Friday, June 3, 2011

Do You Struggle With Reading Your Bible? (Part 1)

Four years ago I sat humbled after a convicting sermon at church - I wasn't growing because I wasn't consistently reading God's word. I wasn't seeing life change because I wasn't madly in love with the Lord. That day I remember committing to the Lord, out of my helplessness, to renew my mind daily, I determined to grow more intimately with the Lord and meet Him regardless of whether He showed up or not. I didn't want the mundane, I didn't want the duty, I didn't want the guilt - I just wanted to know God.

Jesus says, "“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”  ~ John 15: 7

All I wanted was intimacy with the Lord - I knew I had salvation, I knew I had eternal life, but at that moment all I wanted was to know God more deeply. I wanted to want to read God's word, I wanted to want hours and hours just Him and Me. I knew there was more to be had and I was finally willing to sacrifice time and excuses to go get it.

I think that is when this Christian life begins to turn radical - at least that is where radical change began for me? 
I wasn't a new believer, I had been a Christian for well over a decade, I had struggled with quiet times my whole Christian life: many I did out of duty, some out of guilt, some for the right reasons. Some of my quiet times over those years were awesome, I'd hear a great sermon, be challenged, grow, mature and start out committed to being more faithful - I knew that being faithful was necessary to this Christian life, I just couldn't seem to will my flesh into seeing it that way. I was growing, but somewhere along the way I became complacent and lazy.

Six months after my bible study plan, mentioned above, was executed  and high hedges were planted to keep me on the right path; I sat at Starbucks early one morning and noticed all the moms and kids who came in to get drinks. I heard from the crowd that it was the last day of school for most of the children. I remember thinking that  day, "I wonder if I'll still be faithful in daily communing with the Lord this time next year, or the year after that? Is this just another short term fling or is God going to help me make this a permanent lifestyle change? Will this get easier, will I ever know what it is like to love reading my Bible, love meeting with God? Will God reveal Himself to me more intimately?"

Soon after that memory, my second child was born and I felt like I was in the fire. Actually, I was in the fire, I just didn't know it. The Lord, in answer to my deep prayers, had positioned me in a place where I was under pressure, I  was being "refined by fire, like in 1 Peter 1:7 which says, "These ( my pressures) have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." My time became a pressure and I really struggled to get into God's word daily, I was reverting back to that old life of excuses and I heard myself justifying my actions with, "I just had a new baby, I'm tired, I just can't today....."

God was sending me on a journey to find something even greater than gold  ~ Himself. He was answering my prayers through the pressures of life's circumstances. Not  exactly  what I thought I was praying for! God began to use the pressure of being a mother - forcing me into dependence on God. I resisted - for about 6 months and I went through the second deepest, darkest depression I'd ever known. This pressure finally got to me. I remember that cold February day thinking - "I can't do this alone? I can't parent and be a wife and work from home and read my Bible and exercise and journey through my day with joy - unless God lives this life through me!" I'm sure some postpartum depression was also involved!

Fast forward about 3 years - I sat in Starbucks this morning - reading in Revelations about the luke warm church ~ I sat and thanked the Lord for not allowing my faith to become luke warm. See - today was the 3rd year in a row that I sat at that little table in  the corner of Starbucks, reading my Bible on the last day of school. I was humbled, what great  joy the last few years have brought.

I am so thankful that the Lord heard my longing and gave me just what I needed. I am thankful for God meeting me where I am on any given day, for covering me with His spirit and allowing me to walk consistently by faith not by sight.

Tomorrow I'll share what I scribbled down on my pad of paper - the sweet lessons learned so I don't forget!

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