Full-Fat Tea

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the Bible

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

For Christmas 2015, I received a Bible study book titled, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.

At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from the pages of this relatively thin book.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading study guides for various themes or books within the Bible, and I figured this would be similar.

I was correct on only one part.

It is a book on studying the Bible.

What it ISN’T is a manufactured Bible study.

Within the first seven chapters of the book, the author shows you how to approach the study of any book in the Bible (and preferably every book in the Bible) for optimal literacy.

This includes studying with the five “Ps”:

  • purpose
  • perspective
  • patience
  • process
  • prayer

Bible literacy isn’t a phrase I was familiar with.

What is Bible Literacy?

According to the Northwest Centre for Biblical and Theological Literacy,

Biblical Literacy describes the ability and motivation of people to read the Bible with sufficient understanding so that they can explain its basic meaning, having sufficient knowledge and skill to use resources that enable them to discern the basic meaning of a biblical text. It includes the ability to apply this discerned meaning, i.e. biblical wisdom, to contemporary life.”

Since I’d focused on the word Joy for the year, I realized I need a better scriptural understanding of it.

I didn’t want to understand how a single verse on “joy” applied to me, but how that verse applied to the bigger picture of God’s love and plan for everyone.

Only then would I be able to see how it applied to me in the present and future.

Why You Should Become a Woman of the Word

In a day and age when more and more people are not only turning away from God, but are antagonistic towards anyone who dares to trust in Him, it is important for us to have a clear, educated understanding of God’s Word.

Becoming a Woman of the Word: A Journey Through the bible @wellofaith.com

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

It doesn’t change.

It isn’t corrupt.

People will tell you you’re wrong.

They’ll offer you opinion stated as fact.

Some will twist the scriptures to fit their personal agenda.

We must know what the Bible says and what it means–both historically and applicably.

Our own relationship with Christ might not be affected by their misunderstandings, but our children’s relationships might be.

The Bible is Not a Fairy Tale

The Bible was provided for us so that we would know what was expected of us, and what we could in turn expect from our God.

Within the sixty-six books of the Bible we learn how to raise our children, love our spouses, and how to love our neighbors while not loving or applauding their sins.

We see the great love, righteousness and compassion of God who created EVERYTHING, and loves us without fail.

People read these stories and consider them fairy tales.

Stories made up to explain away situations they otherwise had no answers for.

As Christians we know this isn’t the case.

The Old Testament gives us a detailed account of all the things we shouldn’t do–and how God loved the Israelites so much that he forgave them time and time again; finally disciplining out of love when they refused to listen.

In the New Testament we see the miracles.

The unbelievable, awe-inspiring, miracles of Jesus.

Jesus Performed Miracles: The End

There are people who will latch on to these miracles and claim they didn’t happen.

That they couldn’t happen.

The only problem with their argument: It’s wrong.

Jesus performed miracles.

This is a fact.

A fact supported by historical research; not just research done by people predisposed to seeing miracles, but also by secular historians and scholars.

If we don’t study the Bible, we won’t be able to respond to those who haven’t discovered their faith in Jesus.

As a mother I need to be able to guide my children; to help them find the answers they seek, and to know how to articulate the truth when confronted by their secular peers.

We also need to study the Bible, because it’s the voice of God speaking directly to each and every one of us.

Daily Study

When you have a relationship with someone, you spend time with them. You talk to them, ask questions about them, and seek answers to who they are.

The same thing needs to happen when you want a personal relationship with Christ.

You can’t expect a relationship–or an understanding of the scriptures–to happen if you’re not spending time together.

Women of the Word makes it possible to do more than just scan a verse and take it out of context, because it sounds like a verse to make you feel better about yourself.

The more time you spend with God (in prayer, in study, in contemplation) the closer you’ll get, and the more you’ll understand.

You don’t always need to spend hours diving deeply into the Word, but you need to meet up with God, in peace and quiet, each day.

There are dozens of ways to “fit” God into your day; between scrolling social media and running your kids to their activities.

