"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pursuing God- My story

For those of you who don't know, I have been a Christian for about 8 years.  Yes, I grew up around it, and while I went through phases of embracing it at times, most of my phases rejected it.  So, in my opinion, it was not until I was 20 that I personally surrendered my life.  And never since that day have I been completely the same.

From the moment I did become a Christian, I have somehow (grace from the Holy Spirit) managed to have a daily quiet time pretty consistently minus weeks of where I'm on vacation or what have you.  And the insanity that is post partum.  

Originally, I have thrown in a devotional book from time to time, but mostly used old Today in the Word copies from my mom (these are mailed to you for free from Moody Bible by the way, and are really fantastic).

However, sometime last year, Tommy Nelson, who's been my pastor for awhile challenged us to be reading 3 chapters of the Bible a day until you read through the Bible.  Repeat cycle throughout your life and hopefully by the time your 40 you should basically know the Bible like the back of your hand.  I was so inspired by this, convicted by this.  I don't know my Bible consecutively like that.  I know some random books.  But not chapter by chapter by chapter.  

And so I started last summer by reading Genesis, Job, and Matthew daily.  My little Today in the Word devotions have mostly fallen to the side, although I do throw those in for a little change up once a week or so.  During the school year, I couldn't keep up with the 3 chapters a day, plus all the journaling of my thoughts and prayers I like to do, plus teaching and being a single mom.  And that is fine.  I switched to a chapter a day.  I haven't given up yet, although it's going to take me years to get through the whole Bible.  The thing is, I'm starting to see that its so worth it.

Currently, I'm at the end of Exodus, the middle of Psalms, and the end of John.  And as I've slowly worked my way through, one thing that is really really sticking out to me is that God actually speaks to me!  I don't need 'help' understanding scriptures because I have the Holy Spirit living in me.  It's just crazy to me how 'alive' Jesus really is within them.  (aside, some months ago I blogged about someone whose story in the Voices of Martyrs convicted me because I realized I didn't recognize how alive Jesus was.  My prayer became that I would see how Jesus is alive in my life.  Prayer- being answered as we speak!)  I'm at the point in Exodus where most of what I am reading is how many cubits tall the tabernacle is etc.  I've never understood the point of these belabored details.  But I have been amazed as I've worked through it at how much there really is to learn.  Namely, God is so sovereign.  God CHOSE people and then ENABLED them with the skills to do this stuff.  Life can seem so daunting when you think of all the things you should be doing.  But you read that and realize God CHOSE me to do something that he is ENABLING me to have the skills to do.  That is God carrying my burdens for me.  That is God walking with me and leading me in all things.  And this is stuff I've learned from the building of the tabernacle!!!

And then recently I read about all the people willingly giving God loads and loads of gold, jewels, etc.  Not because they had to, just wanted to.  That is amazing and convicting.  Especially as an American.  I'm so addicted to fashion blogs and up and coming trends and music and pop culture and changing my hair color and vanity, vanity, vanity.  I've thought a lot about foreign missions here in the last couple of years as I've become obsessed with voices of the martyrs.  And one day, thats pretty much what I want to do.  But the thing that currently freaks me out about it is the loss of personal comfort and all my hobbies (see music and fashion).  I was so convicted of that this week.  But I hope that at least now that I am so strongly aware, at least I can start letting go.

I am currently reading "The Pursuit of God" by Tozer - highly recommend.  Chapter 2 deals with this so specifically.  There were other idols in my life the first 7 years of my Christian walk (another blog for another day), that I completely had the Abraham experience of being asked to put it to death.  Painful, gut wrenching, but I can honestly say I am free from those idols.  (Not that I don't have to continuously keep myself in Christ to avoid those resurfacing or anything...)  It's just crazy because as soon as you realize one is gone, another pops up.  And this I am struggling with now.  Except this time, I want to be willing to surrender it without have to walk the valley until I have no other option to surrender.  Hard to even consider when you have the lifetime American habit of consuming, consuming, consuming....

And so my prayers from those who read is this: that God would make me willing to surrender it all at a moments notice if that was necessary, that I would 'possess nothing' but realize that God is my only possession, and that I would be able to recognize where He wants me to be.  

And my challenge- if you have ever been afraid by the daunting task of reading through the Bible and how the heck you would make it through things like Leviticus- stop! being! afraid!  God really did put those in there for a reason- and you can actually learn so much.  It may just be one line out of the whole chapter- but that line will be powerful!  And honestly the reading through 3 sections is nice because it keeps it fresh :)  Try it!  You will never go back to sheer devotionals again.  Although I do recommend a study Bible to explain some things along the way though :)

And coming soon- I will write about how my Abraham experience, how God had me surrender what I held most on to, and the beauty of letting go and being filled by God....


Danielle In The City said...

Last year I started the ESV study plan at the back of my ESV study Bible (One of the best study Bibles of all time, btw, if not THE best....) . It gives you four separate readings per day, and over the course of a year, you end up reading the whole Bible, and even repeating certain key books. I almost made it all the way through, but got distracted somewhere in October (I had started in january). I've been really considered starting from scratch again and just reading as many of those selections every day as I can. it really is amaizng how my eyes are opened in that way.

ThistleAshD said...

Agreed! I've never done it this way, but it has been absolutely amazing. I am going at my own pace for sure, but it is still been worth it.

westbrooks said...

Very awesome! That is my goal to read through the Bible I have started many times but never made it through!
Right now I am doing a study on Nehemiah and its very convicting. Its called A heart that can break. I am realizing exactly how "selfish" we are. I know God has called me to be a mom to my 2 children but he has also called me to teach them how to show love and compassion to others. That is my conviction right now. As Colby is getting older I see that we need to really start teaching him about giving to others...I have a few ideas of family activities to do before the year is over but I am also praying that I can teach him "in the moment" this as well! Your blog is very inspiring just wanted to tell you!