Thursday, October 30, 2014

Transparent Thursday--set the captives free

There were moments in my past where sin held me so captive, I hoped for death. There were days that were so unbearable that I truly asked God to take me from this world and not continue my suffering! That's the real reason I tried to obey and begin this Transparent Thursday series! I felt this urgency to walk with Him as He set captives free--as He did me. I felt this urgency to join Him in a fight that threatened my existence on so many occassions--the fight against a dark and powerful enemy. I don't write these blogs to live in the past, but to reclaim the past honestly. I cannot ever go back and change my past, but I can shine a light on the sins that I lived with so that anyone currently living in them can see that Jesus is very much present in their current circumstances as well. 

That's what I aim to do each week when I write. Sometimes it's hard for me. Not necessarily walking through some of the memories, because the memories don't pain me anymore because I have TRULY been set free; but from the sin that still cripples me at times--the weight of caring too much about what others think of me. That sin, it stops me often. I don't want to write for the simple reason of not wanting someone to "judge" me or "look down on" me. But, He is much stronger than this sin that He is working to eradicate from my life, and He always pushes me and blesses me for my obedience! 

I've shared enough of my testimony for you all to know, I was a walking posterboard for sin! If it was a sin, I was engaged in it. Sex, drugs, lieing, cheating, you name it, I probably engaged in it. The mental games I played with myself, and allowed the enemy in to play with me, oh it threatened to swallow me up. I couldn't understand that what Jesus did on that cross, and then by rising again, that was literally the defeat of sin. Sin COULD literally have no hold on me anymore if I allowed Him to be Lord. 

He can do the same for you. 

He can do the same for this entire world. 

Our nation, and the rest of the world! 


That's what He wants. He doesn't want any of us to be bound by the chains of sin. He doesn't want any of us to have the shackles of sin wrapped around our body, holding us down. No. He wants to set us free. 

I want to see us free; I long to see us free! 

I remember when I was in college, after each sexual tryst, I would call out to Him, but not for healing--instead I would cry out that I was a disgusting, worthless woman not deserving of Him. 

Have you done this, friend? 

Each time I broke His heart. Each time I ignored the truth of His grace and mercy and instead believed the lie that my flesh and the enemy fed me. 

But, He washed all of that away in a moment of surrender. 

In a mere moment of surrender, when I laid down my entire life, held nothing back, He set me free. I couldn't keep bits and pieces to myself, and only let Him have the pieces I thought I couldn't handle. I had to be honest that I could not handle one single piece of my life. 

We all have to admit this. We all have to admit that there isn't a single part of our life that we can handle without Jesus. Pride, arrogance, they'll try and tell us we're good enough. Pride, arrogance, they'll try and convince us that we don't have to admit that mistake, or we don't have to call out to Him because we're doing just fine. 

But, it's not true. Now, that can be hard to hear, I know. I didn't want to hear it, and you may not be ready to hear it as well. And you know what, friend, that's okay. It's okay because Jesus is still with you. That's the most amazing and awe-inspiring part of Jesus. When we push Him aside, when we say we don't need Him, He let's us freely make that choice, but He never walks away. He never says, "okay, he/she has this handled, I'll go help someone else." 


He stays

He never goes further than a hand reach. He will always pull us out of the miry pit we find ourselves in. He will always pull us out of the trap we inadvertently step on in a forest filled with traps. 

He is El Shaddai--God Almighty. 

He sets captives free. 

Are you being held captive today? Is there a present sin or a past mistake that you just cannot find relief from? 

I've been there, friend. I find myself there sometimes still, and I can tell you from personal experience, He will pull you out, dust you off--you must do one and one thing only....ASK HIM TO



Minute by mintue. 

Don't accept that you are worthless. Don't accept that He has washed His hands of you. Instead, reach out to Him and watch as He sets you free, each and everyday.

Remember, you are less than only THree.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blogger love day, day 20--love is Jesus Christ

Today, tomorrow and forever.

What does that mean to you? 

I have so enjoyed being a participant in this blogger love dare. It's been beautiful to get back in and be challenged to truly love without end. 

For me, the above statement is breathtaking. Why? Beause, it's a small, subtle reminder that Jesus is with me today, tomorrow and forever--like literally forever and ever and ever. 

Jesus came to seek and save--which means He sought me and saved me. How beautiful is that, I mean really? 

