writing Ruth…

Something I’ve always done is write out Bible verses and passages I want to remember and reference. Verses that are helpful, uplifting, comforting. Verses that remind me of God’s love and who Jesus is.

I have pages of those handwritten verses, some of the pages dating back decades, tucked away in Bibles and notebooks.

I’ve got stacks of index cards with a verse on each card. Some are placed around the house or in drawers where I’ll come upon them unexpectedly. Over time, I’ve filled two or three spiral-bound “index card journals” with verses.  Several years ago, I started keeping a large ring of index cards with verses, and I continue to add to it.

Copying verses by hand has been, and will continue to be, important and valuable to me.

But something I’d never done – until this month – is copy out an entire book of the Bible.

This month I wrote out the book of Ruth.

And what a blessing it has been!

Sometime last spring, as I was roaming around youtube looking at videos about Bible journaling, I came across Cat Woods’ channel. This month she’s had a challenge to write out, copy out, the entire book of Ruth.

Ruth isn’t a long book. It has only four chapters.

I figured I could manage four chapters in a month, so I decided to take on the challenge.

I gathered the journal and the Bible I wanted to use. I settled on the NLT, the New Living Translation, for my writing.

And I decided to use a purple pen… just because I love purple pens.

(The fact that the purple ink went along with the color theme of my journal was a happy plus.)

I chose to use a separate journal for writing down study notes, name meanings and word definitions, map notations, and various things like that.

At the beginning of this month I got started. I didn’t follow a plan of writing certain verses or a set number of verses each day. I wrote as much as I felt guided to write each time (and also going by how my eyes were doing, since that’s something I have to be mindful of).

I finished a few days ago.

The whole experience has blessed my life.

Writing out an entire book has helped me see the whole context, and receive the message of the book, in a deeper and richer way than ever before.

Over the decades, I’ve heard sermons and Sunday School lessons about Ruth, I’ve done Bible studies about this book of the Bible, and I already knew so much about the story of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz.

But this experience has taken the messages and meanings of this book to a whole new level for me.

Something about writing out all of Ruth has made it sink in more.

I’ll still be copying down individual verses and passages – that’s not going to stop.

I’m adding something else too, though – writing out entire books of the Bible… letting the Word flow into me in an even deeper way as the ink flows out of my pen, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, from the beginning of a book until the end.

I haven’t decided yet which book is next.

But I have the whole Bible to choose from.

 

pray, write, study, relate…

In this current season of my life, I’m paying close attention to what God is directing me to do, where to focus my attention, and how to spend my time.

This isn’t new. Even in the years when I tried to blend-and-merge my Christianity with other paths, I continually prayed for guidance and discernment, and I did my best to do what I was guided to do. (Now… as to how that played out regarding getting involved in those other paths, specifically New Age and metaphysical practices – I have some ideas and understanding (although I might never know for sure, at least not completely) and maybe I’ll talk more about all of that at some point.)

First off – before going into sub-category areas, I should say that the focus of my entire life falls under the umbrella of growing my walk with Jesus… and that impacts everything and it comes first above all.

And another goes-without-saying focus for me is my physical, mental, and emotional health. There’s some chronic stuff that has affected my day-to-day life in many ways, and so there’s that.

But breaking things down more, this year I’ve been clearly shown that, for now, I’m meant to focus my time and energy and attention on four areas…

Pray.

At some point back in the early-mid 90s, I took to heart the verse to pray without ceasing. Not in the sense that I pray without stopping all day every day, but in the sense that I have an ongoing conversation with Jesus all throughout the day each day.

(And yes, this continued even in my years of trying to have a foot in both worlds, the world of following Jesus and the world of the metaphysical/New Age.)

Somewhere around 1998 or 1999, I realized I’m what is sometimes called a prayer warrior.

I am called to pray.

Even when I can’t do much of anything else – whether it’s because I’m not skilled or trained or talented for other things, whether it’s because I’m not called to other things, whether it’s because I don’t have the physical strength to do other things, whether it’s because I have times when I’m mostly at home due to my health challenges…

Even when I can’t do other things, I can pray.

And even when I do get out and about, and involved in other things, and do other things… still, I feel called to pray.

So that’s what I do.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m not being guided to do something more “active” – but whenever I have that thought or question, God reminds me that prayer is taking action… and He reminds me it’s one of the main things He’s calling me to.

My job is to obey. And so I pray.

Write.

From the time I was old enough to form letters, I wrote stories.

I’ve long felt it was one of the reasons I was put on this earth. Regardless of what others think – and trusting that whoever is meant to read what I write will read it – I always return to writing fiction, even after taking time away from it.

The Holy Spirit continues to whisper to me: write.

This blog is one part of following that guidance. Fiction, for me, is the main part.

Study.

Until last summer, I’d been away from studying the Bible for several years.

During my venture along other spiritual paths, I still prayed, I still had a relationship to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit… but I stopped reading and studying the Word.

And that was a mistake.

That mistake (along with several other factors) contributed to my heading deeper into deception, and facilitated my ability to feel okay about being lukewarm and straddling the spiritual fence.

But God! But God used my mistake (mistakes, really) and my time in that deception to end up actually opening my eyes and my spiritual understanding to the Bible in a whole new way.

I’m now seeing God’s Word more clearly than ever before in my life, even though I’d spent my life as a Christian. I have an understanding of how it all relates, Genesis to Revelation, like I never have before.

Last summer I became hungry to read and study the Word again, and that hunger has only increased as these many months have passed. I read from a variety of translations, I use a variety of tools and helps in my studying and my research, and I’m doing Bible studies again.

This is something else I’ve clearly been told I’m to continue with as one of my main focuses in this season.

Relate.

And then there’s relate. Relationships.

My spiritual relationship (as I talked about above).

My relationship with my husband (which is sweeter than ever, after almost three decades together).

My relationship with friends … Friends I can talk to, where there’s give and take, both of us being there for each other, supporting each other, having a mutual relationship. And talking in real-time, whether it’s on the phone or meeting in person (because I got too deeply into a mostly-virtual world, and I’m craving real-time, voice-to-voice or face-to-face interaction and relationship). I can’t always get out and about to get together in person, but I’m doing more of that this year than I have in a long time… and it’s been such a blessing. Much of my family is lost to me now, due to deaths or brokenness, and my friends help me more than they probably know.

So… tending to relationships is another area I’m being guided to continue to focus on with my time and energy and attention.

I pray for discernment every day.

I ask to be the person God wants me to be, and to spend the time I’m given doing what He wants me to do. I pray for discernment to know the answers and to have the guidance to do those things.

There are many voices out there telling us to do this thing or that one.

There are only so many hours in a day.

There’s only so much focus and attention we have available.

So I ask to know where I’m meant to focus, what I’m being asked to do.

For me, for now, the answer is: pray, write, study, relate.

 

as for me and my house – printable…

I’ve been making some printables, and I’ll be sharing them here for anyone who’d like to download them.

The files include one pdf of the printable, and jpg files for 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10. These are high quality, 300dpi, suitable for printing to frame, or put on a bulletin board, or put somewhere as a reminder or a declaration of the Joshua 24:15 Bible verse: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

There’s no charge, nothing to sign up for, no need to give your email address.

The links are below – get all the files or just one, whatever works best for you.

Get the pdf file here.

The 4×6 jpg file is here.

The 5×7 jpg file is here.

The 8×10 jpg file is here.