Beth Smith

Raising the curtain

So I guess curiosity got the better of you, hey! First of all I just wanted to say hiya! I’m Bethany May Smith, but most people call me Beth. I was born on the 6th April 1990 in Leicester and have lived close by all my life. I grew up in a very loving, happy home with great parents and a younger brother. I went to church with my parents and (believe it or not!) really enjoyed Sunday school. You could say I was just your average little girl; the only thing that might be slightly different is I loved to dance. I’ve been dancing since I can remember. I was 3 when I met a girl at playgroup and she took me along to her dance school. I loved it, and couldn’t wait to go back. I know it’s not rare to see young girls who love to dance nowadays but for me it wasn’t just a phase. Two decades later, I’m still dancing and still completely loving it. Dance gave me an escape when I felt angry and sad, but also an expression when feeling happy. Dancing was my life – all my time was spent at lessons, rehearsals and shows but I never wanted to change that. Well, to be honest in that respect, nothing has changed there!

Intermission

Then one day when I was around 14 or 15 years old, my world got turned upside down. I hurt my knee. Badly. A shooting pain went up my leg, it was so painful and I couldn’t straighten my knee. It took 3 months of me struggling to walk before I got some crutches. After a year of crutches, pain, physio and scans with no results, I was about to have an operation to see what the trouble was. It was the worst thing not being able to dance for a whole year and I knew that an operation meant that I would need more time off. I imagine most people at that age would have loved to have had some time off and miss a bit of school! For me, though, it wasn’t like that at all. Having time off was the worst thing that could happen. Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a professional dancer – a prima ballerina! I could see my dream just drifting away. To be honest, I was not only upset that I couldn’t dance, but I was so scared of what they might find. I was so nervous about the results – in case I heard something that I didn’t want to hear. I guess I’m not the only person who has ever felt like that, being scared of facing up to the truth. Maybe you’ve felt like that at sometime in the past, or maybe you’re feeling that way now? Keep reading on – you’ll see things really CAN change for the good, I’m proof of that!

When I woke up from the op my whole leg was in plaster, right down to my ankle. It wasn’t looking good. I had to live with this huge, awkward plaster for two weeks. Fortunately it was during the holidays so I only had to look like an idiot at home! A couple of weeks later I went back to hear the results…I began bracing myself for the news. However, they were still unsure as to what the problem was. They advised me not to dance again, which was like telling a fish not to swim! I mean, really, how can you tell someone not to do something when it’s their life?! They also said that if I did continue to dance there was a chance that I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was forty. However I was determined to dance – I wasn’t going to listen to that and knew that as soon as the pain left I’d be dancing again.

Lord of the Dance

A few weeks after this my knee was still painful – I was going to physio and doing everything they told me to do but it still hurt. It was at this time that my youth leader took me to Soul Survivor – a massive Christian camp for young people. I was still on crutches which meant I got out of putting the tents up! (Every cloud has a silver lining!) There were 12,000 young people at this camp who all believed in God. I’d never seen anything like it! But I was more interested in meeting boys than God…and the crutches were not going to stop me in my man hunt! Then on one night during the last meeting, I just started crying, and not just a few tears either, I was full on bawling. Not such a pretty sight, I’m sure. My youth leader started praying for me and as she did I felt a large heavy arm around my shoulder and a huge hand on my knee, which started feeling really hot. When I left the meeting I was still using my crutches but half way up to my tent, something inside me said ‘you don’t need to use these anymore.’ I had no idea where it came from but I listened to this gut feeling. I gave the crutches to my friend and from there I walked back up to my tent without them, without limping, and without any pain! I believe that while I was being prayed for, the hand on my knee was God’s hand. I truly believe that God had healed me that night!

Centre Stage

When I was five I asked Jesus into my life. Yeah, I know what you might be thinking, how could I have understood what that meant? But I knew that I needed Him, that if I asked Him into my life He would be my best friend and always be there to look after me. It wasn’t hard to understand – and simple childlike faith is often the best kind! So I grew up going to church every week, but as I got older I went only because my parents were going, not because I wanted to go. Then I went because a cute guy started going and I just wanted to see him! I wasn’t really interested in God, and as I went into my teenage years God got pushed right to the back of my mind. I still went to church but kind of lived a double life – on Sunday I was seemingly a ‘good ol’ Christian gal’ but during the rest of the week I lived the very stereotypical teenage life and genuinely enjoyed it! I loved it because I felt like I needed the attention from the boys. Being accepted into a group was something that seemed to fill a gap in my life. Deep down though, I knew I was compromising, I knew I wasn’t living right and I knew there was something more, something better to life. But like I said, I was having loads of fun and didn’t want anything to change.

It was around this time that I first went to Soul Survivor, and although I knew God had healed me during camp, afterwards I went straight back home and straight back to the teen lifestyle, where my man hunt continued! A year later I went back to the summer camp and it was then that I experienced God for myself. I felt completely loved and totally forgiven. I knew from that moment my life needed to change. God loved me and the way I was living was not the way God wanted me to live and now I really wanted to live my life for Him. It was definitely not easy but I started to get my life back on track. I stopped living my double life and I was no longer lying to myself or others around me – I went to church because I wanted to go. This time I realised that church wasn’t ‘boring’ which so many people say, but a place I felt completely at home and somewhere I felt I belonged. It may be that you should try it one day, you know the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ Well this is like that, take a chance, in fact I dare you to go to church one day! It’s not what people say it is, but why take my word on it – check it out for yourself!

Waiting in the Wings

It’s not always been easy, and sometimes I’ve thought it must be easier to hang up my dancing shoes as it were, but I know that God loves me. Even when I make mistakes and mess up I know that He is for me. I’m still young and sometimes the future seems scary but I know that God has a plan for my life, a great plan. Did you know He has a plan for your life too?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
So, how do you put your trust in Him? Well the answer is simple. We need to invite Him into our lives, and hand our future over to Him. To believe He knows the best thing for us.

I guess there are three different types of responses from reading my story:

  1. You could say ‘that was interesting, but not for me’ If that’s you its fine, you can throw it away. Thank you reading my story.
  2. You could be saying ‘There could be something in this.’ If this is the case, you owe it to yourself to discover more about having a relationship with God through His son Jesus.
  3. Or you might say ‘Well actually I’m ready to receive Jesus into my life now, and to trust Him with my future and eternal destiny.’

You can do this by saying this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, here I am, I can come no other way, so take me as I am. Thank you for loving me even though I haven’t loved you. You know the things I have done which are not great and have not been pleasing in your eyes. I ask that you forgive me for all the selfish and sinful things that I have done of which some are still in my life. Thank you for forgiving me and coming into my life. Help me now as I start over again, but this time with you at the centre. No longer am I going to go my own way. Today I am deciding to follow you by asking you to be my saviour and Lord. Lord Jesus, send your Holy Spirit, to help me know without doubt that you have come into my life. Amen.

If you have said this prayer and meant it I would like to say you have just made one of the best decisions you will ever make in your life time – Congratulations!

I would love it if you let me know that you prayed this prayer. ‘Why?’ Because I would like to send you a booklet that will help you develop your new relationship with Christ Jesus (free of charge!).

My story is ongoing and although I still face challenges, through them all I know that God is still God and He has a plan and a purpose for my life. Thanks for taking time out to read it.
Have a great day!
Beth x

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