There has been a lot of talk about life verses at our home church these last few weeks and I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing what our teachers have had to share about this topic in their own lives. To be honest, I have rarely sat in a pew and heard a sermon in months... mostly due to my infant who has had everything from ear infections, colds, nap issues, nursing marathons, and just my short season of life of choosing a "backyard blessing" session over attempting church with a room full of people whom I would have to get dressed for and brush my teeth. Luckily, church can be done in the comfort of your home when needed and I have really enjoyed my quiet mornings spent with my Lord and a still heart to worship solo. None the less, I miss my community of church family members and am hoping to transition back to showers, teeth brushing, and worship with a room full of other followers. These last few months I have been using my minutes to really tune in at home and tune into my heart following God's. I have been drawn to His word in a way I never have and have found so much life in the old pages of my Bible. So when I returned to church a few weeks ago, I instantly connected with the "life verse" theme. And here we go...the beginning of mine.
I grew up with a father who read out of his old worn Bible to us four kids every night before bed. He sat in the hallway between our bedroom doors and read the word. Sometimes I paid attention and sometimes I secretly wished he'd be done so I could pull out my flash-light and hide under my covers to read the next book I was burying my nose in. Bibles sat open on my grandparents coffee tables and bed side tables and on the dining room table. His word was in many places as I grew up and even though I never really fully SAW His word as my way the way I do now...I strongly sensed it was a compass for this life.
When I think of the phrase "life verse", I have a few that come to mind at different times in my growth and growing up years. Today I will share from the beginning. As a young teen I kept myself busy with various sports activities and so like any young believer I took a lot of things literally. It's no surprise to me that as I went through sports seasons that my verse that hung in my bedroom had to do with winning.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
While I'm not sure I let these words lead my days as I went through my daily routine as a high-schooler, I did let these words cling to my heart in a way that encouraged me to try my hardest and not be too upset when I failed. I was reminded that my real race was the one that ended with Jesus. The self-discipline related well to me as I juggled a very busy schedule filled with sports, school activities, and a handful of other commitments. Being so involved had me worn thin when I didn't practice self-discipline to finish well. I had no real vision of what "the race" in life really was. I was ignorant to what this race from this verse spoke about and used it to apply my hard-work efforts and self discipline to finishing well in my eyes and my peers eyes. My "crown" here in this time of my life was to participate in my activities with a kind and friendly heart, as to please God in the way I acted while "racing"...yet I still wanted an earthly prize. As I used this verse to guide me a bit, I suppose God was using it to plant a seed for His daily bread and how in the future it would continue to feed me. When I graduated from high-school, my mama had this verse put on a wood plaque for me and there those words sat collecting dust for awhile during my years of transitioning into college and young adult life. Even though this sign collected dust on my wall, my heart was left with a finger print from God In the beginning these words helped me recognize something bigger then myself, yet I still was searching for that personal relationship with the One who was leading me through the efforts of others.
The day I graduated my uncle and aunt gave me a book by James Dobson. Inside they had written the verse...Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Here begins my next life verse that has stayed with me even through today... and another example that God continualy uses others in my life to lead me towards Him and His ways.