Have you taken the time in your life to STOP and ask Jesus to save you? Maybe you have, maybe you did it as a little girl, but somewhere along the way you strayed and walked away. I did. That's part of my testimony, not walking intimately with Jesus. But, maybe you haven't. Maybe you keep telling yourself there is more time. I encourage you to do so, today, because tomorrow is not promised. I encourage you to step into intimacy with Jesus, and do not hesitate. 

That's what He wants--a truly intimate relationship with us. He loved us at every moment, He LOVES us at every weak and not pretty moment. 

Do I love like that? Do you love like that? That's what I have to constantly ask myself. Do I love my husband despite what he might do to hurt me? Do I love despite what he says or does or how he behaves? 

The truth is, not often, but I want to. I want to love like Jesus. I desire a love that sees no mistake, and instead loves passionately. I can do this, but only in Christ. I cannot work hard enough to love my husband. I can do enough to "prove my love" to him. 


Because true love is found in Christ alone. I can be an instrument, used by God, to meet the needs of my husband. And as a result, he can then walk in the fullness and blessings of my love for him, without question. 

Have you taken God at His Word? Do you trust Him for salvation? Take today's dare if you want that next step, that next commitment to loving beyond what you think you are capable of. 

And remember, you are less than only Three.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Transparent Thursday -- we are loved


I have felt this stirring today to speak an encouraging word over those that are struggling with understanding that JESUS LOVES

What a better time than on Transparent Thursday!! We all know I'm loving opening my heart and being honest with you all. 

I see so much hurt, so much bondage in so many people around the world. I read "comments" on news feeds, and my heart just breaks at the truth that I see--people simply do not know that Jesus loves them. There are some that totally deny His existence, and there are some who seem to be so hurt by something in their past that their heart is just hardened to see the truth--that He is with them always. 

I know for me personally, I always knew that Jesus was real, alive and my Savior. What I COULD NOT GRASP was that the mistakes I was making, the mistakes that seemed to fill my existence didn't negate that I was loved by Him. They actually only affirmed them

I remember during my college years, my self-loathing was the worst. The sexual immorality was where it started. After I was raped, my heart seemed to stop beating at times--not physically of course but emotionally. I could stop myself from thinking of Him, drawing closer to Him, and it made it easier to sink further and further into this world that I used to make myself "happy". I felt so dirty after I was raped, I felt like people could literally LOOK at me and see filth, so it made it so much easier in my warped, twisted mind to be the woman I thought everyone already knew I was. I stopped talking about God or Jesus with anyone, I stopped praying, and I did two things--I drank, heavily, and I had sex, a lot of it. 

This was the enemy's plan to keep me from drawing closer to God. He wanted me to feel filthy, so that I wouldn't open my eyes to the reality that Jesus loved me EVEN THEN. Yes, His desire was for me to stop being sexually immoral, but His desire MORE was that I simply draw closer to Him. Drawing closer to Him was the ONLY way I was ever going to be able to stop doing what I was doing. 

Jesus--He is the only one that can change our desires. 

Jesus--He is the only one that can ever make us "feel" worthy. 


Let me ask you, sweet friend, how do you feel about yourself? When you look in the mirror, do you see a royal priest/priestess? Do you see a holy vessel? Do you see a beloved man/woman of the one true King? 

That's what you should see! That's what we should all see! 

I still struggle on days to see her. There are still days that the enemy and my flesh try and convince me that these things are not true, that the mistake I just made with my husband, or the mistake with my children, or even the mistake that I made all of those years ago negates Jesus' love for me. 

It's not true! It's a total and utter lie that we cannot give any weight to. We must rebuke those lies! 

I don't care how many friends or family members have said you are disgusting, I don't care how many friends or family members have told you they won't accept your apology and that you will always be the same horrid person THEY BELIEVE you are--IT IS NOT TRUE

It is a LIE! Those are lies from the enemy, not even from that person in all truthfulness. He uses our own flesh, and the flesh of others to plants seeds of doubt. He allows us to think so many horrible things about ourselves that we want to walk further and further away from God so that we don't have to lean into Him. He thinks he will win this way. 

But, Jesus is our victor. He defeated everything when He hung upon that cross, and rose again, and that is the end of it. 

Jesus loves us. 



Without end. 

There is no mistake, no sin, no horrible deed that He thinks to Himself, "wow, she's a rotten sinner and I don't want her in my Kingdom." 


