I met Betty Wiseman almost 20 years ago when I became pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church. Over these years, Betty has become a trusted friend, counselor and prayer warrior. She has a deep commitment to Christ that has led her to at least 6 continents on mission journeys. I love her enthusiasm for Christ, His kingdom and for life. She has become and still is one of my heroes.
by Betty Wiseman
The stack keeps getting higher and a little more ragged and worn from travel and use. The scripture verses on these 3 x 5 cards are smudged with fingerprints, underlined and highlighted, edges torn, and most are personalized for the moment and place. They are held together by a heavy-duty rubber band. For years now, I have added to the stack as verses grab my attention and jump off the page of my Bible. The stack of scriptures has become a valuable tool and constant companion as I lead sports evangelism mission trips around the world with student-athletes from Belmont. When I pack my Bible, I pack my stack of scripture cards.
Early morning and late night quiet times in preparation for another day’s work find me sifting through, rereading, chewing on, and meditating on God’s promises recorded in this stack. Inevitably, one or two scripture cards grab my attention and prick my consciousness. It’s like an “Ah ha!” moment – this is God’s message for me today, and I claim the promise. The card, or maybe two or three cards, are pulled from the stack and placed in my bible to be shared in a devotional time with the team as we gather to depart for the day’s ministry. I depend on these promises from God’s word to guide us through the day.
In May 2006, my team and I arrived in Caracas, Venezuela for ten days of ministry. We made our way through customs and outside the terminal for a short trek to another terminal for the next leg of the journey. It hit us in the face – the heat! We had been told to expect extreme heat, but this caught us by surprise. We could hardly breathe. I thought “How will we withstand this heat for ten days?”
The days ahead were packed with ministry, outside on concrete areas, under the hot sun!
On our third day, we had gathered for our morning devotional thoughts. This is the scripture God gave me from “the stack” for the day that I shared with the team: “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58: 11)
We worked all morning in the sun. Then they escorted us inside the school to a very small dimly lit classroom, with no ventilation, to serve us hot beans and rice and warm bottled Coke for lunch. Then it was back onto the court under the afternoon sun, where the temperature registered 112 degrees. Yes, it’s true. I have a photo of the thermometer registering 112.
I began to pray, “Lord, you promised to take care of us in this ‘sun-scorched’ land. Send your clouds to protect us, please.” And He did! The clouds came and covered us for the remainder of the afternoon. He “satisfied our needs and strengthened our frames…like a well-watered garden.”
I grew up in a Baptist church and literally “cut my teeth” on God word. I never met a “Bible drill” that I did not like. That was just part of the competitive nature in me – “Attention, Draw sword, Find.” I can still hear those pages shuffling as I attempted to find the scripture before all my competitors. It was fun, and I liked to win; and it served a purpose. I loved God’s word, and I began to treasure it in my heart at an early age. But words are just words until they bring meaning, purpose, and direction to one’s life. Scripture began to take on a deeper meaning as I grew in my walk with Christ and realized that it is to be personalized for where I am and what I am dealing with. Sift through my Bible, and you’ll find my name written in the scriptures where I have personalized it for daily living. One might respond when seeing my name written so much in my Bible, “Betty thinks this Bible was written just for her!”
My response would be, “You’re exactly right! This is God’s word, for Betty Wiseman. I hear it, I believe it, and I live!”
Betty Wiseman is Professor Emeritus and Assistant Athletic Director for Student Services at Belmont University, with a teaching career of 44 years. She is known as a trailblazer in women’s sports, having founded the women’s basketball program at Belmont in 1968, one of the first college women’s programs in the state of Tennessee and the south. Wiseman was the head women’s basketball coach at Belmont for 16 seasons. In 1999 she was given the Josten-Berenson Service Award by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association during the NCAA Women’s Final Four in San Jose, California to recognize her lifelong commitment to women’s basketball. In 2004 she was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, one of many honors bestowed upon her locally and nationally.
Betty is an active member of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee where she serves as Trustee, is a member of the adult choir, and is an active participant in volunteer missions.
From city streets in Eastern Europe to dirt paths in South America and South Africa, “BW” takes teams of Belmont Christian athletes to use the platform of sports for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Her forthcoming book, a collection of stories from those mission trips, will be published in March 2011 by New Hope Publishers.