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F. A. T. Girls Bible Study

F. A. T. Girls Bible Study

Last December my pastor challenged me…

I don’t think he knew the impact his words would have on my heart,  and I don’t believe he realized he was indeed placing a challenge before me.

But…

sitting in a committee meeting (awww…those glorious church committee meetings), his comment became a prayer point and a question I would lay before the Father over the next few weeks. After much prayer and a lengthy conversation with Justin and Chelsea, the idea of F. A. T. Girls Bible studies began.

Now… the F. A. T. (Faithful. Available. Teachable) tag is not unique to me. It was not my brain child, but it was something Chelsea mentioned she had heard about.

In my heart and mind, God birthed this idea of teaching women of all ages how to study the Bible for themselves. It’s a small idea with big…kingdom… repercussions. I hope.

As followers of Christ… Bible-believing followers, we are surrounded by Christian bookstores which pedal a myriad of books on everything from devotionals and topical Christian nonfiction to workbook-based Bible studies covering specific topics relating to women and some individual books of the Bible.

Some of them…many of them, in all honesty, are fluffy. They seek to find girl-friend status on your bookshelves. They make Bible study and “knowing God” a soft place…comfortable. It’s not.

In truth,  after spending most of my adult life not only participating in these types of women’s studies, but also teaching them, I found myself starving for real encounters with the Word of God and yes…even God Himself. I realized there was a ridiculous amount of commentary… personal stories… girl-friend mentality pandering even… to these studies.

And while the studies were and are not bad, they left me with a mountain of questions and a horrible sense of inadequacy with regard to the study of God’s Word.

I needed something more, and my conversations with more seasoned believers led me to a couple of tools, people, and places.

Beginnings…

I took my first Precept Bible study class at a sister-church in town. Precept Bible Studies are the life-long project of Kay Arthur. Honestly, the Precept classes taught me to dig in God’s Word. Repetitive readings and marking the Scripture were an essential part of my growth in these studies. The Covenant study was my first Precept class, and it was life changing.

I began teaching  an adult Sunday School class without a quarterly, but focusing on a book of the Bible, digging and preparing  by completing the Precept class prior to teaching. The gift of a trip to Israel and the blessing of an opportunity to attend seminary changed my life and rewired my heart and my mind. I became a woman passionate about teaching others to study God’s Word for themselves…to know God’s Word bone marrow-deep.

Over the past few years, I began to read the writings of other Godly teachers,  Jen Wilkin and Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth, just to name two. I began to listen to and follow theology-based  podcasts. I completed many of Jen Wilkin’s free online studies through her Flower Mound studies. I read a crazy amount of books on how to study the Bible, looking at what worked for others, but mining the strategies that worked best for me. I invested in a solid Bible Dictionary and an Exhaustive Concordance. Prayerfully, I listened to and read the Bible deeply, asking for wisdom and discernment, hungry to know truth, but more importantly, trusting that daily I was growing bit by bit in the knowledge of the God who made me and wired my fickle heart.

Hungry…yes.

Hungry was and is the way I describe myself, which is why the mnemonic use of F. A. T.  appealed to me.  I believe that we must come to the study of God’s Word hungry to know Him, faithful in our approach, making ourselves available to Him and the study, and most definitely teachable and open to the Holy Spirit.

And so…

last January, I posted a random question about women who were hungry to study God’s Word, and a Bible study was born.

No workbooks, no famous women speaking on videos…

Just prayer, God’s Word, time spent pouring of the text, repetitive readings, marking  the text and asking  deep questions…

The most precious group of women came and became absorbed in amazing conversations surrounding the study of Scripture and how we flesh it out in our everyday lives…

Our Thursday night group became the sweetest gift to me. Thank you, Jesus!

F. A. T. Girls Bible study is easily one of the greatest adventures God has ordained in my life.

So now, we are adding another group,  and I am going to use my blog and Facebook presence to continue what God has started.

Beginning this week, I will share our study with those who follow this blog in hopes of encouraging more women to DIG deep in the study of the Bible, but more importantly, in their desire to know God through His Word.

Join us as we begin the study of 1 Samuel.

P.S. Thank you, Randy Darnell… my pastor and friend.

 

 

 

 

A Marvelous Summer Indeed!

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How does one measure a marvelous summer?

“Some” task-oriented individuals create a list of summer goals to accomplish…

Yes. I. Did…

(That’s a little sad, isn’t it?) Even I was type this, I recognize that it seems rigid. Just a tad…

The very idea of summer break should be frivolity with days of sand, sun, fun and play.  However, I have found that if I do not plan for “play,” I have a tendency to waste my days.

And… while Hallmark movies and an endless TBR book stack are great things, I miss out on other experiences. (Not to mention the fact, that my inactivity and my nibbling sabotage any semblance of weight loss I achieved during the school year.)