He doesn't say anything like that! 

Instead, He says, "come my child, you who are weary and weak, let me carry your burden!" That is what He says, and He truly means it. 

So, my friend, if you are struggling to believe, truly believe that Jesus loves you, rest in the total and absolute truth, HE DOES! And if you are struggling to believe that He can change your life, rest in this total and absolute truth, HE CAN. And if you are struggling to even believe that there is a Jesus, I can only say, HE IS REAL AND HE IS ALIVE

Remember, you are less than only Three. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Transparent Friday


I didn't write my Transparent Thursday post yesterday, why you might ask? Well, as I've shared a ton, these posts are specifically chosen by God, and I want to honor that. I want to write about only what He chooses to have me write about, and honor Him in all of my writing. 

I didn't feel a stirring yesterday. Sure, there were things on my heart that I thought would make a good post, and things I "transparently" wanted to write about, but nothing that I felt was of Him. 

That was, until this morning. 

God is doing weird, crazy, amazing things in me and in my family. And I could not be more thrilled. 

Yesterday we had dinner with a ministry couple, and to say that they helped answer the question I've been asking God would be an understatement. 

Have you ever felt like God cannot use you? 

Have you ever been TOLD that God cannot use you? 

I have. Both. I've felt like there was nothing important or powerful inside of me and I've been told that there was nothing good inside of me. 

When I first started walking intimately with God six years ago, I began writing less than Three. At that time, I heard many people say that I needed to understand what my "place" was. I needed to understand that I couldn't teach youth, I couldn't speak openly because I was a woman and various other things; some of the issues were my gender, and some were the sinful life I had come out of. 

I warred with myself because of this. I was angry with God. I was angry with myself. I wanted to serve Him, I felt this calling to serve Him, and when I "felt" like no one accepted me, I became more and more bitter. 

I couldn't understand why God would allow me to experience the horrendous life I experienced if there wasn't something powerful and amazing He was going to do in my life NOW

Was the amazing and powerful thing simply my salvation? That's what I was told often; that I needed to just appreciate that God had saved me from my wretched ways and sit back and bask in His goodness. 

I tried that; but I had a spirit that wanted to come alive. It couldn't come alive because I kept squashing it. 

I met new friends, tried church after church, tried to mold myself into the perfect Christian woman that did everything as I was asked. Finally, I started to blackslide into my old ways. I couldn't keep the fascade up. I couldn't be this woman that everyone kept saying I needed to be. 

I remember falling down in my shower at an old house and just crying out to God, "why, why won't you just save me? Why won't you work in me? What is wrong with me?"

I never felt like I heard an answer. 

Until recently--and undoubtedly last night. Last night He pulled the scales off that had formed over my eyes. 

He wasn't able to use me the way He wanted to because I wasn't truly being the woman HE wanted me to be. I wasn't stepping into the calling He set forth for me. I was trying to mold myself into every version that this world wanted, but never the one that He knit together in my mother's womb. He cannot use someone that isn't accepting the gifts He gives them. He cannot use someone that fights against His calling. 

Do you do this friend? Accept what the world says, or your own head, instead of trusting and believing that He has something special and powerful JUST FOR YOU? Do you think it's impossible for God to use you because you have messed up so badly, been such a disgrace in the world that you believe it is a reflection of who you truly are?

Don't believe that lie. Don't believe that nonsense. Because, let me assure you my friend, it is nonsense. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that plan and purpose will advance His kingdom in some way. 

I have believed for a long time that God wouldn't use me because I was was so disgraceful. It turns out, the disgrace I brought to myself, it's the exact reason HE CHOSE TO USE ME. 

Be who God called you to be, sweet friend, and don't accept what anyone else says, and that includes yourself. Step into God's calling for your life, and step out of the mere existence you're living today. 

Remember, you are less than only Three. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Transparent Thursday--I was a binge-eater

Writing is slowly becoming a large part of my every day life again. I started the Transparent Thursday series to try and ease back into the blogging world, and I admit, it was a little tough at first. Blogging can be a bit painful if you don't have a thick skin--skin protected by Christ. You lay your heart out there, and you always run the risk of someone not agreeing with you, being mean towards you, or flat out nasty in some cases; and for me, this was a deterent in blogging regularly again--especially about Christ. Writing about Christ brings a lot of emotions out of people. 

