It was like a great vacation. Fast paced, exciting, exhausting, emotionally challenging. It was totally worth the effort. As the time neared the end, I felt like my trip was coming to a stop. I dragged out the last couple paragraphs, realizing that it was ending. Happy and sad at the same time.
It started out as a challenge to myself in a time of desperation when I could not put solid legs down on my faith. I had developed doubts. I had realized that I could not answer my kids’ questions with any more than Sunday school answers. I knew I had to get serious about studying God’s word.
I didn’t know what would come of it. I hoped that I’d have a few more answers. Honestly, I just hoped I could get through the whole thing. I’ve never been able to commit long enough to get through even half of the Bible at a few chapters a day. This time I decided to try a 90 day challenge that required some 16 chapters a day. Was I crazy? Probably. Did I expect to complete it in time? I hoped for 180 days.
If you want to read about the beginning of this challenge, you can do so here.
Yesterday I read the last words of the last book. It took about 70 days. Cover to cover. Once I got reading, I realized how hungry I was for God’s word. By the time I was a week in, I could not put it down. I read full books most days. I learned new things and made new connections that no amount of Sunday school classes and sermons could cover.
Most days were exciting as I rejoiced over familiar and new information about Gods provisions and plan for his people, but some were draining. Reading the four gospels over four days was difficult. Jesus offered some tough teachings in those books, and then on top of that he was beaten, mocked, brutally killed. For me. Reading about that four times in a row was really mentally exhausting.
About halfway through my reading, I felt God challenging me in a couple of areas of my life. Reading the Word was a good thing, but it wasn’t enough. There were things I needed to deal with. Little cobwebs in my heart that I didn’t want to let go of. How could I say no when I was so in love with spending time learning more about my God? I’m so glad I didn’t. My heart is lighter, filled with more peace and joy, and it isn’t because I’m working hard at it. God healed my heart of a sinful attitude when I cried out to Him.
The Word of God really is so fascinating. It is simple and complicated at the same time. The message of God’s jealous love for his people resounds throughout. I really enjoyed my whirlwind tour through the Bible. Every word of every chapter.
I might have neglected a few things for those days. I spent less time on Facebook, Words With Friends, and watching movies with the family. I cleaned a little less. I probably talked a little less. I read while I cooked, while I sorted laundry, while I waited for kids to get out of dance class, before kids got up in the morning and after they went to bed.
The kids learned to see that I was reading my Bible and waited more patiently for my attention. We talked about interesting parts, and they saw that it was important to me. My husband, who is also doing the 90 day challenge, was very patient too. Our evening conversations are often related to what we have read that day. We are digging into scripture together, a blessing of its own.
I really enjoyed the “vacation”, and didn’t really want it to end. At the same time I’m glad it is over. It was tiring…and yet refreshing.
Today I took a day off. It was actually difficult to stop, but I promised myself that I would write about the experience before moving on. This is where I am. I’m going back to reading tomorrow. I’m going to reread the New Testament over the next three weeks with my husband. It was such a quick read through, and there is so much depth in the teaching in the New Testament. I need to read it again. I’m not sure where I will go after that, but I do know that I will be reading. I must. I’m hungry.