A book review.
I used to get super annoyed with pastors and speakers when they said that the key to unlocking your faith was reading the Bible. I would always roll my eyes and give a big huff and think to myself, "How could reading one book really change my life like that?"
Okay, so let me be the first to admit that reading the Harry Potter books growing up totally affected the trajectory of my life from a very young age. So I'm not totally sure why I didn't buy into the idea that the literal words of God would do so much more. But anyways.
The thing is that I had tried to read my Bible in high school, multiple times, starting in Genesis and making it to--I don't know, halfway through Exodus? I loved the creation story and the life of Joseph and the parting of the Red Sea and all of that, sure, but once it got into all the archaic rules and laws of all the things that I wasn't allowed to do and all of the things I was supposed to do (which face it, no one was doing), He lost me.
Then I got saved.
My small group leader bought me my very first big kid Bible and gave me these highlighter crayon things and gave me a devotional book (My Upmost for His Highest, can you imagine?) and I was so excited--
For like a month, and then I stopped reading at Exodus.
Then I went on a mission trip to Texas.
And I was like, "Wow, this is so amazing, I want to feel as close to God as I do now but for always!"
That lasted maybe a week after I got back.
I'm sitting here hoping and praying as I type that someone out there feels me on this. We go to conferences and retreats, we go on mission trips and Jesus-kicks, only for our fire to peter out just as quickly as it came.
Y'all. I LED A BIBLE STUDY. For a YEAR. And rarely cracked the thing open. (I mean I did the assigned readings, but only the day before and always out of context. Whatever was said in my living room floor on Sunday nights was not me. Those thoughts were not my thoughts because y'all, I didn't have any thoughts. Praise Jesus for the workings of the Holy Spirit and His boundless grace in that season!)
Things started to change that following summer, a year ago, when I joined a women's study on a series called Seamless by Angie Smith. Angie is hilarious and did such an awesome job of simplifying the things that I didn't care to understand. It was six weeks of digging deep into God's Word and seeing how it all fit together beautifully, from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane.
It was in this study that I learned that Jacob literally wrestled with God (if you knew me last summer, you knew I was totally floored by this revelation). I learned that a prostitue, Rahab, is included in the family line of Jesus. I learned that Saul and Paul were in fact the same person. (Okay, I already knew that one, but only because a friend of mine had made a joke about it years previously.)
I absolutely believe with my whole heart that God brought this study into my life the summer before Uganda because He knew that I was not going to make it there without His Word on my heart.
I took the study and my Bible with me on the plane, landed, moved in to my new home and--
Didn't read my Bible for like a week.
Here I was, on mission for Jesus, so excited to be a part of what He was doing in Uganda, and yet I was walking into battle, not wielding the strongest weapon He gave me. I got so tired so fast you would've thought that I had a physical condition. About two weeks in I remember standing in the kitchen thinking, "I am not going to make it."
That was the day I got serious about Scripture and serious about Sabbath. I started waking up at 7 every single morning and spending hours pouring over my Bible (nothing in Uganda happens before 11, so when I say hours, I mean hours). I learned how to rest in the truth of His promises, which were written right there, just for me, all along.
Y'all, I fell madly in love with God while I was in Uganda. There were some really awesome things that happened while I was there, cool stories that I can tell people today and get a nice reaction from, but the very best part of the whole thing was my morning routine with Jesus.
He and I got real deep as the sun rose up over the palm tree in the yard. We dealt with heart issues that I'd had for forever but hadn't had the time or energy to face. He reminded me of His eternal goodness and His faithful love and His boundless grace.
All through His Word. All through a book that I had previously tried and failed to read, and at other times had simply refused to even try. I think a lot of that has to do with idols in my life that I had placed above God, but I also think it's the enemy at work. He knows what good it does our souls to connect with our Father, and so he is bound and determined to interrupt us, sending all the power of hell against us meeting with God.
Well, I've read the whole thing now, and I can't go back. His words are too sweet and pure and good to ignore. I went from rolling my eyes at the prospect of reading my Bible to begging Jesus to meet me and teach me and grow me as I read. I hope this is an encouragement to you, knowing that it is hard to get started, but so worth it to finish.