Bethany Dillon

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Present. November 19, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,Life,Lucy — bethanydillon @ 4:08 pm

It goes without saying that it’s been a WHILE since I’ve blogged. Whatever component of someone’s personality that makes them a “blogger”… maybe I just don’t have it. I was telling Shane the other day, if I could just sit on the couch with all of you individually, with a cup of coffee and a couple of hours of conversation- that’s what I’d prefer. Or even to just copy and attach my semi-daily journals onto a blog post. But, when I think about blogging: i.e., at least thirty minutes spent in front of a computer screen during a free moment in my day, two thoughts come to mind:

1) When it’s been a long time, it’s kind of like laundry or dishes for me… if I’ve been consistent, it’s no big deal. But when piles of dirty dishes or dirty laundry are sitting there, staring at me, I can feel a bit overwhelmed. Where to begin?

2) I’ve really been struck lately with my need to be present… hence, the title of this post… and, I don’t know if you can relate with me, but Twitter/Facebook/texting/emailing/and, yes, blogging, can sometimes serve as a sometimes unhealthy “escape” for me from the mundane, every-dayness of being a stay-at-home wife and mommy.

All of that said, though, I’m excited to be back. : ) I think I just need to look at this in a simpler way… if you’re into it, that is… I think short and sweet blogs might be all that I can offer in this season, but I think that’s okay. In fact, I think it’s going to be GOOD for me! The Lord has been speaking so much to me in these past almost five months of being Lucy’s mommy… and, yes, most of those things make it onto the pages of my journal… but I do feel a burden and desire to share it with you. The call to encourage my brothers and sisters in Him has been a loud one recently — and it’s fleshed out in having people over for dinner, swinging by friends’ houses for lunch or just to say hi, etc… but I think another sweet way for that to be manifested is right here, in blog-world. So, here we go!

First off — I LOVE being a mommy. Love, love, LOVE it. And I love being Shane’s wife more every day. The past couple of mornings I’ve just thought on that… those good, good gifts from Him. I can’t even really wrap my mind around what blessings (in the greatest sense of that word) those two people are in my life. Yes, I am blessed beyond the walls of our home, definitely- an amazing family, friends, community, church. But, my every day consists of those two sweet people: Shane and Lucy. And I love it.

Buddies.

September 25, at my sister's wedding ... sure love those people!

So, here’s been the gentle, needed rebuke for me from the Lord lately: be PRESENT. Savor. Enjoy. Delight yourself in Me. Be SATISFIED with what I’ve given to you from my hand. It came the other day when I was sitting on the couch, nursing Lucy, and simultaneously watching the news, and checking Twitter on my iPhone, mindlessly scrolling through everyone’s 140-charactered updates. In those few seconds, I looked down at Lucy and thought about how quickly she’s changed in four and a half short months. It’s true (someone from church told me this the other day) that with babies “the days are long, but the years are fast”. The few hours I’ve been awake today already feel long… but the past five months have flown by.

What a treasure Lucy is!

What a joy to see her face light up when I pick her up in the mornings… to make her laugh… to meet her needs… to get to kiss all over that sweet, chubby, perfect face.

And, no, Twitter isn’t evil. Watching the news isn’t evil. But, in that moment (and in His voice echoing through the rest of my moments after) I realized that I’ve been using silly, temporal, mindless things like those to escape. To have a breather. To “tune out” of the mundane moments like nursing Lucy for the thousandth time.

And, you mommies know, there IS a need for rest, refuge, and escape sometimes… but am I preferring those things over truly being present in what He’s given me? Am I turning my days into even more of a blur from staring into screens throughout my day rather than sitting in the quiet sometimes… turning everything off… and taking in the faithfulness and goodness of God?

I know all those thoughts are packed full, and need to be unpacked in more than one short blog… and I’m sure they will be : )… but I just wanted to share with you on this Friday morning what’s been challenging and spurring me on into deeper things with Him — to refuge in Him, and still be present in my days of being Lucy’s mommy and Shane’s wife. Those things are infinitely greater of worth than dividing my attention constantly with TV, social networking, and even activities outside the home. I want to grow in what it means to truly, deeply, gratefully enjoy all that He’s provided in this season … because this season won’t last forever!

Hopefully that all makes sense and resonates with you. I’ve been feeling gentle correction from the Lord in a lot of areas lately, but that has been the biggest one! And I’m so thankful that He IS calling my attention to it. There is so much coming up that I will want to look back on and know I fully enjoyed.

Namely: the annual Thanksgiving get-together next week in Ohio with my mom’s side of the family. : ) I can’t TELL you how excited I am for that! And I promise a blog will be coming about it! There are always stories to tell about my crazy family…

Well, I hope you have a lovely, lovely weekend! And that your eyes will be opened even wider to ALL that He is doing in the every-dayness of your life! Know you are loved by Him and rest/escape/refuge in that … I’m fighting to, as well!

