The Story of Beth
By Sarah Klick
I never met Beth. I don't even know her last name. But the Story of Beth gave me hope and encouraged me to keep walking down this path - this path of girlhood to womanhood. This path of desiring to stand alone for my convictions in single hood.
It's not very romantic to celebrate another year in the twenties and not even have a boyfriend on the horizon. To force a smile through the tears as another one of your childhood girlfriends rides off into the sunset with her Knight in Shining Armor. To have the ring finger on your left hand still bare.
It's a struggle in this upside down society to stick to the old fashioned ideas that the guys are supposed to do the pursuing and wooing. The girls have books upon books, resources filling the shelves, reminding them that they are to wait patiently for the guy to win their hearts. Oh dear! Has anyone written anything reminding the guys of their responsibility? Do they know that they are supposed to be the conquerors and there are hearts to be won? Perhaps in all the confusion of equal rights for women, the guys have forgotten that there are some girls who hold fast to those obsolete ideas.
It's a struggle to be different; to have strong convictions and standards and guidelines. It's terrible to stand-alone. To stand out and stand up when no one else is standing by your side. It's a challenge. It's an uncomfortable path to walk down.
Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. Does anyone really notice? Does anyone really care? Does it really matter to any guy if a girl saves herself for him? If she dresses modestly? If she guards her heart and keeps herself pure? If she doesn't date and mess around with every guy of her acquaintance?
Are there any quality young men left out there? Or are all the guys attracted to the bare legged, bare-chested, bare-stomached and the tight mini-skirt, short shorts, low shirts, athletic-wear (which used to be called a bra... go figure.) clad girls that show the world all that they are and more. Do guys really admire the aggressive type who woo and chase after them like he was their prey?
I was at my wit's end. Here I was, reminding myself to stand strong and walk in the direction I had chosen to follow alone. Wondering if there were any quality young men waiting along the sidelines or if they had already passed the finish line eons before me. I daily debated with myself if my standards were doing me any good. If there was any fruit whatsoever from them. If they even mattered. No one was knocking down my door - I didn't even turn any heads. Such a lovely feeling to know that you aren't desirable or what you hold up isn't viewed as attractive or appealing. In my heart, I had reached the place that I was going to do what I thought was right, even though it meant being alone and rejected. I had to take some rough falls to develop this foundation - this mindset.
But my mind was resolved. I was going to wipe my hands clean of the 'hunting lioness act" and dump it all into God's hands and onto the guy's shoulders. If he wanted me badly enough, he would have to get up and do something about it. No more Miss Available at the right time and planting myself in the right position and arranging "surprise bumping into each other". No more eye contact to get my interest across. No more information loaded comments thrown into the air and pairing off I was tired of doing all the work and I wasn't at all pleased with the fruit of my labor. If the "old fashioned" idea of the girls being sought after, wooed and won, worked back then, why couldn't it work now? Why should I throw myself at someone and put so much effort into it, if he doesn't even want me? Why waste time and energy and emotion when I don't even know if he cares? Maybe he doesn't even know we are on the same planet or I'm the LAST GIRL IN THE ENTIRE WORLD HE'D EVER MARRY!
It would seem backwards to me if I should get down on my knee and propose to him, so why shouldn't it seem backwards to me to do all the prerequisite work that leads up to the Big Question? So much thought for food.
It was a hot July afternoon. My younger (but taller! and very mature) brother David and I were taking a walk on the peaceful little trail up the street from our house. Our favorite times to talk together, really talk about anything and everything, always seemed to be during our walks outside, as we journeyed through the wooded trail enjoying the sounds of the birds and scampering of squirrels.
I remember that we were crossing under some overhanging trees, taking advantage of the few moments of shade, when David suddenly asked me, "Have I told you about Beth?" He had been gone traveling for several months and had met so many new people and been to so many new places, he had enough stories to share for a lifetime. My eyebrows raised at the mention of a strange girl's name coming from my brother's lips. I wondered what she was to him and if he was about to tell me about my sister-in-law to be. The suspicion must have been written all over my face, because David smirked and a twinkle came into his eye. He loved to stir up my protective, big sister emotions. 'No," I said." I don't believe that you've ever mentioned Beth." I waited to hear her story. I don't know what I was expecting. Another girl who made eyes at my big, handsome brother and maneuvered and manipulated the situation so they could get to know each other. I'd seen it done before. I'd done it myself I was sick of all the guy-girl stuff; all the games and playing around. Now some Beth girl had entered the scene - I hoped she was a girl worth fighting for.
David raised his hands defensively; "1t's nothing like that, Sarah. Come on. Let me tell you about Beth."
