What you need to know

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I'm a mother of two beautiful girls. I think Sarcasm is a spiritual gift, even Jesus was sarcastic. I have no patience for people who are not real. I'm a Christian, but I hate how so many Christians have made that a bad word. My goal is to be a strong woman who loves God and encourages other women to do the same. I love upcycling and building things from repurposed items and reclaimed wood. We as women don't always see ourselves for the amazing women we are. It took me a lot of pain and hard work to find out who I am and what I am passionate about. I want other women to find their passions and not let others hold them back. Maybe some of my posts and projects that I will post will encourage other women to be who God wants them to be.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

God's timing

God's timing is perfect. I know that there are times in life that you wonder when He is going to show up and show off, but He is always right on time. Maybe He is growing you so you are ready to receive what He has for you. Maybe He knows that when His answers, blessings or direction comes it will be exactly when you need it. Whatever the reason His timing is not when you think it should be, just know that it is when you need it and you are ready for it.

A few years ago I thought I was ready to speak, write and help other women. The short answer from God? I wasn't! As I go back and read notes I wrote to myself when I was doing my devotions, I see a different person in those notes. That girl was so not ready. She was angry and lost and only saw the things others were doing wrong. The Bible verses I highlighted were not about my choices, they were about the choices I saw others making. Sure I made notes about things I needed to do like getting into the word and praising God even in my pain, but those were not the words that I had highlighted and had bold capital letters. No, I was still too hurt and angry to truly receive what God had for me. I even interviewed to speak at a woman's conference, but she saw what I couldn't see yet. She told me I wasn't ready. My wounds were still too new and there would probably be more to come before they stopped. She was right.

For the last three I have been crying out, looking for what I am put here to do. I have always felt like God wants me to write and to speak, but I hadn't put the time in to prepare for it. I hadn't really studied God's word. Sure I could summarize some verses that I had read before if there was something in them pertaining to what I was talking about, but I am not ready to give advice based on His word. Even now, I know that I still have further to go and further to grow. My last year I have really slacked off in my time with God. I stopped reading my Bible, I said and did things I am not proud of and I was certainly not the kind of woman people would come to for godly advice.

 About two weeks ago, something changed in me. I realized I was not happy where I am. My first thought was to move again. My whole adult life I have moved every time things got messed up. When I was married and my husband had affairs and I found out about them, we packed up and moved to a new job. But this time, I knew running away was not going to be the answer I was looking for. The words I keep hearing from God are, "Be still and know that I am God!" I know that's a Bible verse in Psalms 46:10 and yes I have read it and heard it a thousand times, but I finally see what it means to my life. Often people say that the Bible is no longer relevant. There are laws in there that no longer apply because that was a different time or Christ's sacrifice made the old law obsolete. I can say however, that I have spent more time is Psalms and Proverbs over the past 7 years and I am shown very often just how much it still speaks to me in this day and age.

I know that I am still not ready to go and speak or write another book. I know that I still have some issues to work through to get me into the place God wants me. I don't know how long it will take, but God knows and all I can do is wait for Him to tell me it's time. And when it is time, the door will open and I will step inside. Until then, I will draw nearer to God, study His Word and prepare for what He has in store for me. What a great honor it is to know that He has plans for me. Plans to give me a future and a hope, yeah I know I paraphrased again, but it is there and I will wait on God to show me the way to my future.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Not a sprint

I have been told on many occasions that life is a marathon, not a sprint. I thought I agreed with that until today when it occurred to me it is more than a marathon even. It is an iron man.

There really is no such thing as a quick fix. As much as some days I would like all my troubles to just go away, that just isn't going to happen. As much as I pray for things to happen, that prayer quite often just isn't going to be answered in the next minute. There have been times in my life where I have seen a quick answer to a prayer. Not to long ago I prayed about a situation that I was in and asked God to not let it happen if He didn't want it to and low and behold I got a text within the hour that kept it from happening.

