Understanding, Seeking and a Summer to Soak: Welcome to Week 1!

Welcome to Summer!  

You are here!  On this our first day, I welcome you from the mountains of Colorado!  So many of us have gathered, women from my hub in Denver, to those of you across the country and around the planet, joining collectively to seek His face this summer!  I wish we could take a second to turn to the woman next to us and say hello, but together we’ll send up a resounding “Hi!”.

God has stirred this study in my heart since last year, and I am so humbled and thrilled to be able to bring it to you.  He continues to stir it in me, even today on this beautiful Colorado morning.  It has been quite a season.  God has been drawing me with His unending, powerful love and unearthing a fresh understanding of who He is.  Truly, it has been quite a season.  

Anyone else know what I’m talking about?  Anyone going through a season?

Anyone ever have one of those times . . . that turns into a moment . . . that turns into a soul change?

I had one of those this year.

God began this idea, challenging me to ask the question:  “Do I really believe that?”

For years, practically my whole life, I’ve been in church, youth group president, serving, leading, teaching.  I have loved God since I was 8 years old, knowing that He was the truth, the only truth, I ever needed.   I’ve prayed ferociously through the years for people, events, children, jobs, decisions, finances.

But sometimes when you grow up in the middle of something it becomes so familiar, so understood.

Sweeping the leaves on my back porch last fall God asked, “Do you really believe Me?”  Yes, Lord, of course I do, was my immediate response.

As those leaves got swept away, winter slowly pushed in.  December arrived and with it brought an event that shook my soul in a way I never saw coming.

December brought the tragic killings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

That event shattered my heart as a mother, as a woman.  The pain of that fateful Friday morning, a rage aimed at children 5-10 years old, the very ages of my own, engulfed me.  And yes, children die all over the world, tragically, every single day.  But for whatever reason, this event wrecked me.  I had to write about it, this is what came out.

And while I had purged my need to write and process it out, this was in no way “done” in me.

The snowglobe had been shook, and things weren’t falling back into place the way they had been.  The way they were suppose to.  The lack of realignment irritated me, but I couldn’t put all the pieces back, let alone remember how they all were before.

Ever feel like you need to re-learn God?

We want to understand God, don’t we?  We want to know that He can be counted on in the ways that we expect.  If we were honest, we might just wish that God would behave, or at least stay within the confines of the box we’ve created.  

Oh, but He cannot be contained.  

In her book “Believing God” (a book I re-devoured during this season), Beth Moore dispels this unachievable attempt at wrapping our human mind around an almighty God:

We cannot tame the Lion of Judah.  There is a mystery, a wonder, and yes, even a wildness about God we cannot take from Him.  Nor would we want to if we could grasp the adventure of Him.  If we can come up with a God we can fully explain, we have come up with a different God from the Bible’s.

He cannot be contained . .  this my heart has come to know.  Through my questioning, through my pain, though I have known Jesus for decades, He is still bigger than what my mind can comprehend.  And I have been so humbled.  Because at my core, at the end of the day I do not want my God to only be as big as I can imagine.  I want Him wondrous, indescribable.  I have re-learned this ancient truth, that His ways are not my ways, and for that, I am truly thankful.

But . . . doesn’t our enemy relentlessly stir it up?  

So much of life comes at us, every single day.  The everydays of joy, pain, beauty and mess.  We want to believe.  But goodness, we’d also like to understand.  However…

It gets dangerous when we feel that in order to believe, we must first understand.

Look at Genesis 3.  From the very beginning, Satan capitalizes on Eve’s lack of understanding and does two things:

  1. He challenges God’s words.  “Did God really say…” (v.1).  He tempts Eve to question…subtle, right?  Did God really say that?
  2. He challenges God’s character.  “You will not surely die!” (v.4)  In other words, God is flat-out lying and He’s holding out on you.

Girlfriends, his tactics haven’t changed.  Satan to this day capitalizes on the mystery, the unknown, the fact that something doesn’t make sense to us.  He stirs up questions then takes it as an opportunity to undermine and attack the words and character of Almighty God.

I wonder where you are today.  Today, at the beginning of this new study.  Where is your heart?

