"Seeking His Presence Rather Than Just His Hand."
By Bethany Van Meter
Hi friends! :) My name is Bethany Van Meter. I’m married to Josh and we have two sons. God called me into ministry at an early age, but I don’t know that I even understood what that meant until about 5+ years ago.
I’m 38 years old and I’m at a place where I completely honor that God’s timing is to be trusted. I can’t say that I’ve always felt that way, though. Surrender, obedience and God’s Word were foreign to me growing up even though I was probably at church in my childhood and youth more than I wasn’t. I did have AMAZING experiences growing up in church (kids choir, youth choir, youth group, mission trips...my favorite!). I also had not so amazing ones...quite frankly, some were awful...both played and still play a huge role in who I am. Thankfully, our God is so good and faithful that He uses all of it to further His Kingdom in ways I don’t need to understand.
For a long time...LONG time...I didn’t know what I believed in for sure. I think I always would reach out to God eventually in times of desperation (kind of), but struggled so much with God...but even more so with Christians and people. If I’m being honest, it took time, lots of pain, studying other religions, and experiences that forced me into complete surrender to the God of Abraham for me to realize His Sovereignty and LOVE for me (and for you, too). I needed to know why I believed what I did and Who my Creator is. When I learned how to love myself for the first time in my life the way God loves me, I found the Peace that surpasses all understanding. You have to be honest with yourself and God. I started to make decisions that honored God rather than decisions that insulted Him. I learned to value what God thinks rather than what the world thinks. Before this, I was holding things against Jesus for what humans had done and do. I released that and learned I can only know Jesus from Jesus (the Word made flesh)...NOT from flawed human beings. I was allowing humans to determine my relationship with Jesus unfortunately. ONLY JESUS CAN DO THAT!! :)
Music is a HUGE part of my life...it’s a gift God has given me and I know I need to use it to glorify Him. We all need to sing His praises, by the way!! I praise Him for the opportunity to use this when and as He calls. For me, music is an opportunity to let go and let God, to completely surrender in worshiping my Savior, and to be in tune with gratitude. Singing and listening to godly music has actually started to become revelatory for me. Woo hoo! I tell you this to share a story. Some of us have “obvious” ministry gifts...song, prophecy, preaching, leading, children, etc. Some of us do not. I had a friend once ask me, “How do I know what my spiritual gifts are?” I’m grateful that God answered for me. God reminded me that our gifts are whatever we do that grow others closer to Him. It can be something as beautiful and selfless as the gift of listening, sharing your undivided attention, adopting a child, raising children, serving your spouse or even being the last person to stay at a party to help clean up. Nothing you do for the Lord is in vain. But...He needs to lead while you sit in the passenger’s seat.
One of my favorite things to do is serve others. My life verse is Matthew 25:40. Jesus says, “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did it for me.” That has always come easy to me, if you will. I’m a mission trip-going, homeless-loving, get in the middle of life’s dirty mess kind of gal. It’s truly a comfort zone for me. What is NOT in my comfort zone is going to a huge church filled with lots of upper middle class made-up people and a lack of diversity. I wish you could see me rolling my eyes ;) Interestingly enough, everyone needs Jesus...not just the least of these defined by the world. Often, the least of these can be the ones who have all the worldly things. It often renders us unaware of how much we need to depend on God (and not the stuff). However, God has a sense of humor and puts all of us in places that stretch and grow us (and, in turn, others) in ways that expand His Kingdom. Currently, I’m serving on a praise and worship team in a church described above. I CANNOT even explain to you how much He is working there and how much I pre-judged (unrighteously) what I did not know. How many times in life do we do that? ESPECIALLY when God is asking us to do something...I am seeing the fruits of past acts of obedience blooming!
I can’t emphasize enough these three things that helped and continue to help me EVERYDAY to know my Maker: PRAYER, SERVING OTHERS, and ,most importantly, reading GOD’S WORD. I never knew the Bible until I was an adult which means I never knew God until then either. You cannot know the Author of your life unless you know His Story. All three things I listed put me and all of us in a place of humility which allows for God to take over. Praise!! I don’t have to know or figure things out...He’s there to do that as we are passionately obedient.
There’s a difference in being challenged to make you grow closer to God and being challenged to grow farther from Him. One results in spiritual awakening and the other results in toxicity. SEEK and EMBRACE the spiritual awakening. There is Freedom in this: I ask myself constantly, “does this person or situation grow me closer to God?” Or, “what does this have to do with my salvation?” If the answers are “no” or “nothing” or “indifferent,” then I need to respond accordingly.
I pray this very limited witness encourages at least one person to seek His Presence rather than just His Hand and I am praying for you reading this!! You won’t see the blessings God has in store for you according to His Plan until you develop a relationship with Him. Do the small act of obedience each time and the Lord will multiply!!
Bethany Van Meter
Bethany is married to Josh and they have two sons. She was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Bethany is a music artist with three singles (I Run into the Light, Let Go and Let God, and I Am Not Ashamed) you can find on I-tunes, Amazon, or wherever you purchase music.