Your unbloggery blogging friend,

Beth

 

Whole August 2, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,Life,Lucy — bethanydillon @ 10:51 pm

Getting close to five weeks. It’s crazy how fast that has gone by… and how slowly. (Almost) five weeks ago, Shane and I were in a hospital room, trying to wrap our brains around the sweet little “love lump” (as Grandma Barnard calls her) that had just arrived. We STILL are trying to wrap our minds around it, but to be honest, our minds are a little too tired nowadays. I know for myself, I can’t really remember the last time I fed Lucy, let alone the last time I showered… which can be scary.

But, wow, isn’t the Lord really as good as He says He is? I have been tasting and seeing that, especially in the last two weeks. Things (and when I say “things” I mean: motherhood, marriage adjusting to parenthood, every day life, life in God, etc…) are getting a little less blurry and coming into focus– what a huge, overflowing, overwhelming blessing this season is.

I couldn’t even begin to share all the things He has spoken to me in the last five weeks. I’m not sure if I should, really. Some of those moments are untypable and unbloggable. There really aren’t any words FOR them. Some of my moments with the Lord lately have been wordless and pretty unassuming, except for the “still small voice” that brought quiet and peace and worship to my heart. I’ve stared at Lucy and just sighed and smiled till my face hurt and my eyes were all watery. I’ve stared at my husband holding her, or comforting me in an emotional moment, or waking up with me in the middle of the night to make sure Lucy and I were alright … and wondered, How did I get this blessed? The faithfulness and tender heart of God has been shown to me through Shane consistently pre-Lucy, but now it’s something I lean on daily.

All of that to say… this morning I had a really sweet time with Him in our sun room. I was reading Galatians 5 about the fruit of the Spirit… LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL… and had this deep, restless hunger in me for the evidence of the Spirit at work in my life. I know He IS — I wouldn’t be able to get through a day if He wasn’t! But, when I looked at that list in my Bible and then copied in my journal and traced over several times, I could tell by the ache in my heart that I don’t pursue those things. More like, I don’t pursue Him to the point of those things just naturally bearing fruit.

Sure, I have joyful days. Sure, I have moments where I choose to be patient. Sure, there are times when I have to have self-control and do.

But, all of those things? To walk in the Spirit so deeply and authentically that all of those things are evident in me? I’m not sure.

And then, I flipped over to Ephesians. I saw a verse in (I think) chapter 5 talking about “giving no opportunity to the devil” … and I started to think about how many times in one day those fruits I just read about are challenged. How my flesh, and beyond that, my unseen enemy are hostile towards God and stand in opposition to those things taking root, sprouting, and producing sweet fruit in season in my life.

Ephesians 6:10-18

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

I know it’s kind of an unattractive book of the Bible, but I have always, always loved Deuteronomy. Side note: if you haven’t ever spent much time there, you should give it an hour of your day. Flip through the chapters… there are so many that point to Jesus. Anyway, I remember it being a theme in that book, especially talking about the law, to obey the WHOLE law. To offer WHOLE offerings to the Lord. To love the Lord with your WHOLE heart.

For some reason, that word stuck out to me today… whole. I want to know what it is to experience all of the fruits of the Spirit- the wholeness of it. And, in Ephesians 6, I have a high and urgent calling to put on the WHOLE armor of God… my life depends on it.

So, I’m seeking Him for these things in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

And I want to begin each day with these things armoring me in the unseen: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness given by the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and praying at all times.

The beautiful thing about the Word… and about the Lord… is that, in order to experience freedom in it, you can’t omit the things you’re uncomfortable with or inconvenience you. Kind of like how I have a joyful day here and there, where I really am joyful IN the Lord… I have days here and there when I pray at all times. Or I arm myself with the Word at the beginning of my day. Or I chose to wrap around me the truth.

But, I don’t want the glory of victory that that passage talks about in pieces! I want to experience what it’s like to really, really, REALLY walk in the Spirit. With my WHOLE heart.

 

Lone Star Lucy July 31, 2010

Filed under: Lucy — bethanydillon @ 11:05 pm

That’s what my mom has been calling her. Clever, isn’t she?

This is a pic of her from today… she’s finally able to fit into this adorable farm animals onesie that Grandma Barnard got her : ) Love it!

