Admiration Monday: Bethany Stedman

Haha. Yeah, you read that title right. Todays guest post is all about me.  I asked my dear friend, Carrie, to write a guest blog for me and told her that she could write about anything that she wanted. Carrie is probably my closest friend right now and my husband and I basically share a flat with her and her husband (although we each have our own private living spaces). Anyway, Carrie chose to add to my Admiration Monday series by writing a post about me. Admiration Mondays is a series I've been doing for a while with the idea that we all need to hear words of encouragement and get a little public recognition every now and then. I can't even begin to tell you how humbled and honored I was by this post. And honestly I feel a little hesitant to post something like this about myself on my own blog. But, she wrote it to be shared publicly and Admiration Mondays are meant to be public statements. So... here it is. Thank you, my beautiful friend, for writing such sweet words of encouragement for me. Good morning from Prague. I get to admire someone today that you also have “met”. Bethany Stedman. I am inspired by her and what she is exploring on this blog. Her passion for nutrition and creating good real food continues to fascinate me. I also really enjoy reading Bethany’s blog because I get to see a side of her that I usually don’t get to see. I usually see her early in the morning or late at night when I knock on her door to say hi. So I thought it would be good to introduce you to a side of Bethany that maybe you don’t know.

Just a bit of background….I met Bethany 3.5 years ago in Prague. And for Prague life that is a long time. The first time it hit me that we were going to be friends was maybe the 3rd or 4th time I saw her. It was at a friend’s baby shower. She arrived dressed like a pixie, with braided hair wrapped around her head and her camera. She hid behind her camera in those days, capturing the world around her to the delight of the rest of us. Since those times she has been a shoulder to cry on, a daily part of my life, and a real honest follower of God.

When someone meets Bethany they realize that they keep meeting her. Her treasures are deep and plentiful but not showy. I love this about Bethany. I love the way she offers herself to you simply and if you see it - you realize you are being handed gold. Her depth and ability unfold for you and await your discovery.

16647_165085583094_627823094_2753627_4663317_nI am learning so much from Bethany about loving husbands, entering motherhood, living purposefully, struggling with God. The quality of Bethany that perhaps stands out most to me is that when I am with her I sense I am in the presence of something real and tangible. It is a real moment. And I always feel seen and heard. It is hard to describe. There is something solid about Bethany. She doesn’t have an agenda for you and she doesn’t try and impress you. Bethany and her husband offer themselves to those they meet.

Bethany also is a woman of strength with a hidden ability to lead people into an encounter with God. When she is leading you in yoga there is a deep strength that you implicitly trust and want more of. Her beauty and depth brings favor to her husband, son, friends and community.

I admire her tremendous courage to engage head on, the ways she wants to raise her son even though some people might not understand. Even her decision to be in Prague at this point is made thoughtfully, weighing the costs.

I am also thankful for her acceptance of me in my most broken moments. Bethany is a strong broad tree that is only rising in glory and that will shade and nourish many people in the future.

The King’s favor rests on her.

Bethany is a rich gift to me and those she meets. I admire her so much.

A Prayer of Blessing for Bethany Stedman.

Circle Bethany, Jesus, Keep peace within and discouragement out. Circle Bethany, Spirit, May these days of travel be filled with rest and refreshment for her. May all her days be filled with love and deep joy. Circle Bethany, Father/Mother of us all, Let her branches and root grow deep.

May her leaves and shade overflow into abundant fruit. Circle Bethany, Jesus, protect her deep heart, guide her dreams, quiet her insecurities. Circle Bethany, Spirit, Keep joy near, and turmoil afar. Circle Bethany, Father/Mother, Nourish her being, fill her heart and home with Life. In the name of the eternal three in one, Bless Bethany, that she might continue to bless others. Amen.

carrieCarrie Ruth Schwender is called right now to a hold a place for God. This place is a hostel in Prague. She knows that she has only a few rohliky (Czech hotdog buns) to offer and that the great baker will have to fill the quota for the rest of the big order. She aspiries to live loved. That's enough.