was a close friend growing up so naturally we clicked after many years of not seeing each other. We started to hang out more and more and eventually began to date. At the time he was everything I wanted and more, I thought I was going to marry this boy. He cared for me and showed me “love”. It was about 7 or 8 months into the relationship and I thought everything was going wonderful but looking back now I realise how unhealthily attached I became to this boy and how toxic our relationship really was. There was a certain experience that happened that I won’t go into but since then everything changed between him and I. I began to notice a huge shift in myself, I wasn’t Bethany anymore. He became very controlling and manipulative of me. He wanted all of my attention and at the time I thought I “loved” him so I dropped everything for him. I became more and more anxious around him and he knew it. A coping mechanism I sub consciously started doing was twirling my hair, he picked up on that and hated it. Every time he caught me doing it he would hit my hand away from my head and scream “STOP DOING THAT!”. He didn’t want me near my friends and it got to the point where he didn’t want me near my family either. We fought all the time. He used to man handle me and say awful, hurtful things to me. He always put me down. I remember sitting down numerous times and just thinking.. How and when did this happen? He changed and I feel stuck.

I dealt with it because I was hopeful things would change.. but after this next experience I knew there was no going back.

It was a Sunday morning and at the time he was living with me. I was in my room and he was in his. I wanted space because we had just had a stupid fight, because that’s all we seemed to do. I remember as clear as day I was cuddled up in my bed looking at my phone and he came running up the hallway, grabbed my blanket, snatched my phone out of my hand and took them to his room and hid them. I was already worked up from the fight earlier so as calmly as I could I asked for my things back. “NO” he yelled. “Your not getting these back”. I continued to ask him and he wouldn’t budge. We bickered. Up until this It was no different to any other fight we would have but then what happened next was a complete shock to my system. He raised his hand and slapped me across the face. I held my left cheek and demanded him to give me back my phone. (I later worked out, he took my phone so I couldn’t contact anyone, he knew what he was going to do). I locked myself in my room and called my mum distressed saying “He hit me, he hit me!”. She told me 5 minutes before receiving my phone call God showed her a picture of me in hospital and he called her saying he had beaten me up.

It didn’t end there though, I stayed in that relationship for another few months. I stayed out of fear. I didn’t want him to hit me again, I didn’t know how he’d react if I left. I was scared to be alone with him so at every chance I got I made out hang outs public.

Those months went by and then one day it was over. We were over. I cried and cried. I cried tears of absolute joy because I WAS FREE. I AM FREE. I no longer had to be mis treated by this monster of a boy again. I call him a boy because he doesn’t deserve the respect of being called a man. A man doesn’t treat a woman the way he treated me.

As happy as I was that our relationship was over I was left very, very broken. I didn’t know who I was or what to do with myself. My anxiety was the worst it’s ever been. So I took a step. I went to a Phycologist. I didn’t realise how messed up my life had been for the past year and a half. It wasn’t until I was describing all of these fucked up experiences with him that my Phycologist looked at me and told me I was in a domestic violence relationship. It hit me. I had been abused – Physically, mentally and emotionally. This took a huge toll on me. I questioned my self worth, my beauty and my womanhood!! How dare another human being pick me at my lowest most vulnerable state of loosing my father then doing what he did to me? That’s not fair! That’s not okay with me!

Slowly but surely I began to find my healing! I found it through talking about it, through writing, through friends, through the ocean, through positivity, through my family, through exercise but mostly through my incredible Jesus. He gave me courage to find myself again. A new me. A better me.

I’ve come to realise though, this all comes back to him and his insecurities. NOT ME!!! I went through a stage of being so scared of boys and what they would do to me or have the potential to do to me but that’s not a way of living. It’s about 3 and a half years on now and I have met some of the most incredible, gentle, caring and humble men ever and every time I meet a good one my soul is refreshed because I know the good ones outweigh the bad.

I now know and have learnt exactly what I want and exactly what I deserve!!! I am content, I am courageous and I AM FREE!

By Bethany Calverley.

 

Do what makes you happy!

It’s currently 10:37 on a Wednesday morning and I’m sitting in a small little country town called Grafton while writing this.