 

Lucy James July 29, 2010

Filed under: Life,Lucy — bethanydillon @ 9:55 pm

Hello my friends! I somewhat feel the need to re-introduce myself now I’m a mommy… life looks a lot different from the last time I blogged! : ) As those of you veteran moms know, the first weeks for the first baby are QUITE an adjustment- hormones, sleep deprivation, an overall feeling of cluelessness… not to mention getting to know and falling in love with the little sweetie that had been in my belly for nine months! It’s a crazy time, but tomorrow marks the first month of Lucy’s life, and my new life as her mom, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that getting through the first four weeks feels like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far. : )

Anyway… in the midst of getting some house work done while she’s been asleep this afternoon, I wanted to post some pictures of our little beauty! I will hopefully find some time to share more about her birth and life since, but for now, you can just behold some of God’s best creativity yet : )

Lucy James Barnard: 6.30.2010 - 3:24pm - 7 lbs 8 oz

Day 2 at the hospital

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

Confession: I love me some sweet Lucy skin!

 

Content June 28, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,Life — bethanydillon @ 12:46 am

What a full day it’s been. A truly restful Sunday.

Last night, I spent the night at the Everett’s house with Kellie & Olive (Shane Everett’s wife and daughter), since both of our “Shanes” were gone to Austin for a morning service today and a concert tonight. No labor went down, but just in case, I took up some space at their house for the night. AND, it was just a good excuse to hang with those girls! This morning, we got up, had breakfast, met them at church, had some Tex Mex for lunch, then came over to my place to swim away this afternoon. So, so fun. And now, I’m currently sitting on our couch in a quiet house (savoring what that’s like for just a little while longer!), and resisting the temptation to turn on the TV.

I’m still thinking about the sermon Pastor Scott Wilson preached this morning at church… and then, when I just opened my Bible and saw the space my notes were stuck in, it made the message from this morning even more profound and relevant to my present moment.

We’ve been on a series called “How To Be Rich” – which, yes, sounds very prosperity gospel; and, in fact, is the exact opposite, which I really love. : ) Not how to GET rich, but how to BE rich… stepping back, looking at where we are compared to the rest of the people on this planet, how we are almost all (even those of us who consider ourselves to be just making ends meet) in the top 10% income made WORLDWIDE, asking ourselves WHY God has blessed us and given us more than we need, how to have a generous heart in that… you get the point. It has been… SO… GOOD. Shane and I both — and our close friends that go to the Oaks– have been really challenged and inspired by it. Re-evaluating the way we do life. If you want to hear some of the sermons in the series (which I highly recommend!) you can go to

our church’s website:: http://www.theoaksonline.org

OR, the page that takes you directly to the message library is::  http://www.theoaksonline.org/members–attenders/red-oak-fellowship/resources/message-library/

So, all of that to say, I just opened my Bible to 1 Timothy 6, read it, felt it hit me like a ton of bricks, and then really felt led to post it. I know you could just pull out your Bible and read this, but maybe there’s something to seeing the Word in different places than a page. Sometimes there is for me. Also, I just wanted to type these powerful words in order to really soak them in… let’s read these words together with a heart and mind to really process and search out what they mean for us in the specific place we’re in today.

“Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.

He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

BUT AS FOR YOU, O man of God, flee these things.

Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

Fight the good fight of faith.

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will display at the proper time–

He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen!

AS FOR THE RICH in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

:: 1 Timothy 6:2-19 ::

Praying you’ll take hold of that which is truly life, and that I can as well.

Have a lovely rest of your weekend, friend!

Beth

PS– I almost forgot! Whilst bragging on our amazing church, The Oaks Fellowship, I need to mention an amazing program they have that my hubby + Shane Everett + lots of other amazing people are involved in called The Oaks School of Leadership. It’s a fully accredited college 2-year course, and you get amazing ministry training! There are still some slots open for this year, so if you have just graduated high school and haven’t made definite college plans, or are a college student feeling led in a direction like this, head over to theoaksonline.org and look for “The Oaks School of Leadership” under “Ministries”! : )

 

…where there is no water June 21, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,Life — bethanydillon @ 11:34 pm

Can you relate to me in this?

Sometimes I feel like there’s just so much to take in in my quiet time in the morning… especially when I’m in a good season; the Word is alive to me, there’s some consistency/discipline, wrestling seems to have purpose. I’ve been super encouraged by 1 Peter 5 lately (“cast your cares” chapter), the book of Deuteronomy (SOOO much good stuff in there- been my first time to revisit in a couple years I think), and Psalm 63.

This morning, though, when I sat down on the couch with my coffee (yes, that’s #1 on the list, especially if I’m gonna have Jesus-time in the morning), Bible, and journal, I felt the wave of a million different directions hit me. I leafed through the past week in my journal and realized that I’ve been EVERYWHERE in my thoughts, focus, meditation in the Word… even in one single morning. It’s like I have quiet time A.D.D.! In all seriousness, though, it’s been GOOD, but not very focused. I haven’t really lingered anywhere in particular. And sure, sometimes, and somedays, you don’t. But as I was looking through the scribbled pages of my recent journals, I felt this deep, strong need for simplicity and a pause.

More specifically, reading the next chapter in Deuteronomy, then Psalm 63, then 1 Peter 5, then whatever else caught my eye wasn’t the order of the day… or this week.

