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

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America – West Coast.

In August, 2017 my incredible boyfriend, Gideon and I embarked on a huge American Adventure. I met him during my time spent in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was working at a Christian summer camp and God allowed our paths to cross and the rest is history.

I am a very spontaneous and adventurous person. I love exploring new places, meeting new people and embracing God’s amazing creation. Gideon is much the same but a little bit more of a planner (Thank God).

We visited Colorado, Arizona and California. I was in constant amazement of all of the breathtaking sites we saw on this trip. What an incredible way to experience God in all his wonder! The places we saw were like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life. We stopped at a lot of national parks and it was so beautiful to be in awe of each view with a bunch of strangers all just admiring Gods spectacular work.

There are some things in life that you just can’t wrap your head around and this trip was one of them. I had been praying for a travelling experience like this for a long time and it’s just amazing how God goes above and beyond because not only did my prayers come to pass but I was also blessed enough to experience my dreams with my boyfriend and best friend by my side.

Here are some photographs of our incredible American adventure.

Click the drop down menus underneath this blog post in the main bar at the top of the page. Enjoy xx

Beth.

Brittany Eliza.

This is Beautiful Brittany! I met her at Hope UC a few years ago when I was serving in youth ministry. Brit was so easy to photograph because she is so naturally beautiful and her confidence absolutely shines! I love her honesty and realness in all her answers, It’s super admirable!

Written at age 17.

Brittany Eliza:

1. What is your idea of Beauty? My idea of beauty is when you see someone feeling comfortable and happy in their skin and truly smiling.

2. Where do you place your worth? My worth is a priority in my life, I always try do things that will make me feel good.

3.  What has been your biggest ossicle in your self worth Journey? Many people will make me feel like my self-worth isn’t as important as theirs, so I would often forget that my worth is important and make sure that they are always happy. After this I feel down and hopeless so I reassure myself that I am unique and one of a kind.

4.  What has been your greatest achievement in your self worth Journey? My greatest achievement is realising that all I need is to care for myself and set goals so that after I achieve them I feel so good. I eat healthy as much as I can and sometimes cheat a little because I deserve it.

5. How do you view yourself today? I view myself as a super strong independent beautiful woman and am proud of everything I do.

6.  What are 3 things you do to practice self love? I sit down and say all the things that I think are beautiful about myself.

I try be my own inspiration if that fails I listen to some of my favourite artists and dance.

I let myself be free and always remember I’m okay and loved.

7.  If you could give advice to your younger self in regard to self worth and body image, what would it be? Don’t look at those magazines and other girls and compare it to yourself, you are your own art piece.

Your worth is what you make it, not what others think your worth is.

You are beautiful for who you are and what you do, not just what is on the outside.

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Less is MORE!

Since quitting my job a few months ago I have had such a strong realisation that less is actually more. I was having a discussion with a few of my close mates over the weekend about values and different experiences and I was explaining that I don’t think I ever want to be someone with a lot of money. I don’t want a lifestyle of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on superficial and materialistic items because money doesn’t bring you happiness, things don’t bring you happiness. I’ve watched money ruin people and destroy families. I’m aware that we need it to live but since not having a constant weekly income I am so much more thankful and appreciative for the little things. Whether that be someone shouting me a meal or putting petrol in my car or buying me a chocolate. I’ve learnt to have fun without spending money and I have explored and experienced some of the most beautiful places ever as a result of “not having much”. This is the fullest and happiest I have ever been in my whole entire life. I feel like I’m actually living.

After explaining this to my mates, one of them suggested we watch a documentary called the minimalist.

This documentary is essentially about people who have been in high roles/ positions with work, earning big money, living in huge houses and having a life of “luxury” but found they were so ridiculously unhappy. There are 2 main men who created this concept of minimal living – Living with the bare essentials. A few shirts, shorts, one jacket, underwear, a few items of furniture etc. They go around telling everyone their story and how much their lives have changed since living life this way.

This got me thinking and inspired to make a change in my own personal life. I went home and cleared out my whole wardrobe, all my drawers, everything I owned and I got rid of 3 bags full of clothes because I just don’t wear them. I also got rid of 2 whole bags of “stuff” that has been sitting in my cupboard for years. As I was clearing the clutter of my personal belongings, I was clearing the clutter in my mind.

Everyone’s idea of minimal living is different. I still have a wardrobe full of clothes, the difference is these are clothes that I will actually wear. Does this mean I’m not going to go shopping and buy new stuff? No. It just means that I want to be more conscious in what I buy and question if this is going to serve a purpose in my life?

These are clothes I’m throwing away.

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This is my wardrobe after throwing out my clothes.

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Another thing this documentary made me realise was the fact that I was giving way too much of my time to social media. In a negative way.

For the last few days I have turned off my notifications to Facebook, Instagram and snapchat. I check throughout the day occasionally but I’m not sitting and scrolling for hours. I’m choosing to be more present and invested in the people I’m spending time with.

Every morning when I wake up, instead of scrolling pointlessly through my phone I grab my journal and write down a few things I am thankful for. This has had such a positive impact on me and how the rest of my day plays out. We should always start our day off thankful.

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I was so impacted by this documentary and by blogging about it I’m wanting to challenge you in ways you can prioritise. How can you minimise things that aren’t important and maximise the things that are?

Every single person in the world deserves happiness – Your happiness is in your hands.

I’ll close with the quote they closed with off the documentary.

“Love people and use things, the opposite never works”.

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.