However, we shouldn’t have to squeeze God in.

He should be our top priority.

After all, we’re His top priority.

I know it won’t be easy, but learning a new habit–especially one that will help you grow each and every day, isn’t always going to be easy, but it will always be worth it.

First thing in the morning, before you get overwhelmed by your ‘to do’ list, grab your Bible, colored pens and pencils, and a notebook.

Then take a breath, and say hello to the only one who has loved you without ceasing since before you were born.

He’s been waiting for you.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” -Proverbs 1:5

Until next time,

wellofaith

Check out I Plant My Roots in Jesus

Becoming a Woman of the Word--wellofaith.com
The Power of a Praying Spouse--WellOFaith

The Power of a Praying Spouse

The Power of a Praying Spouse-- Well O'Faith

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure.

Being the spouse of a hardworking Marine, doesn’t leave a lot of time for date nights or quality time with each other.

In the ten years we’d been married, we’d been together for two anniversaries. The other eight years he was either deployed to Afghanistan, Japan, or away on training exercises that kept us from being together to celebrate.

In February 2016 it was our tenth anniversary, and the first one–in a long time–my husband was home for.

It was also less than a week after the death of my father.

Much to my husband’s disappointment our anniversary slipped past without much more than a sigh.

In the last decade (and a little more) my husband and I have been through a lot.

When we said “I Do”, neither of us really knew what to expect.

He was barely 21-years-old and had never been married before.

I was carrying so much baggage TSA would have been concerned–not to mention the fees I had to pay on all that luggage weight!

Our marriage hasn’t been easy, and there were plenty of times early on when we could have turned our backs and moved on without each other, but we didn’t.

The Power of a Praying Spouse--WellOFaith

We also knew that in order to keep moving forward we needed to start actively being part of each other’s lives. We needed to commit to doing something together that would bring us closer.

Not just to each other, but to the LORD as well.

In January we had joined our small-group (mentioned here). When we were invited to join, we both jumped at the chance. It felt right, and we knew it was just what we needed to help strengthen our marriage.

The first study of the year for our group was an answer to our prayers.As a group we prayerfully decided to use the books The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Husband by Stormie Omartian.

These books aren’t normally used as Bible studies, but in our case it worked out well.

The Power of a Praying Spouse--Well O Faith

My husband and I discussed the readings each week and the prayers provided within the chapters guided us to new depths of prayer for each other. Within the first week I’d already noticed a difference in the way we interacted.

Not only did the readings bring new insight into how and why to pray for him, they opened up a new understanding of myself.

I highly recommend grabbing a book for you and your spouse. They’re a quick read and well worth it.

If you’ve already read one of these books, what did you think? How did it help you?

Blessings,

Sare Signature

How Patience Helps Us Grow



Each morning as we sit around the breakfast table we do a devotional as a family. Once in a while the topic will spur deeper discussion with my nine-year-old daughter; usually she remains silent while she drinks her milk and stares at me as if I just asked her when she was leaving for the moon.

This morning, the topic was patience, something I’ve never been particularly good with. I’m more of an instant gratification person. Of course, three children later, instant gratification seems more like a fairy tale, and patience is still something I’m struggling with.

Often I wonder what lesson the LORD is teaching me on the (many) days my children conspire to make me crazy. I assume it is patience, but until today, I didn’t truly understand what that meant in a spiritual, Christ-centered way.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.

Romans 5:3-5

It’s such a wonderful feeling to know how much God loves us, even when we aren’t patient. The Bible is always here to help; to remind us to rejoice even when we’re struggling, because we have the Holy Spirit, and it continually fills us with His love.

Blessings,

Sare

Working Through It

The past few weeks have been hard. Events I’d like to have control over, but don’t, brought my father’s death back to the forefront of my mind, and my emotions are raw. These emotions seem to be reflected back at me through my daughter as well. She is such an amazingly strong and loving little lady, but I see the sadness lurking behind her eyes. While she is happier now than she was a few months ago, I still see the shadows that dim her happiness.

