On August 10, 1997 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. From that moment, my life has taken many twists and turns, some towards God, some away, but every path has helped my relationship with God grow.
I received Christ the month before I began my college career at Cedar Crest. During my 4 years of college I re-evaluated my relationship with Christ many times. I questioned, I accepted, I fought and argued with, and ultimately always came back to Him knowing that whatever happened in my life was ultimately guided by His plan for my life anyway.
My boyfriend in college, later to be my husband, had been a strong Christian since he was a child, having grown up in the ministry with both of his parents as Pastors. I went to church with him, worked as a volunteer in the youth group, children’s ministry, music ministry and dance team, and stood by his side as he grew in his own relationship with the Lord and eventually started taking on more and more responsibility at the church as he was groomed to step into his eventual role as the Assistant Pastor.
I learned a lot about the ministry and what life in the ministry was like very quickly. I learned what it really meant to be in the “public eye.” I also learned how stressful ministry life can truly be. I wrestled with God many times about why - just why. Why the congregation judged us, why they thought they had a right to tell us how to act, why they thought we were “better” than them.
In April of 2008, when I was 4 months pregnant, my husband took his life by suicide. Through that situation, I’ve never felt God so close to me more in my life than at that moment. I’m the one who found Tim in our basement, and while the shock is still fresh in my mind, I still to this day can feel God’s physical presence standing with me as I looked at him on the floor, in the casket, and at pictures that are now memories. Phil 4:7 says “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” That verse has been the rock of my existence since Tim died – God has truly given me a peace that surpasses all understanding. Finishing out my pregnancy, packing up our house and our marriage, moving home with my mother and giving birth – all without Tim – was taken care of by Jesus – He kept me calm, sane and always focused on Him as I went through the enormous task of restarting my life.
What overwhelms me, even today, is that even before I was conceived – God knew me, my life, and knew that April 4, 2008 was going to be a part of my life. He also knew that Tim was going to give me the most amazing blessing in the world – my daughter Lydia, and that I would have this lasting legacy of his life to cradle in my own arms.
In August of 2008 I chose to leave Tim’s church and start regularly attending FPC Bethlehem. In November of 2008 I became a member through the New Members class. Since then I have been involved with Youth Ministry, the Emotional Wellness Ministry, the Confession Team for Contemporary Services and the FPCB Pre-School as both a parent and most recently as the preschool music teacher. God has never let go of me or Lydia, and even brought a wonderful God-loving man named Shawn with his two twin boys into our lives in May of 2012. We married in May 2013 at FPCB with Pastor Alf officiating and have been building our new family with the help of God ever since. While our lives are certainly not perfect – we know that with God all things are possible and we rely on Him every single day to get us through whatever comes our way.
About the Author:
Beth Peters-Ferrara has been a member at FPCB since November of 2008. She has been active in the Youth Ministry, the Emotional Wellness Team and the Confession Team for the Oasis Contemporary Services. Beth spends her time outside of church at PA Youth Theatre as the Outreach Coordinator, Monocacy Counseling Associates as a Therapist, Dryland UCC as the Director of Youth Ministry, Nazareth High School as the Theatre Director, and in her spare time is working on her dissertation for her doctorate degree in Pastoral Counseling. Beth is married to Shawn and they have three children, Lydia, Brandon and Carter.