But there are other things in life that can take years to get through and it isn't because God can't fix it or change it, it is because it isn't time yet. God's timing is not our own and as I have unfortunately learned over the last 7 years sometimes His answer is no or not yet. Last fall I prayed that I could go back to an old job I had had because I hated the one I was in. Due to a lot of crazy reasons my old job could not be had again. So I stuck it out at my current job. It turned out to be a good thing for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I now have decent health insurance and I no longer hate the job. Its not my dream job, but I think God is allowing me to be there for now while He is getting me ready for where He wants me.

I can't foresee what He has in store for me right now, but I have learned that what He wants for us is always better than what we want for ourselves. I have to keep reminding myself of that sometimes when I find myself unhappy about a situation. I have always believed that God lets us go through junk so we can better appreciate the great. I also believe that He sometimes keeps us from doing something because He is protecting us from something. Think about that the next time you get caught by a train or you are in traffic gridlock. Maybe by getting where you are going later He is protecting you from being in an accident. I'm not saying to be thankful for every traffic jam, but if you look at it like that it is a little easier to not get frustrated by it.

God really does want the best for us. We can choose to be patient and wait or we can think we know better and go try to get make it happen on our own. I have had to learn the hard way that my way is not the best way. I've had to cut things out of my life that were holding me back from His best and I have had to let go of my control. That was a hard one for me. Not that I actually was ever in control, but I sure liked to think I could control things. After years of fighting God and keeping the things in my life that I wanted there because I thought that was what I wanted I had to let go and let God handle it. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I still find myself trying to take that control back from time to time. I cross lines, I allow things or people back into my life thinking just a little bit won't hurt, but before long I am hit with the reality that I make bad choices when left to my own devices.

A few months back I had someone in my life that was not the best for me. I rationalized it was no big deal and that I wasn't really doing anything, but the harder I tried to straddle that line, the more often I got pulled over to the wrong side. I was not the best me I could be with this person in my life, no matter how much fun I had talking to them. So I cut them off. I gave them no explanation I just cut them off. Hind sight being 20/20 I should have at least let them know I was doing it, but still I cut them off. I was doing well keeping them out of my life. I even felt like God was blessing me for it. Then slowly I began to miss them and I kept thinking about getting in touch with them again and let them know why I did what I did. I felt like a mean person for it. So one day I messaged them and told them I was sorry and kind of told them why I had cut them off. We started talking again and within a weeks time they were back to their old ways of pulling me back across that line. I tried really hard not to cross it and it came across in our conversations. This person told me I was acting weird and wanted to know why. See they expected me to be the same as before, but God had been working on me and I knew I could not go back to that again. Before long this person and I were fighting and we both said some things that hurt the other one and we have not talked since. While I do feel bad about hurting them I see that that was God's way of keeping them out of my life.

God really can and does want the best for us and He can and does want to answer our prayers. We just have to be willing to accept the answers on His time table and that His answers are not always the one we prayed for, but in the end it is what is best. I'll admit that I don't always read my Bible like I should, but there are times that I feel God nudging me to read it. The other day I felt it and so I picked it up and began reading where I had left off the last time I had read it. Now I have been reading through the old testament for a few months now and there are times where is gets boring and tedious. I like to take notes in my Bible, but there are times when I have gone many chapters without my pen ever touching my Bible because it is a story and I don't tend to make notes on a story. Anyway, I was reading in 1 Kings about the prophet Elijah calling down fire from heaven to burn a sacrifice he was making that he had drenched in water. Elijah had prayed bold and God showed up and showed off when he sent that fire. In my Bible there was a commentary about this passage. It was a reminder that God can and will answer in a big flash like that, but the last few lines said that He also can answer in a quiet whisper, but we have to be listening. It got me thinking. How many answers have I missed because I was too busy being loud and not listening? How much time have I added to my wait because I was too busy trying to do things my way?

Did God send fire down from heaven to tell me that? No, he put a little box on a page in my Bible in a book that I rarely think about reading. He was whispering to me and I had finally shut up long enough to hear it. Its sad but true, but sometimes we miss out on our blessings and answers to prayers due to our own selfish, loud, controlling ways. I don't know about you, but my iron man is long and hard enough on its own I don't need to add more miles to it.

