Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Inner Views of Bettie Gilbert

"The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places."
Habakkuk 3:19

In this amazing and wonderful world of blogging, I often forget exactly how I came across another blogger and how God orchestrated the details to weave their presence into my life.
I usually only remember how dear they have become to my heart over the past several years,
and I praise God for allowing our paths to cross and for the encouragement they are to me.
Such is the case with the precious woman of God I am interviewing today.
Her beautiful blog is chock full of Godly wisdom, profound Biblical teaching, and deep spiritual insight.
Her physical suffering continually produces the fruit of Godliness in her life,
and the sweet smelling fragrance of its effects pours out to bless every other life she touches.
I am so honored and blessed to call her friend and to share her inner views with you here.
Read, and be blessed indeed!

Jesus Follower, Wife, Mom, and Grandma, who seeks to be grateful and transparent while traveling through a path of chronic illness,
Bettie Gilbert

Cheryl:  Please tell us about yourself.  

Bettie:  Hi! I am really so humbled and honored to share some of my story here.  I grew up in a small town in Northern Indiana, the baby of the family, with three older brothers. Our 60's ranch house sat on a small cul-de-sac surrounded by woods. Needless to say, I was a bit of a "tom-boy" playing in those woods, and our family's garden!  Our family attended the Assembly of God church in the city that was about 20 minutes away from our small town, and we were there for almost every service, 3 times a week.

Bettie's "tom-boy" days, while visiting her grandparents

Cheryl:  Will you tell us about your journey with Jesus?  Where and when did it begin?  Who introduced you to Him?  

Bettie:  My Mom told me that at the age of 4 I asked Jesus to come into my heart while I was at home. However, I had no memory of that, so when I was 9 years old, during a Sunday School prayer time, my favorite teacher gave an "altar call" and I raised my hand to say that I wanted to ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins, and to come live in my heart.

Cheryl:  As you look back over your Christian walk, what would you consider to be one of your biggest "mountaintop experiences"...a time when God's glory flooded your soul more than usual?

Bettie:  My 2 older brothers were 13 and 15 years older than I was, so during my teenage years, I would spend several weeks at their homes, and attend the churches where they were pastoring.  The summer I was almost 12 years old, while I was staying at my brother's house, his church had a children's crusade with "Cowboy Smiley."  At the end of one of his services, he asked if we wanted to pray for anyone to come to Jesus, then to come forward and pray together.  While I was praying, I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and had a beautiful vision of the loved one I was praying for, as he came to know Jesus.  I am still praying for that loved one to be fully in love with Jesus, more than 40 years later!

Cheryl:  In the same way, what would you identify as being one of your lowest valleys?  How did you experience God's presence during this time?  Were there specific ways He ministered to you and let you know that you were not alone?

Bettie:  When my husband and I were young parents, and he was a Children's Pastor, we obeyed God's call to move across the country.  After we were there for several months, it was apparent that things were not working out as we had planned.  We were staying with people from the church there, and our whole world seemed to be collapsing, with no way to support ourselves, and a new baby on the way.  My husband went through a deep depression as we laid down so many of our notions of what we thought Christianity should look like.  It was the beginning of a process that God used to show us that He goes so much deeper than any of our own efforts and striving.

Bettie with her husband, Barry

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about the spiritual legacy and heritage God has instilled into your life.  Please tell us about the individual relatives who are a part of your Godly ancestry and how each of these dear souls influenced your life and pointed you closer to Jesus.

Bettie:  Both of my parents were Godly Christians who made sure that I learned about God and His Word. They weren’t perfect, but I always knew that Jesus was the Lord of their lives. That had a huge and lasting effect on me. And then, although my Dad’s parents had passed away before I was born, I heard so much about them while I was growing up. Their faith influenced all of my family!  My Mom’s Grandma was a strict old-order Mennonite. She was very quiet about her faith, but I knew that God was so important to her.  I even wrote a “Legacy of Faith” series over on my blog this winter because I felt there was so much that had been offered to me, and I wanted the Lord to show me just how deeply those who went before me had impacted my life.