It concerns me that I see in her a child trying to take control of her surroundings. So much like me, only far too young to have those responsibilities. I do everything I can to remind her to be a kid, to keep her focused on things more positive than the random emotions tearing at my own heart.

We’re working through it.

God’s working through us.

I know there is a reason to all this, and I have faith that in the end it will all be for the better. Until that time I do what I can to keep the balance. I workout to strengthen my body for God’s work, and I spend time with Him daily. I turn to Him in thanksgiving as well as for strength.

Some days are easier than others. There are great days, and then there are days when I’d rather never get out of bed again. On those days even sunshine doesn’t seem as bright, and I am reminded just how imperfect I really am.

I’m thankful that God loves me anyway.

So, together, God, my daughter, and I will work through it.

Together.

tea balls loose tea

What I Remember: Tea with My Father [A Happy Memory]

What I Remember: Tea With My Father

Memories on My Father’s Birthday

 

Today is my father’s birthday.

He’s no longer here to celebrate it, but each year on this day, I still say a prayer and send him a wish.

It’s quiet, and it’s ours.

My whole adult life, my father was my closest friend. Even when I made mistakes, I knew I could talk about them to him. 

As an adult I never felt judged by him.

It wasn’t always like that. 

Teenage Sare was an angry, bitter girl. I resented my father for working all the time and no longer being around to play buffer between my mother and me.

I missed him joining my NJROTC drill teams on our trips, and being home with me in the evenings for dinner. I’d become a latchkey kid.

Not everything was bad though.

I can look back now and see the good things that happened during those years. 

The Past Can Be Sweet

When I was in junior high and high school, my father and I would get up early in the morning, before either of us had to leave for the day, and we’d drink Irish Breakfast tea in the quiet kitchen.

Living in the PNW meant waking up to complete darkness and rain streaking the windows. Tea was a perfect accessory to strengthen our resolve to leave the house. 

Especially on those really early mornings in high school when I had zero hour swimming. I was definitely not a morning person as a teen.

tea_hot_hands
Even today I enjoy Irish Breakfast Tea

Drinking tea together was a calming ritual that made even the worst days a little easier to deal with.

That short amount of time was always a wonderful experience. 

The pang of my father’s absence still lingers in my heart; sometimes more poignant than others.

This morning was one of those moments where sweet memories I hadn’t thought of in years flooded my heart. I found it fitting that they came to me while spending time with my Heavenly Father, and drinking my morning cup of Irish Breakfast tea.

Memories Help Us Grow

Though my father is no longer physically with me, and we haven’t shared the early silence of a rain-soaked morning since I graduated from high school, those moments led to the moment I had this morning.

Everything we experience in life leaves a mark on us, whether good or bad.

These experiences with my father leave me with the desire to make similar memories with my children.

Remember today to embrace the good moments, even amid the chaos and pain of living life in this fallen world.

God doesn’t promise it will be easy, but He does promise it will be worth it.

Until next time,

 

 

wellofaith
What I Remember: Tea with My Father--wellofaith.com

(Kind of) Navigating Friendship

I firmly believe the LORD places people in our lives for a number of reasons. We may never understand what those particular reasons are, but as Faithful followers of Christ, we take it on Faith (or at least try really hard to). We trust the LORD, because we know He has it all figured out (Right?).

Since my word this year is Fellowship, I’ve been contemplating friendships: how they’re formed, how they’re nourished, and how they fade away. I’ve never been someone with a large group of friends. Even in school, I preferred the company of a single person to a crowd. This hasn’t changed in the years since I left the halls overcrowded with teenage angst, overlapping voices, and the slamming of lockers (and do I need to mention the overpowering smell of cologne and body spray?).

Making friends also isn’t what it used to be. I’m no longer forced into situations where friendships are made simply out of necessity. I am no longer trapped inside a building for eight hours a day, sharing experiences with the same people hour after hour, bonding over a shared desire to grow up.

No, now I am that grown-up. I’m voluntarily in a home all day long with my children, and when possible, my husband. I’m not sharing in misery, I’m sharing in love and a desire to grow together.

