what I have been doing.

So, y’all might have noticed that I haven’t been around quite as much. And that’s been deliberate. I have felt like I need to step back a bit to get a fresh perspective on my priorities. How I spend my time, my energy.

How I spend my self. Because, whether we want to believe it or not, we are spending ourselves every moment of every day on something.

God is really working on me. And as I’ve hinted at before, I’m not quite sure what He’s up to. But I want to share this with y’all because it’s so much more than a destination. It’s a journey.

And I’m so enjoying the tools I’ve found along the way to help me, encourage me and impel me to dig into God’s word.

At the beginning of summer, we joined our neighbors and a few other couples to study not a fan. It was eye-opening to say the least. It’s a study unlike any other I’ve done and it forced me to see more clearly how much more I need to lean into my relationship with Jesus. If you are looking for a study to push you, convict you and encourage you, this is one to consider.

And of course, I love me some Beth Moore. This is the third study of hers I’ve done with my sister – we have a weekly over-the-phone study – each one has been such a blessing. Right now we are studying Daniel. We chose it since we both continue to do our best to follow the Daniel Plan and what an encouragement it has been. Daniel was a man of courage, integrity and wisdom – I am convicted and inspired by his walk with God. I have learned so much more about this book of the Bible than I’d ever known before and it’s awesome. And, well… Beth Moore always makes me smile.

I’m also reading a book by Matt Chandler. He is my favorite-y favorite pastor. One of my bffs, Colleen, encouraged me to listen to his podcasts a few years ago and I think I’ve listened and re-listened (is that even a word?) to almost all of his sermons. He is that good. He wrote a book called the Explicit Gospel and, naturally, I got it. I’m about 1/4 into it and he gives you just as many nuggets to chew on as he does in his sermons. Beautiful, powerful, transforming truth. I’m sort of savoring it, as I don’t often buy myself books, and I don’t want to rush through it. But I’ll give y’all my full review once I’ve finished it.

And, for the third time, I’m working through Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. This was one of the first Bible studies I ever did, back when Dalton was a baby. And it changed my life. Truly. I am quite certain that we would have missed the blessing of adoption if God had not used this study to open my heart to surrendering my will and trading it for His. A few years later I went through it again with my sister and now I’m doing it again with Victoria. We are only into the second week, but there is no doubt that I am going to learn just as much as my daughter in this study. God’s word is always fresh and no matter where I am in my relationship with the Lord, there is so much more for me to hear, to see and to learn. Can’t wait to see what He does through this study. If you’ve never done a Bible study, this is a wonderful place to start. And even if you’ve done a hundred studies, this is still one to consider.

My walk with Jesus has weathered many seasons. Some where I have felt so close to Him I could almost feel His breath on me. And other times I have feared that He just wasn’t there. It’s a journey, and it seems that the more I surrender myself and seek Him, the more He reveals Himself to me. Through studies and sermons, but most of all through His word.

Are you currently reading or studying the Bible? I’d love it if you’d share what He is teaching you in the comment section.

And if you’re not? I encourage you to simply dive in. There is nothing like it.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
~ Hebrews 4:12

P.S. Also consider joining the prayer that is going on over at my sweet friend Linny’s blog. You can ask for prayer and join in to pray for the needs of others. The community of believers joined in prayer is a powerful thing.


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Comments

  1. Forgive me for asking, but what exactly do you mean by “a study”? I mean I read scriptures, but do you discuss it like a book club? Sounds so wonderful, just curious how I’d do it.

    • Yes, sort of! There are all sorts of Bible studies out there – here is a great place to start: http://www.lifeway.com/n/Bible-Study
      In the past I have done Bible studies with friends in a small group or at church, and I’ve also done them one on one. No matter how you choose to study the Bible, it is ALWAYS a blessing :)

  2. Thanks again for being such an encouraging, challenging, sweet sister-in-Christ! You push me probably without even knowing it :)

  3. Thank you for these GREAT recommendations! I think it’s about time I started reading some inspirational books and I appreciate that you are giving me a good place to start. Which one first? Experiencing God? Thanks Stefanie!

