I want to update on how our Ladies' Bible Study is going this semester. I have a lot of things swirling in my mind about it, and I just wanted to get them out of my head. I honestly felt like God wanted me to facilitate this Bible Study this semester with our ladies. I am so sick of apathy and status quo. I am so sick of people just coming in like robots with their Bibles and not leaving changed. I'm so sick of myself when I do that - which happens many times. I am starving and desperate for Father to just break through and humble us. These feelings are some of the reason I wanted to facilitate the study. At our retreat, I felt such a strong just overwhelming-ness (not a word) of love for our sweet ladies. I just could hear God saying, "Precious, try not to be frustrated. Just love them. Just love them - I have given them to Landon to shepherd. You just love them. And watch me work." So, I've been trying. I've been trusting.
I didn't really anticipate the facilitation of the Bible Study being that difficult a job. It seems like the word "facilitation" is easy. The first week was easy when all I had to do was be like a game show host and do fun stuff. Let me tell you what I've learned so far. Everyone is looking at ME. Everyone is looking at me to talk about going to the next day or to lead us in prayer to open. That's because I volunteered for the job :) The second week of the study, when I stumbled over some words, it was like I just waiting for another lady to pipe up and start talking, and guess what, no one did. It felt like everyone was looking and waiting on me to continue. Because they were. Because I'm the facilitator. Last night I shared something personal, and I felt pretty vulnerable about it. I felt pretty exposed. I felt safe with these ladies, yet, I felt afraid. I know Father wants honesty. So, I'm giving it. What I really want is for these ladies to look at me and think, "Oh, what a perfect pastor's wife. What a perfect wife. What a perfect mother. Oh, look how sweet and kind." Instead, I feel afraid they could be reconsidering their choice of a pastor's wife in light of some of the things I've said and shared. I know that it's a balance as a pastor's wife to know how much to share and how much to keep to myself. I learned in lots of counseling that you can be very authentic without necessarily vomiting your business all over every one. However, I also believe that God has called me to tell some of my business. To vulnerably share - whether others accept me or not - the places I've been and where He has brought me. So, I am. I'm risking it. I'm stepping out.
Do I believe I am gifted to teach? NOPE. I really, truly don't. I wish that I was. I wish I could have gotten the singing gift or the teaching gift. I've really been thinking about this since last week when the Bible Study was over, and I was sort of in a bad place. Thinking about myself. Listening to the wrong message from the wrong person (uh, meaning, listening to Satan and not God). But then, I had sort of a consistent message all week from Father. He keeps saying, "Stop. Stop it Bethany. Who is this Bible Study about? Is it about you? All your problems? All your weaknesses? All your inabilities? Or is it about ME? All the ways I am sufficient? All the ways I compensate for your weaknesses when you allow Me to work through you. You know what I require? Obedience. Not a gift for teaching. A broken heart before Me. Not a gift of eloquence in front of others. And, remember, I accept you. I accept you even if no one else does. Even when you felt like your husband didn't accept you - the one person you desperately wanted acceptance from - I accepted you. Gladly. With open arms." Last night, Beth Moore gave an example of joy - the joy we feel in our relationship with Christ. She talked about her little 2 year old grandaughter running down the sidewalk to see her. Beth says she bends down on her knee and holds her arms out just watching her run and cackle as she runs full force toward her. After this past week, that spoke to me deep within. Jesus' love is so deep. It is so full of joy. It is so full of LIFE. When I choose to run down the sidewalk to Him, I am so enough. When I choose to stand with my arms crossed and make it about me, I will never be enough. I will never be qualified to facilitate this Beth Moore study. I don't think we will ever finish a session that I don't question my ability to transition from one thing to another, or help spark discussions. But, I will be faithful. And, I will pray that God continues to show me that it is not about me. It's only about Him. Oh, how I pray He will change me. Change my selfish, bratty heart. Oh, how I love Him.