But, this series has helped a lot with the fears and angst I was living with. This series, and the book of course. Writing less than Three was really where I had to develop a pretty tough skin. It's a TOUGH BOOK TO READ. It's a tough book on SO MANY LEVELS, and I really put my life out there in a real and transparent way. I knew I would get haters, but what I knew much more than that was that I had a calling from God to expose my life in an attempt to bring sin to light. 

I did that, and have been truly blessed since. And blogging has been much easier since then. 

This summer I wrote a little on the negative feedback that I received regarding my weight loss, and that I ended up deleting a post after an estranged family member wrote a comment that really dug deep. 

I was so wrong for allowing that comment to deter me, but I really should have thought more about my post as well. I want to be an encouragement, never a stumbling block. It's okay that people take my weight loss negatively. It really is. When someone loses as much weight as I did in such a short amount of time, it can cause many people to wonder, "what did she do?" And with those kinds of questions come many assumptions. When I first started receiving the negative comments, I was hurt. Not because I wanted people to embrace me, but because I had worked so hard to lose the weight that I wanted that to be the focus, not that I was looking, "unhealthy". 

I had a conversation with my mom about two weeks ago and laid out a few health questions for her. I was experiencing some health things that I was concerned about, and my mom voiced concern that maybe I had taken my weight loss too far. 

When I had written my previous blog, that question and her concerns would have sent me into a tail spin of anger and resentment. But, during this conversation, I was able to focus on Christ, what He had laid on my heart, and answer her respectfully and honestly. 

That conversation led to this post. 

I suffered from a debilitating disorder called binge-eating, but I didn't recognize that for a long time into my losing weight process. 

Why did I try and lose weight in the first place? 

What is the point of being healthy? And what exactly IS healthy

For me, I wanted to get closer to God. I wanted to free myself of the negative thoughts in my head, and stop the things I was doing to my body. 

There were days when I couldn't walk up the steps without being winded. I never got down on the floor and played with my kids, because I had no motivation to be active with them. I didn't run around the yard with them or chase them around. I just couldn't do that because my body wasn't healthy or moving the way it needed to. 

I was turning 30 years old and the thought that I was truly an "adult" screamed in my head. I needed to learn to take care of my body, so that I would be around to take care of my children for many years. 

The first thing I did was give up diet soda. I thought I would just give it up for 30 days, that was my goal. But, the more the days went by, the more I saw my body improving. I lost about 14lbs within mere weeks from water weight. The aspartame in the soda wasn't being broken down properly because our bodies don't know how to break down that fake sugar. I drank nothing but water for 30 days, and the way my body changed simply blew my mind. I couldn't believe how much my bloating went down and how much my stomach shrunk. 

I started to pray, heavily. I wanted God to help me understand what it meant to be healthy. I wanted to understand what He wanted my body to be like. 

He answered in a mighty way. I had to be mentally fit first. I had to put Him first, and after that everything else would fall into place. 

Well, He was right. He always is. By praying and relying on Him, He continued showing me where my problem areas were. 


What exactly is binge-eating? Binge-eating is a disorder in which someone frequently consumes large amounts of food in a sitting. Now, we all overeat a little on OCCASSION, such as holidays by having multiple plates of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, for those that suffer as I did, over-eating crosses the line to binge-eating when it is a regular occurence and done in secret. 

That was me. 

Often times the binge-eater will be ashamed of what they have done, and vow to never do it again, but the urge always wins and binging occurs again, causing more shameful feelings. 

This was me to a T. I have been binge-eating since college as a coping mechanism. I wondered at first whether drugs had started my binge-eating, but it was through prayer that I realized that my binging began in the confines of my apartment very shortly after my rape and sodomy, long before drugs were a part of my life. 

I couldn't control anything in my life, but I could take in food and control the thoughts I was having. I could replace the shame and guilt I was feeling about what had happened to me and the sexual endeavors I was engaging in by binging--I replaced my rape shame with binge shame. 

And I continued that for almost 10 years, until finally God pulled the scales off of my eyes and opened me up to what I was living with. 

As I have walked closer to God in the past 6 years the shame ate me up at times. I would make promise after promise after promise to stop and then something always made me binge again. I would pray and pray and it didn't seem to ever feel like He was helping me. 

Why? Why was I doing that to myself? Why wasn't He helping me?

