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.

 

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’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 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, though 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.