Author Archives: Beth Ann

About Beth Ann

I'm into Christian Music and play acoustic guitar, sing on the choir and I am active in our local Via de Cristo movement.

In Marriage Relationships

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Marriage is like taking that huge step off a cliff and not knowing how it’s all going to end.  But for most marriage starts with two people, deeply in love, that commit to stay with each other until death do us part.  We have stars in our eyes and we know that life is going to be so wonderful.  Then the problems start.

Most marriages today don’t have the commitment factor that they used to.  Yes, I know that people have stayed in miserable conditions just because they married the person they have come to hate.  It takes two to commit together, two to stay together.  Two hearts need to stay as one.  During the wedding God knits two totally separate people and makes them one.

Now, my marriage wasn’t the greatest.  Both my husband and I had problems.  We actually separated for awhile and then came back together.  We learned to live together and we had a good relationship.  Was it the wonderful lifetime that I imagined when we stood at the altar, no.  It was hard work, but we made it through.  My husband has been gone for over two years now and I can look back and see all the good and bad.  One of the good things is that we were committed to keeping the vows, to stay together through it all.  And we did.

This song by Andrew Peterson totally pulled at me from the first time I heard it.  It is so truthful.  We should take the words to heart.  We shouldn’t just walk (or tiptoe) through the minefields in a marriage, we should go dancing through them.  Sail through the storms.  Knowing that Jesus is the Lord of the relationship should cause us to rejoice.  So, let’s go dancing!!

Listening to Music

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Yes, I spend some of my time listening to music.  While I drive to work and back I listen to the local Christian station.  I pick up new songs and sometimes the songs I listen to just uplift me.  I sing along if I’ve learned the words and just have a good ole time.

I have a new favorite:  I Got Saved by Selah.  Selah always has good music and I have several of their CD’s.  They have a Traditional Hymns CD that is wonderful.  Their arrangement of “There is Power in the Blood” is fantastic.  Anyway, I digress.

This song takes me back to my childhood when my Aunt Viola took us to a gospel sing at a local arena or theater.  All this song is missing is the really low bass.  Otherwise, it’s a wonderful song.  I love the line “I’ve Got Jesus, How could I want more?”

 

Remembering Hurting Times

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We all have times when you feel like God has abandoned you, and you pray and pray and you wonder if He’s even listening.  I’ve had plenty of these times in my life.

Usually, I can look back and wonder how I got through such bad times.  At one point in my life I’d lost my job; we lost our home and had to move to a small apartment that my brother-in-law owned.  I had lost my mom several years before and as this was going on, my father died.  A very dark time in my life.  I felt like I’d been abandoned.

But I wasn’t trusting the Lord then.  I started to trust, slowly. Looking back, this was a good thing because life for me got tougher.  I learned to trust Jesus more.  As time went on my faith just got stronger.  My situation never got easier; I was just able to lean on the arms of the Lord and that was a comfort.

We want to make the hurting times go away.  We pray for God to just come in and change everything.  I’ve found out that it doesn’t happen that way.  If you have faith, the one that changes is you.

Of course, I have a song; Even If by MercyMe.  This song speaks volumes about trusting the Lord.

 

 

My Spiritual Past

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We all have them.  Looking back you can see how you’ve grown spiritually.  I guess this will be a remembering of how I’ve grown.

I was raised in the Lutheran Church.  We went to church and Sunday School regularly.  The church was my family’s church and I was surrounded by my Grandparents and great Aunts and Uncles.  But by the time I reached Confirmation age (12-13), my parents stopped going regularly and so did I.  We would be put into the C & E category, you know, Christmas and Easter.

When I was a junior in High School I was asked to come join a group of teenagers that sang.  Now, I loved to sing; I was in the choir at school.  So when Beverly asked if I’d be interested, I jumped at the chance.  Wow, I didn’t have to audition, just show up at a practice (which were held weekly) and start singing.  The group was called The New Life Singers and at the point that I joined there may have been about 15 to 20 of us, lead by a gentleman named “Doc” Mercer.  We sang Christian Musicals that were popular back in those days, “Tell It Like It Is”, “Come Together” and “Celebrate Life”.

The New Life Singers would travel to different churches and sing our musicals or sometimes we would do special music.  One time we learned some Jewish folk songs and, along with our usual Christian music, sang at the Hebrew Home near Washington, DC.  One year we sang at the Festival of Lights on the Mall in Washington DC.  Our group was based in Damascus, MD, but we went on tours during the summers, into Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.  One year we toured all the way up into Maine and back.  What a wonderful experience.  Something that I specifically remember is what happened when we stopped to eat while on tour.  We tried to stay away from fast food, but couldn’t all the time.  We would all get our meals and then, at a signal from Doc, break out singing the Doxology (in four part harmony) in the middle of the restaurant.  What fun!