The answer for me was deeply rooted sin that I was holding onto instead of surrendering. There were sins in my life that I had never admitted. There were things in my life that I needed to talk about and express, and I wasn't wililng to do that anymore because I had been so very ostracized when I tried in the past--especially as a Christian. So, I hid my feelings and I binge-ate in secret and let the shame of continue eating me up.

This past summer everything in my life changed. As I was obedient in writing less than Three and was willing to admit EVERYTHING in my life, God showed me so many things about myself. Binge-eating was one of them. 

But, once I knew what the problem was, things didn't all of a sudden get better. No, it took much prayer and a lot of His power to stop doing it. I had to change everything about my eating habits. I had to put really small portions on my plate so that I wasn't tempted to gobble everything down in one sitting. Instead, I put small portions on my plate and let it digest, and then if I am still hungry, which I usually am, I get a second plate. Not a second plate of massive amounts, but a second plate of reasonble portions for someone who is struggling to control themself. 

I also added in working out. I had always told myself that I wasn't the "workout type", but that was just an excuse to be lazy truthfully. I really didn't want to give up binging. I knew if I started to workout, I would probably want to stop binging, and I really didn't want to do that deep down, because it helped me focus my shame somewhere else other than on my past. 

But, something kept screaming at me that it would really help with my mood. (ahem, I know that voice was the Spirit, ahem) So, I started working out WITH my kids. We made it part of homeschool. Our workouts took about 15 mins, and the kids loved it. The more they loved it, the more we increased what we did, and then the more I loved it. The more I loved it, the more I wanted to continue it. 

At the beginning of the summer I decided to start running. I really didn't like running, I still don't, but I do enjoy the feeling afterwards. I decided I wanted to try a 4-miler that was in my hometown that raised money for breast cancer awareness. Now, remember, I said I don't enjoy running, so when I decided to do it I really didn't want to focus on trying to be fast, I just wanted to accomplish it. I still don't have a fast mile by any means, but I can get it done without feeling like I am going to die and that is a huge feat for me, personally. I've realized it's all about personal goals and not comparing yourself to others! 

When I decided that I was going to do the 4-miler a friend of mine posted that her husband was going to start a personal training session on Saturday mornings in preparation for anyone who may be gearing up for walks/runs and I decided to jump in and join them. I had no idea what I was getting into, and I'm glad I didn't because had someone "warned" me, my laziness would have stopped me. 

I am so thankful I started that workout with them this summer because it really showed me what I am capable of and what my body can do. Wow. God made some magnificent beings in us! Our bodies can do remarkable things. I've pushed myself beyond limits that I knew for sure I couldn't accomplish, and guess what, I accompilshed them. I not only accomplished them, but I felt good. I not only felt good, but I was losing weight, a lot of weight. And then, not only was I losing weight, but I was toning and gaining muscle. 

It was all so amazing. 

He is so amazing!!

Today, my favorite workouts are pushups, pullups and rowing; like seriously I LOVE THESE WORKOUTS! I wish I could do them everyday, and guess what, I'm considering buying my own straps so that I CAN. I never imagined that I would get to this point. 

I've been introduced to beachbody workouts and let me tell you what, they are incredible. I am gearing up to start a new workout called piyo and starting a protein shake called shakeology and I'm stoked to see what these two things do to my body. Like, stoked

I've met some incredible women that have encouraged me throughout these months. Many I workout with on Saturdays, but many simply through social media. Social media has been such an encouragement to me through these months and I wouldn't trade one picture I've posted or one moment of being transparent because each time I have gained beautiful rewards. 

Today, I am down 85 lbs from where I was one year ago, and about 60lbs from where I was when I started this journey in March. Yes, that's a lot of weight--but more than that it's a lot of FREEDOM. Freedom from something that was really ruining my life--binge-eating. 

God has truly freed me from this disorder, and I can truly and honestly admit that I have not binged since the very moment that He showed me I was suffering. The moment I surrendered that He has walked closely with me and I have felt a supernatural strength to keep from going back. I have overeaten a few times at dinners, yes. There were times when I was learning how to eat properly, what to eat, what was healthy to eat. But, I have not indulged in binging since probably June of this, I'm just realizing how long it's been. 

He truly is amazing. 