So I decided to shut up and listen this weekend and well. I got an answer. Was it the answer I wanted? Actually no it wasn't. It is better than it was, but still not what I was hoping for. There is still the possibility that this answer is just a step in the direction of the one I was looking for so I am not going to stop praying, but I know that in the end that whatever the final answer is, it will be what God wants and we will all be the better for it. I've got time to wait and I will just have to continue to run my iron man. No sprints for me, they never seem to get me anywhere anyway.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Be Bold!

What does the word bold mean to you? There are at least five different definitions for it in the dictionary. The one I like best is: not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring:

Not that we have a lot of chances in our everyday lives to be bold in the face of danger, but the not hesitating or fearful, that is something we should all be willing to do more of. In the book of Joshua, in the Bible, Joshua prayed boldly. He was in the middle of a battle with the Amorites and he prayed that the sun would stand still. I don't know about you, but I don't think I would have even thought to ask God to stop the sun, let alone expect it to actually happen and yet it did happen. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and didn't go down for a full day (Joshua 10:12-13) I would definitely say that Joshua prayed boldly.

What about you? Do you pray boldly? I know I rarely do and even when I do I can without a doubt say it is nothing as bold as asking the sun to stop in the sky. Why don't we pray big? Why don't we ask for things we are hoping for?

I was talking to a friend today about relationships and he told me what he is looking for in a wife the next time he gets married. The things he wanted were not outlandish. They were simple things like her being a godly woman. He said to me, "I've never really prayed for that. I think I may just do that." As he said that I was reminded of a devotion I had read in my Power of the Praying Wife Bible (it is a great Bible I highly recommend it) about praying big and the word I remembered the most was bold. Be bold! So I told him to be bold in his prayers. Then it hit me, Have I been praying boldly? The answer to that is a big fat NO!

We pray for all kinds of things in our daily lives, if we are believers. We pray for a sick friend or for someone to get a job. We pray that we get to work on time when the traffic is bad. So what do you think would happen if we all just started praying big and bold? I know you may even be like me in thinking that you don't deserve to ask for something big. None of us deserve any of God's blessings, but He still gives them to us. There are countless stories in the Bible where ordinary people dared to pray boldly. Moses, Elijah, Jabez, Joshua and countless others all prayed for things that seemed impossible and yet their prayers were answered. They were answered not because these people were anyone special, but because they dared to ask.

If we pray and ask God for something big does that mean he will give it to us just because we asked? No, just ask all the people who play the lottery on a daily basis and you will see that is not true, but at the same time we don't have to be afraid to ask God for a godly spouse or a great job we can love. There are plenty of other even bigger prayers out there that we can pray so let's all be bold. I don't want to miss out on God's blessings simply because I didn't ask. Do we deserve what we ask for? Heck no! But, God says to ask, so ask. The worst He can do is say no and you are no worse off than you were before you asked, but what if He says yes? I know I want to see God show up and show off. So pray boldly then sit back and watch God work. He might just do a mighty work in you or He may even give you something better than what you asked for.


PS: I don't know what is up with the second paragraph, it got all wonky on me for some reason hope you can read it :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm a mother first

When I was married I believed that my husband always came before my kids, but now that I am not I know that my kids always come first. If I ever remarry my husband will come first again so long as it is not to the detriment of my kids. I have seen people who remarry and they put their kids before their new spouse and the new spouse ends up leaving or doing something stupid because they kids always get their way. I don't want to be that parent.

As I go back into the world and consider the possibility of dating again in the future I have a different perspective on it than I did 17 years ago. I was young and stupid then and only looking at my wants. Now as a mother I can't live like that anymore. I'm a mother and every choice I make now will affect them. When you become a parent it changes everything. I'm not saying give up your life for your kids. I did that and it nearly destroyed my life, but at the same time I have to think about them when I make choices now. I can't be selfish anymore. Sure I am doing things for me now, like doing theatre and on my nights that I don't have the girls I do things I want to do so long as it in no way affects my girls in a negative way, but at the same time I do have to stop and think if something will affect them before I do it.

