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Pick your sword

January 7, 2013
My real Bible and our family sword placed on my grandmother's quilt.

My real Bible and our family sword placed on my grandmother’s quilt.

So a new year and a new adventure begin for all of us.  I have had a few weeks to reflect and to ponder on what direction I feel God pulling my heart.  One thing is for sure, I am glad that we are embarking on a new year.  This past year, 2012, wasn’t my best year.  I spent 9 months very ill (albeit not letting on to most people), 7 months planning, executing, and wrapping up Reed’s Run, and one month in deep grief over my grandmother and the Newtown tragedy.

Desperately, I needed a new start and a new direction. After much prayer, I know that God is calling me to spend more time with my writing (particularly on finishing a couple books I have started) and with kids – simply basking in the joy of being their momma (which He knows has been my lifelong heart’s desire). Secondarily, God is asking me to answer his call to the various churches that have invited me to come and speak.  So there you go – my spiritual goals for the New Year.

In order to achieve those goals, I need to be firmly rooted in God’s word.  I achieved my goal of reading through the Bible (cover to cover) last year.  It took me several years to do it, but I ruminated over what God was telling me and then digested it.  That is where I want to start my writing for this year.  I want to implore all who read this blog to really consider carving out a time to connect with God through his Word.  Don’t let your Bible be something that you dust!

Where do you begin?  Wherever your heart leads you is the answer I would give you.  There are wonderful daily devotionals (in print and online) as well as pacing schedules if you want to tackle reading the whole Bible in a period of time.

But wait! Before you begin, I want to share a little story with you.  A few years back I was at a get-away and I was busy working on some baby quilts.  A new friend that I had met earlier in the week stopped into the room I was in.  We visited for quite some time about our lives, our families and our faiths.  Eventually, she asked me, “What Bible does your church use?” I was a little bit taken aback.  I asked a clarifying question to make sure she was asking about what version/revision/translation that we used.  I answered that our pew Bibles were NIV, but that each person uses the version that spoke most to his/her heart.  Her response felt like someone sucker punched me. “Oh, I guess you aren’t really Christians because you don’t use the original King James.” DO WHAT????  I wanted to argue about how King James wasn’t around at the time the Bible was written in the original Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, but I decided that it was wasted breath.

Her comment reminds me so much of a Ghandi quote, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so much unlike your Christ.”  Wow! With the fighting and bickering among Christian denominations, it is no wonder that we who follow Christ are getting a bad reputation.  (On a side note, I found a really great blog on that topic http://www.mongoosemom.com/?p=27 so I won’t go into that, but please read it if you get a chance.)  My concern here is to talk about the only sure way we know what God is trying to tell us.

Two weeks ago in church, we had a guest missionary who spoke during the sermon time on his work with Wycliffe Bible Translators.  He spoke something that soothed over that wound in my heart and affirmed what I already believed.  He talked about our church’s initiative to read through the Bible in a year (which I tried and failed miserably at doing previously). He asked us to pick our swords.  “What did he just say?” My ears perked up.  He clarified, “Pick your sword – whatever translation of the Bible pierces your heart the deepest.”  Now that has stuck with me.  My first go round with the reading the Bible through was with a study companion that was over my head.  I didn’t understand it, and thus it was doomed from the start.  Later, I found a study Bible by one of my favorite authors and then it clicked.  God’s word literally pierced my heart and my soul and I found that I couldn’t put it down.

I know the direction God is calling me for the time being. Trust me, I have failed miserably and will fail again.  But I know that God is for me; so, I get up and keep going.  If you are hearing your name being whispered, follow the source to his written word.  If you don’t know your sword yet, pick out a couple to try.  When you find the right one (or ones – I have several translations that I like), then my prayer for you is that you find the greatest love story ever written to you!

Last thought for today: God was smiling on me when I researched today.  For those that take the time to read the blog by Mongoose Mom, look at the date that she originally posted that blog.  Just know that God prompted her heart on the day of my darkest hour, fully knowing that someday I would stumble across a message that resonated with me.  Simply put, GOD is AMAZING!

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