Cheryl:  How did you meet your husband?  What are the three things you most love about being married?  Do you have any special advice or thoughts about the secret to a long-lasting marriage?

Bettie:  My husband became a Christian when he was a senior in high school after a close friend led him to the Lord.  When her family started attending my church, he came along also.  I was so attracted to his strong, new faith in Jesus, and it seemed that we kept being “thrown together” at different activities.  So as we became closer friends, one night he shared with me the surrender that God had called him to: He had asked him to lay down ever getting married.  But he hoped that we could still be friends because we had started getting together to read the Bible and pray. Instead of pulling back, I was even more drawn to his deep faith. I heard myself answer “I will be the friend to you that God wants me to be.”  Well, God had beauty in mind for us and revealed to him that the surrender had been a test and that the Lord had a beautiful gift for us together, and His love poured in.  Throughout our marriage, during times of difficulty, God has reminded me of that night, when He put those words in my heart: “I will be the friend to you that God wants me to be.” I think the Lord gave me the best marriage advice anyone could offer!

Cheryl:  What are some of your favorite memories of motherhood?

Bettie:  Oh, there are so many! I remember playing with my oldest son when God allowed me to quit work and be at home with him finally. And then I remember driving through the mountains on our move out west, over the snowy roads that were so scary to us, and our youngest son chomping away on his pacifier as he sensed the tension in the car! I remember long walks and splashing in the puddles with my daughter and her little friend. And then I remember the late night talks when they were teenagers after they had been out, stopping in my room to tell me about the events of their day.  

Cheryl:  How has your relationship with your individual children changed/strengthened/deepened now that they are grown and away from home?  

Bettie:  Oh, I have learned (and I am still learning!) how to keep silent and just pray.  That is a process for me for sure! But I love to see the ways that they interact with their spouses and with their children, and how their own love has matured and grown into such a sweet way of giving of themselves now.  

Cheryl:  What do you consider to be one of the most challenging parts of being a mother?

Bettie:  During the times of struggle, as they each had to walk a path of difficulty and choose the Lord for themselves, there were times when I felt my heart might break from the weight of it all. The Lord taught me so much about how to surrender, and how to pray, as I listened to Him speak His love over them.  There were so many times that I didn’t get it right, and I tried to fix things on my own—that is the biggest area that God has had to work on in me.  

Cheryl:  Will you share with us about your physical afflictions and how they have changed your life? 

Bettie:  I thought that I had learned what it meant to lay down my own will, and not to try to do things on my own. But when the diagnoses for chronic illnesses were handed down: Rheumatoid Arthritis first, then fibromyalgia, and then osteoporosis (and accompanying issues) I realized that I had never had to surrender my physical being. I took it for granted that I was fairly strong and healthy, and could basically just tell my body to do whatever I wanted it to. My Mom suffered with many different illnesses when I was growing up, and I did not want to ever become weak in that way. I loved to work in the garden and help my neighbors with other ways of serving.  All of those ways of being active were instantly changed, as the pain came on very suddenly.  Even my old ways of bringing comfort to myself, such as taking a walk, were not able to be used—all at a time when I desperately needed comfort!  So God began to ask me to lay down my ways of being self-sufficient.  In the very midst of the ugly, painful times, He called me to come to Himself and to surrender more of my whole being to Him.

Cheryl:  How do you maintain faith in the face of such intense suffering?  

Bettie:  It amazes me that in the most intense times of pain, the pain is loud, but the heart is silent, and really there is no one who can be there with you in that place. A good friend might sit with you, and let you know they care, and that is a very precious gift that means so very much! But even the best of friends cannot meet that broken heart cry.  Only Jesus can do that.  When I stop fighting the waves of pain or anxiety (fibromyalgia comes with a host of symptoms, anxiety being one of them,) I can hear Jesus calling me to Himself, in the middle of the waves.  And that has been (and continues to be) the biggest surprise of all: Jesus wants me when I am feeling my ugliest! Even though I feel shame at my awful position, He still calls me beautiful right there.