I've watched other moms go nuts when they divorce. They start partying and sleeping around and try to recapture their youth. I will say that when I first separated I did go to a few bars and do things I didn't do while I was married, but that was not a lifestyle I wanted and it took me quite a few nights to find a place to go out that was not a bunch of 20 somethings looking to hook up. I finally found a place this summer that I can go to and just hang out with my friends and not feel dirty or see girls with no self respect getting drunk and being hit on by guys. There are also plenty of nights I just stay home and go no where because I don't HAVE to leave the house every time I am child free.

I hope that what my girls see me doing as I am entering this new phase of my life will be a positive influence on them. I want them to see that you can have fun, but still make good choices and that just because I am single now does not mean my goal in life now has to be to find my next guy or husband. I want what they see now to show them how to make good choices so that when they grow up and start dating they will find the right guy who will respect them and treat them right and I want them to respect themselves and know that guys are not worth loosing themselves over or making bad choices for. I want them to know that if a guy wants them to make a choice that is not morally right then he is not the right guy for them. I want them to know they deserve to be treated right by a man and that they are worth being treated right.

I have to think about all of that now because I am a mother. I have to think about how I would feel if my daughters made the choices I make now. Maybe if I had seen good choices when I was young then maybe I would not have some of the bad choices I made. I can't really say because one I didn't really see bad choices being made when I was a kid and two there were some things that happened as I was growing up that did affect some of the choices I made when I got older. I do hope though that the girls will also learn from the pain they have seen me go through this last year and take steps to keep that from happening to them. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this last year, some good and some bad. I just hope they will learn from it all.

Eleven years ago my life was changed forever in a positive way when I got pregnant with my first daughter. I became a mother that day when I saw that line on the test and since then I have made different choices than I would have had that line never been there. I will be a mother until the day I die and that will never change, At some point the choices I make will have less effect on them, but the next ten years for sure I will have to think and do whats best for my girls. If I remarry I will make sure it is someone that will be good to them and will show them how a man should treat a woman. I will also model for them how to do a relationship right. We messed that up before and I WON'T do that again. Why? Because I am a parent and that is my responsibility so that they can learn from my mistakes and my good choices.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

what's your dream?

As I watch TV or the people around me I find myself a little jealous at times. It is not something I am proud of, as a matter of fact I am rather ashamed to admit it, but it is true. What am I jealous of? I am jealous when I see people who love what they do. I was watching LA Ink. I love all the tattoo shows. I see these people who get to be themselves and love what they do. Sure there is drama, but they are getting to create art and they get to let their freak flag fly and no one is going to tell them they can't let their tats show. I realize that not every job is the kind that allows you to look however you want, but at the same time it is more about being happy with what you are doing and feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Right now, I don't like my job. It is not my dream and I feel like I have to be someone else while I am there. This is not the kind of place I see myself working for the rest of my life. I want that kind of job though. I want the kind of job where I am happy to get up every day and go to work. I want the kind of job where I can be myself. I am not afraid of hard work. I am not afraid to get dirty or even to do things sometimes that I don't like, but I want to like going into work. I don't want to watch the clock and be jealous of all the other people in the world who love their job.

Now you may be asking so what do I want to do. Funny thing is, I only have a slight idea of what I want to do. I know I love to be creative. I know I love to build things and paint things. I know I like to write and speak. I know I like to be around people like me, but do I know what I want to be when I grow up? No I really don't, but I'm not going to settle and I am not going to give up until I get there. I will do what I have to do right now at a job I hate in order to make a paycheck, but in the mean time I am working on my master plan. I am writing and I am looking for things to speak at. In my free time I do help build and paint sets for theatre productions. Every time I do something that I do love doing I learn a little something more and one day I will have that job that I am happy to get up and go to everyday. I have a few ideas floating around in my head and hopefully they will lead to something in the future. Fear used to hold me back from following my dreams, but this last year has shown me that I do have talent and I do have something to say. I just have to do it.

