Photo by Ashley Brown, Shining Light Photography
Some people have a large group of close friends. I had one girlfriend. One. She had been my best friend for my entire adult life, which was no easy task. Being a wife, mother, teacher, and volunteering in my community and church—all while suffering from a chronic illness—had taken a toll on “girlfriend time.” Catherine had been my friend for 25 years, and while we often went months at a time without seeing each other, we spent hours on the phone at every opportunity. She knew my struggles and health issues, and she loved me anyway.
Although I had been a Christian since I was 10, I had spent little time on my own in the Word. I was busy and exhausted, but I suddenly had a strong desire to read the entire Bible. My mother encouraged me to do so by buying me a special Bible that was marked with a passage to read each day, starting at the beginning. Halfway through Leviticus, I was ready to quit. The book of Numbers sealed the deal, but God wasn’t finished drawing me closer to Him. I was invited to a Bible study during lunch at work. The leader, Faith, used a Bible reading plan called Life Journal, which included passages from both Old and New Testaments in the daily reading. The plan included journaling. I was to write down one verse each day, make an observation, and record how I would apply it to my life, and end with a prayer. By the end of the year, I had read the entire Bible once and the New Testament twice. God had begun to weave his Word into my heart, and I still continue to use that method daily.
Oh, how my relationship with the Lord changed from that time spent daily with Him! I felt Him speak to me through the passage each day. The reading was so closely related to my situation or needs each day—it was like He wrote it just for me. I felt like I finally grasped His love for me, and appreciated what a wonderful God He is! I wanted to be more like Him. I wanted everyone to know Him better. Why had I gone so long without caring to read this wonderful book and spend time with Him?! I wanted everyone to read it!
I felt God nudging me to start a Bible study in my home using this plan. “Lord, are you serious? You know how tired I am. I don’t have room for company. Why didn’t you want me to do this last year before we moved and downsized? I haven’t even painted here yet. What do I even really know about the Bible? I just started reading it.”
But quickly, my shock turned to submission. “Okay, Lord. Today, I will lay down my pride and be obedient. I am going to call my friend Catherine and get on Facebook and invite all my Facebook friends to come to my house to a Bible study. Please blind their eyes to the dog fur tumbleweeds in the corners. Please give me the strength to clean the toilet.”
I began to pray and prepare, and I invited everyone I knew to Bible study. A few weeks prior, a group of high school classmates was planning to get together for dinner and a movie. The morning of our outing, I was so convicted about the movie choice, I decided I would leave after dinner and not see the movie. Sabrina had made the same decision, and during dinner we bonded over not seeing the movie. A horrible storm knocked out the power to the mall, and no one else was able to see the movie either, which still to this day gives us the giggles. When I posted the Bible study invitation on Facebook, Sabrina heard God tell her, “You need to do this.” After some protest of her own about going to a Bible study at my house, where there would probably be “a bunch of cheerleaders from high school,” she obediently messaged me for details. Isn’t it funny how the devil constantly whispers insecurities into our ears?
At about this same time, I was feeling led to invite another former classmate, Kathy, through private message. She had just moved back to town and her girls and mine were very close in age. I could tell by her posts on Facebook that she loved the Lord. Her husband is a pastor, so I invited her with a few insecurities of my own. Who am I to ask the pastor’s wife to a Bible study? Will she be offended by that? I hadn’t seen or talked to her in years, but she came also, as did my friend Catherine.
Over the next few months, I was hit with several incredibly difficult challenges and life changes. I became more ill and had to take a medical leave of absence from my job. Then, tragically, Catherine was killed in a horrible accident. She was only 42 years old. I can’t tell you how many ways God worked tangibly in my life during this difficult time. I feel like I could write a million God stories of my own if only I could recall the many details. The most profound way He worked was providing through that Bible study, two godly, precious girlfriends that bless my life in countless ways. I often think about what I would be missing had I not put away my pride and fully relied on God to give me the strength to have the Bible study. What He asked me to do to “serve Him” was really for MY benefit!
During the dark times that followed the beginning of that Bible study, I was blessed with friends who would hold me up and pray with me and for me even when I was unable to pray for myself. He blessed me with the responsibility of a group meeting in my house that kept me committed to spending that precious time with Him. God provided every need I didn’t even know I had, and He continues to bless my life with the friendship of these beautiful, God-fearing women. While He brought one friend Home to be with Him (praise the Lord, hallelujah, thank you, Jesus!), He already had worked a plan to bring two friends into my home to minister to my broken heart. What an awesome God He is!
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.