I don’t know if I’m living in a peculiar time in Christian history. It certainly feels as if I am. The erosion of Judeo-Christian values, the degradation of society and culture, and the attack on the sanctity of human life all make me feel as if this is a very peculiar time. Of course, I only have the vantage point that my thirty-seven years allow. I have lived long enough, and read enough literature from other time periods, to know that each generation has its struggles, tests, and failures regarding the Christian walk of faith, making it inconsequential to pine for “the good old days.” When I think about this particular time, this time when my life is being lived, this time that my children were born into and are now growing up in, I feel a sense of longing for a deeper understanding of theological truth and the powerful peace that I know exists there; a truth that carries one through peculiar times and combats the tendency toward worry that resides just under the surface of many a mothers’ heart, including my own.
As a mother of four children, ages 10 to 18, my time for in-depth, theological study has felt limited. During these busy years, I have relied on my pastor’s sermons, radio broadcasted sermons, an occasional topical Bible study, and casual reading of the Bible to teach myself theology. However, the Lord recently graced me with renewed enthusiasm to know Him and to grow in my relationship with Him. An idea for a theological Bible study was born from this grace; a solution to my feeling of desperation for a firm, personal grasp on truth. Truth seemed to be just out of my reach. I could see it, but I couldn’t reach it enough to get a firm grasp on it. I knew that truth resides in who God is as revealed in His Word, but I didn’t know how this knowledge could translate into my living out the truth of who He is. My tenuous grasp on truth was problematic, especially when trying to give a reason for the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15) and the counter cultural expectations that I lay on the shoulders of my children. I need truth to guide me on the difficult path ahead and to be a balm to my often bruised and hurting soul.
My own personal study, a study dedicated to knowing God myself through His word, could not have come at a better time. Two of my children are getting ready to embark on adulthood, one is a teen, and the youngest is just losing his boyhood features and making the turn toward the teenage years. I’m at a crossroad. Raising these children, in this culture, could send me to an early grave, or mold me into a woman of greater faith. It was so easy when they were little and life felt controllable. Now that they are older and I can no longer shelter them, I realize that my life must be a witness and testimony that points to the truth of who God is, the truth of His greatness, a greatness that makes every idol absurd compared to the pursuit of knowing Him.
Glory to God, this uneasy place of need lead to the birth of a formal Bible study, as well. The Lord provided three devoted and mature Christian ladies who were also looking for a theological Bible study- a study of God using the Bible as the primary source. We started out, linking arms, minds, and hearts, and entering a study of Judges. Using Jen Wilkin’s method from Women of the Word the four of us began a journey that is definitely challenging and deeper than I am used to digging, but already reaping precious rewards. As I study, my faith is bolstered, my joy is renewed, my resolve hardened, and I glean truth! I’ve only just begun to study the Word deeply myself and already I’m grasping truth with my mind and my heart. My study of who God is, revealed in the book of Judges, and a much needed refresher in Joshua, startles me. He leaves no room for compromise, no room for indecision. He requires trust and obedience.
Now I have this truth grasped in my own hands; one of the first truths gleaned in my study. How do I live it out in my life, my family, my culture? Resist assimilation! I am convinced that assimilating into this culture or cowering before its intolerance toward Christ-followers will threaten my witness to my children. After all, if their mother cannot or will not speak the truth, why would they ever dare to speak the truth and stand for what is noble, good, and right. They don’t see righteousness, integrity, or purity modeled in many places. I’m afraid the onslaught of worldly influence greatly outpaces the Christian testimonies that can be introduced on a daily basis. My weakness is ever ready, so I recognize my great need for more grace to live in the power of His truth where my children can see Him.
The process began with the grace of God leading me to see my need for Him and has been grace-fueled throughout. I’ve learned that there is no substitute for personal, deep, Bible study. As a mother, raising children in this broken and blind world, my first priority is growing in my knowledge of God, understanding the truth of who He is, and growing in my ability to answer life’s questions with this truth. I move forward trusting the faithfulness of God, that He will continue what He’s started in me. I pray that His grace will extend to all of my children and to the generations that come after them.
To God be the Glory.