Going into the challenge this time, I wasn't for sure what to expect. Would it be life-changing again? Would it be boring? Would my attitude be "been there, done that" or "let's just get it over with"? Remember, I promised honesty when I started blogging! Those were some of my thoughts.
Now that I'm officially half-way and have stayed on track this time, I can answer that question. It has been worth every minute I have spent. Last time, it was about finishing the challenge for the first time. It was about doing something I had never done....reading the Bible cover to cover, in order. This time around, it has been less of a struggle. I know generally what is coming next since I've already done it and it has been fairly recent. I'm not sitting back wondering if I'm actually going to get it done or if I'll quit since I already know it's possible to accomplish. I already knew what changes I would have to make to my daily schedule/daily life to make sure that the reading got completed. "Those" issues and concerns were out of the way.
What I have discovered is that I now CRAVE those words. I am finding more excitement to dig into God's word EVERY day. It has been a soothing comfort to a heart that has been so broken. My perspective about SO many things has changed dramatically. Not only because of the many losses we've experienced (Dad's death, the loss of our unborn child, financial loss, loss of family relationships, loss of "security" and trust in others and other huge dings to our faith), but just because I'm seeing the world in a different way. Right now, it's not a secret that I'm still in that questioning stage of why things happen, what God needs us to learn, and where he is asking us to go from here. Because my heart is so deep in that asking stage, the answers are POPPING off the page.
Today those of us that began this challenge together are finishing up Psalm. The last several days of reading through Psalm has been truly eye-opening for me. I have read those words MANY times through the years, but it as if I've been reading them for the first time. I'm finding "myself" in the words more than EVER. There are constant words of comfort. Many times I feel as if I could have written a particular chapter myself. So many times David felt alone, abandoned, heart broken, deep in despair. YET HE PRAISED GOD! I have carried that same attitude through all of our trials and will continue to do so, EVEN WHEN IT IS HARD! It is also comforting to see when the authors were angry and lashed out. It was also a unique experience to be feeling so many of the same raw emotions of Job when reading through that book.
Perspective changes everything. God's word never changes. Those same truths were there many years ago and will still be there in the years to come. It's when our hearts change that we begin to see things differently. We all have the choice to let horrible situations harden our hearts or we can choose to fight the building up of walls. I want to curl up in my little hole in the corner of the world many days and throw my hands up and say this fight isn't worth fighting. However, I made the choice to keep on trusting God no matter how many curve balls have been thrown at my faith.
Perspective is just a matter of being where you are at the moment. Today the kids and I were talking about the weather. We are jumping up and down with excitement to be in the upper 40s. Even though snow is EVERYWHERE and still deep in places, we have the windows open! It feels that warm to us right now! We are embracing it. A few months ago as summer was ending, these temps would have sent us back in the door scrambling to find coats! Perspective.
I originally decided to rejoin this challenge to just give me something specific to focus on every day. I originally just needed SOMETHING stable, something normal to do. I just wanted to be faithful and consistent when very little in my life falls into that category right now. God has taken that act of faith and obedience and is using it to reshape me into the mother, wife, friend, and servant that He has designed. I'm not sure where that will lead me or how that person will look in the end, but I'm willing to be along for the ride. So far, the journey has been worth it. Change is never easy. Reshaping is usually never without effort or even pain. Most often, the results are well worth it.
The words of Mercy Me's song Word of God Speak (which is one of the songs that plays on this blog), says my thoughts so much better than I ever could.
I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak
I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice
Thankful today for the times that I have been unable to speak, but yet have finally been finding myself again by being in the midst of Him. In the quiet, I've been hearing his voice again and it's been a beautiful, welcomed sound.