Without the forced interaction, making friends is hard. Friendship is no longer about shared boredom, but about responsibility. Being friends isn’t just about seeing someone during classes, at lunch, or in the hallways. Friendship as an adult requires effort. It requires a deeper bond, and the understanding that you may go long periods of time without seeing each other, because you’re adults with responsibilities that take you on different paths.

Several years back God introduced me to one of my nearest and dearest friends. It was completely by chance we ever met. I was in California and she was in Washington. We met through an online writer’s group, and we often joke about it being the only time online dating ever worked (Love you, Babe!). She now lives in Hawaii with her new husband (one of my few friends from high school), and her three children. I’m of course, back in the PNW. Though we see each other rarely, our relationship remains intact. Our lives have taken us in drastically different directions, and on paper we shouldn’t match up, but God knows what each of us needs. Without even realizing it, she helped me to acknowledge God and to understand He was calling me. I’ve never told her I feel she was placed in my life to help me be the person I am today, and I’d like to think the LORD has used me in her life as well.

As I grow and change each day, I look for new opportunities (and often have to force myself into them) to meet people who may change my life in some way. I keep my heart open so I don’t miss the subtle signs God gives me that may lead me to someone who will become one of those few friends I cherish.

Of course, even with God’s grace and love, these opportunities always scare me. The shy girl I thought I left in junior high wants to come back. I start questioning everything I say. Did I just sound really dumb? Man, I should have dressed differently. I don’t fit in here. I have nothing in common. I’m so new to being Christian, what if I say something that completely labels me as some kind of fraud?

Okay, so in some cases making friends as an adult brings you right back to those terribly awkward teenage years. Or, maybe that’s just me.

I’ve met some amazing people in the last year, and especially in the past three months. I still have moments of discomfort and shyness, but more often than not I look forward to seeing them and getting to know them. Most of the time when I’m with them I’m able to relax and not wonder if I’m going to say something that will make me the social pariah. I’m a work in progress.

What it really comes down to is I NEED to trust in the LORD. I NEED to trust His work in others the same as I trust His work in me. None of us are perfect, and it is possible some of them are as hesitant as I am when it comes to meeting people and letting them into the heart.

Until next time, may the LORD bring peace to your life,

Sare

To Journal or Not to Journal, That is MY Question

Pinterest is an amazing thing, and by amazing I mean an unimaginable time-sucking, black hole of inspiration that can either brighten a person’s day, or cause them despair over their own lack of creativeness.

The other day while I was wasting time  taking a break and scanning the latest pins on Pinterest, I came across this post on Bible journaling. Every time I see a post about journaling, it sets a fire inside my heart.

want to journal my Bible study. I need to journal my Bible study.

We’ll forget for a moment how horrible I am about remembering to journal, and instead focus on the small fact I can never decide what I want this amazing, important, and useful study tool to actually look like. I can’t even get past the bare bones of how I want it set up, so there is no reason to fret about actually using it, right?

Some people say that a plain composition book is all you need, while others have a much more aesthetically pleasing idea. I’m pretty sure my inner-librarian (the same one who cringes every time I force myself to hi-light a particularly meaningful verse in my Bible) would have a flat out panic attack if I journaled like this.

I know writing down my thoughts while I’m sitting at the feet of the LORD is important, and it would be a great way to reflect later on what I’d learned and where that knowledge took me. I just can’t seem to get past my own perfectionist tendencies that bog me down in the details instead of the big picture.

Do you journal? What kind of book do you use? Is it a handmade one, a spiral notebook you pulled out of your cabinet or a composition book you picked up at the office supply store? Do you decorate it and make it artistically appealing, or is it just your words and impressions on a white paper?

As always, I will turn to the LORD for answers to this problem, and maybe I should avoid Pinterest before it causes me even more confusion. 🙂

Blessings in the LORD,

Sare

Lessons Through the WORD

A week ago I stumbled upon a blog post talking about the importance of memorizing large sections of the Bible, not just a single verse, but the surrounding verses as well so that you would have a better understanding of the context. Now, I’m not particularly good at memorizing things, (I’m a mother, and many of my brain cells seemed to have been given to my children. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) but I decided to give it a try.

The post recommended a person begin with Psalm 100, because it shows Thanksgiving and Joy. It really is an amazing chapter to memorize.

So far, I’ve managed to memorize the entire thing EXCEPT the final verse. “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5 The first four verses locked themselves in my heart and mind rather easily, but not verse five. I’ve been working on verse five for the past three days.Those sixteen words keep slipping away. Just when I think I’ve got them down, they disappear like the stars behind clouds. I know they’re still there, I just can’t see them.

This got me thinking. These words must be important. I mean, really important. If the LORD has kept them in front of me, niggling at me, I must need to study them more. There is a lesson within those sixteen words that I need to accept and understand. I think once I do they’ll embed themselves into my memory without a problem.

Things have been difficult on an emotional level the past few months, and I think these words are the key to my healing. To acknowledge that no matter what is going on, the LORD is good and His love endures forever.

It’s time to take this to heart.

Is there a verse or section of verses that you’ve found particularly helpful to your life? Have you memorized them? Share them in the comments below. 🙂

May the LORD bless you today and always,

Sare

My One Word: Fellowship.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Our LORD is amazing and He works in ways we couldn’t begin to imagine. He has a plan for my life, and even though I’m not sure yet what that plan is, I know it will be amazing.

When I first chose FELLOWSHIP as my word for this year, I didn’t know what it would mean. Honestly, I’m still not one-hundred percent sure what it means or what it will mean at the end of 2015. What I do know is that I’m already seeing evidence of God’s work on me through it.

My husband and I have been attending our church since the first Sunday we were in town–so just over a year now. Our church has an active military group who meet twice a month for fellowship and study. During the last year I’ve interacted with most of the people in this group, yet never once was I aware of the FELLOWSHIP that was available. Then, this past Sunday, my husband and I were invited to join the others.

It was TIME.

A month ago, I probably wouldn’t have been open and receptive to the invitation. It was socializing, and what was even more deterring, it was socializing with other military families. Something I’ve been known to shy away from, because of a number of bad experiences in the past.

This week, my heart was open and waiting. I heard the voice inside whisper, “This is for you. Say yes.”

On Monday my husband and I, along with our two children went to our first small group fellowship, and in so many ways it was right. It filled my cup with laughter and joy. We discussed upcoming studies, and it was refreshing to know others going through the same things I was.

After an emotionally draining day, God knew exactly what I would need. He opened a door for me, and I walked through it. I can’t wait for what He’ll teach me through this experience with FELLOWSHIP.

Do you have a particular moment of Fellowship that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Prayers to you and yours,

Sare

Snuggles with the LORD

I don’t know if many of you have heard of the DVD series, “Buck Denver asks…What’s in the Bible”. It’s from Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales. When I popped in the first DVD and realized it was a bunch of puppets I was NOT excited. I dislike puppets. I was the weird kid who didn’t like the Muppets. In fact, I still don’t like the Muppets. I do however, enjoy these puppets now.

Each morning this week, after our one-on-one studies are completed, my kiddos and I take a break for some snuggles on the couch. We watch one of the thirty minute episodes (today’s was on 2 Samuel), and I smile when my youngest who isn’t quite a year-and-a-half yet, starts dancing on his bum. My daughter, who has seen many of these episodes in Children’s Church will giggle and sing along with the songs. I’m not ashamed to say I often find myself tapping my foot or my fingers to the beat as we all sit together.

It is wonderful to know that something created for kids can still entertain an adult. It is even better to know, that even though we don’t watch a lot of television- preferring books for our entertainment- that there are shows out there that teach wonderful things. This show has opened up the stories of the Bible in a great way.

I love being able to snuggle with my children while they learn about the LORD…

Okay, I admit it, I’m learning too. 🙂

Snuggles and the LORD…a great way to start any day. 🙂

Sare

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4