    • I would definitely vote for Experiencing God. It’s an amazing study that is so practical! It is a study I did about 15 years ago and I still talk about it regularly. Ooops. I couldn’t resist throwing in my 2 cents….call it post-menopausal spontaneity….{I’lll go back to my corner now. haha}

    • I agree, Linny :)
      Experiencing God is so wonderful, honestly I don’t know another study out there that impacted my life more than that one. There are other great ones, but that one is at the top of my list.
      Thanks for weighing in Linny, I’ll take your .02 anytime!

  4. I just love you and I am soooo thankful that you are sharing your journey with bloggy friends. Can’t wait to talk!! xo

  5. Experiencing God is awsome! I need to revisit that one again. I have also done Not A Fan. The author is my preacher and can’t recommend it enough. I am definatley needing a good Bible Study. It’s been too long. Have you read Radical by David Platt? Another great read.

    • Oh wow, he is your pastor? So cool!

      I have read Radical – and it was great. It was a few years ago and I probably need to read it again. My husband read it recently and absolutely loved it.

  6. I just got an iPhone and have been looking for podcasts. You’re the second person to recommend Matt Chandler, so I guess I should look him up!

    I am currently reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker and doing the follow along study at the (in)courage blog. Also doing the Beth Moore David study. I did her Psalms of Ascent this spring, and it was incredible.

    • Yes, you will LOVE Matt Chandler. I listen to the same sermon two or maybe three times during the week to be sure it really soaks in :)

      7 sounds like a great book. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I plan to soon. I did buy my daughter her book about studying the Bible… I love her sense of humor!

  7. Right now I am doing a self-study in Hosea…camped out in the 1st part of Chp 2, (the charges against Gomer) asking God to reveal my “lovers” to me…anything that I have showered with my worship of time and attention rather than Him. The one that keeps impressing on my heart is desire for control. I am also doing a group study of David using a workbook (I think it is called Anointed, Redeemed, Transformed)…and the first section is all about how desire for control leads to joylessness, anxiety, frustration, etc. So I am grateful for the way God is using this workbook to clarify and drive home what He is showing me in His Word.

    • Oh my, Tish. Definitely sounds like a great study. What made you study Hosea? I so love that book, such a beautiful reminder that His love for us is unchanging, no matter what mistakes we make.

      God keeps impressing upon me how sinful pride can be. I have heard this verse at least a half dozen times in the last few weeks, from what seems like every direction: “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Definitely turning the word “pride” over and over in my mind and praying for Him to reveal all the sources of pride in my life.

      Good stuff, my friend. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  8. I’m in the middle of “not a fan” right now. (And loved Experiencing God when I did it years ago.) This summer I’ve read Radical by David Platt – REALLY GOOD. I think you’d like it. The one that’s really impacted me, though? 1,000 Gifts. It seems so… simple… but it was PROFOUNDLY BEAUTIFUL and gaspingly life-changing. (See, I can make up words, too!) I’ve started my own list of gifts from God… and it’s shocking how much it adjusts the emotions of life.

  9. I just finished Enhancing Your Marriage by Judy Rossi…about marriage, yes, but also sooooo much more. Did this with our church’s women. The Lord has had me do this study 4 times, I think it is! I’m always in adifferent season and need some reminding and encouraging to follow Jesus in my marriage in different areas. About to begin Beth Moore’s James study with my oldest daughter and working on pulling together a group study of the names of God…probably going to use Ann spangler’s book by the same title. Can’t wait!!!!

  10. I’m interested to see where Jesus leads you in this new part of your journey. Adopting is such a life-changing leap of faith, so that when you’re done with that season, don’t you feel like you just can’t go back to normal? We’re in the middle of what I think will be our last adoption, and I’ve sure had those thoughts!

    Right now I’m reading “Not a Fan” and doing the “7″ foods with a group of friends after reading Jen Hatmaker’s great book. You’ll have to read it too, though after doing the Daniel fast, I don’t think the 7 foods would be that hard! BTW, I’d love to hear an update on the Daniel Fast. After doing “7″ foods, I’m thinking of doing the Daniel Fast…after a chocolate cupcake…or two…..

    And one more thing: I love your blog…It’s one of my favorites! Love your humor, love your style, love seeing your beautiful children and LOVE your children’s names….. We have Max, Victoria, Zane, Eliza, Mary-Gemma and Luisa and are trying to pick out one more girie name now…..Have any “leftovers?” ;o)

    Blessings to you in Jesus!

