A new year is the perfect time for new or renewed habits, even though that's so cliche, it's true.
After an embarrassingly long hiatus from bible studies it feels wonderful to get back on track. The Girls and I did Priscilla Shirer's study, Discerning the Voice of God last year and really enjoyed it. Sometime in the mid-spring (I forget) we attempted to do her Jonah study, I think we may have finished one week's lesson, but just never quite got it together. #life. I'm sure it's a wonderful study too, but it was definitely one of those cases of "It's not you (Jonah), it's me (or us)", we tried to get it going in the fall again to no avail, so the timing of a fresh start this January was perfect.
Over the past few years the Girls and I have done all three of Kelly Minter's Living Room Series (No Other Gods, Ruth and Nehemiah) and they are all FABULOUS (like seriously, highly recommend you try them if you are looking for a meaty yet do-able and real-life applicable bible study--with recipes no less!). When we saw she had a new one published we couldn't wait to get our hot little hands on it and dig in!What Love Is on the letters of 1, 2, and 3 John is excellent. Several times during the daily lessons I had to really stop and think a bit more deeply about certain areas of my life where I might be rationalizing sin. It also felt good to get back in the habit of spending some time in God's word each morning. The cold, hard, sad truth is that when we aren't doing a study together my bible is gathering dust on my nightstand. This time I'm using a fun set of colored pens to spice my writing up a bit, plus there's the well known fact that colored pens help spread happiness.
In loosely related news, I was blessed Sunday by the outcome of a small prompting. I try not to totally ignore spiritual promptings, although I know I do quite often out of moods or timing or whatever. We sat a few pews further up than usual, possibly knocking other regulars out of their usually claimed pew, but I say, whatever, get over it and mingle with new people, people. There was a woman sitting on the other end our pew, by herself, that I was fairly sure was a visitor. I smiled and tired to make vague eye contact when I passed the communion trays to her, noticing that she had a bit of a hard time turning to take them. Once services were over I felt prompted to introduce myself to her (yes, this is something that should always be a habit when I see an unfamiliar face but sometimes I'm good at that and sometimes I'm not, you know, in the mood to be social beyond a smile and a head nod #truth).
I am so thankful I didn't ignore that small nudge because she was delightful and as we chatted she mentioned she has been in pain from a herniated disk in her neck (so much so that she struggled over going to church that morning) and will be having surgery soon and so of course I dragged Scott into the conversation so he could tell her about his experience with the exact same thing! Who knew we'd have that in common? Um...God! She got a little teary because she'd been having anxiety about all of this but now felt relief after hearing Scott's experience. I was all goose bumpy and totally blessed by her grace filled words and evident faith.
Anyway, lesson to myself (and anyone else interested): don't ignore those spiritual promptings! Blessing either for you or another or both will always result. Which, ironically, was one of the themes in Priscilla Shirer's Discerning the Voice of God study.
I love it when things come full circle!