Cheryl:  If you were given the opportunity to sit down with Jesus face-to-face, what are the three questions you would most like to ask Him?

Bettie:  I would like to ask Him, “How long, Lord Jesus, until you come and make things right?”  And then I would like to ask Him to show me the true depths of what suffering accomplishes. And I would then want to ask Him the biggest question of all:  “Why would You choose to love me?”

Cheryl:  Please tell us about your blogging journey.  When did you start blogging?  What prompted you to blog?  How has blogging enriched your life?  

Bettie:  After my diagnosis with chronic illness, I began searching the internet for information about how to live and deal with it all.  I found medical sites, and non-profit sites, and lots of chat boards for people with all kinds of illnesses.  But I had a very hard time finding any Christian connection points.  After about a year into it all, I finally read a post about a Christian woman who had walked a path of faith while dealing with chronic illness. And the Lord began nudging me to check out the little “blogger” button within my Gmail account.  Finally out of obedience to His prompting, I wrote my first post, and with fear & trepidation sent it out “into the world.”  Suddenly, in just a few short weeks, I began to come across so many beautiful Christian bloggers and found such great encouragement as I shared honestly from my own heart.  And it has continued like that, throughout this journey, finding amazing friends and Godly prayer-partners that I would never have imagined possible.

Cheryl:  What is the main thing you hope to accomplish through your blog?

Bettie:  I want to bring encouragement to my readers that Jesus is there for them too.  If He could meet me in the middle of the lonely nights of pain, then He can meet them wherever they are also.  He has such love and grace to pour over our lives.  I pray that these verses would become so real, even on the hardest of days: “But as for me, afflicted and in pain—may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:29-30

Cheryl:  Will you share with us about your other writing endeavors?  How can we find them?

Bettie:  I am part of the team at Beloved Prodigal where my sweet friend Anna Smit (another blogging connection that only God could have arranged) followed God’s leading and opened a team website for prodigals returned, and Mamas of Prodigals still waiting, to be able to share their stories together.  As Anna and I have shared our own stories with each other (she is a prodigal returned, and I have been a Mama of Prodigals,) we have been so deeply encouraged by the Lord.  And that is what is happening on the website also. As others now share their stories, the Lord is building a community to encourage each other to continue praying and not give up. 

Cheryl:  What are some of your "go-to" Bible verses, songs, and other resources that you turn to in times of discouragement? 

Bettie:  Isaiah 55 is a chapter that God takes me back to again and again.  

Isaiah 46:3-4  was pivotal in our lives when we moved across the country, but it still remains so encouraging:  
““Listen to Me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
4 Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  

Isaiah 40:28-31 is a great encouragement when I am feeling so weak.   
“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and His understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Jesus own words in John 14:27 are so precious to me:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

And Philippians 3: 7-11 is so valuable to me: 
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

I love to listen to all kinds of Christian music.  So I am very thankful for Youtube.  Some days it might be a contemporary Worship Song such as

  Jesus My Everything

Other days a hymn such as 

And on other days I listen to some of the praise music from the 70s & 80s such as 

Cheryl:  Of all of the characters in the Bible, saints of yesteryear, and Christians you have known, who do you want to emulate?  Why?  

Bettie:  I have always loved the story of the young boy Samuel, and his willingness to listen to the voice of God.  I have been so blessed by Mary (Martha’s sister) as she sat at Jesus’ feet. And I have loved the writings of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India in the early 1900’s, as she served the Lord from her own place of brokenness and pain.

Cheryl:  What do you most long to accomplish before life's end?  Are there loose ends you want to tie up, unfinished projects you hope to complete, or acts of benevolence you wish to bestow?

Bettie:  I want to be able to say to the Lord that “I have fought the good fight.”  Whatever God has for me, I hope that I will let Him help me to obey Him.

Cheryl:  If you were to mention things on your "spiritual bucket list", what would they be?

Bettie:  I would love to see all of my family, kids, and grandkids, and my spiritual “second children” walking with Jesus and knowing Him as their personal Lord and Savior.  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you?

