A few people posted asking about the Bible study I'm doing, so I thought I'd share just a bit. I just finished day 3 of the weekly study (I confess, I did 1 and 1/2 of 2 on Wednesday and did the second half of 2 and 3 today... and tomorrow I'll do 4 and 5 to be ready for Wednesday!). We've only met once, but there is a great group of ladies doing the study with me, so I'm really looking forward to the next 5 weeks!
Here's a little about the study...
We're studying the book of Jonah and it's led via DVD by Priscilla Shirer. She's a great speaker and very encouraging as well as well organized in the book and DVD this far. The study is on "Navigating a Life Interrupted." The idea is that everyone has 'interruptions' in life which aren't what we expected to do, yet God put them there as 'divine interventions'.
I can attest to that! :) A few things that the first days of this study asked us to share are what our life was like before our 'interruption' and what God has intervened with, then hour our life is a testament to God now because of that. For me personally, my life was that of a wife, a mother of a boy and a girl, presumably healthy. I was a children's minister working with 5-6th graders at our church and my husband was a senior high youth pastor. We had our own home, stable jobs which we both enjoyed, a young family which we were excited about, and things looked 'perfect'.
Our interruption-- which through the eyes of hindsight is definitely God's Intervention-- was the diagnosis we received when Brianna was 2 months old, saying that she has Down syndrome and also a heart defect which required open heart surgery. We had no choice in that, we were handed it and needed to accept it. We did, and God used it to also answer some questions about the direction our life would take from there on out.
That interruption changed our lives from ‘perfect’ also known as ‘ordinary,’ into one that we never imagined possible. It brought us that call which we couldn’t ignore. It brought us to a foreign country to love the unloved not just for a weekend or a year, but for a lifetime as our own. It brought us to take in a child nearby who needed a family. It called us to reach out to others that need the support and information because they, too, are raising special children in countries where that just isn’t accepted. It called us to a platform of sharing our journey (this blog and other areas as well) so that God’s call and His plan and His work could be seen by more than our neighborhood and we could share His story with the world (quite literally—there are about 1200 readers on this blog daily from 6 continents and 50 countries, which is, undeniably, Christ’s move to share His story because I know it’s nothing that I could do to bring that readership or interest in our everyday lives!).
There are two things that specifically stood out to me which I wanted to share here so I can remember them and because I think it will touch someone else as well:
1- The equation is written: Divine Intervention+ Yielded Submission= Eternal Significance. Then it asks us to reword this, and I believe this is what God spoke to me about that equation: God throwing things in + us intentionally obeying = blessings unimaginable on a heavenly scale (yet not necessarily understood in “earthly” terms)
2- Another day asked us to write a declaration of dependence. What do you say to state your intention to turn away from autonomous living and to full faith in Him? My own statement which I hope to always remember (tho it may be refined as we share at study this week :) ) is this: Lord, distract me from me so I can more clearly see you and be the daily hands and feet you’ve prepared me to be.
How do you see the ‘interruptions’ of life? Can you see the significance of it shift after-the-fact? Could it be a divine intervention? How would you rewrite that equation in your own words? Do you have a declaration of dependence? Have you taken that FIRST step in depending on Him?
I think in this first few days of this Bible study and even that very first meeting… then confirmed later this week talking to a friend… that I’ve found a ‘hidden’ passion that I want to discover some more. I don’t know quite what it will look like, or how it can be realized. But I think God’s put the desire in me for years and I just wasn’t sure what it would look like to follow it. I found a little more direction in that this week.
I look forward to seeing what God continues to build in me, to show me, and to bring me closer to Him through in the next few weeks of this Bible study!
If you’re interested in doing this study without a discussion group (on your own), you can purchase the book and video sessions at www.lifeway.com/women. Look for the study called Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. It’s about $4 each audio download, $5 for video downloads and $12 for the book (there are 7 sessions) so to do it on your own it would be about $40… or… you can still join in this week by joining us at Park Avenue on Wednesdays at 10am :). It’s just $10 for the book! :)