I have been through a lot of challenging things this last year. I am not going to go into too much detail about that right now. But I want to share what this blog is going to be about, and it comes from one of my struggles. My struggle to long to be more in depth in reading the Bible, but how do I do it well, in the stage of life I am in right now?
When our church first started, there was an amazing group of women that gathered together for times of fellowship and reading the Bible and praying together. God used that time in amazing ways in my life and I will always be so grateful that He allowed me to be a part of it. As our church grew bigger, it became more difficult to maintain that type of intimacy on a smaller scale. I was encouraged by leadership to gather women I knew and do a small group study with them. Since then I have done that several times over the last several years. But I hit a wall this fall that I became completely drained, and I have been scraping a very dry barrel just to do daily caring for my children and husband.
I "do" all the "right" things. I read my Bible every morning, but really it has been a bit of a challenge when I am waking up at 5:30 every morning to start my day, to try to really absorb what I am reading. I feel like it's more of a check it off the list, than a thriving exciting time of really studying the Bible. I don't like that at all. Before children I used to do Precept Bible Study at my old church, and I LOVED being able to take an hour a day to break down the word and study it line by line and all together. It was wonderful rich times in my life.
Honestly, for awhile, I have been going to church and coming home in tears every Sunday, feeling such an aching longing for something - although I still can't put my finger on it, I think it has a lot to do with connectedness with other women the way that it once was, but knowing that it won't ever go back to that way. It's bittersweet and hard to swallow sometimes. I miss my Titus 2 older women. They are really hard to find, or if you do they are very busy, and it's hard to be okay with the fact, that since I am doing okay in my life, that I need to let those Titus 2 women be available to those who really have needs at church. Anyways, that is just me being honest as I sort and wrestle things out with the Lord. One thing I have learned with our church, is life is DEFINITELY NOT about me, it's about Jesus, and furthering His gospel. However it is hard to know what it is like to have amazing support like that and not have it in the same way anymore.
This last Sunday I was having a really hard time sitting through the message. I don't know why, because I love the sermons. One of the big reasons why we stay at our church is because it is so amazing to have such encouraging teaching, straight from the Bible with no skirting around issues. And the heart to reach out to those in need through all the different ministries, it's definitely a church Nick and I know it's where we are suppose to be, and a church that we want to support and be a part of the functioning body. Functioning. That is my big struggle too. How do I function with taking care of my four small children and feeling so dry. Sometimes I have big dreams of what I want to do at church, to help serving, but then enters into the equation: Josiah, Ava, Lena & Mallory, and I don't know how to do both... and honestly, raising my children beats out those dreams every single time. It's a struggle. I want to function well in the church. Be a part of the living body. I can't figure out where I fit right now and it's really hard for me.
I went to night of prayer last month. That was a struggle. It took my neighbor who doesn't even go to our church to agree last minute to go with me, to commit to going. I went to the night of prayer, and I received the card: "Holy One of Israel." To explain a little more, during the night of prayer, we are given name cards with different descriptions of who God is. And the cards come with verses.
Holy One of Israel. This one came with two verses. One that speaks to what I have been emotionally coming out of, and one that speaks to what He wants to do in me now.
The first verse: Isaiah 43:1-3 "But now, Jacob, listen to the Lord, who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through the deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
I know this last year I have walked through some very deep waters, and had moments where I felt like I was drowning. It has not been easy... this verse spoke so personally to me, because it reminded me that He was with me through it all, and walked through it with me.
The second verse is this: Isaiah 48:17 "...your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel (says): 'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.'"
This is where I am at now. I am ready for God to teach me what is good and lead me on His paths for me to follow.
Which is a long tangent that brings me back to Sunday. At the end of the sermon, our pastor gave very basic instructions, that gave me direction, something I had been longing for. Direction for how to be seeking God. We are starting a study through the gospel of Mark as of this last week, one that will go on for awhile. And so we have been encouraged, for the weeks months ahead, in our time in the Word, to read out of one of the gospels, every day. To start by asking God to show us what He wants to show us, about Jesus. Then to open up and read. And then to listen to God speak. And then apply what He shows us in our lives that day.
So I decided to start in Matthew and slowly work my way through the gospels. I have started journaling each day, (only two days in so far lol) and I plan to journal each day what He is teaching me. So far I have not even made it past verse 1:2, but I will go as slow or fast as He leads me in each verse (and how much time I have each day), and seek out what He wants to show me, and hopefully become more like Jesus each day as I seek Him on this journey.
So this blog is basically my gospel notes. I am just going to copy what I write in my journal each day, and post it on this blog. I hope if you read any of them that God will use it to speak to you as well. But it really is just going to be little bits of what He is showing me each day.
I am excited. I have direction. He is so faithful, I have never doubted that. But I am ready and willing to walk on the paths He wants me to follow again. :)