A list-maker and goal-setter by nature, my summer list pleases me greatly.

Checking things off fills me with an indescribable joy…

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In complete transparency, the one goal I will not meet is my reading goal of twenty-five books. I have read ALL summer, but much of my reading cannot be measured in completed books,  necessarily.  There have been several books I have given myself permission to close after the first forty pages, a task I still find difficult as an adult.

I am not a quitter.

But…life is too short to waste on boring books. Truth…Amen.

So now I am at one week.

One fleeting week…

My summer is ebbing like the ocean tide, and I feel like a child with scant change and one ride ticket  left in my pocket near the end of a wildly wonderful  day at an amusement park.

The need to cram  just a few more activities into my waning  break is nagging at  me today.

Is this what a Philippians 4:8 life looks like? a check list?

Probably not, but I seem to want to wrangle and corral most of my life onto a tamed, controlled list.

It doesn’t always fit.  Honestly, it rarely fits…ever,

and at the end of the day, that’s fine.

When I think about my marvelous summer,

it will be remembered because it was spectacularly about my family and my friends.

They were not specific items on my list, but they were there.

There was a beach trip…

with Hadasah, and it WAS spectacular! We had our  little princess all to ourselves for several days. No words can fully describe what  Bear and I experienced as we swam and played in the waves, the sand and the sun with our grand-joy! This time with her is something we had dreamed about while they lived in South Korea. What an amazing gift! We are thankful grands…

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There was a glorious trip to Colorado…

a week of exploration and mountain beauty with our youngest son, Josh. And it WAS an  unbelievable week. I will carry memories made during that week to my last breath…exquisite beauty in nature and some of the sweetest  moments we have ever had with our youngest man-cub.

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There were days spent with friends in the mountains… where we  talked for hours, rambled through quaint towns with cute little shops and tasted local faire… relaxing…

This was my summer.

However, there were other moments not on my paper list…

My pre-dawn hours of quiet time, prayer and Bible study  that ground and equip me…

Random last minute excursions with Bear…

Late night summer suppers and the aroma of grill smoke.

Weathering summer thunderstorms on the back porch sofa with a chocolate lab in my lap and my sweet man by my side…

The joy of watching  lightning bugs and experiencing a symphony of crickets and frogs with twinkle lights overhead…

No…these may not be goal or list worthy exploits, but these little snippets of days make my journey…our journeys worth taking and sharing with others.

Let’s be intentional with our play…

Life is fast, furious and all together unfair at times. Exhaustion and heartache are far too common for each of us.

So… when we are able…

let’s choose to be  deliberate with our  Philippians 4:8 “whatevers”…

Let’s build lives that look for and desire the lovely, the admirable, and the praiseworthy, not only in the way we live, but  in the way we live with others.

If we are not intentional in our days and with our people, it is painfully easy to be swept up in all that is hard and ugly in our day-to-day…

I want to fill the cracks of my days and my life with the lovely “whatevers”…

“Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admiriable…

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy…

Think about (set your hearts on… be deliberate with…)

Such things.”

How have you filled the cracks of your summer?

 

 

 

It’s Been A While…

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I stopped writing for a year.

Not that anyone else would notice, but I did.

My heart did.

I really think our hearts notice when we are silent, but we slog on.

This year has been

A wild adventure…

A school teacher-kind-of-crazy existence…

A following hard after Jesus path…

A nail-biting, waking-up-anxious-some-days kind of journey.

Tears, disappointments,  and frustrations have knocked me around,

And in true transparency, my heart doesn’t always ride the waves well…

It’s been  a season of knowing the hand to hold

And His Word abiding deep in the marrow of my bones.

Some days have been  sweeter than others.

Some days were  just hard…

Some days I chose to laugh when the tears were close…

BUT I have learned to be intentional with my time this year.

Intentional with my days…

With this gift called life…

I want to fill every crack and crevice of my journey

With the beautiful “whatevers”  of Philippines 4:8.

Whatever is…Honorable…

Just…

Pure…

Lovely…

Commendable…

Excellent…

Praiseworthy…

I am looking for life in the midst of these things…

Rose colored glasses?  Hmmm?

No… how about Jesus-tinted lenses?

That’s what I hope you find here.

So I have picked up my pen and stuck my journal in my bag…

I am ready to play with my words again.

Join me…

Worn

Celeste the Blue, faithful friend has squeaked her last conversation with her furry companion. Hershey, our lab, has loved this blue dragon. Now  Celeste  is silent, and Hershey wonders why.

Worn, tattered, and well-loved…

There is something beautiful about loving a toy to pieces. It’s an ode to the Velveteen Rabbit really.

