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Monday, November 5, 2012

Journeys of Faithfulness

I think one of the big mysteries in life is that so much of it is a continuous journey. 

I mean, I think I used to believe that once I had learned certain things, I would be done with that and move onto something else. 

Like, once I got married, I would have men figured out.  Ha! 

Or, once I had my first child and stumbled through that process, I would have it figured out for all the kids.  Double Ha!

But, really there is always more to learn, or more people to meet...and things to surprise the journey continues.

Just as your journey through faith.  You don't just decide to become a Christian and voila....done.  It is a journey too.

My older girls, L-girl, 10 and A-girl, 12 are moving into that weird time of a young girls life.  Not quite a kid....not yet a women.....isn't there a song about that?

Anyway, I am trying really hard to stay connected to them.  I try to just sit and listen to them....even if the stuff they are telling isn't stuff I am necessarily all that interested in hearing about.  I try to listen to the music they like as long as I can.  But, mostly I try to snuggle them, let them know they are loved, that I like being with them, and really, really just listen to them.

But, we hadn't done any real Bible study type things together since they were little.  We used to use a daily devotional book with cartoon-y pictures and a repeat after me prayer.  As part of school, they do have Bible knowledge type stuff....but not in a way where they need to think about how it personally fits into their life.

They have moved past those kinds of daily, cartoon-y Bible and devotion time.....but, I wanted something that they could relate to and wasn't just memorizing facts and people in the Bible.  The problem is what kinds of books are readily available, other than little kid stuff and and grown up stuff?

This book, Journeys of Faithfulness, by Sarah Clarkson and published by Apologia (remember I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist?  Same people.) fits the bill, of something a bit more in between, to help us connect in a deeper, more spiritual way.  It is recommended for ages 12 and up, but L-girl (10) is A-girls constant companion, so it made sense for them to do this together, with me.

Each chapter has a story ( I think it is officially considered historical fiction) that sort of deepens the Bible story of various women (Ruth, Esther, Mary, Martha, etc.), then a devotional by the author and how it spoke to her, as well as examples from her life, which was followed by questions for you to think about and answer.

Here is one of the questions from Chapter 6:  What would have happened if Abraham had refused to "go forth to the land God showed him?"  Isn't it interesting that the history of God's people began with a wanderer?  Are you willing to go forth if God calls you?

The storytelling in the first part of each chapter was my favorite part of this book.  Because, they made the women on the Bible seem to real and relatable.  That they had feelings both positive and negative that I have.  That they weren't just perfect ladies that never complained.  They didn't always want to do what was right with a pleasant and sunny attitude.  It really made me think about their various stories in a new way. 

I mean......of course Martha was upset that Mary was just sitting around.....of course Mary, tired of being in Marthas shadow and bossed around all the time, wanted to spend time with someone who knew her and not just because she was "Marthas sister".  You know what I mean?

We have been doing these as a read aloud study together once a week.  The chapters were probably a bit long for an outloud Bible Study discussion like we were doing.....but I didn't want to take turns using the book to read to ourselves and come back for discussion, like you would in a normal Bible study or book club.  I would have liked shorter chapters for the girls sake, but,  I enjoyed the depth of the storytelling and girls got a little glazed over.

There were things in the book that jumped out at me and spoke to my heart, but I don't think they spoke yet to my girls hearts, like this passage, from Chapter 4....

God didn't choose Mary because she was beautiful or perfect or better at housework than the other village girls.  She was simple the one who was ready.  Mary was chosen because her heart had already embraced the story of God.  She was ready to be a heroine.  I hope am too.

I so want my girls to know that the important things in life aren't whether you are beautiful in the eyes of the world or not, or that you try to be perfect, or the best at anything, but because you And that all you need to really receive God's perfect love is to be ready.

Or, from Chapter 6....

To become a woman like Mary, you must hold life loosely in your open hands, ready to yield to God and receive whatever he gives.  Yes, life will be an adventure, a quest, a challenge.  Your days will burn bright with miracles and blaze with beauty.  And yes, darkness will dog you, and doubt will be a mist in your eyes.  But this is the way of it with those who love God will all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.

I am not sure my girls understand yet how hard it is to hold life loosely in open hands....or what a day that burns bright with miracles and blazes with beauty looks like.....but, they will....and hopefully because we have done this study together, they will be able to not only talk to God and pray about it....but open up to me too, so I can share my experiences as a real person not just mom with them about my journey of, through and to, faithfulness.

I want my girls to be ready for God, and realize that even though they are young, their journey of faithfulness has already been set in motion. 

That you can be an ordinary girl, with a messy room and a weird mom, living in Georgia, and God can use them for extraordinary things. 

That is okay to be beautiful or even to try to make beautiful things for the world.  It is okay to try to make things just right or to be good at seemingly small things.....because all of it can be used for God's glory. 

All of it. 

All of the things that make you uniquely you.

We will continue using this Bible study together and when S-girl and V-girl are old enough, I will once again pull this off the shelf for them in those pre-teen years to give them a Godly perspective on their hourney to becoming a woman of faith.

You can read a sample chapter of Journeys of Faithfulness about Mary and Martha before you commit to the whole book.  Go ahead...go read it.  Then come back to see where you can buy the whole book.

Journeys of Faithfulness if available through Apologia for $13.00.

I am actually going to see if my ladies Sunday School class is interested in this book after we finish our current study.

See what other TOS Reviewers thought of Journeys of Faithfulness.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the book Journeys of Faithfulness for free, in exchange for an honest review.