When I was a child, I had two obsessive fears–dying and the end of the world. They were similar fears for sure, which made them so hard to live with. Forget about coping skills or any form of cognitive behavior therapy, that’s not how we handled things back then. Those two fears followed me well into adulthood.
The fear of dying was easily triggered by the latest grocery store trash tabloid predicting the end of the world was coming soon. It could also be triggered by End Times Christians proclaiming Jesus was coming soon. Oh, and by the man who looked homeless but actually drove around an old Chevy with painted signs attached to it proclaiming the end times were at hand and sinners were going to burn in hell for eternity.
But one day, before I was a Bible reader, I may not have even owned a Bible at that point…one day I heard the Scripture about the Son of God not knowing the time or day when this world will pass away, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” (Matthew 24:36 NLT) That one verse changed my life!
I could now sit behind the scary old Chevy and not go into a panic attack looking to the East for Jesus on a cloud. I could pass the tabloid trash with the latest end of the world prediction date without my heart racing. If the Son of God, Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity had no idea, how could those other people? Life changing I tell you!
The fear of dying, well, that’s been a harder one to get ahead of. I’ve made tremendous progress from obsessing over an imaginary, year-long heart attack to Ebola. But it lingers and rears an ugly head when I least expect it or when I have some strange or pain, never mind the fact I’m 46 years old.
In those ugly, head rearing times, I have to intentionally pull out my weapons. I’m not even sure what old posts I could link to sharing about my weapons, maybe this one, The Truth About Me and Bible Quotes. The mental struggles, the obsessive fears were at one time becoming unmanageable and I sought counseling. Thanks be to God it was with a Biblical Counselor, although unknown to me at the time. Picking up my weapon–grabbing my Bible became my lifeline, it reeled me back in from a disastrous day of scary thoughts, it kept me afloat through anxiety attacks, it taught me to fight the lies of the enemy with the truth of God. And I went from reading my Bible out of desperation to reading it out of love for God.
The above statement says a lot! Bible reading went from, “I’ll try anything because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t,” to “I can’t wait to spend more time reading God’s Word and talking to Him.” And those statements reveal a lot as well. You see, I thought I was too dumb, too undereducated to read and understand my Bible. I’ll give you one guess where that thought came from and it wasn’t God.
And now, well, I love encouraging women to read their Bibles alongside me! I love showing them you don’t need a theology degree or even a college degree to read and understand the Bible. I also set out to help women read, write, pray, and study in a virtual community. I know when my children were younger I couldn’t just leave the house on a Wednesday evening to go to a Bible study. I honestly couldn’t afford it mentally, physically, and financially. And even though my youngest is now six, I still can’t afford to leave the house on a Wednesday evening or Friday morning. I believe that shouldn’t hinder me from studying in community; so I formed one!
Our Online Bible Study Community is new, barely four months old. I say that because there’s some back-end work that needs to be done to make all the things seamless. I also say that because once you become a part of our community, you’ll see why almost all the original friends who signed up a few months ago are still a part of this vibrant, active, and encouraging Online Bible Study Community.
This month we are studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I started out with a different plan, but if you know God, He can surely shake things up at the last minute! So, Thessalonians it is!
Let me tell you a quick story before I tell you when and where to sign up to become a part of our Online Bible Study Community. My grandpa died a few years ago. A good ‘ol farmer, salt of the earth, leather-skinned, hard working man. But I don’t know if he knew Jesus. The day before his funeral, one of my uncles asked me if I wanted to go meet the funeral director with the other uncles and my one aunt. I felt like such a big girl to be invited. As we were sitting there talking over the funeral arrangements with a man who didn’t know my grandpa but I’m sure was doing the best he could, a Scripture verse came to mind. I didn’t know the chapter or verse–pretty common for me, but I knew I wanted it to be a part of my whatever was said or written about my grandpa.
My grandpa was a handyman/carpenter/school bus driver/a roughneck on an oil rig and who knows what else. He lived a quiet, hard-working, simple life that from the world’s standards may not have amounted to much. And I don’t know if he ever heard the above Scripture passage, but he surely lived it.
Anyway, we would love for you to join us in October as we read, write, pray, and study Thessalonians in community! Consider this your invitation. Enrollment is only open until the last day of the month so if you’re considering joining us, I would do it sooner rather than later. I close it so we all begin on the first day of the month together–no stragglers, lol!
Each month we focus on one book, or in this case two Books of the Bible, well, last month we hung out in Psalm 119 together. Your enrollment comes with a daily Scripture Writing Plan, a set of worksheets with prompts to dig deeper or sit longer with certain parts of the Scripture, and a little something-something pretty like a phone lock screen or printable reminder cards.
There are two options again this month. You can join our Online Bible Study Community here, or you can choose to just purchase the Scripture Writing Plan, Worksheets, and pretty digital download here in The Littlest Way Shop.