Last fall I participated in a women’s Bible study for the first time in several years. (Interestingly, it followed the book Real Moms . . . Real Jesus by Jill Savage. As in, Jill Savage who founded Hearts at Home. As in, Hearts at Home Third Thursday Thoughts, which I now blog with monthly. Just a little right place right time God nudging there.) Anyway, I used to participate frequently, and at one point organized the study at our church, but since my first child became mobile in late 2006/early 2007 for the most part I hadn’t even tried. This particular one, however, was on Tuesdays (a day both Senior Agents attend school) and my littlest Agent still resided in my uterus, so taking him was pretty convenient.
|Agent A in early, very portable mode|
But I missed it. I wasn’t reading the Bible regularly without the study to motivate me. So, a few months ago, I let go of the idea of making it back to anything formal for a while, and instead I committed to reading the entire Bible, even the Old Part with it’s fire and brimstone and all, one book at a time.
So far, I have read (from the New Testament): Matthew, Mark (well, I’m in the middle of this one right now), John, Romans, and Ephesians; and (from the Old Testament): Esther, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
I highlight as I go. I do this with everything I read. I find that I tend to go way too fast and skim and zone out if I don’t use highlighting as a tool to slow me down. So, all of the books of the Bible I have read so far have bright yellow or pink scattered throughout. All of my favorite parenting books do as well.
I’ve noticed what I end up highlighting depends on what my previous day/week has been like. I don’t just mark the main points, or important-sounding dialogue, or even what I find the most interesting. Sometimes it just strikes me for reasons I can’t explain, so I make note of it. I can definitely tell, though, that what I focus on depends on what is on my mind at that exact moment. Usually I can see a trend, a tendency on any given day to center on a particular aspect.
For example, I apparently had writing on my mind when I highlighted these verses from Proverbs 18:
Verse 4: A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.
Verse 15: Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.
Verse 20: Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.
And clearly I was thinking about my children, and my parenting, the morning I read Proverbs 27:
Verse 11: My child, how happy I will be if you turn out to be wise! Then I will be able to answer my critics.
Verse 19: As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.
Verse 23: Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds.
I love to make this the first part of my day, because I find that the rest of the day falls into place once I devote even just five or ten minutes of reading in the morning as soon as I wake up. I admit that for a while I actually had to put my Bible on top of my computer at night so that I would grab it first instead of aimlessly popping online. But now, it’s truly what I think of first, and my oldest (Agent E) has started asking to read from her children’s Bible daily as well. Sometimes I read a chapter a day, some days just a few paragraphs, but, I almost never miss a day entirely.
Lesson learned: Starting the day with God = Better day overall