As a teacher, I get this glorious thing called “summer break”. 8 weeks of not driving into work and not having a care in the world…well, at least that’s what some people think. And I guess, somewhere along the way, I started believing that too. I actually can remember thinking back in May…”there’s no reason why I can’t do TWO Bible studies this summer. Yes, they are going on at the EXACT same time and last for 6 weeks but it’s the SUMMER. I mean – what else am I going to be doing?” Apparently, I was simply envisioning days drawn out of laziness and boredom…
Yeah. This was indeed a perfect plan. One for the AM and one study for the PM – I even got the kids version of one of the Bible studies- (that’s when I would do the kids one too…perfectly sweet little worship time before bed studying Romans with my gals – what could go wrong with that plan?)
School ended and June began. And I was just so excited. There is something about a new Bible study. I love it – kinda like new school supplies – I love the newness. Colorful pens, nice/clean pages, and even a free Grace tote bag that came with the studies…perfect for a quick Instagram post! This was the beginning of an incredible summer.
Until about day 6…maybe day 4?? I don’t remember anymore. It got hazy. There was a day when me and the gals sat and read through 3 pages at one time. My youngest wanted to know why we “had” to do this instead of playing barbies. My oldest calmly stated that if they paid attention maybe they could watch a TV show before bedtime. Yes. This looked EXACTLY like what I had imagined. Maybe I should put THIS in my “instastory”.
Somewhere in week 2, I figured that I had better get my act together and maybe then I could at least share some things with the girls when we were driving around in the car. I started carrying around my Bible/pens/notebook/study books in the Grace bag wherever we went hoping for a spare moment. These moments actually would happen whenever it would stop raining long enough for the girls to have swim lessons. In those moments, the Lord would speak and He’d speak directly to my heart…to my soul. “Why Nickolee? Why are you doing this? Quit checking things off. Dive into My Word because you want to know Me.” In His Sovereignty both studies lined up that week in covering the Truth that our righteousness does NOT come from ourselves. from our good works. from anything we can do. sigh. It only flows from the blood of Christ Jesus.
I wish I could then tie this post up in a nice bow and click “post” but unfortunately, I can’t.
As the 3rd week started, swim lessons ended, and I might have woken up early to workout but just told myself I’d do my Bible study “later”. Of course, when bedtime rolled around, I didn’t want to focus on the study when Netflix or sleep seemed to be an easier choice. And the cycle continued. And that Grace bag just kept hanging out in my front seat. Riding around from church to play date to workout to go swimming to home to visit someone and so on and so forth.
And it feels dumb or dare I use the “s” word – stupid? I mean really? I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what my heart and my soul needed/needs. I can’t even say that I don’t have “time” because gracious I do (it’s summer break remember?!?!) and even on my busiest days during the year…I still do. So what is it? What is wrong with my brain that I keep trying to figure out where/when I can “fit Him in”? How can I know the freedom and forgiveness that comes from just giving it all to Him, yet still walk around refusing to bow down? Pride. Sin. Stubbornness. Doesn’t Paul talk about this? This struggle of knowing what is good and doing what is wrong? Of being held captive while knowing Who sets us free?!? (Check out Romans 7 – I’m not making this up)
I glance over at the bag that carries these two studies and my Bible with my cute pens and my prayer journal and I feel overwhelmed. I forget where to start, the fear of failure isn’t so much a fear as it is a reality and opening the bag means I’ll have to face it instead of just ignoring it.
Amazing how His Truth whispers in the places I forget that I’m listening. A song while I’m shopping for groceries, a text from a friend, a prayer lifted by my daughter, scripture I hung months ago…He pursues relentlessly.
My failure is indeed a reality. I should not fear it. The turning point comes in remembering that I know Bravery. I can open the bag. I can face it. I can repent. I can ask for forgiveness and know that I am. I can start brand new, slate clean – even for the one millionth time – even completely and utterly undeserving of it. Head hung in shame – completely should have known better and yet still defiantly walked the opposite direction – He still redeems. Still forgives. Still shows mercy. Still extends grace. Still allows me to walk in VICTORY instead of failure.
And friend, you can too…