The take away challenge this time? Do you love what you do? If you don't what are you doing to make that happen? Make a plan and stick to it. You may have to do something you hate right now, but everyday take steps to make it happen even if it is a small step. There may not be more than five people who read what I have to say in this blog, but every time I write I am taking a step closer to my dream of writing for women. Every time I talk to a friend going through some kind of junk and I encourage her I am taking a step closer to speaking to women's groups and every time I volunteer and help build sets I am taking a step closer to learning to build and paint. I think I see how this will all come together in the future, but it is not my timing it is God's. He will open the door when it is time and not a minute sooner and when He does I will smile every morning when I get out of bed just like I dream of. Until then I will do my best to smile and work hard at the job I don't like because sometimes we have to do things we hate in order to do things we love.

Make it happen!

Voices Carry

Do you ever stop and think before you say something to someone about how it will affect them? Some things we say are no big deal. "Hey, I like that shirt." may only make someone more likely to wear a shirt or have no effect at all. But something like, "You are lazy!" or "No one will ever want you!" Well, that is a different story.

Everyday people say and do things that have some kind of effect on the people they interact with. As a teacher I was trained to use encouraging words when I see good behavior rather than negative words when I see bad behavior. Even though I have been taught that I still have been known to say somethings that hurt someone deeply. I will admit there have been times where I wanted to hurt someone because they hurt me. Was that right? No it wasn't, but it was the bad choice I made in that moment of hurt.

At the same time I have had some horrible things said to me that have had a tremendous impact on my life. Some of them held me back because they created a fear in me that I would never succeed at what I tried. I've been told I had no talent, that no man would ever love me, that I was fat, that I was lazy, worthless and tons more terrible things. I don't say that for a pity party. If this year has taught me nothing else it is that all of that was just terrible lies, but at the same time when I heard those things they crushed my spirit for a time.

I kind of consider myself damaged goods to a point. From an early age I was told things that shaped how I felt about myself. I am learning to overcome a lot of that, but I still struggle with some of it on a daily basis. There are things I have not tried because I feared failing. I held myself back rather than diving head first into something new and challenging. I took the easy way out more times than I care to admit all because I believed the things I had heard. I bet the people that said those things to me never thought about the profound affect they would have on me.

So what have you said to someone that has impacted them in a negative way? I have learned from my own words that a thousand apologies can't take back a comment that hurts. You can say you are sorry or that you don't mean it, but it can never be unsaid. The same goes for lies. This week I watched someone I care about deeply get hurt by a horrible lie. This is the kind of thing that will affect this person for the rest of their life. Did the person that lied have any idea what they were doing with their lies? In this case I think they did, but in many cases the people who lie are so busy trying to protect themselves that they never give it a thought about what they are saying. Sometimes they may see the results of the lies and sometimes they may not or they may not care, but the pain is still there.

People say we live in a country of cry babies. People sue over the smallest thing or cut people out of their lives over something ridiculous, but there are somethings that people say that are so horrible they have a lasting effect that can never be undone. Why do we do it? Do we live in such a self centered society that we don't think about anyone else's feelings? Do we not learn from our mistakes and not repeat them? The answer more times than not is no. This is the me generation. People think about themselves first and no one else. They think about how they feel and what they want and never take into account how their words or choices will impact anyone else. I've heard excuse after excuse. "Things just happen." "You hurt me so I hurt you." "I didn't get what I wanted." "It won't happen again." It is all a bunch of crap and yes I include myself in one of those excuses.

What do you think would happen if we all started putting others feeling before our own? What do you think would happen if we stopped being a me society? What do you think would happen if we stopped to think before we spoke? I think it could change the world. We live in a "If it feels good do it" kinda world, but that isn't what God wants for us. He has something so much better than what we want for ourselves, but we have got to stop trying to put ourselves first and stop tearing each other down and lying.

I pretty much suck at lying. Sure I have done it, but in the end I either feel guilty and end up telling the truth or it comes out anyway because I am so bad at it. When I was in high school and college people would say don't ask Bethany what she thought because she would tell you. I will admit I gave my opinion with little regard to how it was received. I was young and stupid and did not think about the consequences of my words. Did I crush someone's spirit? No, but if you had on an ugly dress I was sure going to let you know. The thing is though I didn't lie, not even when it would save someone's feelings. I guess that is why it is so hard for me to deal with lying. I can't do it. I have seen the damage it does and I don't want to do that to someone else.