Maybe you’re at a crossroads that you don’t understand.  Maybe you’re in the middle of it all.  Maybe it’s extreme, maybe not.  Maybe you’ve got an overwhelming to-do list, or have the baby-blues, or grief, or simple wonderings of how long, O Lord, how long?

Do you believe your God today?

Do you believe that His plans are good…that He is enough…that He really does love you?

If you’ve been a Christ-follower for any amount of time, there are certain “clutch” verses that we always seem to go to – “My grace is sufficient for you…”, “God has not given me a spirit of fear…”, “I know the plans I have for you…”.  We can quote them.

But do we live our every day life as if we really believed them?

How could our lives be, how different would it look, if we re-looked at those clutch verses.  What if we re-learned them, allowed Him to re-make us?

Each week of this study we will do just that.  We will take one verse and sit in it, and allow its words to soak into us.

I need that.  I need His truth to soak deep into the core of my soul.  Anyone else?

OUR VERSE FOR WEEK ONE:

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord… Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NASB)

Who Wrote It and Why?

This verse is found in the book of Jeremiah, spoken by the Lord through this prophet as a message to those who had been taken into captivity in Babylon.  A people who needed to know that God had not forgotten them, that God could still be found.

How Can I Soak In This Verse?

1.  Recognize that …

  • You are inundated every single day.  Sooooo much clamors for your attention, from social media to the news, radio, schedules, children, the tyranny of the urgent.  Think about how much information you take in within just 60 seconds on Facebook or Pinterest, countless thoughts, opinions and stories.  We take in so much information all the time.
  • You are intentionally distracted by an intentional enemy.  Girls, Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy everything in our lives.  Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see what’s really important.  Ask Him to reveal to you how you spend your time.  
  • You are beckoned by God to seek Him.  In this verse, God says “seek Me”.  What an invitation.  An invitation to seek Him with all that you are.  Think about that.  Almighty God is asking you to seek Him.

2.  Write it out!  I’ll be asking you to do this every week, so grab a 3×5 card, some card stock or a sticky note.  Write the verse down, in whatever version you have.  Read each word . . . slowly take it in.  Put your card up somewhere you can see it every day.  Put them all over the house if you need to.  Memorize it.

3.  Ask the Lord to reveal ways that hinder you from seeking Him.  As we begin this new series, ask God to clear away anything that would distract you from what He has planned.  Tell Him the ways you want to seek Him more.  Bring Him your questions, your hurts and desires.  Do you believe you will find Him?  Confess whatever is on your heart on this one.

4.  Follow up with additional verses, if you’d like.  Look at Psalm 27:8, Psalm 105:4, Genesis 3, I Peter 5:8-9

My friends, as we step out in faith and accept His invitation to seek Him, our good and wondrous God will be found.  Do you believe that?  And although we may not understand Him, if we accept, oh, what a grand adventure it will be!

___________________________________________

Invite your friends to join us in our Summer to Soak!  

By forwarding this on to them, all they need to do is click on the link above to “follow”, and each week’s study will be automatically dropped into their inbox.

___________________________________________

How is God moving in your life?  

There is something powerful when we share our story – it brings encouragement and strengthening to so many others.  Feel free to leave comments below throughout our series . . .

 

Share:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest

23 Comments

  1. Lisa Williams on June 18, 2013 at 7:39 am

    thank you 🙂 Lisa Williams http://www.godsradiogirl.com

  2. Leilani on June 18, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Thank you for doing this summer series. There has been a lot going on lately and I feel this will help tremendously get me to where I need to be with God again. God Bless 🙂

    • womenwhobelieve on June 18, 2013 at 7:52 am

      So glad you’re with us Leilani! God such an amazing way of meeting us right where we are! Blessings on you!

  3. Terri on June 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Awesome! Wrote out all of my bible verses and have already started “soaking” them in! Thanks for this- it’s JUST what I’ve been needing! Happy summer!!! : )

  4. karatemomma on June 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I feel the same way. I am a teacher and have 2 months off to soak in His presence. That was my goal for the summer. Thanks so much for helping me get there. I will definitely forward this to my friends.

    • womenwhobelieve on June 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Much applause for being a teacher! Talk about needing to soak! So glad you’re here!

