Hope Makes You Brave

hopemakesyoubraveLast week at Essence, the Women’s Ministry of my church (Enjoy Church), myself and the other ladies in the leadership team had the opportunity to speak. So I thought I’d share what I spoke about there, here, but tweaked a bit to suit this platform better ;) Hope it encourages you!


HOPE MAKES YOU BRAVE

hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls…” – Hebrews 6:19

For as long as I can remember, ‘hope’ has captured my attention and I’ve known it has marked my life. Through seasons of depression, it became the verse that got me through, and naturally became a key theme for my life.

This year, as Ps Georgie Baxter declared us to be Bearers of Love, Hope and Freedom, hope came the forefront of my mind again. And a few months ago I stumbled upon a verse that completely revolutionised everything I thought about hope and how I live:

since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12

Or in other words, hope makes you bold. 

Hope makes you brave.

Hope makes you courageous and fearless.

Sometimes we can think that being a Bearer of Hope is telling people “there is hope in your situation” or to “keep the faith”. But hope is more than a feeling or feel-good positive expression that can easily roll off our tongue at times.

See, hope gives an expectation for the future. Hope sees beyond. But it’s what you do with that expectation that counts. Because, hope is merely the foundation for an action.

Like faith without works is dead. Hope without courage injected into it, an action or expression, is also powerless.

And so, this year as everything from Adore Conference and Essence has been layering beautifully, then realising that because I am marked by hope and am therefore bold, I decided to be bold and put action to it.

Hope gave me the boldness to deal with things I’ve never spoken about before. Being planted at Enjoy Church for over ten years now, I’ve heard Ps Shane say countless times “my heart, my responsibility.” No one knows what truly goes on in our heart except us. But it takes boldness to become vulnerable, expose unforgiveness, bitterness or whatever it may be, and pursue healing and wholeness. I realised that if I’m the light of the world, I myself have to be completely full of light. And if I’m a Bearer of Love, Hope and Freedom, those things need to be completely evident and outworked in my life too.

Hope gave me the boldness to launch The Free Woman – a new community and magazine celebrating the feminine heart. It’s been a dream since I was 9 years old, and literally less than one month ago became a reality when it was launched. The favour and opportunity already on this beauty is phenomenal, and I know that it’s because I am truly free that The Free Woman has been able to flourish.

What I’ve come to discover, as various girls locally and around the world are contributing to it, is that this platform is actually an answered prayer for many of them. Whether it’s a space to use and champion their talent or simply be inspired and encourage, this was an answer to their prayer.

As a 9 year old, I had a hope to one day create something like this. But if that hope had not been married to boldness and action, it would not have created an opportunity for others to step out and see their hopes become a reality too.

Hope gave me the boldness to stop shying away from relationship and community with others, and begin embracing it… No matter how scary it may seem. Being a friend, being purposeful in relationships, and open to people is one of the most rewarding and enriching things we can do.

This year’s tagline, “Girls making a difference”, is inclusive of all. It’s not a girl making a difference, but girls. Because our lives are interconnected, and I am, we are, better together.

See, hope makes us bold. Hope is tenacious, not complacent. Hope is an action, not a feeling or simply an expectation. Hope propels us to continue believing in the midst of a hard season and inspires us to live generously throughout all seasons.

In the Amplified translation, 2 Corinthians 3:12 says, “Since we have such hope, we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly.”

And In the Message translation, “with that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back.

To be a Bearer of Hope is to live boldly and bravely because we have hope.

We’re marked to leave a mark. The beauty of this is that it’s our choice whether or not we decide to leave that mark.

image source

The Free Woman Has Launched

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Yep – The Free Woman officially launched last Monday, and I am completely blown away by the response. Countless people have shared it on their social media platforms, subscribers are coming in, the hits are in the thousands, it’s already being advertising on other websites, and the contributors team is growing. Speechless. And to think that this is only the beginning! Crazy, crazy stuff I tell ya.

To check it all out, see thefreewoman.com and follow along on social media – Instagram @thefreewmn, Twitter @thefreewmn and facebook.com/thefreewmn. Hope you’ll join!

Also, I have the best friends. They sent lovely messages, gifts, and more. I am beyond blessed and incredibly thankful.

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Have a wonderful Monday!! Will begin posting regularly here again soon. Much love, x

The Free Woman: Launching 2 June

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Hi lovely friends,

I am happy to let you know that The Free Woman is launching this coming Monday! I announced it on my Instagram (@bethjae – follow if you please) last week, but neglected to post it on here too. (Also, you know it’s been a while since you’ve been on your blog when you can’t remember your password and have to reset it – eek).

To give you a little bit more information, The Free Woman is: a space celebrating the feminine heart. The modern women is no longer confined but free to be the multi-faceted beauty she was originally created to be. She breaks the mould in design and is revolutionary. Content will be focused around five main facets of who she is.

So, what does this mean for By Bethany Jae? I’m changing things up.

As I’ve been developing The Free Woman, I realised why I wanted to create this space in the first place – to share my heart through words and document the beauty of life and people. While I wanted to ramp up and create something more profound here, it’s become increasingly apparent that those dreams are actually for The Free Woman. Discovering this has been freeing and creatively inspiring.

In saying that, this space will now become more of a journal, sharing bits and pieces of my life along with revelations and “light bulb” moments. Above all, celebrating raw beauty, words and life. To be honest, I’m really excited to be getting back to what I love to do – writing from the heart.

A team is gathering for The Free Woman (such gems they all are!) and I really hope you’ll follow it’s journey. If you’d like to be involved in some way, seriously let me know. My heart is to create a platform where women can be inspired and have their talents used. Incredible times are just on the horizon. The more who join in, the greater its beauty will be.