I have seen what lies and hurtful words can do, but I have also seen what positive words can do. They may not be able to undo all the damage of lies and hurtful words, but from the right person they can bring a smile and they can be encouraging.

My challenge to everyone is to say more positive things and to be more positive. You never know what someone may be dealing with. They could be living with a life time of hurt and your positive comment could be a bright spot in their day and if you put enough of those bright spots together maybe they can overcome the hurtful words and lies they have heard and be something they never dreamed possible. I know I still struggle every day with the things I have heard and the lies I have been told, but with God's help and some great friends I am learning to overcome them. I know I am more then what those people would have me believe and I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I hope that you see the same for yourself as well.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The ugly truth

Hi my name is Bethany and I wrote a book with the man I married to help other married couples learn to work as a team. I truly believe everything we wrote about and it really is good stuff, but it only works if you actually do what it says and put God in the center of your marriage.

That brings me to say this. My name is Bethany and I am about to be divorced. There I said it. It only took me 10 months to admit it. For the first four months I was in denial. Then I went through anger and bargaining and depression. Those three were on a constant loop for about 6 months. Finally last month I reached acceptance. Am I embarrassed? You bet I am. I mean this was not supposed to happen. We help other couples avoid this we don't get divorced. But it did and it is.

The hows and whys is not important for the general public. Just know that we both made bad choices and we regret them, but what is done is done. I personally don't believe in divorce so the fact that I am getting one is kinda ironic, but again there were circumstances that led to this final decision between the two of us. We are having a civil divorce. There are no lawyers. We agreed on pretty much everything. We went together to file the papers at the court house. We went to the parenting class and sat together as we listened to the crazy, bitter divorcing people that could do nothing but bash each other. Do we still have the occasional fight? Sure we do and there is yelling and tears, but we are always able to talk civilly afterward and move forward and past it. What we are doing is not the norm, but it is us. It is the only way we can be because we have kids and they come before our feelings about our marriage and so we have agreed to get along. We don't go to movies together or hang out on weekends, but there is no McDonalds transfer of the children. We go into each others place and chat before leaving.

So what does this all mean for me now? Well, I have found myself this summer. Every year we send the girls to his parents for the summer. Yes for the summer and we are ok with that and yes we miss them, but we also know it is good for us all. So this summer was actually the best summer of my life. You may wonder how I can say that. I mean I filed for divorce and spent the entire summer living alone. Sure that part sucked, but I also found Bethany. I wasn't working so I spent a month volunteering at the local community theatre and I learned so much and I had a great time. I could have sat home missing my family and sulking and being miserable, but well I spent 7 years doing that already. This summer I got what so many women with kids never get. I got time to live just for me. I knew my kids were taken care of so I took care of me.

I know most women can't do that. Either they can't stand to be away from their kids that long or it just is not something that can actually be done, but even if it is just a week here or there all women need time away from their kids to step out of the mom role for awhile. See I didn't. I didn't take that time away when my girls were younger. My youngest was sick a lot and we moved a lot so I did not have close friends and money was always tight or so I thought. There was always some reason why I didn't take time for me. I was a stay home mom so I was home with them 24/7. My husband and I would occasionally go on dates, but not often enough and I still didn't really have anything that was mine. I tried to take up photography and I am pretty good at it, but I didn't stick to it because I never really took the time to go out and take pictures. I lost me and that is part of the reason my marriage nearly failed four years ago. God brought us back together and we wanted to help other couples not go through what we went through. I felt called to speak to women and encourage them to be strong. Ace and I talked about it and he felt called to speak to men about being spiritual leaders so we wrote the book and we spoke, but after a year of speaking and writing that book we realized we had not fed our marriage.

From what I have since learned it is not uncommon for people who go into marriage ministry to actually have marriage problems because they spend so much time helping others they don't help themselves. Well that is exactly what we did and we took God out of the marriage. We tried to get it back once we saw it going down hill, but by then things had been said and done that could not be taken back. So now we are here. We are both moving forward without the other one and we are ok with it. We both realized that keeping the family together for the sake of keeping the family together was not enough.