    • Elisa on June 20, 2013 at 7:28 am

      I’m a teacher too, “karatemomma.” And I also would really like to… well, really NEED to… soak (soak… soak… soak…) in His presence. The demands of the school year, and of life, have really interfered with that… 🙁

  5. Anne Devine-Pride on June 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Julie, so glad you’re doing this Summer series! I’m never able to do the women’s studies during the day at the church so this is perfect!

  6. Elizabeth on June 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Thanks Lisa W. for sharing this. I believe this series will be very helpful because I’m at a place where I am questioning everything I’ve been taught to believe about God and the Bible. Never questioning God or His word but the way it was presented for so many years. I’m in SEARCH mode and look forward to discovering some things together with all of you.

    • womenwhobelieve on June 18, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Elizabeth thank you for your honesty. God is absolutely at work, even in your questions, leading you to a deeper place with Him. Praying for you as you continue to seek His face.

  7. Linda on June 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

    What a great way to start the summer. I thoroughly enjoy these series and always feel closer to God. As a result I have an inner peace. Thank you!

  8. Pam Hawthorne on June 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Jeremiah verses has been my verses for many many years. it is the verses i pray for my two adult children and grandhildren. hod has a plan for me and a plan for them. they all have their journey to go on. God will be there every step if the way. thanks for sharing.

  9. Theresa Baethke on June 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Lisa, thank you for this study! It is exactly what I have needed. I look forward to the rest of our study. ~Theresa

  10. Christie L Suttle on June 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Again I thank God for you Julie. I was unable to get to my email this morning so just read through this and some of what I have been thinking and feeling today is answered in this verse. Thanks again for your faithfulness Jesus

  11. smsweetser on June 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks Lisa Williams for sharing this summer study… I am so looking forward to what God will do through it in our lives in the next few weeks…

  12. Erin on June 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    God and his perfect timing… I tell you what. This last week I received a diagnosis of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. The prognosis is great, so overall no huge concerns there, but lots of life changes and otherwise happening in our family in the coming weeks, months, and years. This series of study is perfect in its timing; I need to re-learn God; I need Him to walk me through decisions, tough days, and the like. Thank you for this beautiful message!

    • womenwhobelieve on June 19, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Erin, blessings on you sweet sister. How we need Him. Thank you for your vulnerability, you will encourage many. Praying for health and wisdom for the days ahead.

  13. Leilani on June 19, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Verse of the Day (today) from KLOVE fits perfectly with this.
    Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. 1 Chronicles 16:11
    I put this along with the other verses you provided ,Julie, on my desktop sticky notes 🙂 This morning didn’t start off so good, but once I got to work and read the verses, I felt better, said a prayer and started on my days work.

  14. Kim on June 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Thank you, Julie. I look forward to a good summer soak, as unfortunately I have slowly allowed the increasing demands of family, work & the world to cut into my personal time with Him and my relationship with Him is not where I want it to be.

  15. Megan on June 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I have been in one of those “seasons” as well. I suffered a painful loss last summer. I lost my third pregnancy at 21 weeks, and gave birth to a tiny little girl who was already with Jesus. It certainly made me ask many of those questions, “Where are you God?” I am also a first grade teacher and the shootings at Sandy Hook rocked me to the core. How long must we, your people, suffer, Lord? Your bible verses led me to read on in 1 Peter. Verse 10 says “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” A gentle reminder that The Lord sees our suffering and a promise that restoration will come. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    • womenwhobelieve on June 21, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Megan, thank you for your voice here, and for your honest heart. I am so sorry for your very painful loss, you have indeed been in a season. One that has no easy or trite answers. You are in the right place, leaning into Him, with an open heart to hear his “gentle reminders”. May God’s mercy and love pour over you this summer, thank you for all you do, serving those sweet first graders. May your summer break bring rest and restoration to your soul.

  16. Kaleena Mcwhite on June 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I have been struggling with my doubt because I have been going through the same issues for so long, feelings of inadequacy, frustration with friends and family members, and discontentment. These issues keep coming up, time and time again, and I struggle with believing God is there helping me conquer this. I’m thankful there is a bible study this summer because I need Him now.

Leave a Comment





Resources: