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

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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

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

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

A Year of Walking in Faith

For those of us who don’t plan on being awake at midnight tonight, tomorrow begins the first day of a brand new year. I’ll have to remember to write 2015 at the tops of my school papers and just when I get used to that it’ll be 2016. Such is the ongoing cycle of life.

This past year has been filled with experiences, both good and bad. I began the year, not with a list of resolutions, but with a single word to focus myself throughout the twelve months of 2014. As many of you who have followed my admittedly sporadic posts know my word for 2014 was FAITH.

When I chose FAITH, I didn’t know how it would affect my life. I just knew that after prayerful consideration I felt led to choose it. Through those five little letters I grew and changed just as the seasons around me did. I learned more about myself, about God, and about the wonderful strength having a little bit of FAITH can bring.

Things happened during the year I’m not yet free to speak about, and truthfully might never be. However, I know, without a doubt, that without the LORD and FAITH I wouldn’t have made it through without a lot worse scars. I wouldn’t have had the strength to face the pain, the horror, and the heartbreak that hit my family. I wouldn’t have had the strength to stand strong for my family.

What started out as a word, became a living experience each day. FAITH was no longer just a word, but a natural part of who I now am. Each day my FAITH grows stronger and deeper. As I watch people I know change and become more bogged down in the world, my FAITH in God and His plans grows. As our society tears itself apart at the seams with racial tensions and anti-law enforcement protests, I have a strong FAITH in the plans the LORD has. I can’t explain the reasons, or why FAITH is so important, I just know it is.

I started out the year with no answers to the problems facing the world today, and I still don’t have them. What I do have though, is a FAITH in a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He carries the burdens of the world, so that we don’t have to. Is every day sunshine and lollipops? No, but they are made brighter by the unconditional love and forgiveness the LORD has given me.

So as 2014 fades away into the darkness and 2015 rises into the light, I have prayerfully considered what word will guide me through the coming year.

I am not a particularly social person, and I prefer my own company or the company of my husband and children to that of others. I prefer the solace of my home to the bustling energy of public gatherings, but regardless of these facts, I feel God has led me to focus on FELLOWSHIP in whatever ways He decides throughout the year.

I have no doubt that the next twelve months will be just as educational and enlightening for me as the last twelve were. I look forward to each lesson God will teach me and pray that I never turn my back on His teachings.

With Prayer and Love for you in the New Year,

Sare

“For to us a child was born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Why I’m Not a Perfect Mom

Photo Credit: Pinterest (Unknown)
Photo Credit: Pinterest (Unknown)

There are many reasons why I’m not a perfect mom, and why I won’t hold out hope that someday I’ll suddenly become that mother who ‘does it all’. You know the kind of mother portrayed in Leave it to Beaver. Perfectly dressed, make-up on, and not a hair out of place. The house would always be neat and orderly, the kiddos would always be polite and presentable, and I’d be excited to host dinner parties for my husband’s business associates. This of course would all come after I made three course meals for my children and made sure they were involved in all the right social circles.

I’m honest enough and realistic enough to know that won’t happen. Not only am I more comfortable in a pair of yoga pants than I’ve ever been in a dress and make-up, my hair tends to remain in a messy knot on my head. I don’t like the feel of it on my neck and I don’t have the patience to create some intricate style that wouldn’t stay in place while I chased my eighteen month old son around or snuggled with my seven year old daughter.

As for dinner parties, those are so not going to happen. I’m almost positive God’s plan for me doesn’t include being a society maven. My idea of a party is snuggling under a blanket in my pajamas, reading a good book and drinking tea.

There have been times in recent years when I’ve wished I were designed for perfection. Where I wish I didn’t have my quirks. In those moments I spent too much time cataloging the reasons I am not a perfect mom.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I’m a perfectionist. I’m very ‘type A’ when it comes to the completion of anything. From projects to keeping the house organized. I often feel sorry for my daughter (and eventually my son), because I’m the mother that requires rooms to be neat and toys to be returned to their proper place when they’re not in use. The house is not a bounce house designed for jumping and screaming, and there is no playing outside without supervision–regardless of what the neighbor kids get to do.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I am an introvert. My perfect home would be far away from neighbors, have a lot of land for my children to play on, and have a fence to keep people away. Now, I’m not saying I’m completely a hermit, but the ability is there. Whenever I’m around people I seem to internalize their emotions and their energy. It takes me days to recuperate after any social event. My daughter on the other hand is an extrovert. She loves people, and going and doing. She very rarely needs time to recharge away from people, and is happier when she has social interaction all the time.

I’m not a perfect mom, because I am hormonal. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and that means living in a state where people forget what the sun is makes me melancholy and irritable.

I am not a perfect mom, but I also know that’s okay. I know that the LORD has a plan for me, and that he’s in control. He knows what I need, even if I don’t.

I’m not a perfect mom, but  each day I strive to be a better mom than I was the day before. Each morning I pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance. I pray for help navigating the path of parenthood. I pray for understanding and that my children and I will grow together in our faith.

I’m not a perfect mom, but I am a forgiven mom. I am a saved mom, and I am a faithful mom. Every day may not go the way I hope it will, but it goes the way it needs to go. Each day I learn something new.

Each and every day I try to be a little less of a perfectionist. I make the effort to get my daughter into social situations so that she can thrive. I do what I can to control my hormones, and to control my mood. The point is, I’m not perfect, but I’m me. I’m following God, and doing what I can for my children.

“As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30

May the LORD bless you,

Sare

Dunking for Jesus

My daughter just became a Daisy in Girl Scouts, and she did this in time for the tail end of cookie sales. So, of course, I took the cookies to the Women’s Bible Study at my church.

While there, both of our Pastors purchased a couple of boxes for their families. After doing so, we sat around with Pastor R and he said something that still makes me laugh.

Since we’re Baptist and everyone knows that Baptists love food, we’ve decided that Girl Scout cookies seem like the perfect thing to use during our private prayer time. Take a box of cookies, a glass of milk, and your Bible into your prayer closet (or where ever you go for your quality time with the LORD), and for every prayer you dunk a cookie.

Pastor R called it Dunking for Jesus.

Granted, he wasn’t serious, but it made my day. I think that during any walk with God, there needs to be some humor–and cookies. Preferably, Thin Mints or Samoas. 😉

And, in case you’re wondering–between that Women’s Bible Study and the Marines who work with my husband, my daughter sold 84 boxes of cookies. Not too bad for only doing it at the tail end of cookie season.

Have a Blessed Monday,

Sare

Listening to the LORD

I’m new to this whole prayer, Bible reading, and listening to what the LORD is saying to me. Often times (okay, pretty much all the time) I feel like I’m never going to get it. I feel His presence in my heart, like the sun warming my skin after the cold, but I don’t ever really ‘get’ what he’s saying.

I’ve prayed about this daily, and it’ll probably remain in my prayers for years to come, because I really do want to understand the words being spoken to my heart. I need to understand where I’m supposed to go, the lessons I’m supposed to learn, and the life I’m supposed to live.

Mostly, I feel like I need an interpreter.

Does anyone know of a “Voice of God” interpreter I could make use of?

Recently, while reading my daily selection for the Bible in a year reading plan I’m on, my Bible had a study guide for “Hearing the Lord”.

Excellent.

I was overjoyed and ecstatic the LORD had visibly shown me a sign. For the first time, I think I ‘heard’ Him. I’m of course, making use of the verses listed within that study, which leads to more praying, and more listening, so I have hope that one day all those warm rays of light hitting my heart will make sense to me.

Until then, I guess I’ll just enjoy the peace my time with God brings me each day, and keep looking for an interpreter.

Blessings,

Sare

My One Word: Faith

Every year people make New Year’s resolutions. They’re going to get in shape, lose weight, join a gym, eat better, drink less, read more, the lists of changes go on and on. Most of those resolutions fall flat within days or weeks. Some turn out to be too hard, and others just get lost in the day to day stresses of life.

I’ve been one of those people. Every year. Year after year.

This year I decided to try something different. I prayed. I prayed for guidance for the year ahead. I prayed for an open heart, and I prayed for understanding.

The word Faith popped into my head, and tugged at me for days. What I really wanted in this new year was Faith. Faith in the LORD, in His word, and in my place in His plan.

I’d heard in passing people mention focusing on an intention instead of resolutions. They’d pick a single word and focus on it for the entire year. So I did too. I threw away my list (and I love lists), and wrote down the single word.

My One Word, my own personal target for this year is Faith. I will focus on that word in every way the LORD leads me. I pray about it, I read about it, I apply it to my life. This isn’t a quick fix, this is a long term plan of action. A way to fix one important part of me at a time. This isn’t self help, this is opening myself up and focusing on one thing so the LORD can guide me where I’m meant to be in his plan.

If you’re interested in learning more about this One Word revolution, check out: myoneword.org

Have A Blessed Day,

Sare