Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Crockpot Story.

The night of the crockpot story happened the Wednesday night before we went on spring break....but somehow everyone knows about it, and since I've been asked to tell it about a bagajillion times, I figured I'd just go ahead and write it on here ;) Plus it was kind of, actually hilarious. SO.

Jess (my roommate) and I have adopted 2 other girls into our "roommate"ness this semester, which means we are now an unofficial roommate/best friend group of four. That's me (Bethany), Jess, Kayla Collins, and Kayla Swails Quails. However school life gets busy and class schedules get crazy, and we really don't get to spend as much time just hanging out as we want to. So the Wednesday before Spring Break we decided to cook dinner in the Kayla's room and just spend some time fellowshipping between the four of us before we all split up for a week & 1/2. We're also HUGE fans of the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi soup, so we found a recipe online and went with that. Simple enough! Crockpot, chicken, various vegetables, soup, and roommates. Easy.

WRONG. First of all, I was the one placed in charge of actually STARTING said crockpot recipe. Jess was studying and the Kayla's went straight from science class to soccer practice and didn't get out of practice till some ridiculously late hour which would be too late anyways. So, we went shopping, bought the ingredients, and then later that night walked into the Kayla's room with everything to actually start making it.

Problem #1: I couldn't find the crockpot.
Problem #2: After I DO find it (it was inconveniently hiding on top of the wardrobe) I can't get it out. Because of these annoying, ridiculous, space-expanding, MASSIVE packing peanut material, crock pot holders. I've got the box top open and am attempting to pull the crockpot out with ALL of my strength and no matter how hard I pull these white siding things expand JUST enough so that NOTHING. MOVES. So finally, because I enjoy talking to inanimate objects and find myself intimidating, I take a step back from the crockpot box, point my finger, and declare as loudly and menacingly as I possibly can, "crockpot, you WILL come out of the box!"

At this point I reach down, yank the sides of the box out, and the crockpot comes sliding out as easily as the same time as the actually COOKING part of the crockpot comes tumbling out, falls out of it's casing, and shatters. All over the Kayla's floor. The first INTELLIGENT thought after my brain went "....OH NO" for the first five minutes was "look for superglue." Then I realized that I was thinking about gluing a CROCKPOT back together, and the very first time it was used all the glue would melt and we'd be in exactly the same spot as we were now. At this point the roommate Jess has slowly made her way down the hall, and is now collapsed in laughter right outside of Kayla's door.

Somehow Jess and I convinced ourselves we could make the 40 minute run to Walmart before the Kayla's got out of their 20 minutes left soccer practice, and return with a fully intact, non-suspicious looking crockpot that Kayla would NEVER REALIZE actually wasn't her real one. So without fail we jump in my car and speed off to Walmart.

The crockpot is found and bought impossibly easily, which should have been our first clue the night was NOT over, and we made it in and out of Walmart within 10 minutes, down the freeway in 15, and onto Monticello Road in supserspeed time. Then. THEN. We get stuck behind the slowest, most turtle-like moving car in ALL of South Carolina, between lights 1 and 2 on Monticello. At this point it's late and I'm exhausted nad hypser and cannot BELIEVE all this is happening, so I start yelling random, spastic things at the car in front of me.

It doesn't speed up. Like at all. So my second thought is not "Oh, they obviously can't hear you" it's "Oh, pick a different language." So we start yelling in Spanish. However neither one of us SPEAKS spanish, so "spanish" for us meant we were actually yelling in english and just taking the an 'o' onto the ends of all our words. For example.


It just disentigrated from there. Mr. Grandpa car in front of us had developed the skill of pulling through each light EXACTLY as it went from yellow to red, which meant we got stuck. In a movie/non-wholesome environment, this is when all kinds of creative words would have started running out of both of our mouths, but since neither me OR Jess actually swears we decided the only logical conclusion was to start yelling the word "EXPLETIVE!" at the top of our lungs. Except we were speaking spanish remember? So EXPLETIVE-O it was!

We finally, somehow, magically make it to the Boulevard leading onto school, don't run into anyone or anyTHING on our way around the dorms, and pull up into the parking space. I obviously canNOT be the one to carry the crockpot inside because my track record of keeping crockpots in one piece is now AWFUL, so Jess gathers up everything and we walk into Kayla's room. We did NOT beat Kayla back to her room, and she was waiting for us tears streaming down our face because she's laughing so hard.

Dinner was a disaster, the soup DIDN'T turn out, and re-heating it in the morning did nothing at all to help :D Except for Quails. Whose reaction was to shovel as much soup as POSSIBLE from the crockpot to a bowl and then her mouth because apparently she thought it was delicious :D We ended up making a midnight sonic run because at this point we're all starving, made multiple orders at the exact same register, got introduced to our waitress/roller skater Chastity multiple times, and jammed to Taylor Swift on the way home.

Crockpot fail level 10 achievement: unlocked.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Chapel this morning was on forgiveness. FORGIVENESS.

God has put this are of spiritual growth in my path so often this past year that with a smile I began to reflect on all the people God had brought into my life, the forgiveness that has been learned and mutually exchanged, and the friendships that now thrive under the grace of God. I settled back into my seat and began to take notes under a blanket of "I'm so glad God's already dealt with my heart in this area" happiness.

As chapel continued, my joy only grew. How nice to be able to sit in chapel, soak in God's truth, and for once NOT be convicted about an area of my heart that God wanted to work on! And then it happened.

The 'examine your heart' prayer. The 'ask the Lord to reveal your bitterness' altar call. My heart slowly tightened. This couldn't be right! I didn't hate anyone! I wasn't bitter...I wasn't hurt...there wasn't anyone I need to forgi...oh.

"Oh Lord. Not HER. Haven't you seen the pain she's caused? The lives she's affected? The things she's done?"

To you? 

"Well no, not to me...but that's what makes it so awful! She's hurt my friends! The people I love!"

So it's okay to hate her? 

"Lord, I don't HATE her."

Oh really? 

 "Of course not! You tell us not to hate. No, I just don't like her."

I just don't like her. 

"Well....okay. Maybe really, really, STRONGLY dislike her."


"Okay. Maybe I don't hate her...but maybe I'm dangerously close. Maybe I want to sometimes. Maybe I hate the way she lies and attacks my friends and hurts them and just won't let go. She makes me ANGRY and I don't even really know her! All I see is the hurt and destruction and BLECH. She's done so much....I don't think I can forgive her. I don't want to. She's crossed too many lines."

More than you? 


Her sin. The pain she's caused. It's worse than yours? 

"Lord, that's really not the-"

You've sinned. You've lied. You've caused pain and destruction and BLECH. 

"Well yeah I GUESS, bu-"

How much forgiveness do YOU deserve? How many hearts have YOU wounded? How many times have you pushed people, and even Me away because you just didn't want to let go? 

"LORD. This really isn't about ME."

And it isn't about her. I don't ask you to decide whose sins are just too much to be forgiven. All I ask is that you remember how much you have been forgiven....and how unconditionally you have been loved. Imitate me. 

"You're um....God. I'm Bethany."

So I'll help. 


All of this spoken in the tone of a Father who loves me :) This is what happens when I think I've figured it all out.

I have been taught this morning, that sometimes, forgiveness needs to be extended to those whom hurt people you hold dear...not just you. And maybe it's none of your business, and maybe you're not even THAT involved, but your best friends are hurt, and so you're hurting too. But God has loved me unconditionally...and thank HIM it's been unconditional on my own actions. I'm not perfect at extending this to others....I've just started. But I'm learning. And it's GOOD :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Break: Then & Now.

It's Saturday night, March 23, 2013, and I'm sitting on my bed avoiding packing because I'm headed back to CIU tomorrow afternoon. And, because I'm such an absolutely nostalgic being, I decided going through my Impact 360 journal was a really good idea. And NOW I'm sitting here absolutely in awe of the lessons God has taught me, that I didn't even realize He had until He opened my eyes to see it. 

"Lord, You're not REAL. I can read all day about the unbelievable "love" you have for me, but it's not real. I don't know what else I can do, what else I can give up. I am numb to HOPE. In the middle of an aching fear that I will forever be alone, it becomes harder and harder to remember that You are my constant companion. But Lord, if I'm being honest? Right now those words hold about as much weight as 'it's going to be okay'. I feel like I can't do anything right, everything I do and say is either wrong or just one more reason why I'm not the right choice for something or someone, or 'I'm too needy' or why everyone should just wash their hands of me and find someone better to be friends with. I'm numb and I'm empty, and I'm so beyond done." 

I know this sounds like the writing of one of the angsty-est, dramatic teenagers ever....but they were taken almost word for word out of my Impact journal from a little over a year ago. We had just come back from Brazil and I was completely unaware of how to even begin believing that the Lord loved me. Which sounds weird since I've been a Christian since the age of 4, but I'm trying to set a scene here :) 

Right after February and our return from Brazil came March and Spring break 2012 and an entire week spent with my class on Possum Kingdom Lake. And within a week I believed that I had found a solution to my problem. I had decided on a college, decided on a major, decided on a FUTURE, and began to very proudly take security in the fact that I had successfully planned my life out. Who cares if I couldn't feel the Lord's love? I'd found an adequate substitute in my own surroundings. 

I think the scariest part of all of this was how unbelievably grown up and spiritually mature I thought I was being at the time. 

