This past year I've carved a few hours out of my Monday mornings each week to attend a women's Bible study. And though hubby and I had been attending (and in fact, were recently Confirmed) at our sponsoring church, I was initially a bit nervous. Frankly, I'd never done a Bible study before and --because I'm one of those eager-to-please students--worried that I would be starting WAY behind the curve. Kind of like when I joined the Oregon Audubon Society and didn't know a Black Capped Chickadee . . . from my binocular case.
So, because I'm not only eager and conscientious but painfully honest, I whispered to the Bible Study leader that though I'd owned my Bible for years (and dusted it regularly). . . I didn't know how to find anything in it. I expected an arched brow, but got my first blessing instead, when she smiled and whispered back: "No problem. There's a Table of Contents in the front. I'm so happy you're joining us." That was the first part of January and now it's the end of August. Seven months and three studies later, Monday mornings are a high point of my week. A great group of women from several denominations-- new mothers to local businesswomen, to an energetic woman in her 70's--friendship, laughter, shared insights and experiences . . . and our back-to-back Beth Moore (an "electric speaker" "known for presenting the Scripture in living color"--and with laugh-out-loud humor) Bible studies. Right now we're finishing up a study called, "Believing God," and part of our homework involves fashioning a Life Timeline.
It's purpose is to allow a student to review her life, both highs and lows, discern pivotal moments that may have contributed to the growth of her spirituality . . . especially (in hindsight) to note evidence of God's intervention, even if it wasn't the least bit obvious at the time. The project has been challenging from the get go--actually, from the moment I started, since I didn't follow the directions (and diagram) correctly and taped my three sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper together horizontally instead of vertically, which made it REALLY WIDE. Apparently I plan to live longer than Methuselah.
But when I finally got it taped together right, and started diagramming my life into FIFTHS as instructed (in my case, 0-11, 11-22, etc.) and starting noting pivotal events . . . WHOA, I was astounded. For instance, I had to make little icons for to denote things like:
FIRE (that burned my childhood home) FLOOD (sweeping my ranch house) DIVORCE (both my parents and then--quite unexpectedly--my own at age 45), BIRTHS (my two children, our grandchildren, nieces, nephews . . . and a foal I delivered with my own hands) ACCIDENT THAT BROKE MY NECK (and inspired my writing career), moves (California x5, Oregon, Texas), SECOND (equally unexpected) WEDDING, CAREERS (nursing, writing) DEATHS (including both of my parents last year) . . . and amazingly great new stuff, too. Like SKYDIVING (uh, yes, unexpected too. Really.), SWIMMING WITH STINGRAYS, RIDING A CAMEL AT THE PYRAMIDS, second HONEYMOON in VENICE . . . culminating with my new book contract . . . to write a medical drama series for Tyndale House Publishers. Tough spots, miracles . . . pot holes and speed bumps. We all have them.
So . . . Fire, flood . . . what's next, locusts? I'm hoping that South Texas stinging ants, centipedes and scorpions count. But regardless, the life timeline has convinced me . . . I haven't been in this alone. Ever. And I have every reason to count my blessings.
One of which occurs regularly . . . every Monday morning.