This could be the shortest blog post of my life because I’m in my pajamas, face washed, on the bed, ready to call it a day, and needing to get up way before dawn in the morning. But a tidal wave of grace hit my heart this evening and I want to try to put it into words right now at the tall foamy crest of it. I’ve gotten so many tweets from women starting Bible studies over these last 3 days. It’s, of course, because September is such a great time for getting back to some of our disciplines as summer has come to an end. As I’ve scrolled through the feed, a number of women are giving shout-outs about starting Children of the Day this week. Another sister told me on Twitter earlier today she’d just started Beloved Disciple. Another Stepping Up. Someone brand new to the whole concept asked me where she should start and I told her, among our own offerings, Jesus the One and Only.
A different woman told me yesterday she was starting A Woman’s Heart. The mention of that one always brings me close to tears because it was my maiden voyage into a life of study that by God’s unfathomable kindness and grace I, to date, have never gotten over. I almost couldn’t get up off the floor over that one. I fell so in love with Jesus and into such awe over His Word in that journey that it was nearly painful. Each study means so much to me because it overlays a stretch of my own personal life – miles of ups and downs and hopes and dreams and disappointments and detours and uncertain destinations – upon the life of Jesus, the Holy Son of God, on the pages of His own Word. I hope you could describe something similar when you spend weeks of a Bible study series with Him. Our imperfect, insecure lives converge with the fullness of the holy Christ right there on the page through the work of the Spirit and the result is transformation.
I want to say something to you girls. It has been and will continue to be, God willing, the honor of my ministry life to serve you in Bible study. One woman I heard from today has done all 15. Another one was starting her first one. I was overwhelmed by the grace of it. In February LifeWay and I will celebrate 20 years of Bible studies together. We never had a single thought that there would be a second one. We begged God early on to grant us diversity of reach in the Body of Christ so that we could see women’s Bible studies invade barriers and make heavy investments of heart into unity. He has done it. You are from all sorts of churches and backgrounds and denominations. Many who are coming into Bible studies in these last few years have no religious background at all. First generation Christians.
We have studied hard together and graced each other where we didn’t necessarily see eye to eye. We’ve given each other the grace to be different. We’ve esteemed each other as equally cherished by God, saved by the cross of Jesus Christ, and invited to the dining table where divine words become the feasts of queens.
I just want you to know I am sitting on the bed tonight deeply moved and with tears in my eyes. God has been so merciful. What grace to have gotten to be part of your lives though Bible study journeys. Thank you. I don’t even know how to say those words with the volume and force that my heart feels them right now.
It has never gotten old to me. I have never taken it for granted. And my past is too bad for me to take any credit. I know what a mess this woman was in and I know the miracle He did in me with His Word. He completely bathed and reworked and rebooted my brain until I was a completely different woman. And He keeps doing it because I keep needing considerable help. That drive – believing with all my heart that if He can do it for me, He can do it for anybody – keeps me in it every single day, even when days get hard.
Someone asked me in the last post if “Breaking Camp” meant I was saying any personal goodbyes. Not one single one, Sister. Not that I know of. Not unless somebody kicks me out. Smile. I don’t agree with everyone. But I will dang well serve anyone. I’m so thankful right now in my life not to feel enclosed and cramped in a camp. Just blessed by gracious communities. To see women discipled in God’s Word is the passion of my life. The air in my lungs. My partnership with LifeWay through curriculum and women’s events has been in an environment of truest community just like my church and LPM. I am blessed out of my mind.
So, anyway. That’s all I wanted to say. That I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude tonight. If God should ever decide to sweep me home suddenly, I’d have wanted there to be a place somewhere in public record where I just said these words:
Sisters: Feverishly following Jesus with you has been the greatest adventure of my life. THANK YOU.
So grateful to serve you and honored beyond words to serve this generation of women with other Bible teachers and communicators like Priscilla Shirer, Kelly Minter, Lisa Harper, Jennie Allen, Tammie Head, Jen Hatmaker, Christine Caine, Sheila Walsh, Angie Smith, Kay Arthur, Joyce Meyer, Lisa Bevere, Anne Graham Lotz, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Ann Voskamp, Lysa TerKeurst, and other stellar women I could name and write about all night. Great things are happening in women’s discipleship all over the globe. GREAT THINGS AMONG OUR YOUNG WOMEN. Great things among the seasoned and all those in between. Most of us don’t care whose Bible study you’re in or if it’s even a formal curriculum. We just want to see women with their faces planted into that Book so their feet will be planted on that Rock.
The gorgeous, glorious, breath of God on the sacred page.
Maybe this is a great post for you to tell us if you happen to be in a Bible study of any kind (by anybody! share the wealth!) or just diving into the Scriptures on your own this September of 2014. It would be so much fun to have you share it and somebody undecided might get an idea for her own pursuit of Scripture this Fall. Let us hear from you if you get the chance.
And thanks for listening. It wasn’t short after all. Why couldn’t it just ONCE BE SHORT????
I love you,