All my love,

Bethany x

PS: You can follow The Free Woman on Instagram @thefreewmn & Twitter @thefreewmn

It Is Well With My Soul

lighthouseEver have those moments in life where you take a pause? Sometimes it’s for a moment, other times for a season, or two. You may have noticed that this space has been a little quiet on here lately. And that’s because I took a pause in life – to work on myself, and The Free Woman (launching in the coming weeks!).

The beautiful thing about a pause is that it allows you to focus on other things and take the time to simply look around and be captured by different things you otherwise wouldn’t have. The hymn ‘It Is Well’ has always been a favourite of mine, as a child and still as an adult. Earlier this month Bethel Music released their new album including a revamped version of this timeless anthem. It’s captured me and been constantly on repeat. The video and lyrics are below.

Whatever season you find yourself, I hope you find the time and courage to say, “It is well with my soul.

V1:
Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Ch:
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

V2:
Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Br:
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

[image: personal, taken somewhere between Melbourne and Tasmania]

An Interview With… Anna Kosmanovski

// Meet Anna Kosmanovski — storyteller, all-round lovely, and defender of the apostrophe. Having been published numerous times, she is a wealth of information when it comes to writing, living with vision, and simply going for it. Here is an interview with, Anna…

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Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in freelance writing?

Hi, my name is Anna and I love writing, creativity, coffee, chocolate, Paris, daydreaming, (as well as night dreaming!) and cats. I would describe myself as both a writer and ‘all round creative’.

I became involved in freelance writing soon after finishing my university degree. I got a job in marketing and, when my contract was up, took time out to write my first novel. It was after that that I had the epiphany – “Hey! I write. And businesses need writing. They need words for their website, newsletter, annual report, media release, brochure, etc. I can do that!” Really, that’s the gist of it! I found as soon as I started to market myself as a professional writer, work started to come in.

What’s been your favourite piece to write so far, and why?

In my freelance writing work, my favourite piece to write was the 2012/2013 Diana Ferrari/Supersoft new season catalogue. I really enjoy writing about fashion, style and of course, pretty shoes!

In my other work, I’ve also really enjoyed writing some short stories too. They’re long enough to lose yourself in but not long enough to go on for ages like a bigger piece of work.

I love how you have listed on your website the vision and values you live by. Why do you think it’s so important to have vision and values?

I think it’s really valuable to be really clear about your vision, as well as values. As an artist, your values help identify your unique selling points – and this will appeal to the right employer/client. It also just saves time – yours and other peoples’ – to be upfront about what you’re comfortable with, if something comes up. I think it’s about just being true to yourself! Really, as writers, we need to have a sharp conscience and be sensitive because we need to pick up on things – sometimes things hard to pick – and communicate them to others.

As for vision – that’s important too! Without a vision which makes you feel sparkly inside, how can we do our best work? A vision is life-giving!! It is something grand, something honest and something you are definitely allowed to keep to yourself – not excepting mum, spouse and cat.

How can a writer write a book unless they have a vision for it? Unless they ‘see’ it and imagine it happening!? We need to believe in our work like a bird believes in building a nest. They don’t doubt that they have what it takes to build it, or stress that it’s not perfect – they just do it and it’s great! We should take a leaf from that bird.

Outside of writing, what else do you love to do to that keeps you refreshed and inspired?

A few things! I find being creative so refreshing and invigorating, and I enjoy just exploring that. I love drawing, painting – furniture, canvasses, jars, frames -, making things like paper flowers and cards for friends, sticking ribbons around things and doing any kind of tactile arts! I also love reading, and intentionally seek to devour books! I have a crazy, lofty goal of reading as many of the classics as I can. I love a good movie too, though! I’m also very into walks… especially in Autumn when it’s so pretty! Love the beach too.

And lastly, I am a café girl! I love catching up with a friend at a café, talking for way too long, and also am quite happy to go on my own too!

For those who are passionate about writing and interested in pursuing it professionally, what gems of wisdom or encouragement would you give them?

Study. Learn about the craft, write, get feedback, get experience, read + repeat.

Read. Stephen King says that if you don’t have time to read then you don’t have time to write and I agree with him. As writers, it’s our food and something irreplaceable which gives us strength to our work…ideas, inspiration and also knowledge.

Hang out with other writers. If you don’t know any, find some! As writing is a solitary process by nature, I’ve found it rejuvenating – and inspiring – to meet other creatives along the way who share a passion and love of writing.

Develop your online presence but don’t put ALL your work up. Save something to be published! Also, don’t spend all your time doing it, either. Also, get a basic understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite, photography skills, video skills too. The funny thing is a 21st century writer now needs to wear a designer’s hat, a marketer’s hat, a bit of a tech hat, etc. Yes, it’s about the words but it’s also about how it looks too… this is what I am learning. So considering that things are only going to become “more digital” in the years to come, if I was an emerging writer today I would be becoming comfortable with these tools and program because marketing is such an important part of what we do.

My last piece of advice and the most important – write, write, write. Aim for everyday! Write about everything and anything. The more you write, the better you will be! There’s this theory that if you do 10,000 hours in your field, you become an expert of sorts. Makes sense to me!

[QUICK THREE]

Favourite writer: C.S. Lewis… but I can’t help but mention Dickens too. With non-fiction and journalism writing, I really admire Helen Garner.

Can’t stop listening to: ‘Zion’ by Hillsong United.

Savoury or sweet tooth? Both, unfortunately! Potatoes are my favourite vegetables but chocolate has crept into my life as a “hard to get rid of” companion… trying to reign it in.

Connect with Anna on her website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Image provided by  Anna  Kosmanovski