Monday, September 13, 2010

chapter one

Jonah's doing well. I'm still trying to figure out what's going on with me. I was fine all day and my back has felt MUCH better, only on ibuprofen, but from about 3:30 to 6:30, I was cold, achy and mostly on the couch feeling crappy. Then, all of a sudden, I was feeling better and having hot flashes. Now I feel fine. (I am NOT pregnant.) I have no idea. I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for next Monday.
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I wanted to write a little tonight about the book I'm reading for my Monday night Bible study. We didn't meet tonight because several of the girls had to be out of town, but I wanted to write some of my thoughts down and reflect a little tonight. This may be not at all interesting to you, but I want to share in hopes that some of what I'm reading/sharing might speak to those of you who are dried up like I am.

I read the first two chapters of the book, Satisfy my Thirsty Soul, and then went back and reread chapter one and looked up most of the scripture references and read them in context. I have an NIV/Message parallel Bible and when I actually read it, I like it a lot.

Some quotes that really jumped out at me.
Talking about living a life of service instead of living a life of worship: Too often, my emphasis was on making him known rather than knowing Him.

Talking about John choosing an intimate relationship with Christ: Any of the disciples could have experienced this intimate relationship with Jesus, but only John CHOSE it. Intimacy is a choice. We either do the work required to keep the fire alive, or we don't.

At one point she says she prayed, "God, I want to intimately know you, wherever it takes me, whatever the cost." I find that an admirable (and very scary) thing to pray.

God wants to give us a joy that infinitely transcends all other joys combined in the power and potential to satisfy, thrill, fill, and fulfill us. I don't know about you, but I have major contentment issues. I need to stop looking at my circumstances or my relationship with Matt or my friends or my church to find contentment and joy. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in HIM.

Worship is not just a specific act. It is also a lifestyle. Worship is a specific act of bowing my knees and declaring, "Holy, Holy, Holy." Worship is also a lifestyle of bowing my life and living, "Holy, Holy, Holy." Con.vic.ting.

At the end of each chapter, there are some suggestions for personal worship time with God. I had a hard time getting started and made excuses for about a week. Satan used my back and feeling bad to make me focus on the physical rather than the Spiritual. I hate the control I let him have on my life. He regularly uses busyness, physical circumstances, guilt, and dissatisfaction as tools to keep me from having an intimate relationship with my Abba.

Today's suggestions were to listen to worship music (thank you, Pandora) and be still for 10 minutes, kneel and read Psalm 63:1-8 aloud and to declare the truths you find about God there. I also journaled my thoughts on what I read. Y'all, I was skeptical. I have never been so great at just being still. When I pray, I'm either thanking God for what He's done or asking Him to do something. Rarely ever do I just sit still, listen, and bask in WHO HE IS. I'll cheat and include a quote from Chapter 2 here (author quoting A.P. Gibbs): "In prayer we are occupied with our needs, in thanksgiving we are occupied with our blessings, but in worship we are totally occupied with God Himself." That makes so much sense but how do you JUST sit and think and feel God and proclaim who He is?

But during Jonah's nap time today, I went out on my deck. I made a Chris Tomlin station on my Pandora, I got down on my knees and read the Psalm (fairly certain my neighbors think I'm a nut... I'm okay with it), journaled and had quiet time. And I kid you not, God moved me to tears. I asked Him to speak to me. I begged Him to let me feel Him there with me, and He answered me so clearly. Every song that came on the station was exactly what I was reading and writing about at that exact moment. I kind of rewrote Psalm 63 to say exactly what I was feeling. And as soon as I wrote the words (my paraphrase of verse 2), "I long to praise You just for what You are...", the radio played "to be still and know that You're in this place, to stay and rest in Your Holiness. Word of God, speak." And it happened like that over and over again. And I praised and cried. And it was amazing. And I knew in that moment, that I could do this. This is what God longs for... for us to take the time and intentional effort to worship Him (more than just in church on Sunday mornings) so that He can make his very real, very alive, very right-here-beside-me presence known. What has taken me so long? Verse eight says, "My soul clings to you; Your right hand upholds me." My paraphrase was, "As I desperately scramble to hold on for dear life," (I'm not quite as confident as David. :) ) "You firmly grip me by the waist. Why am I flailing? You have me. You're not letting go."

Anyway, I'll end this novel now. I'm not sharing any of this to be all, "Look at me. I'm doing a Bible Study. I'm so holy." Please know that I'm just sharing what God is showing me, with often embarrassing honesty, just hoping that maybe it will speak to you too. I'm happy, if you're still reading this, that you indulge my need to share and write. It's part of the process. :) Thank you so much. I hope you give God the chance to surprise you. He's been waiting.

25 comments:

ElleAuvil said...

Wow. THANK YOU for sharing. If only more people would step out and show their faith without fear of being embarrassed. Good for you. I will pray that it strengthens and deepens your faith to be in this study. I hope your posts will help encourage me to become more faithful in my own worship life, which I have let dry up over the past few years. So many excuses. Sigh. Please continue to share. I am a faithful reader, but rarely comment. Thank you and God Bless! Kiss that precious boy.

Mrs. Kermit the Frog said...

Please keep writing about your journey through this book. Your post today was so inspiritional to me. I look forward to reading more! I NEED to go get this book! My brain is so crammed full of life that I often feel "spiritually dead" or "robotic"... and it is refreshing to hear from others that struggle with the same issues as I, and to hear their thoughts and ways God is moving in their life. THANKS SO MUCH!

