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I want to give a little backstory of my spiritual journey and relationship with God. Because at this point in my life, it looks a whole lot different than it used to.
I am 30 years old. I was raised in a Christian family, going to church every Sunday. I got saved at a young age and knew all the right things to do and say.
But I didn’t know God.
I didn’t know Him.
Nevermind have a relationship with Him.
I didn’t know what it was like to have that relationship with God and have Him transform my heart. And it showed. I made choices that did not reflect that Jesus was in my heart. I didn’t KNOW what it meant. I was angry and impatient. I was selfish and controlling. I was trying to control my life, but with little success. I am human and I fail, so how can that be a recipe for victory?
It wasn’t until I was in college where I would say I dedicated my life to Christ. But I still couldn’t say I had a relationship with Christ. And a lot of those worldly personality traits (selfish, impatient, flighty, to name a few) were still so evident. The change in my heart happened for me about five years ago when my second child was very young. I began to realize what a true relationship with the Lord was.
God began to do a work in my heart, something that I reflect back on often, and something I am so incredibly thankful for. I am glad He grabbed ahold of me and drew me closer. For the first time in my life I read through my whole Bible (only took me a couple years…) and created that intimate time that I spent with Him every morning, just pouring over the Word and Bible studies and connecting with Him in my prayer journal.
It did not happen overnight.
It was a long, slow, intentional process.
I share all this to hopefully show you that everyone starts somewhere, just like my journey with fitness I shared last month.
So why didn’t I start earlier? I mean I grew up with all the right factors to lead me to show me the way.
Well, it honestly comes down to me not realizing the importance and owning it for myself. Pursuing a relationship with God takes being intentional and living with a purpose.
I didn’t know what to do or where to start.
My son was less than a year old and we were visiting my in-laws in Pennsylvania that summer. I was watching my two year old and baby play in inflatable pools and have such a great time with their cousins. I saw the beautiful spirit of my sister-in-law and the unending love of my mother-in-law. And something in me clicked. The weight of my role as a mom. I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me sooner, but I started thinking of my kids growing up. I want them to know and love Jesus. It is no one but MY responsibility to teach them!
So then I panic. I started thinking about how huge of a job that is. How much weighs on ME. I started thinking of as my kids grew up and how they will ask me questions, and what if I didn’t have the answer? I wanted to be able to know what I believed, enough that I could teach them.
So, I began.
I opened my Bible. The same Bible my parents had gifted me when I was a teenager. And I read.
I started in Genesis. I began waking up before the kids every morning (because when you have two kids two and under, quiet time during the day is nonexistent!). I made a choice that I was going to learn, and make it a priority in my life.
If I want to teach them what they believe, how can I speak confidently when I haven’t read my entire instruction manual? How can I show them how to have a relationship with God when I don’t even have one myself?
Find Your Why
If I don’t show my kids it is a priority, they won’t make it one. I knew that I wanted them to know Jesus, but I knew I needed to know Him more first. My why is for me, for my kids.
But then my why became more than that. The more I read my Bible, the more I sought for that time with Jesus, the more I desired it. My soul wasn’t quenched unless I was filled with the Word.
Where Do You Start?
For me, I just started reading. I opened the Bible to Genesis and began. But like I said before, that isn’t the only way. There are Bible reading plans that help divvy up your reading so you don’t get stuck in, let’s say, Leviticus (the whole Bible is profitable but that was a LONG month). Bible studies are also very helpful and can provide some really wonderful insight and feedback on all areas and subjects. I listed some other resources at the bottom of this post too!
So you have decided to start reading your Bible and that it is a priority in your life. Great! So, the next step would be to decide WHEN.
I am BUSY. I am a single mom of three kids, six and under. I don’t have time.
I make time.
When they were younger, I chose to wake up early in the morning, (hopefully) well before they would wake. The Bible says many times to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, so for me that means starting my day with Him. My attitude and heart feels content in Him by filling my mind with His mind before anything else. But that is not to say that reading your Bible at any other point in the day isn’t good! And it may seem like it is too hard or that you have so many other things to do. But. Let me tell you- this is the MOST important thing. And if you prioritize God in your life, everything else becomes much easier. Promise.
If you don’t have a plan, then you plan to fail. Write it into your schedule. Make a plan and make it a priority because it is important!
Keep waking up early. Make it a habit. Schedule your coffee, set 14 alarms, do anything to help set you up for success. Don’t press snooze. Just do it. Jump out of bed and into the Word.
Keep A Journal
This obviously isn’t mandatory, but it has been huge in my spiritual walk. Writing out my thoughts and prayers help them become clearer and is so healthy for me. Basically I just write down my prayers and can look back and see where my heart was and how God was working. I have seen such a pattern of anxiety on my part with different things in my life, and most of the time the thing I was anxious about never happened, or God provided in a way that was bigger than any fear I had. Observing God’s faithfulness has been a huge way to solidify my faith!
I prefer larger ruled and spiral bound notebooks. And pretty ones too. I mean, why not! These books become so special to me and I love reflecting back on them. So find something that fits your taste. It’s your special time, make it personal!
How Will You Benefit?
I talked at the beginning of the post of finding your why, but I want to tell you before you even start how this is going to change your life. Because it WILL.
- You will gain a deep trust in Jesus.
- You will feel peace and hope.
- You will gain so much perspective and instruction on how to live your life.
- You will gain a partner to fight your battles for you and to take on your biggest burdens.
- You will begin to desire that time with Him and depend on the wisdom and guidance gleaned from the Word.
- You will get that relationship with God that you hear about. It becomes personal, not just a thing you should be doing.
And that is just to name a few. There are more benefits than I can even list that come from reading and studying the Bible. You will see for yourself!
So tell me, what is stopping you? Take the first step. Make a plan. Watch your life change! Begin developing a relationship with God TODAY.
Other ideas for daily reading:
Some of my favorite Bible studies:
I also lead a private online Bible study with a great group of women if you’d like to join! Send me an email or message on any social platform and I will send you an invite. We are currently working through Trustworthy by Lysa TerKeurst and I am praying about our next study to begin next month.
I am also compiling a list of some of my favorite grief related and religious books, so keep an eye out for that!
Outfit linked here
Bible here (leather case custom made from a friend)
I grew up reading the King James Version (KJV), and currently read in the English Standard Version (ESV). (I don’t want to get into a conversation about Bible versions, just sharing what I use).
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photos by Bekah Scadding
I totally understand this. I was also saved at a young age, but my *real* (personal) relationship with God didn’t start till I was in my twenties. I was in an unhealthy marriage, about to get a divorce, and my whole world was turning upside down and completely out of my control. I had no choice but to trust Him. I had to turn to Him for guidance. I found I had never felt so close to Him. You know that saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle”? I don’t believe it. We need to be in a place sometimes that we absolutely cannot handle by ourselves so we hand Him the reigns. My relationship with Him has had its ups and downs since then, but whenever I start to stray it’s those moments that I don’t know what is going to happen next that I find myself turning back to Him.
Mary Ellen says