Monday, July 22, 2013

A Story of Transformation



When my son left for boot camp to become a sailor, the only item he was allowed to bring was a Bible. He had never owned one as we had not been a church-going family. I determined that if all he was allowed was a Bible, then a Bible he would have.


I purchased a small Sailor's Bible and stuffed it with photos. Post-it notes were also stuck to various pages telling him how proud we were of him and how much he was loved.

Four months before my son left, my husband had departed to pursue his dream of becoming a soldier. At the age of 41, he was making his dream come true. Never did I dream of us becoming a military family.

It seemed like out of the blue I had become an Army wife and Navy mom.

I remember the letter I received from my husband telling me he had taken a knee for the first time and prayed to God. He was struggling with his weapons qualifications and simply asked God to allow his shots to fly straight. He prayed this prayer because he worried about extending his time away from home. He was worried about me having to manage our home on my own longer than anticipated

We never talked about God in our home. I can't say I didn't believe in Him, however, I was certain if He was real He had forgotten about us. We clearly had not been worthy of His love. If He loved us, why did he allow so much pain in our lives?

Our marriage had been filled with anger and many tears.

Dark clouds hovered over us in what felt like a permanent state. Twice I thought there had to be something better “out yonder.” The first time I was convinced of this, I packed my bags and moved out taking our children with me; the second time I asked my husband to pack his and he moved out. We were both guilty of extramarital affairs and many other hurts. Our broken hearts seemed beyond repair.

I don't know how or why--maybe it was our unconscious obedience not to give up on each other--but God was silently moving in to our hearts. He began to ease our suffering by leading us to a place of forgiveness. We went through months of counseling, but ultimately I believe God was at work in us healing our brokenness and giving us a reason to have hope.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18

While my husband was completing his basic training, his bunk mate would stay up late reading his Bible. With no other books available to read, my husband found a Bible and began reading too. Meanwhile, a mother of one of the other soldiers, whom I had bonded with online, shared the words from Romans 5:1-5 with me in an email one day. For the first time as an adult, I opened up a Bible.

Before my husband returned home, we both felt led to attend church. On the very same Sunday, we attended similar Christian churches. Our hearts were equally stirred by the messages we received.

It was April 2011 when my husband returned home. Together, we began attending Living Hope Church.

Several months later, we found ourselves joining a small group. With our newly purchased Bibles, we walked in to the home of our small group leaders rather clueless. They were studying Philippians.

“Where do I find the book of Philippians? Who is this guy Paul?” Though we were out of our element, God nudged us to keep returning.

In February 2012, our church started a study on Romans 12. For the first time I read the words from Romans 12:2:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Most of my adult life has been spent believing I’m not good enough: I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, or smart enough. Who I am could never be enough.

These thoughts have led to an ongoing battle with bulimia.

Romans 12:2 gave me hope—hope that my way of thinking could be changed, transformed.
On February 21, 2012, I sent an email to my pastor that said, “I’m all in.” I surrendered my life to Christ.


Freedom has not come overnight though. Many days I find myself saying, “Here I am, Lord. Change my way of thinking.” My battle with an eating disorder may remain, but I know God wants me to have victory. So again and again, for as long as it takes, I will surrender to Christ and say, “I’m all in.”

Today, Monday, July 22, follows the day when my husband and I together asked God to wash us clean from our sins. Yesterday, with loved ones by our side and in the presence of God, we were baptized.

The transformation for my family began with a Bible and a man kneeling in prayer. It has and will continue to be a journey of transformation and healing—it’s a journey we do not take alone. Because of God’s overwhelming grace we can overcome.


“With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).

Here’s a song that has ministered to me: Healer, by Hillsong

“You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You are all I need
Oh, I believe, I believe Lord
I believe You’re my portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands”


How about you? How did you come to know God?


This post appeared first on Circles of Faith.


23 comments :

  1. I tried to leave a comment over at the post, but it disappeared. So in case it doesn't show up: With tears in my eyes I am rejoicing in all that God has done for you and your husband. Yes, you are on a continual journey, but you are on your way. I pray that He will continue to heal you. Nothing is too difficult for Him!

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    1. Hello Barbie. Your comment at Circles of Faith did come through. Thank you! Your kind words mean so much to me. Thank you for rejoicing with us. I truly did not anticipate the full extent of how being baptized would impact me. I really am overwhelmed by His amazing grace.
      Much love to you,
      Beth

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  2. Beth,
    I linked up with Crystal Stine's link up (even though I don't know how to share pictures yet, lol) and there you were right before me. Just another chance to leave you a little lovin'!! The story behind your pictures is one of love, mercy and grace...how wonderful!! You are God's child :)
    Love and ((hugs)),
    Bev

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    1. I love you, Bev! You always bring a big smile to my face! Thank you for all your love and support.
      Love and (((hugs))),
      Beth

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  3. Beth, simply beautiful! Wishing you Gods blessings to you and your son. ~Jenny

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  4. Sweet Beth, this brought me to tears to read how God can transform and redeem and change lives. I'm so thankful for that and the reminder for me here that He's never finished with us. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! Love to you and happy Tuesday! :)

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    1. Reflecting on it all still brings me to tears. I love how He transforms and my prayers is always that my story helps bring others closer to Him. Thank you for your kind words, Mel. I truly appreciate it.
      Much love to you,
      Beth

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  5. Such an incredible journey :) So, so happy for you and your family ♥

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    1. Thank you sweet friend! Love you.

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  6. This post is absolutely beautiful! God works miracles in our lives. He longs for deep relationships with us and wants to heal us of our brokenness. God bless you and your family!

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I am forever grateful He pursued us.
      Much love to you,
      Beth

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    1. Thank you, Jane. I'm so glad to connect with you.
      Blessings,
      Beth

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  8. this is BEAUTIFUL. oh my eyes welled up. what a picture of the miraculous power and grace of the Most High.

    visiting from emily's imperfect prose. <3

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! When I reflect on the day of our baptism I'm still brought to tears. I never imagined what an impact it would have on me. Thank you for stopping in and for your kind words.
      Blessings,
      Beth

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  9. Beth,
    Little old me again...this time you were right before me on Kristen's "Out of the Blue" Thursday. Guess God really wants me to send love and prayers your way!! I know you are on the countdown to Guatemala. Please know you truly are in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be! Can't wait to hear your stories...
    With love and ((hugs)),
    Bev

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    1. Thank you sweet friend! Love you and (((hugs))),
      Beth

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  10. Beth,
    Even though we haven't had a chance to meet yet, I'm so touched by these pictures. Congratulations on your baptism! So very special!

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    1. Thank you, Becky! We will meet soon hopefully.
      With love,
      Beth

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  11. I left a comment at Circles of FAith as well, but this story....blows me away. So. very. good! It just makes my heart sing and gives me hope-filled goose bumps.

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  12. Beth,

    How exciting to hear your story of coming to know Jesus! I never knew that the navy only allowed Bibles, but after this story, wow, I'm thrilled! May there be lots of bored Navy and Army men with nothing but a Bible on their hands, and may God draw their hearts to him.

    Have a great week.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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  13. Beth, Love reading this story of how God called you to himself. Powerful. Inspiring. What a testimony that He can reach into a life at any point, any where, and lovingly help heal and store any thing. Excited to meet you at Declare and hear more of how God is working in your life.

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Much love to you.