In this episode, I chat with Bethany Barendregt: wife, momma, and founder of Women Encouraged. She shares so many practical tips on how to be more hospitable, on how hospitality has looked within the different seasons of her life, and she really highlights the importance of community. We both share about the many times we have desired greater community within the body of Christ and the ways that we have experienced this community. Bethany also talks about the topic of loneliness and she discusses how to cling to Christ in seasons of loneliness. You guys, she shares so much godly wisdom about a myriad of topics. I am thrilled to pass on the wealth of knowledge!
Bethany Barendregt’s Personal Blog:
A few Noteworthy Quotes:
“God never designed our sanctification to happen in isolation. He wants us to be sharpened and softened and loved and made more like Jesus by being with His people, the Church.”
“You and I are part of the body, we don’t get to change that; its God’s design for us. So we are either functioning faithfully or unfaithfully and its God’s plan for us to be united in covenant with Him as a people, brought near to Him through Jesus.”
"Start by just loving the people in your home. It sounds easier than it actually is. It is much more difficult to love the people you are bumping into every single day."
"Living life in community really isn’t just about having nice feelings for people, it is that day to day practice of laying down our lives and setting aside our goals or desires, not holding sins against someone but forgiving with an open hand, serving and not demanding to be served, being patient and kind."
"Jesus didn’t just call us to be nice to each other. He didn’t come to set a bland example for us. Everything He did was really telling us our story and preaching peace to us.”
"He equips us by his example, and also by taking our burdens away, and by empowering us by the Spirit to lay down our life, and not withdraw, but to draw near like He does. That’s really a key to community. That we communicate that to each other, ‘I’m not afraid of your pain, I may never know what it is to feel that pain, but I’m not afraid of it and I want to draw near to you."
“So often when we are feeling alone, we feel like that is our destiny; like there is no way out. And I think about how Peter likened our adversary, the Devil, to a roaring lion seeking whom He may devour. You know, lions don’t go running into a herd of sheep. He’s going to pick off the ones on the outside… He’s going to pick off the people who are isolated. That’s a huge reason to be shepherded and to be connected to the life of the Church. We really are sheep who need to be known. Loneliness is a reality for a lot of people. And I think in a lot of ways, how you look at it really impacts the way you deal with it, and whether or not you are paralyzed in an attack."
“Do it scared. Seriously though, whether its starting a bible study or discipleship group where you don’t know anybody, inviting a new person over for coffee, just do it. And don’t be afraid to be awkward, and pray a lot over it.”
“Here I was thinking that I had to do it the ‘right way’ and that I had to have this perfect set of qualifications to be this person’s friend. I’m so glad that God pushed me to do it scared. Because He really blessed that. Go can provide a relationship.”
"It was five years of praying and longing for some kind of deep women’s fellowship conference before I ever said a word to anybody."
“Asking somebody, ‘How has God been showing you His faithfulness?’ It might feel strange at first, but it really does open up doors."
“It’s no secret that I love Jesus and I love the Bible and that I want to live it out. I’m not interested in hiding that from them.”
“Ultimately, for me, it is always going to come back to Jesus. I want to work into that that His death is sufficient to atone for you and me and the whole world and that He really cares about us."
"I do believe that the Holy Spirit really changes hearts and that I don’t really feel like I carry this burden of converting somebody. But I want to live in a way and I want to love my husband and my family in a way that at the worst it doesn’t put a stumbling block in front of somebody and that at best it makes them curious, maybe, why I love my life."
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