Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

The title of this post reflects the name of the Bible study class I'm taking for the next six weeks, and yesterday was the first time we met. My mom is taking it with me, which is fun. I don't think we've ever done one together. I feel so blessed to be a part of this group and to sit under teaching of yet another amazing godly woman. I'm so grateful God keeps putting these people in my path! I would love for her to mentor me, but probably everyone that knows her asks her to mentor them, so I am not going to. But I'm still praying about a mentor. But anyway, the teacher is authentic, spirited, funny as heck, and passionate for God's Word. I'm loving it. The focus of this study is on simplifying our spiritual lives, and it zeroes in on the two greatest commandments God gives, to love Him and to love others. The first three weeks will focus on knowing and loving God through His Word and through prayer, and the last three weeks will be on loving one another. I'm already feeling pretty challenged. This study is not in book form, we are just studying the Bible how God leads and journaling our way through the various passages and topics He leads each of us to personally. For instance, as we focus on studying God's Word this week and next, we will choose something to study so that we can put into practice the studying-strategies that we learn. This is the most fun part, for me, because I love Bible study! But God is already surprising me with where He is taking me. I decided I would study a particular text and definitely not pick a topic to study. Nothing against topical studies, they're just not my favorite. It just takes more work to figure out the appropriate contexts for passages when you're jumping around to different passages. So I tend to lead more towards studying a passage that has a clear beginning and end. So anyway, I had plans to do that. But then God changed them. He does that a lot, I'm learning. The teacher had a little notecard that listed some topic ideas, and the bottom one caught my eye and made me say, "darn!" The topic was none other than "the tongue." Yuck. God has already been convicting me so much about that lately, and part of me resisted studying that further. But God starting working in my heart, and by the time class ended I knew I needed to choose that one as my topic of study for the week. If the Lord brought up this issue with me last week, then I better go ahead and go as far with Him down that road as possible and learn ALL that I can about it, so I can change and be done having to revisit the issue! And it's only been a couple of days of studying, but I am so blessed by what He is showing me. I love that He loves us enough to take the time to show us where we need to change so that we don't have to miss out on more abundant life with Him. Because of what I wrote last week about words coming from the heart, I've been looking more closely at the heart issues that spur ungodly conversation issues like complaining, nagging, etc., and these heart issues include selfishness, lack of trust, insecurity, and discontentment. Actually, there are sadly a whole lot more, but I'll spare you. And me! But it's been eye-opening to say the least. And incredibly exhilarating, because God never shows us something ugly about our hearts that He doesn't always have the remedy for. And His remedy always showcases His loving grace. So as I deal with those things with Him, and they are of course an ongoing process and time is involved, I know more of His amazing attributes and can have a deeper and sweeter friendship with Him. What a good God. I will try at least once a week to blog about this Bible study journey just as a way to think through what He is showing me and to remind myself of the important things. Just putting this stuff out there in blog-world is hard, but it is a form of built-in accountability that I know is good for me.

Only three more days until Jonah's birthday, and I am getting really excited. Today I made the icing for his cakes, and I've been working on last-minute details. It looks like almost everyone invited is going to be there, so we might have a little crowd on our hands. I thought it would be small just because I figured not everyone could come. Summer birthdays tend to be that way with vacations and all that. So now I have to be praying for good weather, because it would be really cramped in our house to have all those people. It's planned as a backyard party. So join me in praying please, because there's a chance of rain!!! And I have no clue what to do if it rains. Candy, Eric, Jen, and Ciera will be here tomorrow evening, and we have lots of fun stuff planned for their visit, even a trip to a waterpark! Yay! I'm so excited about that. Ready for them to get here. Well, that boy is awake from his nap and yelling "I want out" so I better go get him. And I need to see if I can come up with an alternate dessert for our community group's cookout tonight since I just forgot about the brownies in the oven while I've been blogging! Where oh where has my brain gone?!