    • Thanks, Lisa!
      You know, I don’t think we’ll ever go back to ‘normal’. But keeping up with everyone now definitely keeps me busy enough! And honestly, I just don’t think I could do another homestudy…
      I am following my own version of the Daniel Plan (http://danielplan.com/). And it’s really been great! I’ve found a whole new group of foods I never enjoyed before, but after cutting sugar, sodas and coffee out of my life, I find I enjoy a lot of things a lot more than I used to :) I’ve been working out and have lost about 15 pounds. I feel so much better, fewer mood swings, more energy – and I know that taking good care of my body is what God wanted me to do, not just for Him, but for ME!
      And girl names? Oh my! Love girl names. A few we loved but that just didn’t fit for us were Gwendolyn, Violet, Magnolia, Clementine, Charlotte, Gwenyth…
      Let me know what name you choose!

    • Thanks! I especially love Charlotte and Clementine and Violet, but our girl names have to end in “a”….My current favorites are Carolina, Zara, Sela, and India…..I’ll keep you posted! :o)

  11. Hi I just started studying the book of Genesis with Bible Study Fellowship. Only 2 weeks in, we are still on Genesis chapter one and already the Lord is showing me so gently & lovingly how He sees me, and wants to help organise my crazy life so I can lean on Him & be there for my kids better
    xx

    • Love how the Lord leads us so lovingly to reveal how He wants us to follow His way instead of our own. He is the best Father, isn’t He?

  12. Good luck on your journey! As I was reading the comments I kept having a recurring thought so I’ll share it with you…if for no other reason than because our thoughts are a part of what we spend our days “doing”!

    “Back in the day” I was in the Franciscan Seminary. While studing Scripture we freqently “went back” to old translations – even beyond Latin to Greek – to really “learn” the meaning of the words we were looking at in English.

    May I suggest that you stop at your local library and see if maybe there’s a classic Greek version of the Scripture – ideally with an english translation or “pony” attached? I learned a great deal by doing that and it really made the words come alive!

    Hugs – prayers for your quest – what ever it may turn out to be!

    aus and co.

    • We go to blueletterbible.com (my husband does this all the time) for the Greek translation, but I’m going to have a look at my local library! I just picked up Mere Christianity at the library the other day, can’t wait to dig into that, too :)

  13. I have just started doing Beth Moore’s bible study on the book of James. It is my first ever Bible study and I must say I am impressed. I wanted to devour the whole book in one night, but am taking it slow so I can take it all in and enjoy the journey. Hopefully the group I am with will continue to do more of her series.

    Love your blog and wish you all the best.

    • Beth Moore is so good, I can imagine wanting to read the whole thing in one sitting! I love her videos as well, she makes studying the Bible so fascinating because of her passion for His word!

  14. I have to chime in aswel, Experienceing God was hugely impactful for me aswell! Love it!

  15. Did Experiencing God several times, years ago. Perhaps God’s reminding me of all He taught me in those times, and that I should do it again!

  16. I am currently doing a group Bible study on Colossians…just started it, but already it’s working on my heart! :)
    Also, I’m currently reading “7″ by Jen Hatmaker (doing the Bloom book study), if you want, I can mail it to you when I’m done…just let me know!

  17. I, too, re-listen to Matt Chandler’s podcasts often. Good stuff. Mark Driscoll, as well.

    My favorite way to study the Word is to just read it over and over. Every summer (I work at a Christian camp), I ask the Lord to give me a book to focus on as I’m buried in ministry. This summer was 1st & 2nd Thessalonians. I just read them over and over and over. It was amazing to see how the Lord mirrored the words in those books to what was going on for me during those months. I’ve done this for about 10 years now and every year, the Lord gives me exactly what I need at that time.

    Now, reading 1st Peter using the Life Change series. LOVE how it breaks down scripture and is big on re-reading over and over the same portions. It’s very detailed and the questions encourage you to read other bits of the Bible in reference. That along with my ESV Study Bible are my two favorites right now.

    Humbleness and thankfulness are my two big lessons at the moment. Focusing on noticing when I’m being prideful and complaining and asking for forgiveness and changing my attitude.

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