I’m sitting in my condo with the balcony doors open wide so I can hear the sound of the waves crashing outside. The ocean is one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. It’s both relaxing and also a wonderful reminder of how powerful my God is. He made those waves. He made that ocean. And He is so much bigger and more powerful than anything He created.
Here’s how I got here:
About 18 months ago, I found myself. Really found myself. As weird as it sounds, I believe the catalyst was our miscarriage. It was so heartbreaking, but that tiny, unborn baby has brought me such healing and confidence and bravery. What a legacy.
I think it was the catalyst because for the first time in my life, I walked through grief – deep grief – in a healthy way. I gave myself space to hide away from the world for a whole month. I was really open about my self-care. I was frank when people would ask how I was doing and I would tell them, “I’m feeling pretty awful, so I’m going to hide away for a few weeks and mourn and heal, and then I will go back to living.
I also learned during that time, even more vividly than I already knew, that my God is a great comforter. And He can handle it when I lean into Him with my grief and my stress and my anxiety and my fears of the future and my insecurities and even my anger. He can handle it. He did handle it.
A month after our miscarriage, Mr. Right and I got our matching tattoos. He thinks that was a turning point in my life – where I just went for something big. A tattoo is not big to the average person, but to me, the ultimate rule follower, it was SO big. It was one of the first times in my life that I decided to do something and didn’t care a bit what other people thought. I did it for me.
As a life-long people pleaser and rule follower, the past 18 months have been so freeing. It’s like at the age of 34, I realized that the people around me love me and don’t care if I have a tattoo. Or pink hair (which came later). Or a perfect home, job, family, apperance… life. And the ones who do care – well, I don’t really care anymore what they think. And not in a “I don’t love people and care about them” way. No, it was more of a “I’m going to put on my big girl panties and just be Bethe and not worry about what others think about me” way.
I finally felt free.
At age 34.
Now, 18 months later, just two weeks shy of 36, I am celebrating finding my voice. I’m celebrating the things that God has shown me about Himself. I’m celebrating my marriage to my husband – which is so far from perfect, but is also such a gift from God. I’m celebrating being a mom to a daughter who is a delight. And a hand-full.
But I’m not just a wife. Not just a mom. Not even just an employee. I’m not defined by those titles.
I’m just… Bethe.
Before this gets too fluffy, let me also say that we have been walking through something really hard this year. So very hard. Just three weeks ago I experienced one of the greatest traumas – one of my worst case scenarios – and it hurt. And so I did the thing I did after my miscarriage – I holed up at our house and told people I didn’t want to face the world. But that it was only temporary. That I’d be back. Because now I know that you can grieve now, or you can grieve later, but you WILL grieve. And so I leaned into the grief, and slept and slept and cried and got angry at my lot and had some very frank conversations with my Creator. And guess what… He can still handle it.
The details of the trauma doesn’t matter. In due time, I will share all the details with you (goodness… if you know me in “real life” you already know all of it… or at least, most of it). But the type of trauma doesn’t matter. It’s the way you overcome it. The way you trust your Savior with your hurt that matters. It’s the way you get back up and keep living that matters.
And so that’s why I’m here.
A week after my worst case scenario happened, Mr. Right and I were on a fancy date, celebrating life in the midst of heartache. And he hatched his idea for me to go on an epic solo road trip to visit my girlfriends. To see my girlfriend who moved to Orlando, and my other girlfriend who moved to Oxford, Mississippi. To stop and spend some time at the beach. To rest, and to heal, and to have special girl time with my friends. To just drive and drive and spend some alone time with my God and a good audio book. To find an adventure. To celebrate finding my voice.
And so two weeks later, I’m here. And now you know. I’m out here, driving 1500 miles alone over 7 days, to celebrate. To celebrate life. And freedom. And growth. And healing. To not be a wife or mom or employee or any other label I have given myself. To just be Bethe.
To feel free.