So, I wrote on the fresh page of my journal under the 6/21:

“Okay… so, where do I go?”

And I really felt His leading towards Psalm 63.

I’ve been stuck there for the past week off and on, and even in THAT chapter, there are so many different things addressed. So, since I recently diagnosed myself with spiritual A.D.D., I decided to stick with the first verse this morning.

O God, you are my God; EARNESTLY I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

It was so difficult for me to stay put at Psalm 63:1. Then I looked up “earnestly” and tried to dig in to what that really looks like in my life… to earnestly, whole-heartedly, seriously and sincerely seek Him. Press into Him. Lean on Him. Call for Him.

And then, a very, very simple and profound thing hit me… it happened when I finished my dictionary.com search of “earnest” and reached for the tall glass of icy water that I was craving. Not just wanting, but craving. In case you need me to explain the intensity of my word choice in that, here it is:

1) I live in Texas.

2) I’ve always thought it was hot here in the summer.

3) Now, since I’m 8+ months pregnant and in the Texas summer heat, I think this is pretty close to what hell feels like.

4) That makes me very thirsty.

5) And crave watermelon.

But I digress…

As simple as it sounds, and was, reaching for that glass, and then looking down at my Bible and seeing that line “where there is no water” suddenly highlighted by the Holy Spirit… I realized that this portion of time, this rest stop before my unpredictable day began, was (and always is) a big, tall glass of icy cold water for my very, very (even when I don’t realize it), VERY thirsty soul. And I’m foolish to think that at any other point in my day, in any other direction I’m facing, or with any other person I’m encountering, that there is going to be true water there.

Whether you live in Texas heat or not, you and I both live in a world — and an increasingly desensitized culture– where there truly is NO water.

Can I just leave you there? …I so badly want to ramble on, but I think I should stop there. I think I need to, for myself, even. I want to dwell on that truth and let my Bible-over-familiarized heart grow in affection for the only One who quenches my thirst. To value Him as the source of my refreshment. To even EARNESTLY seek for Him in the moments I can, because in every other moment, I am facing a world in a dry and weary reality without Him.

I’ll leave you with these beautiful words that Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at a well one day. I think they’re for us, too.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” … The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and Who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.”

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:7-14



 

I’m still here… June 9, 2010

Filed under: Life,pregnancy — bethanydillon @ 4:53 pm

Not sure WHY it’s taken me a couple weeks to get back in blogger world… sorry, friends. I’m sure your days have been completely taken up with wondering what’s going on with me and my lack of blogging skills. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

Honestly, I have finally hit “the wall” in pregnancy. Not really in a bad way, just sort of in that place where I feel like I’m in limbo… waiting for this little Lucy to show up and take over my time. Until then, I spend most of my days folding her tiny clothes, sorting through diapers and other baby things, taking on little projects around the house, and eating. And then when I’ve done all that for a few hours, I sit with a big glass of ice water, watch Fox News, prop up my swelling feet, and wait for another burst of energy to do it all over again!

Besides my nesting urges going crazy this month, I’ve also been reading a lot of:

Thanks to my sister Kate for loading me up with these books by the Sears! I kind of feel like I've been cramming for a test whilst reading them-- this book in particular-- but it's been good :)

And:

Our small group is going through this book this summer... it's messing me up somethin' good!

Shane and I had a few days last week where we really didn’t do much of anything, which was SUPER nice. We’d been having lots of family and other company, plus lots of nights taken up with music/church/friends … so we decided to camp out for a few days and watch:

First time seeing it for me ... wow... what an incredible show! Hard to watch, but so worth it.

And now that I’m into posting pictures for this blog updating you on what I’ve been doing, here are some great albums I’ve been listening to, one for the first time, and the others old favorites I’ve returned to:

A friend of ours recommended this record to us a couple weeks ago... such BEAUTIFUL music put to Scripture, and then there are some hymns in there done wonderfully. When Shane and I listened to this record for the first time all the way through, we decided this was what we're going to play during labor/delivery, and THEN have playing in Lucy's room when she sleeps!

Hmm… what else?

I’ve pretty much held myself hostage in the house, with the air conditioning cranked, looking outside at the humid, hot, Dallas weather. Thank you, Lord, that I am not pregnant through the entire summer! I don’t know if I’m cut out for that kind of torture.

Ooh… yes. One last picture. You know what I’ve been eating approximately two of per week for the past couple months?

… my mouth just watered POSTING that picture.

I think I may have to go get some out of the fridge.

Alright! Sorry I am not a better blogger as of late… my mind is racing in a billion different directions! I promise I will be more consistent VERY soon, maybe some weeks post-Lucy’s arrival! But, there will definitely be some pictures up here for you to “oo” and “aww” at in the meantime! :)

Later, friends.

Beth

 

 
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