Unfortunately, The New Life Singers disbanded when I was in my 20’s.  We all grew up, went to college and started families. At this time in my life, I’m active in Via de Cristo.  I’m still singing, bringing music to these renewal weekends.  It has strengthened my faith to be a part of a larger group that brings the Lord Jesus to others.  My faith was burning bright back when I was younger.  In between, well, not so much.  It was like a small flame, just behind a small shade.  Not bright, but still there.  After I walked on a Via de Cristo weekend, the shade that shielded my “flame” was taken away and it started burning bright once again.

I’m so glad that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of a ministry again.  I really missed being a part of a larger ministry while I was raising my family.  This time, no matter what, I will let the flame burn bright in my life.

 

In Remembrance of Me

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We hear those words on Sunday when we take Communion.  We need to come to the altar with the mindset of remembering that Jesus died on the cross for us.

Being the music person I am, I found a song.  “Remember” by Laura Story is a beautiful song, very simple, but the words are true:

This is the body that was torn for us
This is the blood that was spilt
Points to the pain you endured for us
Points to the shame, the blame, the guilt

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Move our hearts to remember

This is the Lamb who was slain for us
So we the church may enter in
So bitter sweet when we think of You
The One who bore our curse, our sin

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Move our hearts to remember, to remember

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Move our hearts to remember

 

Dancing in the Rain

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dancing in the rain quote

I have this saying up on my living room wall and I was looking at it this morning and thought I’d share a bit.  I used to say “Why Me?” when things happened in my life, but someone came back to me and said “Why not you?”.  I didn’t have an answer to that.

I’ve had a lot of things happen to me.  In fact, I would think that I’ve been in the rain more than most people.  (My counselor agrees!) I’ve been a caregiver almost all my life starting when my father had a heart attack and my brother had a bad car accident and my mom and sister-in-law had to go to work to keep the family afloat.  I came home from school and took care of my niece and nephew, made dinner for everybody and put the kids to bed.  I was 15 at the time.  It goes on throughout my life.  One need after another. My father, my mother, my husband….

I look back at all that I’ve done (and struggled through) and wonder how I even made it through in one piece.  With all the changes in my life, some made within hours, I’ve learned to Dance in the Rain.  Now I know that my Lord Jesus has always been with me and He guided me through all my past changes.  As a result, I’ve grown stronger in my faith and in life in general.

The Potter, Abba

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Joan’s post reminded me of a song “Abba, Father” that, as a christian musician, I have played for years.  This song is an acknowledgement that God is the creator and guidance for our lives.  Just as parents try to raise their children, God is trying to “raise” us, to make us into adult children.  God wants us to trust and follow Him just as children will trust and follow their parents.

This song can have so much impact.  I’m sorry that the video (link below) can not capture that.  As you listen, imagine this song sung by 100+ people, full of power and the glory of the Lord.  When I’m playing this song on my guitar for a group that large, I forget my instrument.  I find I miss chords, stop playing; I’m so riveted in the music surrounding me.  When you’re leading the song this could be a bad thing, but no one has ever mentioned it.

I hope you enjoy the song “Abba, Father”

A Prayer

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This song by Eddie Espinosa has been around a while, but it’s always fresh.  I think of it as a prayer that is sung.

Change my heart Oh God, make it ever true.
Change my heart Oh God, may I be like You.
You are the potter, I am the clay,
Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.
Change my heart Oh God, make it ever true.
Change my heart Oh God, may I be like You.

The Serenity Prayer in Action

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Back on the 11th, Joan posted the Serenity Prayer in it’s entirety.  I’m used to just seeing the first part but I really love the whole thing.  You see, my father was a drunk that got sober in AA.  The Serenity Prayer was a big part of his life and it became a large part in mine.  Let me just repeat it here so you don’t have to scroll back to find it:

God grant me the Serenity
To Accept the things I cannot Change
Courage to Change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the Difference

I didn’t think too much about the Serenity Prayer in my younger days.  Oh, I knew it but I didn’t apply it.  You can know something in your head and it may never reach your heart.

While my husband was ill and I had to tend to him and make decisions and work and do all the things that I had to do, I would “chew at the bit”; not liking that my life was interrupted by his illness.  While I wouldn’t abandon him, I still hated the fact that I didn’t have control over my life.  Or so I thought.  I was going to a counselor and she agreed, I was in a situation that I was powerless over.  I had to be vigilant everyday as to what was going on, medical wise, with my husband.  My work knew that I may have to leave with a moments notice.  I lived my life on the edge all the time.  I found that I was always “edgy” myself.  Snapping at people and being just generally nasty.  I was tired, always.  Depression was my constant companion.