I’m having the BIGGEST pinch me moment I’ve ever experienced.

At the very start of this year God has been talking to me all about change and speaking to me through anything, everything and everyone. It didn’t matter how or what form he spoke, it was as clear as day that change was in the making, it was coming. I waited with an eager and expectant heart to what it could be.

I guess I could say that since receiving all this exciting news about change I suddenly became very unsettled in my life as it was. I can’t really explain to you how this happened but there was a shift in my heart and from that moment everything in my life turned… I was coming into an AWFUL tradition period. From my Job, to my home life, to my friends… You name it and everything suddenly became different. I became so overwhelmed and didn’t know how to cope.

Normally, I am all for change. I’m the first person to embrace it with open arms. It’s easier said than done when your actually experiencing it for yourself though. These transition stages of life are crucial for our individual growth, they bring happiness, excitement and trust. I kind of like to view this as a life cycle of a butterfly.

We start out as a caterpillar, a cute little creature but pretty helpless in the nicest way possible. We then move onto the eating stage, when something is about to happen I know that I usually try to do anything possible just to help myself feel full and content again but a lot of the time we fill ourselves with the wrong things and it makes us feel even more lost than we already did. We then go into the most crucial stage of our journey – The cocoon. This IS the transition stage, this is where it all happens. We go through a season of dry, still and stuck – Literally. It’s a place of all things uncomfy and when your in it, it’s not enjoyable in the slightest. Suddenly, one day, it happens… You burst forth with wings into your new beginning, your new adventure. You are soaring to new heights and you are gaining a whole new perspective on your journey.

I knew this next step was going to be life changing, It was going to be my turning point. As the weeks went on I became less passionate about my job and more interested in other avenues. My faith was being strengthened. Throughout this period I have fallen more and more in love with my beautiful saviour and my relationship with him has gone to a whole new level. The only way I can try and explain how my love and faith has grown is that it does not matter what is going on around me, when I trust God my heart feels full. The good kind of full, when it’s a freezing cold winter night and you’ve just finished a mammoth baked dinner with your family and you’re belly is satisfied, it’s at resting stage because you’ve just nourished it in the best way possible. When I think of my relationship with Jesus I feel warm. My heart also feels excited. Think of those little party poppers you get out for birthdays. You sit with anticipation waiting to pull the string, you then pull it and theres an explosion but the joy keeps on coming because your graced with beautiful colours flying everywhere. Jesus is my baked dinner and my party popper.

My change has unfolded, not slowly though. It’s all happened quick, quick like a southerly on a boiling hot summers day. One moment everything is still the next a strong, uncontrollable wind comes. My southerly is taking me all the way to Nebraska to do an American summer camp as well as some solo travel afterwards. This journey has been so ridiculously God-led. There are so many little things that have happened along the way to make this journey of a life time fall into place at ease.

I planned to work up until I was going to leave for the States but God had other plans. He was telling me to move. I wasn’t happy in my job. I was unmotivated and became anxious to go to work. I’m a big believer of if you aren’t happy where you are or you aren’t happy what your doing, change it. The ball is in your court and your happiness is up to you.

After a lot of conversations, reading my bible, writing and praying I took a big leap of faith. God was telling me to quit my job, so I did. I QUIT MY JOB!!! I’ve never felt more empowered, scared, excited and liberated in my life. I had a shower thought and Matthew 6:25-34 came to my mind. This talks all about God providing for our every need. I was worried about my finances prior to receiving this verse. I kid you not 5 minutes after reading this I got a phone call from someone super close to my heart saying that God had been on their case for the last few weeks to give me a big chunk of money for my trip. I didn’t have time to worry about money because God already had it waiting for me.

Since quitting I’ve been travelling up the north coast of Australia visiting INCREDIBLE places, experiencing all things wonderful, meeting new friends, growing my relationship with Jesus even more and having the time of my life! This is what I want to be doing. I have received nothing but blessing after blessing since stepping out in faith and being obedient to him and what he wants for my life.

I really can’t stress how important it is to just do what makes you happy!!!!!!! Life is so short and in my opinion it needs to be experienced to the fullest.