But I have learned a lot over the last year and I am a stronger women because of it. I have been taken care of my whole life. I went from being taken care of by my parents to being taken care of by my husband. I didn't work because I was taking care of my girls so I gave up my life to follow him around and raise our children. I realized this summer I changed everything about myself for him. I even changed what I liked to drink. He was an adamant coca-cola drinker and hated Pepsi. I know that is a small thing, but I gave up what I liked for him. What kind of example does that set for my girls? Sure he let me do it so he played a role to, but this is not about him. It took 17 years to get here, but I am here and I finally know who I am. I finally know what I like and I finally know what my dreams are. People may think I am terrible because I can send my girls away for the summer, but I think it is worse to give up myself for a man. I never want my girls to do that.

God and I had a long talk one day about my future and he showed me why I need this time alone. He showed me that my whole life I have given up who I am for men. I did the same with the guys I dated and the man I married. I let them change me into who they wanted me to be. I did it so much that I turned 37 years old and did not know who in the world I was. I know now though and I know what I am going to do with my life. God told me four years ago I am going to write and I am going to speak. I just got it wrong about the topics and audience. I will work where I have to work to make ends meet, but I will follow my dreams too.

I feel very blessed right now. Some women go their whole life and never know who they are. Sure I wish I had figured it out while I was married, but I don't know if that would have changed things or not. I can't woulda shoulda coulda anymore. Life is too short for regrets. I can either live in the past and be miserable or I can look to the future while living in the present. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so why keep looking back?

I see women who have their lives wrapped up in their men. They don't feel complete unless they have a man. I was one of those women for a long time. I asked a girl not to long ago where would she be if she was not with the guy she was with and her answer, I kid you not, was probably with another boyfriend. Really? Wake up ladies! Sure it is great to have a man in your life, but that is not what defines us. I don't say that because I am divorcing. I don't say that because I have some hatred of men (which I don't). I say that because I want other women to know who they are outside of wife/girlfriend or even mother. A man is by your side, he is not your identity. I once had a name badge that was made for me when Ace was working at a radio station in Nashville that literally said, "Ace's Wife". It didn't say Bethany on there anywhere and I didn't have the self worth to be bothered by it. Never again will my identity be anything other than Bethany. My last name may change, but I will be Bethany first.

So here I am. Almost 38 years old and about to have my divorce final in a month. I am a mother til the day I die, that will never change and maybe one day I will be someone elese's significant other in one way or another, but I won't lose Bethany again. I won't change what I like or who I am just to be with a man. My favorite drink? Yeah it is Dr. Pepper, but if someone offers me a Pepsi I won't turn it down. If someone asks me what I like, I will tell them what Bethany likes not what some guy likes. I like my eggs over medium and without cheese. I like bar b q sauce on my wings not wings sauce. I like the Beatles, that was real, but as for music? Well, I don't like live music and I like pop music more than the blues and I like Billy Joel more than Elton John. I like football and when I care about the team I will watch it, but if I miss a game it is not the end of the world. I like romantic comedies not action movies. I like police dramas not talent competitions. It took me going through a divorce to admit this, but this summer I have watched what I wanted, listened to what I wanted and eaten what I wanted. I picked where I wanted to go out to eat and I picked what movies I saw and I loved it. If there was a man in my life now sure we would do what he wants sometimes, but we would do what I want as well.

So there you go. I am Bethany. I wrote a book about marriage and I am about to be divorced and that's ok. The sun will still come up tomorrow. I will still breathe as long as God allows me to. People will still get up and live their lives and after all the people who have something to say about the fact that we are divorcing have had their say and made their snide comments they will go back to living their lives with no thought of us. The embarrassment will go away and life will go on. Just because this is what is happening in my world right now does not mean it will always be what people remember me for. Hopefully I will do something much better to be remembered for, but if for some reason I don't I seriously doubt that people will care that we wrote a book about marriage and ended up divorced ten years from now. I will continue to grow from this, but as the days pass even I won't think about it anymore. As for now I will just trust God to lead the way.