Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spiritual Check Up

Well, 10 days into the new year, and I'm still with my resolution to read my Bible every day and to keep my list of 1000 gifts. As with most things once the novelty wore off (around day 3!), and it became hard. Yesterday I had a major breakdown when it took me hours (literally!) to read my several chapters of Genesis. After pondering what my problem was I realized that when I read scripture, I rarely just read it. My brain is interacting--asking questions, imagining the real lives of the cast, noticing relationships and patterns. Because of this, my inclination is to study it using commentaries, word studies, and making charts and lists. Often the resources I'm using don't answer my questions, and I have to search the Internet to see if I can find some answers. I want to read through my Bible in a year, but I want to study it for myself too!

Once I realized what my hangup was, I called a friend for advice on how to handle it. Her first question to me: What is your purpose for reading through the Bible? Well ... DUH! I realized that I need to be very clear on what I'm doing, so for now, I'm just reading and making some notes, and I'll just keep doing that until I can pray about it a little more and decide if this whole read-through-in-a-year things is what God wants me to do, or just what I want to do from legalism.

My list of grace gifts is growing so quickly. Several times I've found myself feeling down or frustrated or overwhelmed, and I've just pulled out my Grace journal and reviewed it or added to it. This hasn't been any kind of magic solution to overcoming the emotions of the moment, but it does change my focus and has restored much of my peace. It's odd too, that sometimes I hold myself back from counting things that I deem "little" or "silly." I realized that on Christmas day my kids love what is in their stockings as well as their "big gifts," so it's OK for me to be grateful for the fun little things God does because He knows that only I will love them!

Here are the things, silly or not, that I've added to my list:

#41 "Mom, getting on Pinterest is one of the best things you've done!" [because I'm actually making recipes and doing things from it]
#42 Helen
#43 Christmas money to spend from a family member
#44 encouragement from a sister in Christ
#45 watching Andrew soften to correction and teaching through the course of an afternoon
#46 everyone waking up without a fight
#47 enjoying worship with our Praise team at church--twice!
#48 being reunited with friends who've been away from our church
#49 seeing a young man who grew up as a "hero" to my boys, and meeting his wife
#50 realizing how much I was enjoying Sunday worship (Thanksgiving makes all the difference!)
#51 Hearing Andrew say, "TEN DOLLARS?!?!?" [as the offering plate was passed by us]
#52 having Matthias over and hearingthe boys enjoying time together
#54 returning to God's Word late at night (remembering to return is HUGE!!!)
#55 great, trusted, "Duh!" advice from Eva
#56 a photo I loved and time to play with it
#57 time alone with Josh to talk
#58 opportunity to let a single mom friend board here
#59 the stirring of my BIG DREAM
#60 dinner with Helen's family
#61 a CPAP hose on hand to replace a broken one
#62 sunlight after a rainy morning
#63 grown up conversations with my almost-grown-up son
#64 finally getting school on track -- sorta
#65 spiritual conversations with a friend who trusts me
#66 ice cream with Stephen -- and great conversation!
#67 two hours with the younger boys gone so I'm alone enough to think and write and read

.... and the gifts continue!

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