Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh, do I have a Birthday Story for you!

Ooooooh, ooooooh, oooooooh. do I have a birthday story for you!
Well, my day started out pretty normal, except I had like, twenty facebook notifications when I woke up at 6:30... that made me smile. and the love kept pouring in all day. Let me tell you- if you ever feel that no one cares about you, switch your FB birthday to “tomorrow” and see what happens. I might as well have been famous, I felt so popular. But more importantly I felt indescribably blessed and loved. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Then, circa 7:25 I opened a present, from my soul sister Rachelka, that’s been sitting in my room for 3 veryyy long weeks. it was a SPEC.TAC.U.LAR green and purple UMBRELLA!!! 
Now the thing about my birthdaies (and don’t cite me on this, cause I’m not the almanac) is they’re always sunshiney. at least, that’s how it seems. because God always seems to wow me with a spectacular sunrise. not today though. it was over cast and dreary. I was a little sad, until my mother pointed out that God is rather obliging, to give me the chance to use my new gift right away! I had to smile at that. So, I carried it with me all morning.
Well, I left for work. Allie, my dear, sweet, two year old, soon-to-be-FINALLY-sister, and I sang Hymns ALL the way to work. Cause you know what? I found out she LOVES them. Old Fanny Crosby hymns, Old Spirituals, whatever. She Loves. I Love. So we sang. That was the best birthday gift she could possibly give me!! At work, my co-workers (which are more like a bunch of friends, but hey, we gotta keep a somewhat professional appearance going) blessed me by singing happy-birthday, giving me hugs and smiles, and my boss even brought me a delicioso birthday cookie-cake! So it was pretty sweet. 
About half-way through the work-day, I started feeling strange. Like I do before a heart episode is about to kick in. Oh.My. I was worried. I kept praying, “not today, God. Please, not today!” and other than my balance being slightly off, and my head spinning occasionally, I kept a pretty cool mood. I left work and here’s where things got kinda funky:
You see, I started feeling worse, with a little bit of a weather-headache setting in, and It hadn’t rained yet, so i didn’t even get to use my umbrella. I got home, brought my bags, and my sweet little sis inside, and turned back around to go pick up mayonnaise for a recipe my mom was making. I grabbed my purse, headed out, and as I pulled up to H-E-B, low and behold, the rain comes. 
Now here’s the part where I wish I could say, “So I whipped out my handy-dandy, brand-new and gorgeous umbrella, and skipped through rain puddles all the way to the door and back” but i can’t. You see, low and behold (again), I LEFT MY UMBRELLA IN THE OTHER BAG AT HOME!!!! :( so i sighed, and then I had to laugh. after all, who said just because it was my birthday things had to go my way? They Don’t. Let me tell you, it’s much better that they go God’s way anyway... keep reading and you’ll get it.
Not even an hour later, I find myself in a car full of sweet friends plowing our way into Houston for dinner and then on to Bible Study. My spirits rose, even as my physical strength fell. We had a lovely and fun time talking together, laughing, eating, navigating and consequently evading death. You name it, and we did it- with flourish! :)
Dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse

We went into HFBC for the last session of Beth Moore’s new study on James, and met up with some more friends... two things I want to say before I go on.
Number 1. Tonight one of the “more friends” I met up with, is a rather young lady who is most affectionately dubbed “Medium” Bethany (because I am “Big” Bethany and she’s too big to be called “Little” Bethany). I’m glad she came! Keep reading and you’ll get why...
Number 2: As embarrassing as it is, I must tell you I haven’t always liked Beth Moore. Not that I know her personally, but what do slightly rebellious, early-teen girls do when their moms “force” them to attend Bible Study? they buck. they scoff at anything they can. I chose Beth. silly me. Wouldn’t God use the very thing I mocked to bless me so distinctively? keep reading and you’ll get it...
So, since my rebellious 13-year-old days, I’ve come to respect and cherish my time under Beth’s encouragement. I was sad that it was going to be the last of an 8 week study. But I was so happy and joyful- How could I not be, as I lifted my voice in song with hundreds of other ladies, worshipping our Father, Savior, our God! It was like a birthday playlist, as Lisa, Star, and the rest of the team led us in songs like “A Mighty Fortress” by Christy Nockles, “Come Thou Fount” -the way Gateway does it, “Revelation Song”, “How Great Thou Art”... it was marvelous!
As they got off the stage, at the end of an anointed session, Beth stepped up like usual and we sat down like usual. then Beth said, “I don’t usually do this” and from here on out, things get, well, unusual. but keep reading, you’ll see what I mean...
Beth went on to tell us that she felt God was calling her to do something that she “couldn’t remember the last time” she had done. She asked for all girls 25 and younger to come to the altar, so she could pray a blessing over them. I stood up with two of my friends and we walked down our aisle, toward the front. It was then I had the privilege to grab little miss “Medium Bethany’s” hand and guide her down to the altar to receive the blessing Beth would pray. The whole time, I was thinking, “what in the WORLD, God? On my 20th birthday of all nights?” She told us that in our lives we are going to do some crazy things beyond what we felt we are able, so that God will be obvious. She reminded us we have the Holy Spirit to help us do what we can’t do on our own. She encouraged us to learn from our “mothers” in the faith. She encouraged our mothers in the faith to teach us. She asked the spiritual mothers to place their hands on the young ladies nearest them. She read this scripture over us:
Joshua 1:6-7
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
  “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Then she asked the mothers to rise, and she prayed over us. She commissioned us, I guess you could say, to loving the Lord with EVERYTHING we had. She rebuked the devil from having place in our lives. She thanked God. She praised. 

Mom snapped some pics,
so I thought I'd post them

I'm in the far left of the pic,
barely visible...
I teared up, you bet. And I felt somehow strengthened. With my knees to the ground and Medium Bethany in my lap, I couldn’t contain my amazement at my oh-so-special birthday gift! and the fact that I was sharing it with every other woman, young woman and girl in that room. Oh, you just can’t describe the feeling that brings.
Beth went on to teach one of her most impacting lessons I’ve been to (and I’ve been to a LOT). It was on prayer. and praise. and well, God. And i knew it wasn’t her talking, I knew it was God. because He spoke to every SPECIFIC trial, hope, joy, pain, that I’ve faced or am facing. He ab.so.lute.ly LAVISHED His love on me. 
I’m still in awe. and tears are once again forming in my eyes, as I reflect on the night’s happenings. 
So I’ll close up with this:
Last night as I drifted off to sleep, I contemplated how I had spent my last 19 years. God has given me so much more than I ever would have even known to ask for. 
He’s given me incredible family and friends, ministries, talents, struggles. Hope. And all this, He knew of, that very day I came into this world, twenty years ago today. He not only knew, He PLANNED it. EVERYTHING. From learning to trust by dealing with heart issues (physical and spiritual), down to learning to speak Slovak because it’s the native tongue of some of my dearest friends, down to getting a job at a wonderful preschool as a chapel director,  down to Beth Moore, one of the greatest teachers of the faith praying a blessing over me on my 20th Birthday.
 He. Is. RIDICULOUSLY indescribable. too great for words. He’s done so much. 
I trust He’ll do more. Because that’s who He is.
He’s my God,


  1. LOVE this! And you :) Happy Birthday dear! I wish I could have been there!

  2. Bethany, this was so inspiring to me. When I was reading this, I thought, God has a specific plan for Bethany. That went through my head when you were born also. I have been telling the story of how your Mom dealt with it all. How so many prayed for you, and how the out come came about.
    I remember the doctors called you a Miracle, had no explanation how you survived. Well you know the story. All I can say is Praise God for who HE is.
    Love Gram