Bettie:  I would appreciate prayers to be able to surrender my stubborn heart when Jesus calls me to obey Him.  Whether that is in times of pain, or weariness, will you pray that I will trust Him to do what is best for me?  

Thank you so much, Cheryl, for this amazing opportunity. You are such a beautiful friend and Godly woman of character. I am so thankful God brought our paths together!

A big thank you to you, dear Bettie!
I am so thankful to have met you.
Your friendship is a precious gift, and it was so wonderful to have you share with us here!

Dear readers, please add Bettie to your regular prayer list, and I hope you will take a moment and visit her wonderful blog and/or connect with her on Instagram.

In closing, I am sharing a few more of Bettie's favorite songs.

He Will Carry You - Scott Wesley Brown

He Who Began A Good Work In You - Steve Green

Fall Upon Your Knees - Miriam Webster

To read previous
click the links below.


  1. Dear Cheryl,
    Thank you again for asking me to share some of my story here. God has been so faithful through every season, and every trial. Thank you for the gift of your friendship and encouragement! May you be so blessed!

    1. Oh, thank you so much, dear friend! I am so grateful for your friendship and encouragement, too. You are such a dear blessing to me! Praying for you and believing God to see you through every moment of pain. Much love to you, and thank you again so much for sharing your precious words with us here!

  2. Thank you Cheryl for another great Inner View segment. Bettie has such an infectious smile and I can see why you chose her! I would love to be around her. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you so much, Regina! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

    2. Dear Regina,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! Cheryl has become such a sweet friend, and I was so blessed to be able to share here with all of you. God's richest blessings to you!

  3. Good morning, Cheryl! I so enjoyed learning about Bettie, and reading the answers to your questions that you posed to her. Bettie just seems to have such a kind, loving, faithful to the Lord spirit, with a positive attitude towards life. Thank you for sharing about Bettie! Hugs and blessing!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Kitty. Praying for you and sending hugs and blessings back to you, too!

    2. Dear Kitty, I agree with you that Cheryl chose such rich questions to ask me. The Lord used her questions to bring up memories of His great faithfulness in my life! What a beautiful Lord we serve. Blessings to you!

  4. This is a great interview! Thanks for sharing, Cheryl! And Bettie, it's lovely to get to know you a bit more!

    1. Dear Lesley, Thank you for your kind words here! I am so thankful to be getting to know more of Cheryl's dear friends here too! Blessings to you!

    2. Thank you ever so much, Lesley! So thankful for your visit and kind words! God bless you! :)

  5. Bettie is suffering in so many ways and yet her faith remains strong. It's amazing to read her story. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Dear Kelly, Thank you for your sweet thoughts here. I am so grateful for the Lord's sustaining grace in my life. He brings such amazing help at just the right time. May you be blessed today!

    2. Thank you so much for your sweet visit, Kelly! Bettie's story is so inspiring, and she is just a dear blessing to this world! God bless you, my friend. :)

  6. Dera Cheryl, I'm not sure how I missed this last week, but what a powerful testimony Bettie has. Loved your questions and her answers. I will definitely go visit her blog. Thank you dear friend/sister for your love and prayers.

    1. Oh, thank you, my dear friend! I so appreciate you and your prayers and presence in my life. You are such a blessing! So thankful for you to meet Bettie, and I know you will love her blog. God bless you!

    2. Dear Noreen, Yes, weren't Cheryl's questions so led by the Lord? She brought up such good thoughts that pointed me back to the Lord's working in my life so beautifully. It's good to meet you here today. May the Lord bless you!

  7. Another inspiring interview, Cheryl. Thanks for persevering in this.

    And Bettie, you already know I love your heart. This post filled in some blanks for me, and gave me even more reason to rejoice in all that God has done and is doing in your life.

    1. Dear Michele,
      Oh yes, Cheryl's interviews are so beautiful! I am so grateful to be included here. And, I have been so appreciative of your heart also Michele, through our travels with special fictional characters, especially! :-) What a gift to be able to get to "know" each other through these connections that God provides. Blessings and Hugs to you!

