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My Life /
May 9, 2023

3 Things That Changed My Life

Looking back on my life up until now, I’m so grateful for the ways I’ve been stretched, challenged and shaped.

Three things stand out as the most impactful in this aspect. My faith in God, surfing, and my role as a wife and mom have each made me who I am today in one way or another. They’ve taught me hard lessons, beautified me and made me cry!

Faith in God

I had an overwhelming peace when I lost my arm that seemed almost unreal. Of course losing an arm completely turned my life upside down, but instead of freaking out, I had a quietness and rest in my soul. I don’t know where else it could have come from but God.

Faith brought peace to me because I knew that my life wasn’t fully in my control, as much as I wanted it to be. I trusted that my life was more than just surfing – no matter what happened to me.

I think in our human nature we often think of tough things like losing a limb and say “that’s the worst thing that could ever happen”. Whereas for me, I think, “yes, that was super hard, but there are definitely worse things that could have happened to me”. A lot of people are suffering through crazy, gnarly times and are experiencing pain much greater than mine.

I’m thankful that my faith taught me to be grateful in all circumstances and to trust that God’s got me in everything, even when it doesn’t look like it at first. I can take comfort in His Good News that Jesus came and suffered for me and now I can connect with Him through that. It’s been amazing to see the ways that God has used the rough parts of my story for good!

“You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened.”

Genesis 50:20

3 things changed Bethany's life

Surfing & The Ocean

As time went on, getting back in the ocean and learning to surf with one arm rekindled a lot of that grit and push-through-the-pain, go-get-‘em attitude that I had as a child.

I was thankful for that! The ocean is so humbling and I was so stoked that it wasn’t any easier on me than it was on anyone else I was surfing with. I loved that the playing field was so level. I didn’t want to be babied or to have hand-outs just because I had lost my arm.

Surfing taught me to endure, persevere and push through those pain points. It forced me to challenge myself when the ocean was relentless. While it was hard, I’m better for it. It’s made me who I am today!

Marriage & Family

I really work to be my best self in all environments, specifically in the family unit. Loving my neighbor includes loving my husband and kids at all times.

In parenting and my marriage, my true self comes out often in ways I wouldn’t expect it to. Sometimes I’m a little horrified by it! This really stretches me to self-examine and say, “whoah, where did that emotion come from?” or “why did I react that way?”

In the season of life that I’m in right now, there’s more thought to self-examination and where the beautiful side of my thoughts and actions comes from and where uglier side comes from. Ultimately, I have to stay very focused on God and ask for His help to overcome my not-so-beautiful tendencies. I think it’s really important to keep chipping away at the areas where we are a work in progress. And it’s not a bad thing to be a work in progress – hopefully we all are!

I’m cheering you on to think about what has shaped you and made you who you are today.

What areas are you still a work in progress? How can you learn from your current or past experiences? Is God pointing out something in your life that needs to be addressed, prayed over or forgiven?

I’ve found that letting go of the control over our lives can allow God to work in powerful and unexpected ways! 🙂

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