“Are you SURE we need to go to church today?”
We were three days into our road trip and we had plans to get to our new destination early that morning. But it was a Sunday, and my husband had found a church in the area we were staying.
It was Sunday. We were going to church.
I confess I had a bad attitude about this. It was vacation! We needed to be at our next place early! We don’t have church clothes!
And also please don’t make me meet so many new people!!!
But my husband insisted, gently, that it was important for us to keep going to church, even on vacation, even in our hiking clothes, even though it meant new people (which doesn’t bother him at all, by the way).
So, we went. And as soon as we began, my heart calmed and I quit fighting. Because church was where Christ ministered to our hearts every week. Church was where we received confession and absolution, where we partook of his body and blood, where we were reminded of the Gospel, and how it changes our lives.
I’d been so focused on getting to our next place that I’d lost sight of why we go to church – to worship the Lord who has given his whole life for us, and be reminded of that very sacrifice.
I felt my attitude change after that. When you walk in light of the Gospel, you can’t get away with carrying a chip on your shoulder.
It happened again this week. I’ve been in a writing funk for a while, frustrated by the words and confused by which direction to go. We have a big change coming up around here in the Fall, and while I’m excited for it, the transition also has me a little confused and wordless.
I talked to some friends about it, and I talked to Jon, but clarity didn’t come. My stress level kept going up and everything just seemed even more confusing. I tried to pray, but felt like I was talking to a wall.
Yesterday morning I woke up and was surprised to find I was wide awake at 5am. So, I got out my Bible (which I hadn’t done in a while), and sat down to read and pray.
I opened His Word, wrote out some verses, and peace washed over me.
Friends, I think so often we put church and Bible reading on our to-do lists like it’s just one more thing for us to check off. One more thing we need to do to be good people.
And, because we don’t always get to everything on our to-do lists, these connection points lose their power, their priority. They become easy to skip because we have so much we need to get done.
But the truth of it is that we NEED these things.
We need to open our Bibles and hear God’s Word, every day!
We need to find ourselves in church once a week, in a place where the Gospel is preached and sins are forgiven and grace is found (and if you don’t have a church like that, please let me know and I will point you in a good direction!).
We stumble through our days carrying the weight of all that must be done. We grumble as we work, whether it’s outside the home or in. We women have so much to do, so many people to care for, and so little time – it’s incredibly easy to lose our joy as we look at that list on our own. How are we supposed to get it all done?
But when we open his word, when we hear the Gospel, we cannot look at our lives the same way. We cannot see Jesus hanging on the cross for our sins and still be upset that we have to do the dishes, again. We cannot see His body and blood poured out for us in communion and still complain that we have work to do, people to care for, and a home to run.
The Gospel changes everything for us, if we will let it. God’s Word is living and active and powerful in its ability to transform us.
It is NOT one more thing to add to our list.
It is the ONE THING that changes our list altogether.
Because when we place ourselves in front of a God who has given everything for us, we realize two things:
The list doesn’t rule our lives, HE does.
He doesn’t leave us to it alone. He promises his presence and his power if only we will walk with him.
How easily we forget the power of God when we try to accomplish life on our own.
How quickly our joy slips away when we strive for what has already been given to us.
When we rely on Him instead of ourselves, we are able to relax and even rejoice in our day-to-day lives, no matter how mundane or exhausting they are. We can do this because we understand that HE provides for us. Our responsibility is not getting it all done. It’s walking with Him.
Today, let’s both commit to hearing from God’s Word on a regular basis, whether it’s through a Gospel-centered church , our own Bible study, or both. Not because we “should”, but because through it, He gives us LIFE.
Need a little direction in this area? Here are a few resources I’ve found to help, that I really love:
- New Morning Mercies – this devotional is hands-down my favorite. It’s solid and Gospel-focused and even gives you more to read from God’s Word if you care to extend your reading time.
- She Reads Truth Family Studies – we’ve been doing the Matthew study with the kids, and we love it. We get the workbooks for everyone, which can be a little pricey, but they are fantastic quality and my kids are learning right alongside us.
- Simple Scripture Study + Community – I also use our monthly Simple Scripture Studies that we provide in our Intentional Moms Toolkit. It gives me a few verses to write out each morning, all related to the topic we are focusing on in the group. Plus, the community of women there give me the encouragement and accountability I need to stay on track + keep growing. In fact, we are ALL going through Matthew this month, and our Scripture study plan goes right along with it! This is my favorite!!
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