I am going home this week. Not home in the sense of where I grew up, or where I currently live. Home in the sense of where I was born, born again that is. It's been 4 years, 7 months, 2 days since I was born into the body of Christ. 4 years, 7 months and 2 days since I died to my flesh and rose again forgiven, redeemed and a new creation. I call it home because it's the beginning, it's the place I was first made alive. It's the place that my life started over. It's the place the God breathed His life giving breath into my body and called me His child and gave me life anew.
I had made my way to Florida by way of Kansas by way of Colorado. The thing is God always knew. God always knew I would be there. He always knew the events would take place that would lead me to where I was when I accepted Him. He had His hand on me even before I knew Him. When I found out I was pregnant in December of 2005 I knew my life was about to change. It was like God Himself said to me "Bethany, I am making a way for you" The circumstances surrounding my pregnancy were not the greatest and I was in no condition to be bringing a baby into this world but I knew, I knew that this baby way going to be the change that I needed. I stayed in the situation I was in until February of 2006 until I could no longer take it. That is when God laid into motion the plan the would up heave EVERYTHING. I had gone to an appointment at a crisis pregnancy center to get set up for parenting classes so I could have some support. My daughters father was not at all wanting to be supportive, even though we were living together. I knew I needed to leave him but I had no money, no where to go and no support. I unloaded everything onto the girl who did my intake. Looking back now, she probably had no idea what to do with me. I literally talked non stop for 45 minutes about how miserable I was and how I just wanted to make a better way for my child. I talked about how I wanted to start going to church, how I wanted to be a healthy mom, how I just wanted to be more for my baby than I could currently be. As I sit here writing this I can see how God was preparing my heart for what He was about to do. Bless her heart, the intake counselor was so sweet. She sat there and listened to me, with all grace that God gave her that day, she let me cry, let me talk and let me just pour my heart out. She gave me some phone numbers for some different church's in the area and when I told her that I needed to leave my daughters father and had no where to go she gave me a number for a house called His Caring Place. Little did I know how my life was about to change. She said she didn't know what the age cut off might be (I was 24) but that if it came down to it to call them and see if they could help me. I don't remember what I was feeling as I drove back to the motel but I imagine I was feeling pretty hopeful, that all changed when I walked through the door. I knew he had been drinking before I even walked in the door. It was just something I could sense. I hated the drinking, but it was something he did everyday and I was powerless to stop him from doing it. It was the middle of the afternoon, he hadn't worked that day and I knew that it was going to be a long night if he was already drunk. If I was lucky he would pass out early was my thought. I don't think I had been in the door for five minutes when we started fighting. It was a big one and I was mad. He was being mean, and I was angry. I grabbed his beer and threw it at him. He came at me and I freaked out. Not my finest moment I realize that now but where I was then it was all I could do. It was then that I knew that I HAD to leave. It was now or never. I grabbed my purse and phone and ran out the door. I got in my van and called the number that the girl from the pregnancy center had given me. Crying I told them my situation. Turns out I had called one of the houses and needed to talk to the director. I called another number, spoke with Pam, who would later become so dear to my heart and told her "I am pregnant, I have nowhere to go, I need a place to stay, can you help me" She told me they weren't a shelter so they couldn't help me that night but that she could meet with me the next day. I left, drove out of the motel parking lot, with him running behind me screaming and left. I didn't know where I was going to spend the night but I knew I wasn't going back. I had tried to leave him before but had always gone back. This time I knew it for good. I drove around that night trying to think of where I was going to stay. I didn't want to go to a shelter. Shelters in South Florida are scary and I really didn't want to go there. I wound up staying with a friend of a friend that only spoke Spanish and had, what seemed like 25 cats living in her apartment. The next morning I woke up, went back to the motel to tell Jeffrey what my plan was, only to find the remnants of his party from the night before. I was broken hearted. I remember feeling so crushed. He slayed my heart. I knew he had, had another girl in the room, I knew he had smoked crack all night. It crushed me. I told him we needed some time apart. That I needed to do this for me and our baby and that I was leaving. I drove around all morning until my meeting with Pam. I went to the 4kids office at 12pm, walked in her office, sat