Every Woman a Theologian
—  When I Have No Words, Scripture Speaks —
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Dear friend,
It was a particularly overwhelming week and I was feeling drained. The burden of needs felt heavy – heavier than usual. But rather than see this burden as an impetus to seek the Lord, I ran the other way. 
I stayed up too late.
I woke up too late.
I felt rushed.
I scrolled too much.
I made time for distractions.
I ignored the important.
By the end of the week I'd been in the Word only once. I felt anxious and tired, confused and angry at all the hard things those seven days held.

When I reflected on what went wrong, I saw a pattern: when my circumstances became strained, I ran to immediate comforts. Studying the Bible wasn't on that list! I chose what was easy to consume, but what was easy to consume was usually untruthful. Not bad, evil, or wrong; just a partial truth. And in the midst of heavy circumstances, I need the whole truth. I need all of Christ for all my lack.
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The Bible does not innately fix our struggles. It is not magic. It is not immediate. And without the Spirit of God, it does not come alive (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Secular people read the Bible all the time without believing; some even know it better than Christians do, but it does not transform them. We need the Bible on our hardest days, but never just the Bible.
Conversely, those of us accustomed to rigorous, required Bible reading, might resist coming to the Bible out of fear of a swing back to legalism. We know the Word of God is used by the Spirit of God, but our fear of legalism keeps us from faithfulness. 
Whether we avoid the Bible because we think it fixes nothing, because we don't want to be “religious”, or because we are just plain overwhelmed, we are missing the power of what it does. In my avoidance of truth that week taught me an important truth: When I have no words for what I'm feeling, when I'm drawing in the difficulty, Scripture speaks on my behalf. Or rather, the Spirit of God speaks through Scripture.
I finally drummed up the courage to sit down and make the time. I did something I never do: I flipped my Bible open to a random page. It fell to Psalm 112, a psalm my college chapel professor used as a parallel to Proverbs 31. “The Psalm 112 Man”, he called it. But man or woman, the truths applied directly to my situation:
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous…
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
I sat back, astonished, but not ashamed. I could have absorbed shame for not showing up to the Word for so long, but instead God comforted me with these words. He knew. He knew my struggles, and Scripture spoke directly to them. How much more I would have benefited if I had come to the Word in the midst of the pain! And even though I didn't, God still spoke. Scripture speaks. The Spirit speaks. But often… we have to actually show up to experience such fullness. 
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they said I didn’t feel,
they said I wasn’t “real”,
they told me I was cold
because I didn’t do as told:
turn your pain into parade,
grieve, but not THAT way;
only safe if I was raw
only if they heard and saw
every failure on display
so they could judge and share and say
“you’re not authentic”
[in my way]
so I took the risk to feel
when it was deep and hot and real
in pain I plumbed the depths
of the place where grief is kept
in secret solace found
a holy solid ground,
raw, but safe at last
from the wounding of the past,
every failure healed by grace
as I beheld my Father’s face:
“you can be both real and safe”
(in my arms).
Authenticity, PDM

Five Faves

  • Olipop: I have loved every flavor I've tried! I love that these are a great source of fiber with low sugar… and so many yummy flavors to try!
  • Spring Grove Candle: I love this fresh scent. Rarely does a nontoxic candle actually give off a smell - but this one does!
  • This purse-sized gospel of John: I love that I can use this on the go, when waiting for grocery pick up or after church… but I can also give them away when needed! Also available are Matthew, Mark and Luke.
  • Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup: Obsessed with this. I think maybe I linked it last week?? But I love it so much it's on the meal plan again!
  • Reading Time App: I found this app for tracking my reading time/pages read. It's a nice accountability to put books ahead of scrolling, as strange as that sounds (it's an app, after all!). I start the app/timer, put my phone away, and read!
What I'm Reading

Anyone remember last year, when I read War and Peace for five months and basically nothing else? The same thing is happening with Anna Karenina, but I have no regrets… except that I could be reading more if I weren't neck deep in Tolstoy! Here is what I am [slowly] working through:
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Confessions by Augustine
  • Crowned Masterpieces in Literature compiled by Brewer
  • Numbers and Deuteronomy with Bible in a Year Club
Books I'm reviewing for endorsement or sharing online: 
  • Salt, Light and Kids (Hines)
  • Life in Five Senses (Rubin)
  • When it Hurts to Hope (Miller)
  • Reason to Return (Andersen)
  • A Mother Held (d'Entremont)
  • The Deconstruction of Christianity (Childers)
  • The Gift of Limitations (Hagerty)
  • Loyal to a Fault (Burg)
  • Love Covers Over (Radcliff)
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At Home with Phylicia

On top of my personal book list, I keep track of the books we are reading for school. Each year we complete between 150-200 read alouds of varying sizes. Here's what we are reading now!
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingall's Wilder
  • Wingfeather Saga Book 1 by Andrew Peterson
  • Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (Lithos Kids edition - absolutely stunning)
  • The Harp and Laurel Wreath poetry collection
  • Goops and How to Be Them manners poems
  • Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare
  • Ancient World Echoes
  • Hero Tales
  • Teatime Discipleship by Sally Clarkson
  • The Slow Regard for Silent Things by Patrick Rothfus
for the awakening,