Now, a year later, I'm sitting in the middle of a life that is absolutely nothing like the one I had supposedly planned out for myself. Which makes me think God probably has a huge sense of humor :P In the past year I have watched God shut door after door, and when it happened I couldn't understand why God was saying no to something that was obviously SO. GOOD. A summer job. A talent show audition. A relationship. A trip to Georgia. Rejections, tears, heartache, frustration, and calls to use patience that I quite simply didn't have. Didn't God understand how IMPORTANT this job was to me? Doesn't' He understand how ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL this friendship is to my spiritual, emotional, and relational development? Doesn't He understand if He takes this security away and asks me to grow past Impact and my relationships there, I won't have ANYWHERE to turn anymore, because He's NOT. THERE? 

I think He did. I think He knew perfectly well I wouldn't have anywhere to turn anymore. I know He did. And even though at the time each "no" hurt and I felt it so deeply, I can say a year later that I have never been assured more of God's faithfulness and love, and that no matter what happens He does in fact know what's best....and His definition of best trumps mine every time. 

People try so hard to bypass suffering in the Christian life, and I think in trying to bypass suffering we might also be bypassing perfect opportunities to learn just how deep and strong the Father's love truly does flow for each one of us. A year ago I asked God to break me and prove His faithfulness...and in prayer that sounded really sanctified and wonderful. In real life, it's proven a lot harder....but at every turn He's done it even when I begged Him to let me take back my prayer and keep leading an "easy" life. 

I am young, quick to speak before I think, a child at heart, nowhere NEAR truly figuring all this out, and still learning so much. God continues to refine me towards His end goal, and even though it's painful it's absolutely amazing. And what's even cooler is being able to look back in my journal to times when I couldn't see the light anymore because I had let myself be so deeply buried by the lies I was believing...and watching God point to Himself in the midst of absolute despair and whisper "See? There I am. Even when you couldn't see Me, I held you in the palm of My hand." 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life as a First Semester Sophomore

Life has been INSANELY crazy lately :D I can't believe we're 3/4ths of the way through our freshman year at CIU, which ALSO means that year wise I'm almost 1/2 through my SOPHOMORE year of college! It feels like the past 2 and 1/2 months have passed in almost NO time, so I'll try and sum up the highlights of second semester :D

I've gotten to go back to Impact twice, which has been amazing. The 2013 class holds an incredibly special place in my heart, and I'm so thankful they put up with all my creeping and ridiculousness when I crash on their campus ;) I've been in Savannah once, which as anyone whose asked knows is the city that I am in LOVE with.

I've run into multiple hard objects, clipped the back of a mini-van with my poor car, punched the cafeteria tray line whilst going for Xander's fist, and stolen back East 2's hall pet Aslan from Petty 2, sporting a wonderful war wound under my arm from where Cameron made contact with his foot. I've seen beautiful South Carolinian sunsets, driven over the Broad River multiple times, and ALMOST convinced Xander, Jess and the Kayla's to take a spontaneous trip to Charleston. I've planned future trips to Disney World (2014 or bust!), a spontaneous hotel night in Charleston, AND sophomore fall break to Chicago with Cordy :D I've laughed harder, cried more, and experienced more emotional ups and downs then God has taken me through yet, and through it all He has demonstrated that He is GOOD and always, ALWAYS faithful. I've cried about being away from my best friend, wished desperately that I was closer to the people I love, and come to the realization (with some frying pans to the face from the Lord) that I'm exactly where He wants me to be.

I've adopted a little (the beautiful Hannah Richards) as well as several of her wonderful classmates. I've watched friendships end and friendships begin, and CONTINUE to be thankful for my beautiful roommate.

Being single right now STINKS with a capital S, and like a classic teenager I whine about it a lot, but somehow God continues to be loving and faithful, even in the midst of my kind of ridiculous pity parties ;) He continues to teach me patience and trust, all things that sounded really good when I prayed them but are proving to be a tinge bit harder to actually learn in real life.

I am thankful for my wonderful family (whom I will see in a WEEK), and the growth that has happened from last Spring Break to this one. I am thankful for memories that both hurt and heal, trials, singleness (SOMETIMES), small group, downtown Columbia, BAUX, country music (which I listen to an unhealthy amount), the fantastic group of brothers that have adopted East 2, my best friends, my sisters, and the fact that I have a small Instagram addiction. I use the term small liberally. I am thankful for swing sets and long talks, guitars and coffee, music, quiet, and the ability to journal. I am thankful that little things = big excitement, and small smiles can make whole days brighter :)

And above all else, I am thankful that God goes nowhere, knows everything, and loves me always. Because heaven knows, literally, that I do not deserve it.