down and begged her to let me in the house. I was older than they normally allow, had been living on my own which they normally don't get and wasn't a teenager which is typically what they see. But I wanted a better life for my child and I told her that. I told her I didn't care what the rules were that I would do WHATEVER they asked me to do. The house was part of the Calvary Chapel down in Ft. Lauderdale so I knew I would be required to go to church and I didn't care. I said I would do ANYTHING. Pam and I wound up talking for FOUR HOURS, FOUR HOURS. She was so gracious with me. Here was my desperate self. Pregnant and lonely with no one who really cared. I just needed someone to listen, someone to tell me that there was hope. I needed someone to look me in the face and tell me that there was something bigger than me in the midst and that I wasn't alone anymore. I went and checked out the house and the decision was made that I would go back to the motel, get my stuff and move in that night. Going back to the motel meant I would have to see Jeffrey again. I didn't really want to do that, well I did but I didn't. I was heartbroken that this was where we had wound up but I was ready to make some changes. I needed things to be different and he just didn't care. I had a check from his boss that I was going to use to pay his rent at the motel. I went back, started packing my stuff, and of course we started fighting. He wanted the money. I knew what he was going to do with it and with everything in me I was not going to let him smoke that money in a pipe. Now we had fought before, and they had gotten physical but when he came at me that last night and hit me with his fists I was stunned. Stunned that the man I had loved for three years could use the hands that loved me to hit me. Even though he had hit me with other things before it was different when it was his hands. I left with my stuff, stunned, angry that this was where it had gone, unsure of where things were going and anxious for the future. I walked into the house with all my baggage, both literal and metaphorical, dropped down on the couch and breathed a heavy sigh. I was home, I just didn't know it. The next week was a new one. I was not accustomed to having a routine, to being told what to do, to having chores and to having an authority figure. I had been on my own for six years. But I did it and slowly but surely came around. I went to the doctor that week and that's when I found out I was having a girl... JOY!!!!! When I called Jeffrey he was not thrilled and what he said I will not post. It broke my heart, but I should have known that he would not share my joy. Saturday February 11, 2006 was the night it all changed. The night that this blog is about. I don't remember anything about the day leading up to church, but I do remember what I was wearing. How funny is that!! We got there late so we sat in the back of the sanctuary. This was only the second service I had been to at Calvary. All week I had been poured into, love and grace and had started asking questions but still knew nothing about salvation and didn't really understand the whole concept. But I was open. I never doubted that God existed, I just doubted He was sovereign and doubted His goodness despite tragedy. Pastor Bob was preaching out of Ruth. Really I don't remember much of what the message was about other than it was about redemption. The was the first time I remember hearing that word. It sounded so sweet, redemption. I wanted that. I wanted to be redeemed. I wanted to be made new. As Pastor Bob started to give the alter call that is when I started to get antsy. He started talking about giving your life to Christ, how Jesus is just there, knocking on the door to your heart, waiting for you to open it. He kept talking about this word redemption and forgiveness, and new life. Finally it was like the damn broke open, the fire was lit, I couldn't stay in my seat. I did not walk to the alter I RAN. I had no idea that I was giving my my life to Christ I just knew I NEEDED to be at that alter. That was it, I was born again. I was a new creation. I had a new life within my being and I was a new life. I gave Him my life that night and He gave me forgiveness, new life and freedom. The breath of life, I was born again.
That is why it feels like I am going home. Back to where I was born. Back to the people who witnessed my birth. Who saw the life in me, who saw God at work. Who saw love being born in my heart. This place, this house holds such a dear place in my heart. The people hold such a dear place in my heart. They are a part of something, a part of me that is big. God is moving mightily in this ministry and is about to do something big. I would ask all of you to pray. Pray for the girls that live there now. Pray that their hearts would be opened to what God wants to do in them. Pray that they would just know without a doubt that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. Oh my heart is just full right now. So full of what God is doing and is getting ready to do. I am expectant of how this event is going to change to ministry and change my heart. I feel so honored to be a part of it and amazed that God saw a pregnant, homeless, junkie and also saw who I am today. One can never doubt the goodness or providence of God....... really.