A Long Ago Spark

Welcome  Have you ever had the opportunity to look back on your life and recognize a long ago spark that had been ignited or a long ago seed that had been planted?  It’s both humbling and exciting to be able to reflect on past life experiences and suddenly see where a deep passion or dream was planted.

I was recently delighted in my stillness (very rare for me) to see where this particular journey of my life may have truly begun.

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Food For Thought  I have told so many people that I never intended to become a writer or blogger.  Which is true, I didn’t consciously choose this path until I was in a state of desperation and personal crisis, feeling a nudge from God after some serious prayers.

Last week I was reflecting on my current path, wondering why God would ever think of me as capable or competent in communicating to the masses in the form of written word.  Outside of an abundance of college papers, lesson plans, journaling, and a few educational grants and proposals, I don’t exactly have experience or training in this field.

In the midst of my meditations, I was given a vision of my college days.  We’re talking about twenty years difference between my time at university and my life now, so I was intrigued what this had to do with my current struggles at all.  I thought I might just be wanting to daydream of good times gone by, best friends, less stress, and the theory that I was in control of my life and future.  No, there was more to it.

I went to a Christian college.  In this environment we took a Bible class every semester, went to chapel every day, and it was assumed all the college kids would be in church service three times per week at one of the many local churches.  I loved it.  Of course I was seeking an education and a stable future, but I was also seeking God and His presence in everything I did.  Not that I was perfect or even a model Christian, but my faith was growing bigger by the day and I had confidence in my studies.

Something you need to understand about most Christian universities: they don’t have fraternities and sororities in the traditional sense.  There are “social clubs.”  At each social club meeting and activity, a devotional was part of the agenda.  This time of devotional and prayer was usually led by the club’s elected “devo director.”  In the spring, we would elect officers for the upcoming school year.  These positions included the standard president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.  Additional offices included athletic director, spring sing director, devo director, among others.

During my sophomore year I was athletic director for my club and I loved it, as I’ve had a long passion for sports.  But I was not among other sports-lovin’ sisters.  I found it easy to get frustrated and take my position way to seriously.  My junior year, I was disappointed to not be elected to that position again.  Rather than be disappointed, I should have been honored with being elected to the position of devo director.

Being a social club devotional director is certainly not like going on a mission trip or leading a church.  But there were important things to consider, things that I took for granted at the time.  In my role, I would prepare scripture and prayer to share with these ladies every other week at club meetings, along with organizing the delivery of devotional during special club events.  I didn’t realize it at the time but this was a vital role for serving my sisters.  Any group of college-attending women need encouragement, and a lot of it!  They have fears and concerns and weaknesses, always seeking support and prayer, and a chance to praise together.

I even led the prayer before the university’s fall women’s social club open house in front of more than 2,000 other women.  I was amazed in that moment, I was not shy or scared or nervous, very uncharacteristic of me.  I felt God gave me the words to say to bless this gathering.  I was proud of what I did, not because I was in front of all these people or my voice was the one focused on during prayer; not even because my name was announced or that I was representing my own social club in this capacity.  I was proud of how God could use me in this role.  A lightbulb came on for me, shedding whole new light on the idea that God could use “little ol’ me” to serve and lead other women in this role.

A few months later I fell into a deep depression, barely keeping myself functioning.  It was necessary, at that time, to drop out of my social club.  With that, I gave up on my role as devotional director and any belief that God would, or could, use me as a spiritual or inspirational leader.

Fast forward twenty years.  I’ve been through more bouts of depression.  I’ve experienced some of life’s biggest celebrations–marriage, birth of my daughter, and some amazing vacations with my husband.  I’ve experienced some valleys, as well, such as reproductive health problems and a devastating end to my teaching career.  And wouldn’t you know that on that path, I’ve walked a gigantic loop coming back around to the idea that maybe God CAN use me to help others.  This time, though, I wasn’t elected to a role.  I chose this path, with guidance from God.

When I asked God to show me what to do next in my life, I was inspired to create faith-family-food, sharing encouragement and scripture, along with my love for food and recipes.  I didn’t remember my devotional director experience at all until just the other day.  I don’t believe this was an accident.  As I sat in my meditation and prayer time with God, I kept saying over and over: I don’t know what I’m doing.  Why do I think I have the right to share and communicate with others about faith and scripture in this capacity?  I have no experience.  I have no training in scripture or Bible studies outside of my own personal study time.  Or my college classes.  Wait.  And it was at this time that my thoughts turned back to those days and moments when I did share with other women.  I did share my thoughts and words of encouragement and scriptures, the ones I felt might address some of our deepest concerns for this stage in our lives.

I felt God telling me to go back to that place.  Go back to the days when I shared simply to encourage and inspire.  I didn’t lead devotionals in college to make money or increase followers or gain fame or attention.  Amazon was barely a company in those days and Facebook and Instagram didn’t even exist.  No, I was doing it just to make a difference, not in the lives of thousands or millions, but simply to make a difference to those in my own circle, the people I connected with on a daily basis.

That’s what we should all be trying to do.  Make a difference with our words on a daily basis to those around us in our every day life.  God is calling us, not just me, to do this.  Get your spark!  Let your light shine!  Be the positive word in a sea of negativity.  You never know where a single action may take you or who you may inspire.

Today’s Scripture  I always felt that my God-given mission in life was teaching.  When I just wasn’t good enough to continue that career after 18 years, I felt that I had let God down, as well as everyone around me.  What else could I possibly do with my life if this is all I ever thought I was meant to do?  Luckily, I have an older, wiser friend who simply told me, “God meant for you to teach those 18 years.  Now God has something else in store for you.  You still have talents and you will still serve.  Trust Him.”  Do I know all the details yet?  No, but I have to believe that God still has a purpose for me, or why else would I be here?  Here are my ten favorite verses for trusting God’s plan for my life.

 

Today’s Bible Journaling Pages  I took four of the verses from the list and did a Bible journaling page for them.  Some of them are better than others.  Use for inspiration as you see fit.

 

If you are interested in starting Bible Journaling, check out my post Bible Journaling, Yay or Whoa?  This Bible Journaling Kit from Faber Castell is a great starting point, too.

I use the Crossway ESV Journaling Bible and Sharpie Gel Highlighters.  All of my Bible journaling supplies are available on Amazon.

I also use a variety of media, ranging from ink pens and pencils to paints and markers.  I occasionally use stickers and washi tape, as well.  To see more Bible journaling pages, click on my Arts and Crafts page in the menu bar.

 

 

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