I bit my tongue to fight back the questions threatening to tumble out. "Okay, David, I'm listening. Tell me about Beth."
David drifted into reverie. "We were out in California working at a camp, learning how to work with river rescuing. It was a Christian camp that shared the river with another non-Christian camp. There were teenagers everywhere. All the girls looked like clones. They had on the short shorts and the spaghetti-strap shirts, if you can call them shirts. The river was the worst place to be with all the girls swimming in their bikinis and their immodest bathing suits. The other guys and me were having a hard time keeping a guard over our eyes - everywhere we turned, there were half naked girls, giggling and flirting and showing off their bodies.
One day, we met this girl who seemed to have a different spirit about her. She was friendly and had a beautiful warm smile, along with sparkling bright eyes. We immediately felt comfortable with her. She and her sister worked at the camp across the river. Her sister was going to be out on the river tomorrow the same time we were. Her sister's name was Beth. We were anxious to meet her. If she was anything like her older sister, she just might be a quality young woman... and about our own age!!
We weren't disappointed. Beth stood out on the river that day, from every other girl there, and all the guys in my unit noticed with respect and awe. She wore shorts over her swimming suit, along with her life jacket. She wasn't out there to draw attention to her body - in fact; she went to great lengths to keep herself covered. And she wasn't flirty with the guys, just friendly.
That evening, she sat with our group at the dinner table, once again dressed modestly-wearing longer shorts than any other girl did at camp, and we got to talk with her and observe her. She radiated with God's love, and His spirit shone in her eyes. She greatly impressed every guy at my table. She was the topic of conversation from then on. Every guy stated that he wanted to marry a girl like Beth. Someone who went against the flow and was pure and unstained by the world. She lived right in the middle of all the worldly influence, yet was stronger than its pull. She worked at a camp where she was daily surrounded by girls who didn't share her convictions and probably made fun of her for them. She chose to be different. To dress different. To take a stand.... alone."
I never met Beth. I don't even know her last name. But nine young men who saw that she was a quality woman of God in a perverse and lost world admired Beth. They saw the difference in her appearance and her lifestyle. She loved the Lord. PERIOD. And her life was a reflection. She wanted to dress modestly. She didn't care if she was the only one and if all the girls thought she was an old fogy. She wanted to honor God with her body and not be a stumbling block for the guys who crossed her path. I don't doubt for a second that it was difficult for her- maybe putting on those shorts over her swimming suit was the most challenging part of her day. Maybe she had to talk herself through every step, reminding her that there was a bigger picture she couldn't see. Maybe in her heart, she longed to be "normal" and fit in. I don't know. I'll never know. But because she was different, because she did choose to dress modestly and act like an honorable Christian young lady, she made a lasting impression. She did draw attention to herself by her choices.
The attention of some quality young men who noticed the contrasting difference in her compared to the other hundreds of other girls before their eyes. David had so much respect for Beth. He knew that it took a lot of strength to stand-alone. He admired her for it and was convicted by it.
As we walked along, both thinking about Beth, David began to tell me how important it was to him to find a 'Beth". The other girls are a dime a dozen. They look, talk, dress, flip their hair and walk the same. They use the same flirting moves and seductive traps. They don't have any backbone to be different - nor the heart or desire for the things of the Lord. Their eyes are on what the world is dangling before them. They are snared, and are eager to snare others. Beth's walk matched her talk. She was like a twinkling star surrounded by millions of planets in the night sky. She was a rare and precious jewel. She probably doesn't even know how her actions influenced others. How she set an example and inspired some young men to keep their standards high when it comes to looking for a girlfriend.
There was only one Beth at that camp in California (along with her sister) - what a tragic thing. Only one girl who was walking down the path less traveled on. One girl who set some guys seriously contemplating what is important and what they long for. It's not easy to be a Beth, but I'm so thankful for the lesson she taught my brother and myself. She taught me to keep my eyes focused on the goal and to not give up hope. The price is high, but the end result is worth it. It doesn't matter if you are completely alone, keep on walking. Keep on shining like a star in a crooked and perverse generation.
She taught David that there are important things to be desired in a wife. And the most crucial being her love and devotion to the Lord far outweighs the pressure from her peers. Or the pressure from the world, or even the pressure from other sisters in the Body of Christ. We are called to be a holy and peculiar people. A people who are in the world but not of it. A people who are different and who are a light in the dark world. How can they see our light if we hide it under a bowl? How can we stand out if we aren't standing up? Beth stood alone and made a lasting impact. I hope and pray that someday the Story of Sarah will speak as much.
1 Timothy 4:12
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity..."