For the past seven and a half years, I have attended a weekly women's Bible Study. As I look around the beautiful faces in the room, I notice that in the past seven and a half years I have seen many amazing women come and go. I have enjoyed deep conversation with a small room of women and a large gathering. It has grown, shrunk and then surged again. In the past seven and a half years, only I remain, along with our beautiful, fearless leader, of all the women I first met, who first welcomed me into the fold when I was the lone young newlywed.
It has been a fun journey through pregnancies and babies and average life changes - for me. The others who have come and gone (and come back again!) have had maybe more ups and downs. It's a regular weekly meeting I wouldn't dream of missing unless absolutely necessary. It's my time for adult conversation, yummy food and a little girl talk.
But this past semester has completely wrecked me.
I've mentioned before, we are steadily pushing along through a book titled 66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb. I'm not gonna lie, it's been hard at times. And I don't always agree with how the author presents things, but I remind myself he is only the tour guide - he's not the curator and most definitely not the artist - he has come to give clear, concise information about each work, though the final analysis and interpretation for the individual visitor is up to them. The works can speak to each individual on their own - and a meandering solo visit can most certainly be the most personal and wonderful way to see it all, but sometimes a guided tour helps to flesh things out just a little more. I know through this tour I'm digging out more than I ever had on my own - even when I don't agree with the author's particular assessment. It pushes me to dig more and read deeper than ever before.
When we began this book back in August, I was in the throes of depression. Life felt empty, tasks meaningless, and I was just done. I was exactly where He wanted me. He has systematically, through the course of the first 39 books of His Word, weeded out the unfulfilling parts of my life, pointed out the ugly (though we're still working on eradicating that) and brought me to the brink. The end of the Old Testament - when everyone is seeing the true picture, that we can't do this God relationship on our own. We will never be good enough.
And I'm in a place I have never been before.
Where I can truly say nothing - nothing - in this life satisfies my desires. He has become my only source of joy. And it's not that nothing satisfies like Him - it's honestly that nothing satisfies other than Him.
I've seen this most clearly in the past couple weeks. I have had a few opportunities (including that precious Wednesday morning time) to just be with other ladies. These are the times I have so craved in the past. Late (late!) night chats at a retreat, a gathering of girls at a friends' house just to giggle and eat and be together, and those treasured 30 minutes before Bible Study begins - the time built into the schedule just for catching up. And over these past couple of weeks, I've walked away from these times I used to so anticipate and felt, just, disappointed. Unsatisfied. Because suddenly what I crave are moments in His word. The portion of Bible Study where we delve fully into Zechariah and rejoice in the hope revealed. Deep discussions of His goodness and what He's saying to us. Basking in the glory of the moments His Grace has appeared. These are what my soul desires.
And I'm exactly where He wants me.
Because now I want nothing more than to go Home. To be with Him. And He points out my selfishness. Because I am ready - but what about them. What about my children, my neighbors, or those millions of humans of New York. Are they ready? My selfish heart bursts - oh how I want them to know Him, too.
They need this Gospel - the one we're about to break open as we head into the New Testament portion of this journey - the portion my heart has eagerly awaited. And all I want to do is curl up and read it all, devour it - this life-changing message for all who would hear (all who would hear!). To soak it in, ready to bleed it out.
Yes, I'm exactly where He wants me.