The idea of Found in You began stirring in 2013 when I began walking, more like crawling through a difficult season of my life. In May 2015 I told a friend I had this idea and hosted my first “yard sale” of upcycled furniture and home goods. In August of 2015 I named my business and became a vendor at my first location. From there it was one location, then another, then another and suddenly in May 2019 the opportunity to open my own store Found in You at 117 S Market Street in Elizabethtown, PA. That’s the short version.
Looking for the nitty gritty of my testimony of God’s grace, healing, faithfulness, love and provision in my life, family, and small business? Here’s the long version.
This is the epitome of #authenticliving and vulnerablility for me, but since my story is God’s story ima put it on the world wide web! 🙂 Thanks for reading.
An excerpt from a speaking engagement in 2020
“I would much prefer to be standing up here and talking about exhaustion, letting go, anxiety, and unhealthy relationships because I was super intelligent, well learned and an expert. Nevertheless I am here as an expert alright just as the result of my brokenness and past experience. Here’s the thing I want you all to know and I want God to know, I’m not sorry nor am I ashamed that I am here because of that, because of my brokenness. And I’m not sorry nor am I ashamed that you know I’ve experienced rock bottom. In some ways I can’t believe the person that is saying that is me. Here’s how it is though, it’s kinda like a tiny little fresh out of college girl at the gym telling a mom of 4 how to lose baby weight. Until you’ve done it, you don’t really actually know. And maybe your validity is questioned. Maybe it’s easier to write someone off as not actually knowing what you are experiencing. Done that. And maybe that’s how you leave here tonight. That’s ok if that’s where you are. BUT if there is a small inkling or spark catching your heart’s attention, would you please do yourself a solid, do the Holy Spirit a favor and just listen? Just listen to my story and then more importantly to Him and then allow him to show you the parallels. I’ve been praying in advance for just this thing. Because there has to be a purpose to my pain, to the struggle I’ve gone through, to the victory I’ve gained and to the overcoming power of our God. God is my story. His faithfulness and goodness are the reason I am here. For His glory is why I want to tell you my story. “
Whenever I write posts and blog articles for Found in You, I never write the words “you should”, or “why don’t you”, because to tell you the truth, that’s where people lose me. I’m not going to do it because someone says I should. I’m only going to do it because I can relate to you and your story and because I choose to do it. This is the place I found myself yet again in early 2013. At the point on the carousel where I could sense it was time to get off, but just like every time before getting off was terrifying, unknown and it might make me uncomfortable. And while this ride wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t soooo bad or bad enough to stop it.
But in February 2013, there was no big catastrophic event or anything, it was just like everything had finally caught up to me, slammed me to a halt and threw me off the carousel. Carter had just turned 1, Calle was 4 and Colin was 7. I was serving in a ton of ministries at church, at Colin’s school, doing extra work to help pay our bills, that Scotty’s long, ridiculously long farm hours weren’t cutting, doing all the things expected of me as a wife, daughter, sister, daughter in law, mom, friend and I was sinking fast. A lot of situations I was in at the time led to this particular breaking point, but I had felt all these feelings before at different times. The feelings of loneliness despite the fact I was surrounded by little people, had a committed husband, parents, church people, friends and people who loved me. The feelings of inadequacy because all I could see around me were people who were succeeding, rocking the mom and wife life, doing all the things I was doing but I still felt like I was not making it. The disappointment and frustration with my husband because he couldn’t meet my needs, understand me and stick up for me. The disgust with myself and frustration with God at the way He had made me. As an example I remember that fall of 2012 during the James bible study at church a story Beth Moore told about how she feels when her grandbabies run to her and she compared that love to how God feels when we come to him. It made me really consider how I approached God when praying or being with him. At that point, picture this, it was probably like a sulky, teenager saunter up to him, slow, annoyed, frustrated, miserable at how He had made me. I could not understand why He had made me this way. I was frustrated at my weaknesses, annoyed with my inadequacies, and just feeling bleh with myself. At the same point and almost in the same breath I felt so guilty at the thought of how shallow my relationship was with Him. Which pretty much consisted of me complaining about His disappointing creation of me… ugh. (I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now) Like a normal carousel ride I continued to tell myself it’ll pass, just push through these feelings, it’ll soon go back to normal. Except it never passed and I began to sense my normal was gonna need to be new this time. This time needed to be different. I needed to be honest with myself. I needed to do the hard work. I needed to see my need for a Savior.
No one except Scotty and probably my mom, knew how truly bad I was struggling. My chest and neck would get tight. I had headaches and I cried myself to sleep and sometimes just cried while I lay awake trying to fall asleep, but after what I think was my second panic attack in my life, the kind where you’re crying so hard your lips get tingly and you might be hyperventilating but you aren’t totally sure? I realized there is something wrong. This is not right. All these things you think are real, the things you hide behind and pride yourself on are slowly breaking you and you will have nothing if you don’t do something. It felt like everything I thought I was supposed to be, and worked hard to “be” was chipping away and exposing every weakness and thing I didn’t like about myself or want to be. I was hyper aware of myself and all my failings. Now looking back at that February all those years ago, I know God was holding that wood chisel in His hands. He loved me then as I was, but He really loved the inside of me that I was trying to hide or the inside I wasn’t even aware was there, because the inside I was trying to hide was who He had created.
He knew why He had made me, why I was the way I was. He also could see and can see who I am going to be. He sees the beginning, the middle and the end.
There were so many ways those first few days, weeks and months that God showed up as himself, showed up during sermons at church, showed up in Scotty, in my kids, in my mom and dad, in my pastor and his wife. I started meeting or checking in regularly with a counselor. I can remember the first time I called her when I felt completely out of control of my emotions. I remember where I was sitting on the orange couch in the living room at our Landisville house and I just remember thinking there is no way she could have understood me as hard as I was crying. She listened to me and then prayed with me and I began to calm down. At the beginning when I met with her and it was out of necessity to work through my emotions… which were crazy. I could cry until I felt like I couldn’t get control. Sometimes Scotty would just sit there and hold me, other times I was so mad at myself that I didn’t want him to see me crying all the time. Seeing a counselor was one of the very hardest things for me to admit to anyone I was doing. Why in the world does it matter?!?! I NEED THERAPY. There. I said it! Admitting the need to do that and to allow myself the reality was a hurdle. Admitting that to others didn’t happen for a long time. This idea that we should be ashamed of needing help, these feelings of inadequacy because we can’t do it all, this embarrassment of someone else knowing my innermost failings and ugly feelings. I’m sure I’ve shocked my counselor at some of my ugly thoughts, but if I had known how much freedom would come from dumping it out and having someone help me sort it, I would never have resisted so long. I will be in therapy until I go to glory.
“Self-importance turns out to be self-sabotage and getting over ourselves turns into finding ourselves. Our true selves. The lives we were born to live.”
No quote could explain me and my life more in 2013, than that. Self importance -> Self Sabotage. Self protection -> Self Sabotage. Self focused -> actual Self Sabotage
Until I surrendered, until I said enough is enough, until I gave in to the Lord I was going to continue on this self sabatoge cycle.
My counselor has a way of saying the hard things to me that come across in a way that I know come from a place of love. The first time I can remember feeling a crack or break in my old self was when I told her “Scotty is always so gracious and unassuming. He never makes me feel inadequate or like I need to be more.” And she just kindly said “Well that’s a good thing, Bethany, because it seems like you do a pretty good job of putting the pressure on yourself.” Well, yeah. Okay then. I mean that might seem a minor comment to some, but for me it was the first time I felt like maybe I was enough. Maybe I wasn’t so bad. Maybe my expectations of myself and my perceptions of myself weren’t as close to reality as I’d thought.
And that is when I then began to draw lines with myself. Like what I was going to tell myself and what voices I would listen to. She also suggested thinking about what I’m saying to myself when I’m speaking, Positive Self Talk.. It still seems a leeetle bit like crazy lady talk, but I’m okay with that now, because it works. An example of this was when I quit everything I kept saying “I can’t do that.” or “I just can’t take this.” She helped me change that to “I actually am capable of doing that, but it isn’t emotionally/mentally healthy for me to do that.” And while that probably makes me seem nuts, it actually worked. Giving myself the choice to choose me, to choose healthy over unrealistic. So I still do it. The thing I didn’t really recognize right away that what I was doing was setting boundaries. I just started to choose to do things differently, surrounded myself with things that were positive. I deactivated facebook and pinterest. I created a poster for my fridge of positive sayings that were life giving. Those are all practical things I was doing that I realize now were actually me giving myself limits and helping me rein in and take my ugly thoughts about myself and others captive.
I also began to set boundaries with other people in my life. This legitimately felt like for me a life saving action. It was either continue as you are in that relationship and <no joke> lose your sanity, or make a change for your own self, for your marriage, and for your children’s future. This is hard to do for yourself. I outgrew my dad setting boundaries for me as a little girl and as a teenage girl- the limits he and my mom knew I needed. The things I hated then but can now see the power and gift their boundaries for me have given me as an adult. So does my heavenly father want to help me set up boundaries. All I needed to do was put the power in the right place. To correctly align my priorities and place HIM first. In April of 2013, my group of dear youth girls that have taught me more than I ever taught them and continue to, participated in a book study with the rest of the youth group. I remember thinking this will be soooo good for them. I read this book years ago while dating and I learned sooo much. I’ll be able to walk with them through this and it’ll be sooo great for them. Newsflash! How about I apparently didn’t read this book or apply a thing?? I barely crawled through that study myself that spring. It was every girl for herself at that point. It rocked my world. Honestly I can’t tell you a chapter, any quotes or anything that stuck out to me. Only this- I had my priorities wrong. God revealed to me through that time how I had put my husband on a pedestal. A place he’s relieved to be off of now, by the way. 🙂 I had unknowingly, please believe that, put Scotty in charge of my happiness, my satisfaction. It seems so obvious now, but then I couldn’t believe it. When I had read that book, years before, I put it down, because I wasn’t willing to give up Scotty for God. I was nineteen, knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted Scotty and I was marrying him, no matter what. This was on our time frame, not God’s. God showed me how for those first 10 years of our marriage I had chosen my husband over Him. I knew it was the truth and it was finally clear to me why I was struggling so. Why we couldn’t ever get past certain arguments? Why he could never meet my expectations or be what I thought he was supposed to be for me for our marriage, for our kids for his family and mine? Scotty could never meet the standards, but God could. I had to realign my relationship and apologize to my dear husband. I had to put God first and then Scotty because then and only then could I be truly satisfied. Only then could I truly see my value and worth as God sees it. Only then could I begin to understand how much He loves me. And see what plans He had for me. As I set new boundaries in many of my relationships. It was really a matter of self care for me. And it is really difficult to walk out. And as difficult as it is to walk out, it’s just as difficult to stay within these boundaries.
As I began to take my cues from God, more and more of what used to feel like punishment began to feel like love. Although people didn’t understand the lines I was drawing around myself and relationships, when I did it at God’s direction HE was good to show me why. HE was gentle to say His way was better than mine and better than theirs. And He would take care of me. Nothing about this time made me cry less. If you’ve known me for all of five minutes you probably know I’m full of emotion and a crier. My emotions have always been a major thing for me. I cry for all kinds of reasons and for all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. And I hated it. I hated how my weakness was so plain for everyone else to see. Out there, mascara running, tissues balled up, sniffing, sometimes shaking from sobs. And it was in public. Most days in private. I’m not exaggerating. I used to think that people have got to be wondering what is going on with me, probably thanking their lucky stars they aren’t married to me and I really have got to just quit wearing eye makeup. One Sunday in particular I was volunteering in the nursery and Pastor Conrad asked someone to share about something God was revealing to them. I felt like God forced me up out of that rocker, out into the sanctuary, and from the back still holding that baby, I just said “He’s showing me that He loves me. That He created me the way He wanted me and that includes these weaknesses that I hate. He’s showing me that He created my weaknesses for His glory.” My new self slowly began to form from the puddle on the floor. I began to see that my tears were healthy. That a soft heart was a malleable heart. That sympathy and empathy were my God given gifts to share.