In life, the worn, well-loved, and tattered are precious. I have a sweet attraction to them, more so now. In this season, I find beauty in things graced by age. Old books hold great charm. Well-loved items are reminders that things as well as people have stories.

Dear Younger Me… pay attention to the old things. New is not always better. Listen to the stories…They are important.

Write 31 Days

Day 7

Autumnal Bliss

It’s late Tuesday afternoon,

But it feels like Saturday from my back porch.

“Oh Fall, you are my favorite!”

Fall foods are comfort to this pajama and sweatshirt girl. Everything about it whispers, “Come in and get comfy, ya’ll.”

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The weather today has been spectacular. Really.

 High 70s…breezy…

In the South, we call this Autumnal Bliss! Pure and simple.

I get the biggest kick out of afternoons like this and the fact that I can enjoy them.

You see, the luxury of this moment…this afternoon… is not lost on me. I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to soak up fall days.

Afternoons like these make me want to cook pots of soup and bake bread. I feel somewhere between domestic goddess and Betty Crocker. It’s crazy how a slight change in weather can render me Little-Miss-Better-Homes-and-Gardens.  Thankfully the feeling doesn’t last long…

Tonight we are enjoying leftovers because it’s too early to leave the porch and cook.  I want to hang out here until darkness and mosquitos drive me inside.

Fabulous at 50 means I grab afternoons like this. It means I take the time to sit on my back porch, feel the breeze on my face and watch Hershey, our chocolate lab, chase leaves.

So today, October 4th,  I am writing from the back porch…because I can.

Join me.

Do the fabulous thing…

Take the time…make the time.

I hope you live in a place  where fall is bodacious and wild with color.

May you dance in a leaf shower and  enjoy a gentle breeze tangled in chimes…

And I hope you  even feel inclined to cook or bake. Bless your heart!

Happy fall ya’ll.

(Write 31 DaysDay 4)

 

 

No Whining Zone

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Whining is annoying…

and in my fifties, I have developed a zero tolerance for it.

I hope this doesn’t mean I am growing  hard or crusty. I want to be tender. I want to be sympathetic…

But…whining…

no.

I know…we all have our moments. Life is hard,  and we need to vent at times.

I vent in a journal with pen in hand. I vent in my prayers to the only One who truly cares or can do anything to help.

Often I need to put my frustration in words, organizing my thoughts. A wordy  brain and heart leak can be very therapeutic and productive… if I don’t sit in it.

On the other side of this, we all know those soldier-souls who keep marching through the cold hard situations life unleashes on  them…and they never whine…they never complain.

However, some people are chronic whiners. Some personalities are just prone to complain and feel sorry for themselves.

Some generalizations regarding whiners:

  1. In truth, most of us are  complainers at some point. We have our moments when we just need to be heard. Whiners do not have moments. They have seasons…long. seasons.

  2. Whiners usually want someone  to do something for them. For some it may simply be the need to be heard in the midst of their frustration. For others, they need something they do not have but feel they deserve. They want someone to do or get something for them. Some people just want others to feel sorry for them…to give them the attention they crave.

  3. Chronic whiners are usually self-centered.

  4. Whiners are rarely problem solvers or deep thinkers.  Surface issues or inconveniences leave them emotionally stranded.

  5. Whiners are light drainers, meaning they can suck the light and joy out of most situations. Debbie and Doug Downer are the people you do not want to invite to your party.

  6. Whiners attract other whiners. They feed off of the negative. They preach gloom and doom. They seek to instill fear and dread.

  7. Whiners often avoid hard work. They seem to wear a “can’t do” attitude.

  8. Most of us avoid whiners if at all possible.

If you are a whiner,

stop. it.

Ask yourself if you complain more than you encourage.

Ask yourself if people avoid you or conversations with you.

Ask yourself if your conversations with people are self-centered and focus on your pitiful life… (That was harsh. Sorry…not really  .)

Now that I have finished typing this post…

it sounds kind of whiny…

I guess I’m kind of whiny about whiners…

Day 3– 

Write 31 Days

 

Lisa Whittle… I Want God


Some books can be life changing and hard and wonderful and yet leave you poured out on the floor in a big goopy mess. 

And…this was that book for me. 

I started this book a couple of months ago, and it was during a searching season. I would pick it up and put it down.

At the beginning of the summer, I buried myself in this book…reading, journaling, and praying. The book is underlined, highlighted, dog-eared, and tear-stained.   

 Revival is personal, and Lisa Whittle’s book I Want God was a match to the dry tinder of my heart and life. This book hits deep despite its short length. Lisa gets inside your head and heart. The Lord used her words to speak some hard truth in my life of complacency and ritual. 
I loved the questions and inventory at the end of the chapters. The book would be FABULOUS for a small intimate group of women to work through. If you are seeking revival…a reset with God, prayerfully consider this book as a tool.

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