Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bible Study... Last Week. And a lovely short story.

So in a blur of life I never got to share about last week's study, and honestly the reading from last week and this week have begun to blur in my mind...

But I'd like to share what God has been teaching me in general.

*We're afraid of praying "I'll do Anything." But the thing is... we are specks tossed by the waves anyway. Anything could happen to us anyway. God's hands are the safest place to be.

*I really related to what I think was chapter 3- I have lived all of my life desperate to please others, and let it rob me of my adventures with God. But what can mere mortals do to me? Really? Isn't life just a minuscule blip on the spectrum of eternity? They can hurt me once-- I'll live in God's happy kingdom forever.

*He is my soul's husband, and it is His approval and the peace I find in His arms that matters more than what anyone else thinks.

*I also really loved from this week's mention of Narnia in the reading. (I know, I'm getting ahead of myself but..) these books have always drawn me into the adventure of God's Kingdom like no other. As Jennie acknowledges, Lucy is largely the heroine in these stories. Why? The only thing spectacular about her is spectacular trust, hope, and belief.

*I am learning that He really is big enough for our questions! I've been asking some hard ones this week. I know this was really on Lauren's heart too-- what you shared made me cry because it was very familiar to me. But I think the whole reason I am a Christian today is because I asked God some very bold questions a few years back- like "Just show me you exist!" At that time in my life he brought me some amazing signs and books like The Case for Christ. (The Kindle Edition is 2.99 right now for anyone who wants to be faced with the amazing evidence for how very real our God is. A book written by a skeptic who set out to disprove the Bible-- and found he could not. It was powerful in leading some kids at my school to salvation.)

*Last week's challenge also taught me some pretty amazing things. Every time I was tempted to worry I prayed that God would saturate every area of my life instead. He made some amazing things happen-- like providing money out of nowhere. And I was reminded that in the middle of all my Martha-like worry, only one things matters.

Then, I thought I'd leave you with this slightly off topic short story I found in my inbox today. Maybe what we're grasping so desperately for is so much closer than we ever would have believed... 

Love and blessings abound!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bible Study Week One

It's only been a week, but it's been one beautiful study. 

There are a few things I would love to share about what God's been doing this week-- and I hope you'll share in the comment box below if you'd like to join us for this study!(So far it's myself and Lauren from the beautiful Beautiful Hope). If you can't join in-- don't worry. I hope you'll be encouraged along the way in any case! 

So here's some prompts for you and for me...

1. Your thoughts after digging into the word. 
2. Your thoughts on the reading of Anything and the Good Morning Girls discussions/videos. 
3. The practical. How did the challenge go? The memorization of the verse? How has your studying impacted your life in a practical way? 

1. The SOAPS were almost... difficult for me this week. This week we really dug into the depths of how hopeless we are without Jesus. 
But I realized that the women who have impacted me most in this life, women like Katie Davis, and Ann Voskamp-- these women are those willing to wear the words messed up on their sleeve. And it's through their difficulties and weaknesses that I learn the extraordinary strength of my King! 

The Word really struck me afresh with the fact that I bring nothing. I know it, but sometimes? You need to wallow in it for a bit. All there is now is what HE has done. I don't bring anything to the table. I don't do anything for Him. I walk with him because He saved and loves me-- wouldn't you want to live your life by the man who was the first to love you, who saved your life? Who paid the ultimate price to call you friend?  

2. I knew that feeling of shame Jennie talked about, getting into trouble in the second grade. It's haunted me most of my life, that hot "feeling of being in trouble with the teacher". I realized that while we need to come face to face with how worthless we are-- wallowing in our shame and misery for too long disregards the work Christ has done. Repent doesn't only mean to be stricken with our nakedness, it means to turn around and keep walking. 

3. Two things I had to let go of in the challenge to discover what was keeping me back, were two extreme opposites. I realized there was a desperate war in me. Secretly, I want to be loved by a man, desperately. It's been on my head and heart a lot these days, as I have had helpless and nightly dreams of being loved and being held. But then... there was also my extreme bitterness towards them. 

I've been disrespected by a great deal of the men in my life-- the majority of them. I've never been enough for them. To the man that meant most in my life, I was not skinny enough, he told me this straight out and embarrassed me greatly over it in the name of wanting me to have a good life. To a guy who was like an older brother to me, I was not smart enough. Nothing I said could be met with acceptance-- only haughty scorning. To a guy that was my first and deepest affection, I was not cool enough, and he excluded me often in certain company. And those are only the three foremost examples in a lifetime of scorning. 

It was one of those complex conflicts in the heart that you hardly understand, the sort that makes us the fearsome and intricate creatures called women. 

I had both forgiving to do, and surrendering to do. God can handle how we think and feel, like Jennie said in her book. Like the Psalms are books of stark soul-bearing. He can lift the burden of loathing and loneliness, and turn this poison of both obsessive hatred and wanting, into a passion for living for Him-- trusting He'll do whatever brings the most love, joy, and peace out of my life. With a man's love or without. And today, that's without. And today, He is more than enough. 

Also-- and this was big-- as I was listening to the video from Jennie, I realized that I too was holding back with my writing not necessarily because I was waiting on God anymore, but because I was terrified of criticism. Terrified. But if God wants to use my writing to encourage... shouldn't I trust that He can deal with the criticism? 

I know this study is just starting out-- but whether you're taking part or not, what has got deepened or done in your life this week? 

His Love is amazing! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Some Free Books I Stumbled Upon!

So I recently got an abundance of marvelous books-- namely that of R.C. Sproul's Crucial Questions series. They are perfectly and blissfully free for kindle now! I was so glad.

This series deals with those deepest questions burning on many souls about big gospel questions-- can I be sure I'm saved? Why pray if God is already gonna do what He's gonna do- does prayer change anything? Does God control everything? Can I have joy in my life?

All Bible-immersed and worth reading either to answer your burning questions or to have a concise answer for others.

So just a free gift for the day. Me personally? I've started writing a new book that for the first time in ages is not fantasy! ('Tis quite an awe). I'm immersed in school again. I've just started this amazing Bible study (hey, if anyone wants to join me, go ahead! Start the Bible reading while waiting to get ahold of the book-- we could even form an online group of some sort since I'm currently studying alone!) I'm hoping to reach 300 gifts this week in my happiness adventure- which has been going marvelous (Truly. I have felt leagues lighter!). And I'm also praying for you, readers, and friends.

Adventure ever on!