Monday, April 04, 2011

The post I've been dreading

I started Bible in 90 Days on January 4, 2011. I was excited and had great hope, but I was also a little bit anxious - would I *really* finish the entire Bible? In 90 short days? Like you, probably, I'd started reading the Bible many times, many ways, but I'd never actually finished reading the whole thing at one time.

Still, BI90 offers great resources to help you finish, and I took full advantage. I bought the BI90 Bible, joined a mentor group and signed up for daily e-mails from the BI90 program.

And guess what? By the grace of God, I DID IT! I actually read through every single page of the Bible in 90 days!!

Now here's the part I've been dreading. How am I supposed to put this experience into words that make sense? Words that really capture how this changed me? Ah - well, I probably just won't do it justice, but I'm going to get some tea, pretend we're face to face and go for it.

Alright, peppermint tea is in the microwave (I know, very hillbilly of me but it works and it's quick) (also, did you know that peppermint tea is totally awesome for a tummyache? I had to drink some last night after eating almost 100% junk all day, and within minutes I felt better).

So ok. When I started reading the Bible this time, I really hoped I would be a completely different person at the end. I hoped to be free from my food addiction. I hoped to not yell at my kids any more. I hoped my house would be clean all the time and there would never be piles of laundry in my laundry room. I hoped to be a better friend, daughter, sister, mother, wife (not necessarily in that order) and thank-you-note writer. I guess I basically expected that reading all the way through the Bible would fix all of my problems.

It didn't! Imagine!

But it WAS an experience I wouldn't change and I am so glad I did it.

I knew just about all of the stories. I knew the major players. I'd read most of the Bible in bits and pieces before and had studied a lot of the books in depth. But there is something about reading a book cover to cover in a concentrated way that provides context I'd never had before. In fact, I'd say context was one of the first benefits I noticed, especially in the Old Testament when there's just a lot happening. I finally understand who goes with whom, why the events were happening, etc.

I was challenged. I folded a piece of binder paper into fourths and used that as a bookmark so that any time I had a question, I could write a verse with a question mark next to it. In fact, that bookmark is about to become my next Bible project: find those answers! What does this verse mean? What does it refer to? There were times I felt almost angry with God. Our God is no pansy, friend. He means business, and he is holy and righteous and just. I am whiny and pampered and when justice happens, sometimes it bites - ouch, God! Why did you do *that*?? My faith runs deep, though, and I know that I can trust Him even when it hurts.

I stand in awe. There are truly no words that will explain this one. You'll have to experience it yourself. To have read God's very words to me in a short amount of time and without really giving any feedback (filling in blanks, journaling etc.) - just listening - it provides a picture of God that is unparalleled. Everything means more now - worship, sermons, discussions with a friend.

I'm finally starting to get a picture in my head about what God's call might be on my life. Not the specific things as much as just having a more personal vision. I have mostly always filled the roles that are comfortable for me rather than the roles God might call me to. Watching as God called men and women out of their various circumstances and into a life He desired for them was inspirational and exciting! He will provide - I don't have to be enough or good at something or excited about it, I just have to listen and trust and obey.

Discipline has never been a strong suit for me. Reading the Bible in 90 days requires discipline. There were times I fell behind. Throughout the process, I never went more than two days without reading (a major feat!) but even 2 days puts you significantly behind. There was a point at which I was 13 days behind, because though I would read each day, I just wasn't prioritizing my day so that I could read enough. Reading the 12 pages required per day is a heck of a lot easier than catching up. There's my warning for those of you who might undertake this task. ;-)

And maybe the most meaningful thing that has happened is that I am hungering for God's Word in a way I really haven't before. Once you've read the whole thing and there aren't any scary, dark corners of the Word that have gone unexplored, it's more approachable. There were times I was thoroughly confused (hello Isaiah) and there were times I was surprised to have some sort of understanding (Revelation) but whatever the case, I have read every single word. And I can do it again! And again!

Ohhh girl. I am so excited. SO excited! About four chapters from the end, I teared up - partly in awe of my awesome redeemer, partly out of sheer excitement over reaching my goal. Gratitude, respect, fear - AM I one of God's chosen? Hunger, hunger, hunger - to really know him, to soak in His word, to memorize it.

To change.

The next BI90 starts on July 11. I hope you'll join me!


  1. So Awesome, I am totally inspired but I am thinking of doing it on my own soon as I will have a new baby soon after the July 11 start date.

  2. Emily: WOW! What an accomplishment. I am so happy for you! I've read through the Bible in a year (or so) a couple times, but I wonder what it would be like to do it in a shorter period of time. I like what you said about writing down your questions. Maybe I'll do this sometime...after I'm done with my commentary study of John's epistles!

  3. What a beautiful post! You touched my heart. :) I can feel what you are saying and what you mean. :)

  4. Emily!! Congrats!! What an amazing accomplishment. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  5. way to goooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. love your excitement! God is good, i need to do this sometime!

  7. wow Emily! you inspire me! that's awesome!

  8. Congratulations on a job well done!

    Your fellow Spring '11 grad,

  9. Oh, what an inspiring post, Emily! I completely relate to your initial hopes of immediate transformation of habits! LOL. I love your idea of writing down the verses you want to understand better -- I need to do that so I don't keep getting stuck on things that Jesus said that are over my head.