Monday Night Bible Study

I’m rarely plagued by loneliness. I can spend hours alone in my home and be perfectly content. In fact, the only time I ever experience loneliness is when I’m in a crowded room. It can be difficult for me to build connections with new people and even more difficult to sustain those connections.

As a person who enjoys lounging in my comfort zone, I’m tempted to avoid large group settings. Even so, I’ve always enjoyed attending the women’s Bible study at my church. There I am able to worship alongside a large group of women, and then we break up into small groups for discussion.

However, for almost two years, Monday night Bible study has conflicted with my school schedule. Even though I wasn’t able to attend the study, I continued to do the Bible study by myself. I believe time spent in the word of God will always be fruitful. I can say the Lord ministered to me in the comfort of my own room and that it was a necessary season.

This semester I no longer have class on Mondays, and I have been able to officially rejoin the group. This past Monday, we met in someone’s home to belatedly celebrate Valentine’s day. While eating spaghetti and lasagna, I witnessed the love of Christ in these women. We vary in age; some could be my sisters, mothers, or grandmothers. Some are single; others are married. Our group is composed of a stay at home mom, a surgical tech, a teacher, a nurse, an executive, a student, among many other occupations. God has also empowered each of these ladies with unique spiritual gifts. Some are listeners. Some serve.

For this reason, I wholeheartedly praise God for the diversity within the body of Christ.

Upon opening a valentine,  Colossians 3:14 was taped inside.

“Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:14-16

Blogmas Day 16: Immanuel; God with us

“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

 

My maternal grandma passed away in July 2014.

Her name is Jennie. One of the reasons my family does not have a long list of Christmas traditions is because traditions weren’t important to her. She didn’t follow rules; she made them. All she cared about was that her family was together. She called us her people, and she was and is our matriarch.

Her home was the first built on her street. That’s where we gathered, underneath the loquat tree, eating watermelon and fresh bread from the San Antonio Bakery. Her laugh. How I miss it.

There are so many stories surrounding her to tell, but I have several cousins who can tell them better, using her voice. Frankly, there are some I just want to keep to myself.

Toward the end, her health declined, but her fiery spirit never faltered. She never stopped loving life, no matter how hard it got. There were so many scares, so many times the doctors told us to prepare ourselves for the worst, and then she’d get better and come home. Typical, so typical for her to even defy mortality.

Nonetheless, the day would come, and even though none of us were ready to say goodbye, she was. I don’t know how we all fit in that one room, beside her hospital bed, but we were all there. She spoke to each of us and told us to drink water.

The morning she died, as my brother and I were preparing to head to the hospital, we had worship music playing on Pandora, and the song “I’ll Fly Away” came on. I remember we just looked at each other and knew the Lord was preparing us for her flight.

That time in the hospital, I believe it was only two to three days, there were numerous tears, but there was also so much laughter. I remember thinking, what does everyone think of us? We are so loud next to this dying woman, but we got it from her.

However, when she told us she was ready, the room grew still. She closed her eyes and resolved as a morendo.

We called the nurse, and his name was Emmanuel.

My mom asked, “Sir, do you know what your name means?”

He answered, “Yes.”

There will be dark days, days of loss and grief. However, Christmas reminds me that God desires to have an intimate relationship with each of us. Where would I be without God’s presence in my life? I yearn for His company. It is something I both want and need.

Whenever I feel alone, I remember His promise: God with us.

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“I’ll Fly Away”

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on Gods celestial shore
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away

 

 

Blogmas Day 10: A Christmas Play

We have made it to Blogmas Day 10!

When I was a little girl, my mom directed a few of the Christmas plays at our small church. At that time in my life, I was quiet and not the most outgoing kid, so I wasn’t auditioning for any roles. Until, one year they needed someone to play Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Since the play was told from the perspective of the nativity animals, Mary and Joseph didn’t have any lines. They simply had to travel to Bethlehem and stand beside the manger. Sounded easy enough, so I took the job.

While standing next to the manger, I was to hold baby Jesus, and when the play ended, I was to exit down the main aisle alongside my husband Joseph. Except, after running through the play several times, I realized something was very unfair. I was holding baby Jesus the entire time, while my husband Joseph didn’t seem to have any fatherly duties. Mind you, I was probably eight at this time.

Therefore, I proposed that I would hold baby Jesus during the manger scene. However, when the play ended, I desired to hand the child to Joseph, and we would walk out as a family. Except, Joseph wasn’t having it. He was not going to carry a doll. The disagreement between us escalated and was brought to the attention of the other cast members.

After hearing our sides, the cast explained to me that at that time in history, it was typical for the mother to care for the children. To that I responded, “There is also a sheep who orders pizza in this play, so I’m pretty sure we can bend the rules.” Ultimately, the cast dismissed me, and we moved on. However, I wasn’t through yet.

The night of the play, everything went as planned. Except, I was still determined to have Joseph carry baby Jesus when we exited. But when I went to give him the baby, he simply walked off stage. So, what did I do? I laid baby Jesus back inside his manger and left him there.

So, there we were, Mary and Joseph, on Christmas day with no baby. My mom later told me that baby Jesus was rescued by my best friend’s little sister.

Stubbornness is a funny thing. Even when you’re right, you can be wrong.