I feel the need, the pull, to write again. It has simply been too long and I can’t stay away from my truest passion any more. Deciding WHAT to write, however, has been my biggest obstacle. But as this desire in my heart to learn more about God, about Jesus, grows, direction becomes less of the challenge and knowing how to begin becomes my focus. I have always yearned to help others, to make a bigger impact than just the lives of those closest to me. Often, my hopes are crushed as I miss out on missionary opportunities, meanwhile continuing to witness suffering all around me; such as homelessness, refugees, rape, terrorism, child trafficking, etc. I can’t help but wonder if there’s something that I could be doing that I’m not, or worse yet, if any one person can truly make a difference at all. This mentality, however, has changed recently.
When I joined a women’s Bible study, the hopelessness began to fade as I learned how to trust in God more than I ever had before. I had already made the commitment to read my Bible daily, each morning before I went to work, and it became easier and easier to wake up early. I learned an incredibly important value, during group, that I believe has helped me to trust in a way I never thought possible. Though I had read it before, I never understood it until I was taught how to put it into practice.
Be still and know that I am God.
Until I learned to “be still”, I wasn’t hearing God in my life, I was going through the motions, missing the lessons in front of my eyes as I sat before my Bible each morning, stagnant in my faith. Now that I have been blessed by the encouragement of my sisters in Christ, I have the confidence to step out in faith, knowing that if it’s God’s will for me, I’ll succeed. And if it’s not His will, I trust He has something even better in store for how I can serve Him. For now, I have decided my theme will be unpacking some of the lessons I learn from my Father; through my reading of His Word, through Bible study, or church,(I go to Flatiron’s and it’s AMAZING) and general life experiences. God uses each of these, (in this order, or at least for me) to grow us spiritually. I’ve reached the point in our relationship,(God’s and mine) that I feel I am learning something new, some revelation or part of the story I had never heard or paid attention to before, almost daily. I suppose that’s what Mark meant by,
Then He (Jesus) opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
My life has changed, and I am convinced it’s because of reading my Bible. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the Bible can change anyone if they were to REALLY read their Bible; everyday, as part of their daily ritual. Take that word, for example, “ritual”… Although I’m sure the definition hasn’t changed, that it means the same as it did a year ago, or ten years ago; that is; “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a specific order,” (Google) it has taken on an entirely new meaning for me. Today, I picture something quite different from what I imagined ritual to be in the past. I see the beauty, the order, the harmony that makes ALL life work together, as ritual. I see the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as a parent; creating order, and Ritual, not to prohibit us, or to burden us, but to direct our path towards what He knows to be a better way. Just as I put my children on a routine, teaching them how to manage sleep, school, chores and hygiene; God is teaching me through my ritual of seeking Him daily. In the past, however, ritual used to be a word for me that immediately preceded a feeling of anger, followed by pity. I saw ritual as something people did because they didn’t really know God, that they just went through the motions to make people believe they did. I saw it as a tool used by many churches to push people farther from God, rather than closer. And I’m sure, in some circumstances, this is true. For many, the rituals have become their way of controlling God, rather than depending on Him. I have witnessed this, and I had seen those who stood, kneeled, stood, and repeated prayers, as being naive. In my heart, (which is all that matters to God) I didn’t give them the same respect as I gave to the Christians I related to, those who worshipped God the way that I do. I had been guilty of judging, not even knowing I was doing it.
So I found myself kneeling in repentance, asking God to forgive my pride, my arrogance, and for believing that I needed a biblical scholar, a pastor perhaps, to teach me, in order to grow. The truth, I see now, is that I should have been learning from EVERYONE around me. It was a powerful lesson for me, first painful, as I realized how many opportunities have already passed me by, but then joyful. My heart was suddenly overflowing with joy, as my relinquishing my sin to God had allowed His forgiveness to make me clean.
Each time, God unveils Himself to me in new ways, proving that He is indeed, the true Romancer. (A romantic changes things up to keep Love new and fresh) And if He is the Romancer, it would be safe to say that the Bible is His love letter to us. This perspective has made reading it an entirely new experience for me, even having read through it before.
Here’s the most amazing part…Every small truth that I learn about Him, also unveils a core truth about myself. This is because He is a part of me, and I, Him, as He not only created me, but made me His daughter. No wonder I’ve always been a “daddy’s girl”, I have the greatest Father of all. And yet, for as much as I love him, with all my heart, mind, and soul, He loves me infinitely MORE.
Thank you, Father, for the life and the love you have filled me with. I pray that you will use my overflowing heart to pour your love and your life into everyone I meet. With you, God, I believe ALL things are possible.