Forever Faithful

I love how faithfulness always seems to be a beloved character trait of God for those who have walked with Him for a long time. It makes sense, though, because proving yourself trustworthy takes time. On Tuesday, we had the privilege of hearing from one of our MUMS who has had a long history with her Savior. Here’s what she had to say:

faithful barnBy Bethany Bettenhausen

When I was asked to share my testimony focused on an attribute of God, God’s faithfulness is the first thing that came to mind. God’s faithfulness is evident throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, His faithfulness is His very nature, as well as a fruit of the Spirit for believers. And part of the reason that God’s faithfulness came to mind is that lately, I have been meditating on Psalm 26:2-3, and it has become my prayer,

 “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness.”

When I was writing down an outline of my testimony, it was hard for me to narrow down God’s faithfulness to me. He has truly carried me and my family throughout my life. For example, even before I can remember, God miraculously healed my Dad who had fallen three stories at work and almost did not make it. And if my Dad had gone to be with the Lord then, I would have never known him. Also, more recently since I have known my husband, we have almost lost each of our parent. We could have easily lost Matt’s dad, Bob, in an accident out at their family’s farm only weeks before our wedding. Then, shortly after our wedding, my parents were survivors in the Joplin tornado which completely destroyed their home and most of their earthly possessions; and finally, Matt’s mom should by all accounts have died last summer in a terrible car accident.

God got a hold of my life at a very young age, allowing me to see and acknowledge His hand early upon my life. I grew up in a Christian home where my parents sought to intentionally instruct my brother and me in God’s truth through modeling it, family devotions and godly parenting. I believe due to the leading of the Spirit even at a young age, I recognized my sinful nature. Our family used the devotional Keys for Kids nightly for family devotion time. One evening, the lesson was on the theme that each individual child must make a decision for his/her self to accept Christ; in other words, salvation is not inherited.

This lesson really hit me to the core. I realized that I had not accepted Christ’s forgiveness for my sin, and I keenly saw my personal need to accept Christ as my Savior and my Lord. That night I prayed with my dad to receive Christ into my heart as both my Lord and Savior. Even though I was a young child, I believe that God used that experience to change my life from then on. After that day, I would pray that God would help me with my temper, and I believe He changed me. I began to love to learn about the Bible, memorize scripture, pray to God and, when I was a little older, to read the Bible for myself.

Because I was so young, my parents wanted me to wait until I was older to be baptized to make sure that my faith really was my own. When I was an early teen, God used His Word plus three key Bible studies to affirm my faith. By going through Experiencing God and reading the books My Heart, Christ’s Home and The Practice of the Presence of God, I affirmed that I wanted Christ to be the center of every thought, word and decision. I affirmed my commitment to follow Christ whole-heartedly whatever the cost and was baptized. Later, when I was in high school, God once again affirmed my commitment to follow Him when I read the book by Charles Stanley The Wonderful Spirit-filled Life, and I saw clearly that I could not follow Christ in my own strength but needed to rely on the Spirit.

Throughout my growing up, my family moved for my Dad’s job about every three years. It seemed like we were always either settling in or saying good-bye. Although this made me no stranger to loneliness, I felt God’s presence with me. I believe without a strong faith in God and a keen sense of His presence, my family would have struggled with all of the constant change. Also, I can see the faithfulness of the Lord as He helped me to make wise and godly decisions in high school and college keeping me from a lot of heartache. God miraculously provided for my schooling even though my Dad was out of work twice while I was in college.

More recently, God’s faithfulness was evident in the story of how I came to Lincoln. I was working at the time in Joplin, MO, as a Registered Dietitian. Although I loved my job and was enjoying being close to my parents, there were some pretty tough situations that caused me to wonder if I needed to look for employment elsewhere. I was in Lincoln visiting a friend during the summer, and I contacted the University of Nebraska to see if I could take a tour of the Nutrition Department.

Well, somehow or another, my “tour” turned into an interview which turned into an official offer to teach and do research while pursuing my doctorate at UNL. God’s timing couldn’t have been better, as He was allowing the door to close on my current job in Joplin. I had always said that if I didn’t get married (and it didn’t seem to be happening at that time, even with much prayer) I would like to be a professor and sponsor grad campus ministry. God’s ways are mysterious, though He brought me to Lincoln and allowed me to finish my graduate work here, just when I was getting ready to apply for faculty jobs elsewhere, I met my husband Matt. The short story is that God’s faithful hand brought us together and allowed my previous desires to be a stay-at-home wife and mother to be fulfilled.

My husband and I are continuing to learn to “live in reliance on God’s faithfulness” as we face an uncertain future for my husband’s insurance business with the Healthcare Reform changes, and as we desperately seek God’s leading in how to parent our children Andrea and (soon-to-be-born) Ian.

Deuteronomy 4:9 says,

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Being a part of the Tuesday morning EquipHer studies has helped me to not only grow in my knowledge of the Lord and an awareness of His faithfulness in the past and present, but it has encouraged me to be intentional about obeying the command of Deut. 4:9 to raise my children under the legacy of God’s faithfulness as recorded in the Bible and also from my own experiences. I pray that as my children grow, that they too will experience and recognize the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father and pass the torch on to the next generation.

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