I've been blown away.
(I also must mention that every single time I think about the workbook or the study, my mind instantly goes to High School Musical. "Soaring....flying..." I'm hoping that passes, eventually....)
When I was a younger stay-at-home-mom - and a new Christ-follwer, Bible study groups were my lifeline and primary means of social interaction. Living in a tiny town in Texas with two, then three, then four babies under the age of five, I didn't get out much. The women who were living life as I am now - 15 to 18 years into the parenting thing - seemed like foreign creatures to me. I couldn't comprehend a family life that didn't include diapers and baby food, uninterrupted sleep and a baby firmly rooted to your hip. But they were there, living around me, and along with the women who'd passed through that stage and moved into the empty nest or grandparent era, they held me up.
Not necessarily through social means - long phone conversations, lunches out, shopping expeditions, etc. None of that was a reality or even an interest for me.
But these women met for Bible study, weekly. And they dug in, hard.
And they valued child care. Somebody else always made arrangements for there to be a child care provider there in the church or the community room or the library - wherever we were meeting. They took care of that for the moms, so we could have two hours of focus on learning about God.
Not until this season of life do I recognize the gift I was given.
See, here's a confession: I try to have the Word of God "hidden in my heart", as the Bible says. Not all of it, of course, but I have paid attention for the last 20 years, and I've learned some things. Much of what I learned sunk in and took root during those Bible studies. That's a good thing, for sure. But these days? Sadly, when you "do church" and ministry, often big chunks of what looks like "Bible study" can be more accurately termed "work prep". It's still the Bible - it's still powerful and relevant and meaningful, but there's a difference. And I can read daily email devotions and journal and all that - but there's still a definite difference between those activities and a pointed, focused Bible study.
So I'm pounding through Breaking Free and loving it, absolutely loving it - knowing for certain that my knowledge of and relationship with God is growing because of this investment I'm making.
But, as always, I think like a minister or a pastor or a church worker. I think about my friends who are currently going through Experiencing God with Chauncey Starkey through the iD program at PCC, and I get all excited about what they're....well, experiencing. I think about the community Bible study that's happening here in Powhatan and wonder how many moms of little ones don't know about it, who might need to be encouraged and invited.
I think about this Breaking Free study and wonder how many of you might want or need to go through the same thing.
I think about our church and wonder when I can organize something to give time and resources and care and energy and a chance to learn about God - like I was given in tiny little Hico, Texas - to moms who need it.
I think about our church and the tremendous excitement we have for God and for one another - and the tremendous need we have to learn the truth.
I'm grateful today.
And I'm wondering about you: Are you doing any in-depth Bible study? What's it like? If not, do you want to? What are you craving?