    2. Thank you for your support, Michele! So thankful for your visit and kind words. Bettie has one of the most precious hearts for God, and I am so thankful you enjoyed reading her Inner Views! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

  8. Bettie, I can really relate to how difficult it is to transition from the teenage to adolescent to young adult years in our childrens' lives! We can pray and keep those relationships strong, but ultimately, what our children decide to do is their choice.

    1. Oh, yes, those life transitions can be so bumpy, can't they? I think it's a special challenge when our own transitions intersect with the lives of our children. You are so right that they each make their own choices, (as do we.) What a precious gift the Lord has given, to be able to choose Him! Oh may I learn more about the joy of releasing my children to the Lord there. Blessings to you!

    2. Thank you for your visit and comment! God bless you!

  9. Hi Cheryl and Bettie,
    I loved reading more about your life, Bettie and all the beautiful details that make you, you! You are such an inspiration as you live life cheerfully, encouraging others with your lovely words and striving to bring beauty from every challenging circumstance. Thank you for sharing this post with us and letting us know how we can pray for your family. Sending love to you both! xoxo

    1. Hi Valerie,
      What a special treat to connect with you here! You have been such a faithful blogging friend, almost from the very beginning of my journey in this digital world. I am so grateful that you would be inspired by words that God has given to me--you have offered that very same inspiration to me, through your words! And, I am just so blessed that we can continue to pray for each other! Blessings, love, and hugs to you too! xoxo

    2. Oh, I surely agree that Bettie is such an inspiration to us all! I am so grateful for your sweet visit and kind words, my friend. You are such a blessing to all of us, too, and I am sending much love and many hugs back to you!

  10. Bettie, I have always resonated with you but I do see a lot of myself in you. I too had to learn many things the hard way, namely that I don't have to strive but I am allowed to rest in God. So glad I was your neighbor today because I surely did not want to miss reading this!

    1. Dear Meg, I'm so thankful you were blessed here today! Isn't it so true--He wants to show us how to lay down our striving and find rest in HIM! I am so grateful that He is so patient with us, even when we are still stubborn, still learning! Have a Blessed Easter dear friend!

    2. Thank you for visiting, Meg! So thankful for your kind words! God bless you. :)

  11. Awe, sweet to learn more about sweet Bettie. Thank you for sharing this interview. Happy Easter to you both!

    1. Dear Brenda, thank you for your kind and sweet words! It was such a blessing to answer Cheryl's heart-searching questions. God has been so faithful! Happy Easter to you too!

    2. Happy Easter to you, too, Brenda! God bless you. :)

  12. Cheryl - Thank you for sharing Bettie with us. It was so delightful to hear about her. Maree
    Bettie - I am right there with you trying to learn to be silent more often and just pray with my adult children.

    Thank you for linking up with Grace & Truth today.

    Blessings, Maree Dee

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, Maree! We so appreciate your support and encouragement. God bless you!

    2. Dear Maree, Oh, it's such a comfort to know there are others learning these same lessons! God is patient to show us how to pray, isn't He? May you have a Blessed Easter with your family!

  13. Such a wonderful interview with a sweet, godly woman. Her faith and joy, even in her pain, come through her words. It was a joy to read.

    1. Oh, thank you, AnnMarie! Your precious words of encouragement truly mean so much. God bless you!

    2. Dear AnnMarie, Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so thankful for the encouragement and comfort that the Lord brings! May you have a Blessed Easter!

  14. How beautiful and encouraging to read this life story. One thing that jumped out to me was how she surrendered and continued to pray for her children even as they walked their own walk and through their lives and life decisions. That's a hard one for me and I'm definitely seeking to have the Lord work on that in my life.

    1. Thank you so much for your visit and kind words, sweet friend! Dear Bettie's example is an inspiration and blessing to us all! Sending love and hugs to you and praying for you today!

    2. Dear Lauren,
      Thank you for your sweet words, and for the way that you share your heart here! Yes, it is a surrender, to give over our children's decisions into the Lord's hands, isn't it? He continues to take that surrender ever deeper in me too. I am grateful that we can pray for each other as Moms in the Lord, asking for His GRACE every day! Blessings to you!