I have been pretty transparent and honest with our youth with my struggles. I often tell them that one of my biggest weaknesses is reading my Bible. Now don’t get me wrong, I can read devotionals and Christian books all day long. It’s when I sit down to just read the Bible that I struggle.
I think part of my problem is that I put too much pressure on myself. I feel like I need to read a lot. Every single day. I should be devouring it. But I don’t. I’m learning to cut myself some slack. After all, I’m not reading just to mark it off my checklist for the day. I’m reading to grow in knowledge and to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. I don’t have to read 10 chapters a day. I can read just one or even just a few verses, as long as I am meditating on those and pursuing God about what it says.
I was determined this year that I was going to read my Bible all of the way through. Because I usually read different devotionals, my studies tend to be all over the place. I really wanted to read the entire Bible this year.
I started a plan on my phone to do that on January 1. I did really, really good for about a month. 😩 now I just read some as it comes to mind and am trying to get caught up. A few weeks ago when I was speaking in Youth, I thought that I would use myself as an example. I told the students how it was ok to be behind as long as you kept going and striving. I opened my Bible app knowing that I was behind, but I didn’t realize how far behind I was. Y’all, I had to admit in front of everyone that I was 110 days behind! Now I’ve been reading my other devotions, but this was just in regular Bible reading. I determined that I would get caught up and that I would finish the Bible this year!
All of that to say that God can use our faults in His perfect timing. I was reading scriptures last week that should’ve been read months ago. This verse in particular hit me right in my heart.
“O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.”
Psalms 71:5-8 NLT
God’s timing for me to read this verse was perfect! I began to dissect it phrase by phrase and see how much it applies to my life!
Oh Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
The past few years have been a rollercoaster for us! We have faced some serious battles, but we have not faced them alone. God has been with us every step of the way and has not failed us yet! We are learning again and again that He is faithful!
Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you!
This part hit me as well. Some of you know this, but most of you may not. I was born premature- 3 months early. My lungs were not developed. I did not have hair, eyebrows, or fingernails. I barely weighed a pound and during my stay in the hospital, my weight went down to under a pound. My dad has always told me two things about my birth. Number one is that I could fit completely stretched out in one of his hands. Number two is that it was the first time that he prayed in a long time. I spent my first Christmas in the hospital and my first year out of the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor.
As a parent, I cannot imagine going through that. I look at my beautiful family and am so thankful. I look at where God has led us in ministry and am amazed. I know that we are living a ‘for such a time as this’ life. Everywhere He leads us has a purpose. He sustained me when I could’ve easily died as a baby to live out His will. No matter what we face in this life, there is always something to be thankful for. We just have to take the time to remember all that he has brought us through.
My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.
I never would have thought that I would be where I am right now. When I was younger, I didn’t really have a career dream. I always said teacher just because I thought that would be fun. All I ever knew for sure was that I wanted to be a mom. I always ever dreamed of being that carpool the kids around, team mom with snacks in the back of the van…. everyone hangs out at her house kinda mom. The kind that spends her time shuttling kids around to where they need to be and just being present in their lives. I never thought of ministry. Sure after we were married, Otis and I volunteered. We would’ve never imagined being in full time ministry. Now I am able to serve with my husband full time. I am able to teach our children. I am able to shuttle them around, plus all the kids in youth group. I am not only mommy, but “mama J” to so many as well. The Lord has directed, protected, and placed us where we are. We know that He will continue to lead us. We are able to be an example to others every single day.
After saying all of this, how could I ever stop praising Him and declaring His glory??
Sometimes a few verses can speak so much!! ❤️❤️