While my counselor and I were talking about ways to try to keep my head above it all, I thought of the Serenity Prayer.  “God Grant me the Serenity…”  Yes, I sure needed that! “To Accept the Things I cannot change…”  Now, I’m not good at acceptance.  I thought accepting something meant that I had to like it.  No, No, NO!  You do not have to like something to accept it.  I found out that you can say, I don’t like this but I accept that it’s happened or is happening or that it is what it is.  “It is what it is” turned into one of my sayings.  I don’t fight it, tear my hair out, scream, yell or cry.  IT IS WHAT IT IS.  Accept it and move on!

The next part is actually harder.  “Courage to Change the things I can…”  Yup, that’s usually us.  We can’t change other people, only God can change other people.  Now, in my situation I found ways to get out of the house for a few hours for me.  We found home health aides so I could work.  These things made my situation better.  I prayed and prayed and, even though the situation was the same, it was easier.  It’s always easier if you are not pushing back.  Changing when changing is needed.

And that brings me to the last part: “Wisdom to know the Difference”  Yes, we have to pray for wisdom.  What needs to be accepted and what needs to change.  Usually, the things and people around us need to be accepted and we are the ones who need to change.  This can be the hardest thing of all.

I’ve learned to live the Serenity Prayer, not to it’s fullest, but I understand way better than I did when I was younger.  We all need to learn this prayer.  It’s a good one to keep, not in your mind, but in your heart.

 

What About the Women?

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mother-teresaIn all of the rhetoric that comes out of things like the Women’s March and even the March for Life I never hear of anyone speaking about what happens to the women in the life or death situation called abortion.  This is a very personal and very emotional choice that happens to hundreds of women every day.

I wonder if anyone ever thinks about what happens to the women who decide to have an abortion?  Does anyone recognize the pain and the hurt that these women experience?  I don’t think that all these women walk out of the clinics thinking ‘I feel better now that it’s taken care of’.  I think most are crushed, shamed and emotionally devastated.

You see, I was one of those women, back in the ’70s, who walked out of a clinic.  The situation was bad; I was not married and had gotten myself tangled in a sexual situation that I found I couldn’t get out of.  Sexual addiction is a topic for another time, but that’s where I was.  When I got pregnant I went to the baby’s father and he just wanted me to “take care of it”.  Abortion hadn’t even crossed my mind until then.  I had to get the money together and with every ounce of courage I had, I walked into that clinic and had an abortion.  The amount of emotional pain I experienced can’t be explained.

The story doesn’t quite end there.  I couldn’t get out of this sexual situation.  It was an actual addiction; I hated and loved it at the same time.  So later when I thought I was pregnant again I couldn’t handle even thinking about it.  It was one of those stupid things that people do; if I don’t think it’s true, it isn’t true.  When I started bleeding I was relieved.  Then I didn’t stop bleeding.  I finally went to the doctor, who put me in the hospital thinking I was having a miscarriage.  This time my parents needed to be informed  and the shame was compounded.  I overheard the doctor talking to my mother that the baby was “viable” and the bleeding was from a severe infection.  He had decided to go ahead with the “D&C” (abortion) because of the situation.

I was so emotionally devastated that I couldn’t talk about what had happened, not with my parents, my pastor or my friends.  I ended up bottling it up inside me.  I would cry at night when no one was around.  Everyone around me thought I was doing alright but I was a mess inside.

One night while I was crying, I heard an audible voice (only to me, I’m sure) that said “you killed my children!”.  Of course I knew this.  I knew who was speaking to me.  I was raised in the church.  I knew the sixth commandment.  I ended up confessing it all to the Lord and afterwards I felt His love and His peace.  Yes, I’m forgiven and I know this with a peace that I don’t understand.  The emotional pain and grief that I feel now is like a person would feel when a child dies.  I mourn the loss of my children.

What about the women?  In all the talk  I don’t hear anyone address the issue of the women.  The emotional and mental stress of having an abortion is overwhelming.  These women need love and acceptance.   We must be sure that women who have made this choice in their lives get to hear that they can be forgiven.  When we are speaking against abortion, we need to be mindful of those who have walked that road.  These women do not need to be judged by others. The anger and hate that I have seen do nothing but compound the shame and pain that this procedure causes.  I know, because I have felt it.  For this reason I don’t talk about abortion very much.  This isn’t an abstract idea for me.  It’s very personal.

We need to be aware of the emotional and spiritual consequences of abortion.  It’s not just killing a baby.  It kills a bit of the mother as well. We need to hold out our hands to the women who, for whatever reason, have suffered this emotional pain in silence.  We need to reach them and let them know that the Lord loves them, even if they think that He couldn’t.  They need to see that they don’t need to carry the burden of guilt and shame.  Yes, the pain remains.  But for me it’s a reminder of our Lord’s forgiveness.  I carry those children in my heart and I hope to see them in heaven one day.