Thursday, July 2, 2015

a life verse for me

I am doing this online bible study, it's based on a book called "A Mended Heart". I've just finished chapter 4 and while I have gleaned quite a bit, I don't think I'm to the part where I personally have found mending.
One of the emails that they sent out had a guide for finding your life verse. I have had a few of these verses in my lifetime and while I wasn't raised in the word as much as a lot of people I can tell you the top 3 verses the Lord has given me even when I didn't have the word or before I was mature enough to spend time each day in God's word.

I'm going to have a milestone birthday tomorrow, July 3rd. I'm going to be 30. Gone are my twenties and while there were some great times (like my wedding and the birth of my children), and losing weight was a lot easier. Frankly, aside from the number I'm happy to see what this new decade will bring me and I thought I should approach it with an open heart and go ahead and try their life verse system to get off on the right start.

They had a cute PDF and I just used the comment feature in adobe to write directly on it,
Step 1:  write down what you need from God.
Step 2: what are your strengths and passions?
Step 3: what central themes do you see out of those two things (in hindsight I could have used a venn diagram) :-)
Step 4: They recommended a search in bible gateway with those key words and for you to pray about the verses that stand out to you. You could use the concordance in the back of your bible if you aren't in to the online thing.
Step 5: pick a verse and make it personal, You can verse map it, post it around you, pray about it, look at the context for sure, make it personal and something that sticks in your mind that you can go to when you just need an anchor.

Well, I searched and searched and I looked at my key words. I found many beautiful verses. Some new, and some familiar; all of them spoke something to me. None of them stood out as something that really made the bigger picture that would be an anchor. They just represent something I see in this season of my life which is great but not what I was praying for in a life verse.

I went back to some of my old favorites, verses that have stuck with me through the years and have really been what I needed when I needed to hear it.
Proverbs 3:5 - the first verse I ever memorized! I was 10 when I memorized this verse. This verse was my "go-to" as a baby Christian, When I was a small child I had a lot of confusing hurtful times and they all came to a head when I was in high school. It was truly the darkest time in my life and it took some year to heal and and come to a place where I can embrace it all. If didn't know much but I did know that God knows more than me and if I just kept walking and trusting beyond my own understanding, somehow I would be ok. I couldn't have backed it up in a theological discussion but my heart knew it's truth and that was good enough.
Hebrews 12:1 -  As a parent and as a wife and a Christian woman in this world sometimes life feels like a marathon. With the kids especially... I have compared many times having a child with special needs to running a marathon. Now I have never run 26.2 miles all at once but I have actually run 13.1 miles 4 times in 4 weeks. I can give some awesome comparisons and I'm pretty sure somewhere in this blog I have discussed it once or twice.

...and finally, and oldie but a goodie that I have concluded really is my life verse-
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - Over the years, it was my rock when I was going through those years of healing and finding peace with some of my childhood. It was taped inside the cabinet of our first home and I looked at it every day as a new mom and cried and prayed this verse as we lost income and eventually lost everything including the house. It always somehow had a literal application and I always needed it for something along the way. I feel sometimes that God has just given me a lot of opportunities to grow in my life. he's given me a multitude of blessings and always provision but also an equal amount of times when I walked through some heat in order to me made better. 
This morning though as I read through the whole chapter around this verse I saw it in a new light. I've read the context before but I was really praying and reflecting and wanting to see things differently. Like any great life verse I see different layers of it in different seasons of  life and here is what I discovered this morning-
Paul wrote Corinthians, in chapter 12 we come in and he is talking about how he has seen Jesus and he was there when he ascended and there are things he doesn't understand but this experience and knowing Jesus is worth bragging about. He says there is nothing for him to brag about for himself except the times when he was weak because he was made strong by Jesus and that is worth bragging about. In verses 7-8 he talks about the thorn in his side and how three times he asked it to be removed but how God told him that it was through this thorn that he was being used and blessed. As I prayed and reflected on this I was reminded that this verse is not only great for encouragement when you're walking through trials but also a great reminder of what God has brought you through and how even though your past may be difficult, it's worth bragging about. 

In this new decade of my life and new season of my life - now being gainfully employed, having a career, my children being school-aged (agh!), and having hope of buying a home again in the near future and having this fresh start feeling- I feel like this verse serves as a different kind of anchor; it is a reminder to be thankful for things good and bad and to not just feel good that those trials are over but to in fact be boastful for how we have come through these things because that's how awesome our God is! 
We're going to have thorns, I still have an auto-immune disease that doesn't have a name that keeps me close to God - every day when I wake up I think that whatever God wants me to get done today, he will make it so and I can only do it with him and we get a lot done! 
Birthdays are what you make them, all things in life are what you make them; I choose to use this birthday to reflect and feel boastful about the last 30 years and this crazy awesome roller coaster ride with God at the controls.
and so...
 God reminds us when we think of walking through trials "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delightin weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.