Romans 12:2 became my new verse.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”
As I began to allow Him to renew my mind, unconforming (is that even a word?!?) me from my old self, I could sense this new thing starting in me. It was exciting, extremely unnerving, and freeing all the same. It was like God was waiting on me so He could prove to me that me being all in with Him was good, acceptable.
And I couldn’t wait to walk in His will for me.
“Those willing to give up their insatiable self-preoccupation to identify with Jesus and follow Him furiously will find an ever-unfolding life and love that they couldn’t have scripted if they tried.” Audacious. Believe that. Ok please believe that. Find hope in those words. The surrender is so worth it. HE loves us so much. HE is OUR HOPE!
If someone would have predicted Found in You 15 years ago, I’d have laughed and secretly wished I was capable of that. During the summer of 2013 I started to create as an outlet and even though I didn’t realize it then, as therapy. That fall I helped plan my best friend’s wedding. And then the next year my brother in law and new sister in law’s wedding. And all of the sudden these new ideas started to spring up and a new found confidence to try things was there. In April of 2015 I went away on a weekend scrapbooking trip. I knew 2 out of the 8 ladies there. And for some reason, I decided to tell them my dream of maybe selling some of the things I was making. And speaking it just seemed to activate it. I came home and that Memorial Day I hosted my first yard sale of upcycled furniture and home goods. In the midst of creating and in the process of therapy and rebuilding my life, God used many songs to speak to me. One in particular was instrumental in Found in You, Captured by The Digital Age.
If you watched the music video, you know the exact part that I love.
“I’ve never been more Found than when I’m lost in You”
When I heard this song, something clicked. I called my sister in law, she’s so great and can always follow my train of thought (no easy task), plugs in such good sense at the perfect times, and always has an idea. After playing and replaying this song, we came up with the name Found in You. I had a little squeal happy dance moment like… Is this for real?!? Did I just figure out a business name? Are you kidding me…a business?!?
“I’ve never been more Found than when I’m lost in You”
And that couldn’t have been more true then or now. I had no idea what God had in store for me while I was doing life on my own terms. I’ve never understood myself better than now while I’m surrounding myself with Him. I had no idea what could be found in me, until I surrendered to Him. Until I quit protecting myself. Until I allowed His protection, the real protection, provision, and saving. That is the beauty of this business of making things new. Of finding purpose and life and beauty in the worn out, old, broken, and cast off. Of finding yourself here at a crossroads. Either continue as I am or surrender.
There is a Brene Brown quote that I love “Don’t wilt. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.” Just be there. Wait on him. He is good, he is faithful. Isaiah 40:31 says those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, Wait on Him like a waitress, not a taxi. Tend to Him, seek Him, ask Him, be in relationship with him. Wait on the Lord.
Scotty has this great analogy about a puzzle. He says how can we completely trust the puzzle maker when we buy the box with the picture we like at the store that when we get home and begin to set it up that all the pieces will be there, but we struggle to trust God that He has all the pieces of our life under control, or even made. MIND BLOWN. I struggle to give up control to the One who gave up HIS LIFE for me. He can do more with my surrender than I can do with my control.
A great deal of my journey of continued healing, and confidence in Him these last 5 years has been through God’s gift of my small business. Found in You has been exactly that. A gift. Even as fresh as I felt I was I found my confidence began to grow and I began to realize God was calling me to more than just painting furniture and making $$, HE was helping me question what’s the purpose of my pain. For His glory for ministry and encouragement to others. In 2017, I felt compelled to tell others my story, the things I was learning. I began my blog here and wrote out my story for the first time, which I know some of you have read and maybe heard me share before. This is a new way of healing for me but has also become a way of holding myself accountable to my boundaries and the reality of what it means to be authentic, transparent and vulnerable. Be the same Bethany at home, at church, at the shop, at the ball field, in the school, with my husband, with our kids, with my girlfriends, with our families.
