A year ago, if you would have asked me to lead a Bible Study, I would have said you got the wrong gal.
It's not like I didn't know how to read the Bible, at least I thought I did. But to lead or teach it? Not my cup of tea.
It's just, in my own personal life, the Bible has always been an on and off again struggle. Despite the Bible minor, Christian schools didn't make me into a disciple. I can't tell you how many times I've started the book of Genesis, attempting to FINALLY read through the WHOLE thing. This agenda usually began January 1 of every year and petered out around mid-February. To me, it was just always another New Year's Resolution gone down the drain.
That's not to say God didn't use that month and a half recap of Genesis to work in me, it just wasn't a strategy I could hold on to, and the guilt at yet another failure into God's Word suffocated any further efforts. It was a treadmill. I was running but I wasn't getting anywhere. So I didn't want to try again, because simply, I didn't want to fail. Again.
But the funny thing about grace is that it is always God who changes us, not our own efforts, or lack thereof. And He has given me grace upon grace.
Since I've had Titus, God has been pursuing and changing my heart through His Word with a fury. Motherhood made me particularly moldable and dependent on Him. God has introduced his words to me anew and made it an unquenchable force in my life trajectory. I sit here at my writing desk laughing as I look around surrounded by a few Bibles, notebooks, notecards, and commentaries. COMMENTARIES people. What in the world?
The journey started last summer in the book of Joshua, in a room with several other women led by one of my dearest friends and sisters in Christ. She felt God say "JUMP!" and she invited me along for the ride. Throughout Joshua, I learned that God goes before us, he fights our battles, that God has a specific purpose for our lives, that God loves both justice and mercy, and the pathway home will never be as we expected it to be. I learned that Jesus is the true and better Joshua.
That Bible study found me in my first season as a stay at home mom and I think God was rising up a humble warrior in me to follow him into that pathway.
In the year since Joshua, I've had to watch God conquer some Jerichos in my own life. Loneliness. Bitterness. Anger. Pride. Post-partum Depression. A Savior Complex. People Pleasing. I look ahead to the promise land of God's Kingdom, because I trust that things now are just not how they were intended to be, and I know that God may have some battles for me yet to fight.
After Joshua, God led me to both Revelation and Colossians at the same time, through two different formats of Bible Study. While studying Revelation, I joined an international organization called Bible Study Fellowship that meets weekly all over the world. In Dayton, the study meets in a megachurch with a coffee shop and an indoor playground. While studying Colossians, I met in a dear sister's living room with seven other women, sipping coffee in front of her gas fireplace. In both settings, I was EMPOWERED by the women around me seeking to know God better through his Word. Where two or three or a hundred or a thousand are gathered, there the Lord is! I was invited into His presence by the women who went before me in their walk with God, into His Word.
In Revelation, I learned that God uses the wilderness to make us more dependent upon Him. And that is exactly where He has placed me at times over the past year, clinging to His Word through some of my first-time mama wildernesses. I also learned that He sometimes gives us platforms for a very specific purpose, to proclaim His message to bring Him glory. Hence, Oatmeal Heart. May it be a beacon for your name, for your glory Lord! God is waiting to bring the end, the final judgment, so that more may come to be saved by believing in Him. And I may have a role in reaching out to those people in the meantime.
Throughout Colossians, I learned that Jesus is supreme, in everything and through everything. He created all and is in all. There is nothing He can't reconcile. He changes us as we set our minds upon Him. He brings us closer to the Father as He Himself is close to the Father, and we can't help but be changed by his presence. I've learned to bear with people that are really hard to love and to give more consideration for the people in my own house along the way. He wet my feet in the teaching realm by giving me an opportunity to lead my house church ladies through a passage in Colossians with what God had been teaching me. He gave me a few one-on-one discipleship relationships to encourage women in their walk with the Lord over coffee at my dining room table.
Most importantly, I learned through the book of Colossians (3:16-17) to "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, signing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." In that study, God taught me how to dwell richly, how to dig deeper in the Word and take ownership of my study in a way that I never have been able to before. He taught me how to take these gifts, teaching and writing, and make them a platform for His glory.
Which brings me to Dayton Women in the Word. That same gal pal who led me through Joshua and encouraged me to attend BSF invited me to be a part of the leadership team of Dayton Women in the Word. Which meant, I had to ask God, "Am I a woman of THE WORD? Your Word?" And praise the Lord, He has molded me to be. Through a year of Joshua, Colossians, Revelation, and now, Daniel. And now I see. God had to make a woman of the Word out of me before He wanted me to play a part in how He is molding other women to be.
So, I am just a woman with an "Oatmeal Heart", seeking to be molded by God through His Word. I'm meeting other women along their journey and encouraging them through teaching, discipleship, and writing. First things first is co-teaching through the book of Daniel this summer with Dayton Women in the Word.
Could you yourself say I am (fill in your name), a Woman of the Word? Ask God to make you one. He wants you to dwell richly in Him by dwelling richly in His Word. And take a hint from this gal. It isn't about you making this happen. That strategy will always be a treadmill to nowhere. It is about God making it happen in you. All you need to do is allow Him to do His work. Invite Him.
If you need a community of other women encouraging you, empowering you, equipping you, like I myself did, please feel free to look us up, follow us, join us. Even if you are not a Daytonian, I think you will be encouraged by what God is doing in us and by what we share in the interwebs. Hook up with us on our website, facebook, or instagram.
And lastly, will you pray for me? Teaching God's Word is a serious business. I covet your prayers for myself and our whole leadership team as we step bravely into the book of Daniel and into whatever journey He has for us next.