Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Journey

Have you ever read the Bible? I mean really read it? I read a Children's Bible as a child, probably more than a few times. And I can tell you lots of stories from the Bible, but I've never actually read it, word for word. I tried a few times. When I was in high school and I got my first job my mom told me that I should just spend the money I got in my first check so that I would get the enjoyment out of it and see what I was working for. I don't think I spent the whole check, but I did spend some of it and the first thing I knew I wanted to buy was a Bible. I'm pretty sure that most of the rest of the money went into savings so I could buy my car. Hey, what can I say, I was sixteen!

When I bought that Bible I told myself I was going to read a little bit everyday until I could say that I had read the whole thing. I even sat down with a highlighter so that I could highlight some of my favorite parts to come back to later. But Genesis is tough! A lot of it is just so and so begat so and so who begat so and so... you get the idea. And when you finally reach the end of Genesis and move into Exodus, it doesn't get much easier. It starts out like this:

"Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt;
every man and his household came with Jacob. The sons of Jacob 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly,
and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with
Exodus 1:1-7

I never finished Exodus in high school. Then in college I participated in the Catholic organization, at the time called FOCUS. I started going to Bible Studies and spent a lot of time hanging out with some really fun people. I started reading the Bible again, from the beginning, in my spare time. Then summer came and the student missionary I had befriended left to go to another campus. And all of the friends I had made graduated. And I started dating this great guy, who was Baptist and not bothered that I was Catholic. None of this is an excuse mind you, I'm just telling the facts.

When Doug decided to become Catholic and started going through RCIA, we spent a lot of time talking about scripture but we still didn't read it. Then we got married and I started working. We bought a house and then I got pregnant. At first during my pregnancy I was determined to become a better Christian. But then I was admitted to the hospital and told that my baby could be born too premature to live or could live but have severe handicaps. The 12 days I spent in the hospital were not a particularly good time for me as a Christian. I'm not proud of it, but I didn't pray a single time while I was lying in that bed. I was afraid of crying because I had convinced myself that if I really let it all out and cried that I would go into labor again. I think too, I was in denial. I didn't want to give up the false sense of control that I had. Because I thought that if I just laid there and did all the things the doctor told me to do then I could get through this without laboring and have full term baby. I didn't want to give up that control by leaving it up to God or anyone else. Then, after Logan was born I spent a LOT of time praying. But they were selfish prayers. And while I know God doesn't blame me for that, I've come to realize that that's not what praying is about. Too often we pray only when we need something and forget to pray when we've gotten something, even if it's the thing we prayed for to begin with.

Being a Christian is a huge part of who Doug and I are but it takes work. And in the past two weeks we have taken a step in the right direction. We've started reading this book:

And I truly believe this time we'll actually read the whole thing. We've already read all of Genesis and we're a good ways into Exodus. And most importantly, we're reading it together. And we're discussing what we read. This version is divided into sections for each day, Monday through Friday and then a weekend section. Each section starts with a devotional and has questions to answer. Some of the questions are about what you read and others are about issues that can come up in a marriage or in life in general. It's actually been fun and it gives us quiet time to spend together and time to talk. And soon I'll be able to say I did it, I read the whole Bible!

1 comment:

  1. Anna, this is great! Brett and I have been "trying" to read a devotional that we got from the church everynight. I think we may need to invest in the same book you two are reading though. Kee it up and reach your goal!