Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Bible

I love my Bible. If you are reading this, you probably know that already. :-) Brian's parents gave us this Bible as a Christmas present in 2004. I never knew that I would get so attached to a book. But my Bible isn't just any book, obviously. We have several Bibles...a small travel one for Brian to take on his business trips, a woman's devotional one for me, 2 others in different translations. But the one I'm talking about is the one we use most. We take it to church every Sunday. We use it for our LDG meetings. We take it on family vacations. I read it almost every day....some days I read one of the others ones but usually I always come back to this one. It has notes written all through it, highlights, underlines, stars, arrows, brackets, hearts....all on scripture that God has used to speak to me, to guide me, to comfort me, to teach me, to change me.

As I'm writing this I'm realizing that I have a relationship with this Bible.

I remember the 1st day it came into our home. We were new Christians. It was Christmas. We opened the wrapping paper and inside the box was this brand spanking new Bible with our name on it and I was so touched. I cried. We read the "Christmas Story" right then and there. We proudly started carrying it to church every week. I slowly started underlining things that stood out to me, highlighting stuff I wanted to remember.

I remember the 1st time it spoke to me. The Word is alive. I had heard that so many times and had absolutely no idea what people meant when they said that. But then one evening, it came alive and spoke to me. I used to drink a lot. Even after I "got saved", I still drank a lot. In the back of my mind, I knew it was too much...but at the time that was as far is it went...just to the back of my mind. One night I sat down to read my Bible, with a glass of wine. I felt a little weird about it....but hey, I always read other books with a glass of wine. So I was reading and looked over at the glass on the table and "heard" in my can't read my word with that stuff here. Well...I thought about it and realized that was probably right, but I ignored it and started reading again. And even got a little resentful...."Who is HE to tell me that? Really, what is all that about? It's my business!" And then let me tell you....if words can move....these JUMPED UP right off the page and hit me smack dab in the eyeballs! "My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights."(Proverbs 3:11-12) I read it a couple more times just to make sure I had it right and then I got up and put that wine in the fridge to save it for later, when I was done reading. (I still had some things to learn, didn't I?)

I remember the time it got me through one of the longest nights of my life. I've made a lot of mistakes, done a lot of things I'm not proud of. One of the battles that happens to me & most everyone I the replaying of memories and regrets from my past. And the devil, he likes to heap on that condemnation in truckloads. This night was about a year after I gave my life to started early in the day actually. Memories started flooding my brain of things I had done, bad decisions, people I had hurt, really really bad stuff. Oh God, how can you love me, how can you save ME, how can you use me for any good....after all that I've done. And right then that's when the enemy came in with his're right, Dawn, you are too bad, God doesn't love you, you've done too much, He can never use you, He doesn't even want to use you! By the time I got home from work I was an emotional wreck, drained, exhausted. Now I recognize that as Spiritual warfare and an attack from the enemy. At the time I had no idea what was happening. Thankfully I had an amazing friend at work who told me what to do....get into my Bible, turn my thoughts onto praising God, listen to worship songs. So as soon as I got home I got out my Bible and started reading. I cried and prayed and read all night. The family went to bed, it was time for me to go to bed too....I was still in pain but exhausted. I climbed into bed and in the quiet of the night and no dinner or laundry or games with the kids to help distract me, the condemnation started up again. I was tired. I prayed. I got my Bible, opened it up, laid it on my chest and gave up. I slept with my Bible for the 1st time that night. And just as before, it came alive and protected me all night. I rested.

When Brian lost his job & we were facing financial bankruptcy, our Bible was there for us. I'll try to make this long story short. We had absolutely no financial responsibility. We spent money like it grew on trees. Made bad, bad financial decisions. On top of that we had huge financial obligations, court ordered obligations. We started doing better once we woke up out of our fog....but it was too late. Brian lost his job. He was unemployed for almost a year. And then "underemployed" (meaning he took a job for WAY less than we needed to even think about paying bills!) for another year. We were 10's of thousands of dollars in debt. We got sued for those court ordered obligations I spoke about above. Not only were we having trouble paying our necessary bills....electricity, food, we had to face going to court and getting a lawyer with no money to pay for one. It was scary. Scary isn't even a big enough word. So we got into our Bible once again. I made posterboards with scripture of God's promises to save us and protects us and provide for us. We prayed like we had never prayed before. I had the mini sticky-notes marking scripture that promised us Who God is and what He would do. I prayed His word back to Him constantly. When we went to court, Brian took his files of paperwork and documents, I took the Bible. While he was in the mediation room, I read that Bible. And prayed. I bet I looked really funny on the security camera video from the little woman walking around that empty courtroom with a Bible and praying. Brian came out of mediation. We went home and waited. We lost...I guess you call it that. But we trusted God and His word. Even though we had no money, we had to pay a portion of those obligations.....$30,000..... in 30 days. We had 1 month to come up with $30,000. God did it. That's a story for another blog. But on the 30th day, we had $30,000 to pay. That was at least a 8-10 month journey through all that.....there was no way we could have made it through that time, no way our marriage could have survived that time, without our Bible.

There are so many more stories I have about how my Bible has supported me, comforted me, even helped others. Like the time that a friend was in desperate need of encouragement from God. She is a life long Christian, strong in her faith, I really look up to her. But she was going through a very difficult time and one day as I was praying for her, God took me right to a scripture that I knew I was supposed to share with her. It was her exact situation and how God had rescued the people in the Bible from the same thing. I called her and read the scripture to her and it really, really encouraged her and gave her hope. Encouragement and hope, that's what we all need.

Why am I writing this? Well, my Bible is coming apart. I have a choice to make----not really, there is no choice in this situation, for me at least. I can either get if repaired and rebound or I can buy a new one. It would probably be a lot less expensive to just buy a new one. But after all that we've shared, you tell me how I'm supposed to just go get another Bible? I'll be visiting a bindery this week. Turning over my precious friend to the hands of someone who can give it some tender loving care, reinforce it and get it ready for years and years of more good times ahead!