Because I am learner and studier and for the most part efficient, This often translates into frustrations when I feel like I have to relearn a lesson or find myself in the same situations mostly because of my own doing. I’ve always had this drive to be better. Enneagram 1 people! Work smarter not harder. I mean who wants to learn a lesson twice? Right? That played a big part in climbing out of where I was in 2013. I never wanted to feel like this again, so I’m going to put in the work now and it can only be up from here. I had to look up because I was at rock bottom.
In 2018, I took the Discover Course a resource provided by our church and that was when I really feel like God was saying “Alright Bethany, it’s time to get serious about your mission with Me.” Since figuring out the ways He has gifted me spiritually (some were new to me and some were confirmed), I have had this Holy Confidence that is only explained as Christ in Me. One of the things we were asked to write was a personal mission statement. I was also not to be outdone by my 3rd grader who at school that year who also was writing her personal mission statement in class
My personal mission statement is this
My personal purpose is to
-lead an authentic life
-to put into words and actions how God has been faithful to me and how he continues to reveal himself to me.
-to inspire others to action by being authentic and vulnerable. In order to show how God’s grace and love has changed me. I will aspire to fulfill His purposes for me by spending time in front of Him, by nurturing my relationship and intimacy with Him, by giving Him the power to develop and use my gifts of words of knowledge and creative communication.
Focusing on my husband and our children, on my church family and the community that surrounds us through my involvement and interactions through the kids schools and activities, in church, my business and blog ministry. I am the work of His hand created with a unique purpose, by striving to fulfill it, my desire is that He would receive honor and glory by my representation of Him on earth.
Life verse(s) – paraphrased 🙂
That each time God presents an opportunity for growth or surrender, I would be transformed by the renewing of my mind (romans 12:2), that I would receive the life He has come to give and live in it abundantly (John 10:10), that I would trust that what has happened to me He has intended for my good (Genesis 50:19), and that in my life the works of God might be displayed (John 9:3).
After many drafts and much consideration this is what I came up with. This for me is a boundary, a perimeter I’ve put up around my life. I’ve got it printed at my sink in the kitchen, and posted in my office. This has become my “mantra”, the thing I return to when I’m feeling discontent, unmotivated, annoyed with myself, unworthy, and just plain bleh. The transformation of 2013 to now is not lost on me. The work was mine to do, but the glory goes to my Saviour who UPHELD ME WITH HIS LOVING HANDS.
I’ve just shared a lot about how I personally set perimeters. I am recognizing though that it has become a snowball effect, God’s pushing the snow ball and as I gained ground and momentum personally it turned into Scotty and I setting new boundaries for our marriage and family. We participated in a marriage group in 2016 and wrote our very first marriage mission statement, we took our very first private communion together. The summer after we wrote the beginnings of our marriage mission statement it was tested greatly. We found our perimeter being tested. We can honestly both say that there was a renewed sense of ownership, of real protection, and a bolstering we got by being on the mission together, by both understanding what we had committed to, why we weren’t going to back down and as painful as the choices we had to make were and the consequences that resulted, they were worth it for our family in the long run. We have tried to make this “perimeter checking” a yearly thing. We go away for a weekend to check in on our marriage mission statement, our yearly goals, frustrations. We spend time trying to be proactive parents and not reactive parents. Let’s be clear there were plenty of unexpected things, some happy, some painful with our kids this year that can’t be helped but coming at them together, Scotty and I, it was another gift from our boundary checks. Like a boxing ring It kinda snaps or bounces us back to each other.
The point I’ve come to is this, what I turn to, who I turn to, what I REturn to is critical. If I say I am being healed, if I say God is good, but then return to my old ways of acting, of thinking, return to my unhealthy tendencies, I can’t be surprised when I end up in my old problems on my old carousel.
So that’s it. If you made it to the end of the long version, here’s a virtual hug. If we were sitting on my couch, with coffee, I’d have a pile of balled up tissues between us, because no matter the first time telling or the 100th time telling it’s still hard, it still produces healing, it still makes me feel like pinching myself asking is this for real? Thanks for you part on my journey, however influential, big or small. If you’ve given an encouraging word or made a purchase, cried with me, laughed with me, studied with me or even if we’ve never met, I am so thankful that you have landed here. Found a place here. -bethany