Debbie,mother of two said...

You just don't know how much I needed to hear this. I am guilty for not sitting down and listing to the Lord. Busy life with working full time,special needs young adult, and taking care of my parents over the years. Thanks for sharing. Love to read your blog and see the pictures you post of your little boy. Praying that your study helps you and many others.

Mendy said...

Love it, Patrice. I am finding myself in a similar position of thirst and emptyness and had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat reading your post. I will be looking for your book asap and hope you will post more of your own study.

Blessings.

Him and Her said...

Good words. I needed to hear this. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

What great reflections, Patrice. Thanks for sharing. I needed to hear a lot of this. Being still is a challenge. Letting your mind stop the "to do" list is hard too. One thing I thought of when you talked about contentment is something my Grandma made my Mom (grandma was my mom's MIL) when my parents were going through a rough spell. It says (and I still treasure this) "Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of how much you already have." Deep stuff. We have so much to be grateful for and to worship Him is one part of contentment. He wants us to draw near to Him. I want that too! Love you Patrice! Jennifer of Southeast, NC

Mandy's Memories said...

awesome. I want to check out that book :)

Erin said...

You inspired me tonight. I hope you are encouraged by all these commenters to not only continue your study, but to complete it to the end (that's always my problem). Grow baby grow!!

CJ said...

Wow. That was really great to read. I know I struggle with "Sitting still" but the way you explained it, really puts a whole new light on it. Thanks for sharing

LeeAnn said...

Thanks for being willing to share this. A lot (ok, most) of what you said could have come right out of my mouth too. WHAT AM I WAITING FOR? is totally how I feel. It's like I think I need this big revelation to start again...or that I'm afraid of what he might call me to do. So I do nothing. Or not much. Definitely not enough to sustain a thriving relationship. While we don't get to see each other much, I treasure you, your words, your heart...as imperfect as it is, just like the rest of us. But you're willing to open up and share and encourage the rest of us to grow too. Much love sent your way tonight! LeeAnn

Laura A said...

A.MA.ZING. God's grace is always more than sufficient for us, but I know I am always caught up in just living moment to moment. Praying and reading when it fits into my schedule. Doing a lot of "asking" in my prayer time and not a lot of praising/worshipping. No wonder I feel drained!

Thank you SO much for sharing this with us, Patrice - it's definitely convicted me! I pray that God will continue to shower you with his mercies and grace and that you will be still and know that He is God. Please keep us updated on this study - I think it's going to be a good one!!

Love from TX!
Laura

Jennifer said...

Your probably having Thyroid issues....and a lot of woman get that after having babies.

chinamoon1420 said...

Hmmmmm! I thinks me needs to read this book! You are right. When do we take the time to just be still and worship Him? Thank you so much for sharing. I needed to hear this today. Please keep sharing your journey through this book. Very eye opening. I love reading and hearing about others spiritual journeys. And I am going to try to find this book tomorrow! Praying that all your prayers will be answered.

Linda said...

Hi Patrice: Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experiences lately. I too have recently started to really talk to God. Not just praying, I've done all of that, but really talking and more importantly, listening!! Boy oh boy am I learning. God Is So Good. Keep us updated on your very special journey. Love Leah's Nana

JenniferNe said...

I felt like that when I had a Kidney Stone! Good Luck!

Tabatha said...

Thank you!

Cristi said...

I am at work so I cant write all I want to, but that is completely awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

Thank you Patrice for sharing your thoughts. You have given me A LOT to think about. Beautifully written!

Chris Epple, Iowa

California Dreamin said...

AWESOME!! Thanks for posting. :)

biblemm said...

THANK YOU for sharing this book! I LOVE Linda Dillow, Calm my anxious heart was my favorite book as my kiddos were in the ankle biter stage. This study is one that I have been searching for, so Thank you for being obedient and totally real in how you share, it's truely refreshing!
I have ordered the book AND called on the ladies in our church to join in! Can't wait to start! And how cool is this, as I read your post my Pandora radio was on....to the Chris Tomlin station...seriously goosebumps!
God is good...ALL the time!

Heather said...

Awesome stuff, Patrice!

Liz said...

I have the book in my Amazon cart to order in the morning. I have her Calm My Anxious Heart book and it has really helped me with anxiety. Please continue to share your thoughts Patrice on this. I also feel exactly what you wrote about. And so many times I get off the phone with my husband during the day and think - he just isn't giving me what I need. And I always think in my head - but he isn't supposed to - only Jesus can do that. And yet I never go to him. I'll tell you - that verse in the Bible where it says I do what I don't want to and don't do what I know I should - should be my life verse!!! So many changes to make. Thanks for sharing!!

ashpuck said...

I loved hearing about your experience with God. I miss the times I use to spend with Him. Like you said "Why do I Flail?" That's the question of the day, everyday for me. It is encouraging to me to see your struggles and that God is there waiting. I know he's waiting for me too. Someone told me once that being busy stands for Being Under Satan's Yolk. I know he uses that to distract me also. Thank you for sharing Patrice. Oh, and I loved Jonah's tricks! Sweet boy.

Ellen said...

Thank you for this post. Its just what I needed to read! I need to get this book!

Cathy said...

Thanks... God has been working on my heart and shifting a lot of things in my mind lately. Not sure what it is exactly, maybe your honesty to be real about where/who you are, but something about that post really touched me. I'm not where I want to be with God, but this gives me hope that I can get there...