Get caught up on my story here.
I grew up in a strong Bible teaching church. Many days at my mother's house were filled with flannel graph stories and cardboard Bible characters. Every Christmas we would dress up and act out the Christmas story. As a teenager whenever I was struggling with a problem, any problem, in friendship, in peer pressure, in materialism, in moving high schools, choosing a college. My mom would lead me to God's Word. Although I knew her opinion of my choices even before I made them, I can't remember her lecturing me too much. The picture I have of her is bringing me a Bible with a bookmark in it. I can honestly say that God's Word was the foundation on which I grew.
The thing that needs to be said about that is this. Although, I look back as an adult and am so grateful and truly appreciative of this instruction, I did not understand it all as a kid. Opening up God's Word and reading rules and regulations suffocated me. It totally depressed me. I felt I would be a failure forever. Not because I couldn't follow God's laws but because I didn't even possess the desire to try. I knew they were good for life but not for my life. I remember feeling shame and sadness that even if I obeyed God, He would never see fit to bless me.
In this condition, I entered college. By the end of my freshman year, I was searching. I began to ask God to make me love His way of life and to do whatever it would take to make life better. I hated my life. If you're caught up on my story, you'll remember that this state of my heart led me to a youth camp where I found the love I had sought for so long.
From my church background I knew all the things I needed to do. I knew what was required to grow closer to God. I was ready to try all of it. Praying everyday about everything. Reading scripture everyday and striving to apply it to my life. Finding friends who would build me up and not tear me down everyday.
This was a great time of growth for me. I was so far from where I wanted to be but for the first time ever I was on the right track. I had so much free time to attend different Bible studies and read. Every book I read was new and challenging except for The Book. I still struggled to spend time in God's Word daily.
During this time I memorized many verses, completed many studies, served in a church as an intern during the summers and even led friends to accept Christ. Still, I was frustrated that I did not feel God's Word alive and active when I studied it. Oh, how I wanted to. How I prayed and begged God. I spent regular time reading The Bible but not daily time.
Fast forward a few years. I had many small children. I was knee deep in all things baby. I was tired. I kept my Bible open on my kitchen counter all the time so I could grab a few verses here and there. My favorite verse, my theme during this time, was Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." I had learned it as a small child and carried it close to my heart with my babies.
For years, all I could do would be to utter this one verse over and over while begging God for strength. Somewhere in the middle of having all these babies, I realized I needed God's Word and began to reach for it more and more. It still wasn't quite as alive in me as I desired but I felt myself responding to His Voice as I read. I was still crying out to the Lord to open my eyes!
Then a friend invited me to a ladies' event at her church. From the second one of the speakers opened her mouth, I knew I wanted what she had. She simply read scripture and life, glorious life flowed from her lips. The words, people and message danced in my mind's eye. I felt the twinge in my heart that I knew was God saying He was changing me.
After she spoke I made a mad dash over to her and begged her to lay her hands on me and pray that I would see God's Word in living color just like she did. She prayed and prayed for me. I headed for home feeling different, inspired, energized.
It was then that I began to experience God's Word instead of just simply reading it. I can now see how every single person in the Bible is like me in some way. I can see the big picture of God's message. Every single day, God reveals another of his beautiful secrets to me. I love spending time with Him in His Word more than life, more than sleep, more than an organized house...More than anything. It was worth every second and every year of waiting for Him to answer me.
Just recently I was praying and thanking God for giving me the gift of words. I just love the sound of words. They dance in my head all the time. I've always wanted to write. I've always loved to read. As I thanked God for giving me words, I began to thank God for giving me His Word. I said God, "Thank you for giving me Your Word. I love words."
He answered me by saying, "No, Lisa, you love The Word." John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
If any of you are struggling with loving God's Word, first just love The Living Word. Cry out to Him and confess how hard it is to study the Bible. Ask Him how to silence your heart and mind so that you may fill it to overflowing with His goodness and life. Beg Him to meet you in time you set aside to study. Have someone lay hands on you and pray this prayer for you. Ask me and I'll pray via email. We must become desperate for God's Word, desperate for The Word. As I've grown more and more desperate I've fallen more and more in love and experienced more and more revelation. I am still so desperate!
The lady who prayed for me left me with a question, a challenge; one I am passing on to you. "Which one are you?" She encouraged me to read the Bible cover to cover and let God show me "my story" in His Story. Before I share that here, I'm going to ask you to discover yours. I'll be back next week to share my story with you. Remember we are all bits and pieces of many Biblical characters but God showed me one that I understand everything about...Ask Him to show you. He will.