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10.22.2013

31 Days: On Hearts & Walls, Part 2

About a month ago, I began attending a bible study at a nearby church with a few other women from my home church. There are hundreds of women that go every week. We are broken up into small groups of about ten people. The study is in the book of Matthew and the materials are from Bible Study Fellowship {BSF}. They have a children's program that Amelia is participating in as well. The children's time is a simplified version of what the adults are learning, complete with a Bible story and a memory verse. I keep Elsie with me during the lesson and small group time.

I was very hesitant to go because it is not a group associated with my church. While I do know a handful of women that go as well, we are not in the same small group. I'm in a group with a bunch of women I don't know. Along with that, the thought of letting Amelia go into a classroom full of people that I've never spoken to before was unsettling. Lastly, it's at 9:15 am. Um, we are not morning people. Therefore, waking up and getting ready to go to something that early is harrrrrrd.

But we did it! We're attending. And I'm SO GLAD we are.

I have been a Christian for nearly twelve years. Yet I have never studied the Bible like I am now. I'm not perfect at the daily keep up of it. I'm still figuring out that balance. The study is difficult and in depth. We have six days worth of homework. It's work! But it's so good, so refining. I never walk away from my study notes without feeling like God is speaking to me through it.

I must admit that there have been moments where the homework was so hard that I got frustrated and had to walk away from the study. Hard as in, I didn't know what the answers were to certain questions. I've even been tempted to throw in the towel due to how close to home the stuff is hitting. This is no accident, I realize. 

One part that I really, really enjoy is getting to talk to Amelia about the study. I usually sit at the dining table to work on my homework, with a cup of coffee to sip on. Amelia will plop herself across from me, ask for hot chocolate and want to work on a puzzle while we "do Bible study". I love asking her questions about her class and what she's learning. She's asked me questions like What is sin? and Who were the wise men visiting? and How did the wise men know where baby Jesus was? We just talk and learn together!

the first time she joined me for Bible study.
"I can play wif Minne and do Bible study wif you, Mama!"

This last week we learned about the Beatitudes. My goal is to slowly introduce each one so that we can focus on how we can build them in our life. This has been somewhat easy to do because BSF provides paper handouts on how to incorporate all of this into our family. Along with talking about the study's main points, we're also memorizing scripture together! I mentioned in my last post that I'm not great at scripture memorization, so I've posted it all over the walls in our home. As I lead Amelia in memorization, I've learned, too. This is exciting to me! And such a gift as we recall scripture together in the hard moments.

One of those moments happened this last week when Amelia decided to spit at me because she was frustrated. We have decided that when Amelia uses her mouth in a disrespectful way - spitting, biting, or yelling - we will have her bite a bar of soap. Just enough to be really gross and get her attention. We gently remind her that she can always talk to us about her frustrations but she must do so in a proper, respectful way. On this particular evening, after her offensive spitting, Amelia bit the soap. Of course, she didn't like it. We had a conversation while she was getting rid of the soap into a napkin. I threw the napkin away and put the soap away. I came back to the dining table and Amelia immediately said, "Mama, I'm so sorry I spit at you!"

We had just been talking earlier in the day about the first two Beatitudes: being poor in spirit and mourning. Amelia knows sin as the bad things we do that hurt God's heart. I responded to her apology this way, "I forgive you, Amelia. I'm so proud of you for realizing that you needed God to help you and for apologizing. That's a really great way to use your mouth. But it's hard, isn't it? Sometimes we need God to help us with hard things like being kind and respectful. And He will always help us! Remember the verses in Matthew that we learned earlier? Thank you for letting God help and comfort you! Next time you're frustrated, you can choose to use your words rather than spitting." We went on to talk about the Beatitudes some more and that was that.

Whew!! I never thought I would be able to connect scripture into our life so that I could actually teach it to our children. I'm SO thankful for the resources that BSF offeres because teaching our children about Jesus and His love for us is very important to Danny and I. However, I feel so clueless on where to begin. God is using BSF as a big time help for me in this journey. Believe me, I fail more often than I succeed. Then there's grace. God always gives me just what I need, even when I don't deserve it.

How do you incorporate scripture into your hard moments? Do you feel like doing this makes those moments easier to work through with your children? Do you attend a Bible study of some kind? If not and you would like to, can I pray that God would open some doors so you can?! 

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