Grateful.

Today I am grateful.

I am grateful for my husband, my rock.  For those of you who don’t know Jeremy, he’s a solid guy.  He loves God and because of that he loves me so well.

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I’m grateful for the home we have been blessed with.

I’m grateful for the three little rascals (aka our furry friends) that inhabit our home and make life at home quite fun.

I’m grateful for my job, and for Jeremy’s job. I’m grateful that God continues to provide.

I’m grateful for my family, my biggest supporters. I’m grateful for our close relationships even from miles and miles away.

My momma and my sister , Kaleigh.

My momma and my sister, Kaleigh.

I am grateful for the start of a new Bible study. I’m grateful for the women who I will grow alongside of over the course of the next 12 weeks as we study Beth Moore’s “Daniel.”

I’m grateful that my soul is craving God and desiring precious time spent with Him.

I’m grateful for a spontaneous date night with my husband to get ice cream tonight… and I’m certainly grateful for Moose Tracks on a waffle cone. Grin.

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I’m grateful for my friendships and my girlfriends that God has blessed me with, both near and far.

My dear friend Kelsey, who resides in Nebraska.

My dear friend Kelsey, who resides in Nebraska.

My sweet friend Ashley, who lives in New Jersey.

My sweet friend Ashley, who lives in New Jersey.

My awesome college roomie and friend, Linnea (who is right here in Michigan with me!)

My awesome college roomie and friend, Linnea (who is right here in Michigan with me!)

I’m grateful for the summer. I’m grateful for a time of rest. I’m grateful for a break from homework and papers and tests.

I am so grateful for my God, my Jesus.  I am grateful that He has saved me from my sin and that He has given me new life in Him.  I’m grateful that I can put on a new self because of what He has done for me.

What are you grateful for today?

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P.S. Our amazing wedding picture at the top was taken by a very talented guy named Noah. Click on the picture to see more of his work! 🙂

Today I’m linking up to…

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“the beatitudes”

It’s Friday…which means this morning I had Bible study!  Wow can I just say that it is so wonderful to dig deep into Scripture with other women who are in a similar “life boat” as I am?  It’s truly wonderful… and if you’re reading this, and not currently involved in a Bible study – this is my one-time plug to encourage you to get involved with one!  I’m personally biased to same sex Bible studies, but that’s just me 🙂  There are so many wonderful opportunities to plug into the Word with other people – so that’s my plug.  The end. 🙂

This morning we began our reading of Matthew chapter 5 – which famously begins with “The Beatitudes.”  The Beatitudes aren’t new to me but I’ve never intentionally studied them, so in a way they kind of are new in that sense.

We discussed how the main “negative” interpretation of the Beatitudes says that we must become like the blessed people in verses 3-10 in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven.  This list includes “the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the pure in heart,” to name a few.  I’ll admit that the few times I’ve read through Matthew 5 before, I interpreted in this way – that I must become these things in order to be blessed and inherit God’s Kingdom.

After reading through chapter 4 of “The Divine Conspiracy,” which unpacks the Beatitudes, and after discussion among the women of my Bible study this morning, I am happy to say that I’m looking at this particular passage with new eyes now.  First of all, nowhere does it say that this list of “the blessed” ones is exhaustive.  The Bible doesn’t say that you must have only these qualifications in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Second, it helps to know the context of Jesus’ sermon in this passage.  It is important to be informed about who Jesus’ audience was for this sermon.  It turns out, Jesus was addressing “the least of these” in a way – people who could most likely immediately identify with being “poor in spirit” or being “mournful.”  The point of this passage is not necessarily to encourage us to strive to become these things – the point was to address people who are these things and express the greatness of God’s love – that these people, too, will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

Which brings me to my last point, and my favorite.  After studying the Beatitudes passage more in depth than I ever have I’ve realized a way to look at this Scripture with new eyes, a new focus.  Instead of reading this passage and wondering what it says about ME and MY life – how I should act or what I should be or what I should do in order to be blessed – I’ve turned the focus and have reflected on what it says about GOD.  This passage is just one of many that demonstrates God’s great love – what He’s doing – and what His love means for “the poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the pure in heart,” or “the peacemakers.”  This passage is not about what we should strive to be – it’s about who God is and His great love.

I’m starting to realize that all Scripture should have this “lens” of “what is God doing in this passage?” – but I think it’ll take one deep study at a time to really identify this.  All I know is the Lord is really moving and pushing in my heart and I can feel the growth.

How are you feeling God move in Your heart?  I would love to hear!  Happy Friday!

digging into the Word

This morning was my first Bible study meeting for our campus-wide Bible study.  For all you non-Calvin goers, every Fall semester Campus Ministries decides on a campus-wide study that multiple groups all over campus and even the country will study together…but separately.  My freshman year the study was on Philippians, last year was the Psalms, and this year is the Sermon on the Mount.  Cool concept, huh?

The past two years I’ve attended my dorm Bible study by default of living there.  Now being an off-campus student, I knew I wanted to plug into a group on campus as a way to connect and meet new people.  I joined an all women’s study led by one of our associate chaplains at Calvin.  We’re meeting Fridays at 8am…which can be a struggle but oh how good it is to study the word in the morning as a way to start your day!

After introductions, we dug into the word.  We read Matthew chapters 5-7 straight through.  Take a look at those chapters for a second – what a chunk of scripture is what you’re probably thinking! It was so cool to just read an overview of the passages that we’ll be digging into these next 12 weeks or so.  As part of our study, we’re using the book “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard to help us walk alongside the scripture and hopefully dig in deeper.

I’m looking forward to blogging (hopefully every week!) about my Friday morning study.

Have a blessed weekend!