Are you struggling today, friend? Maybe you're not struggling with binging the way I did, but maybe you're struggling with unhealthy eating, not eating enough, skipping meals to try and "lose weight"? Maybe you've just accepted that you are a little heavy and "it's okay because God made us all different" and that's totally and completely true, but He wants us to be healthy and in Him, not just accept a sin we may not want to give over to Him. Whatever your personal situation is, I encourage you to write it down. Write down your weaknesses and give them over to God in prayer. Food should not be a weakness for us; it should fuel our bodies and minds, not control our bodies and minds! 

This is me over one year ago, before I decided to lose weight, when I just accepted my life and my binging:

Here is me after I decided I wanted to try and lose a little weight:

And here is me today, feeling better, no longer binging, and in my personal opinion, looking better:

I am currently trying to gain about 10-15lbs of muscle, yes muscle! I am also having to drink an insane amount of water because I was not drinking nearly enough to keep up with my working out. The conversation with my mom led to the reality that I was suffering a bit from dehydration and it was causing problems with my health. As long as I drink enough water, the problems I had been experiencing are non-existent. 

I encourage you today, friend, to get healthy, mentally and physically. Maybe you think I lost too much weight and you're not about to go the route I did, and that's okay! But, I do encourage you to see if there is anything you feel you are not giving over to God regarding your food intake and LET IT GO! 

And remember, mentally fit and then physically fit. It's not about getting skinny, it's about getting healthy. 

I am here to help you in anyway I can, and I promise you, I WANT TO HELP! 

You can email me at 

You are less than only Three.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Love Dare

What does love mean to you? 

What does marriage mean to you?

Is it long-suffering? Is it patient? Does it know NO end? 

It's been a difficult road for me, as I learn to love my husband the way I am called to. I have always given him what I thought he deserved, never what Christ said he should be given. If he upsets me or hurts my feelings, I always thought it was okay to do the same. An eye for an eye, right? If he hurt me, you best believe I was going to hurt him. 

Honestly, this mentality rang true for every relationship in my life, until very recently. 

Not too long ago God pulled the scales off of my eyes. He showed me what true love is and He instilled truth in me--His truth. 

I wasn't loving anyone in my life. I wanted to believe it was because I didn't know how to love; that I had never been properly taught. That might be the case, but it's not an excuse to continue living in sin. God gave me all that I need to love properly, whether any other human modeled it for me or not--Jesus in His human state did. He hung on a cross, in human form, and He loved in a way I can model my life after. He gave His life for me, and I want to give my life back to Him. 

Giving my life back to Him means I love in the way He loves--without regard to what someone else has done. I do not hold grudges, I do not hold an account as to what someone has done--I am not a clanging cymbal. 


I am participating in a bloggers challenge where each day a blogger will tackle one of the 40 love dares. I am day 20, and we are currently in day 3. So much truth was revealed through that book, and through the movie Fireproof--but so much MORE truth is revealed when you follow Christ and read the Word. I long to emulate the love that He showed, and I long to become the woman He formed me to be in my mother's womb. Will you join us? 

Check out my instagram each day, _gingermom5_ for the current dare and join along as we learn to love our spouses the way God called us to! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Transparent Thursday--reading the Bible all the way through

For the first time since I have felt called to write this series, God hasn't urgently pressed anything on my heart. There are defintely quite a few things I want to write about; sexual immorality, drug addiction, familial strains--but I don't think this is the week He wants me to write about them. 

This week, this week has been a quiet week--quiet in the Spirit. I spent A LOT OF TIME IN THE WORD, and honestly that's what I feel led to talk about! 

I'm going to keep it short, because honestly I feel lousy today. I'm not sure if I am coming down with something or if it is just the life of an exhausted stay-at-home mom, but I simply feel crummy. 

Transparency--I've never read through the entire Bible. 

Nope, never. 

I've read through the New Testament once, about 4 years ago, and I retained a little, but nothing to the extent that I know He would have liked. 

I've read a few books of the Old Testament, and really only retained the big stories that I think the entire world knows, even the non-believers; so really what did I "gain"? 

Not a lot. 

The truth is, I've never understood the Bible. Before I rededicated my life to walking with Christ, I was scared of the Bible. I was scared of this perceived God that seemed to judge and give out terribly harsh consequences. I believed at that time that He was punishing me for my terriby sinful life and I really didn't care to know what He said or how He said to live. 

Once I did dedicate my life to Him, I tried reading the Scriptures, but I approached it still with this attitutude that He was judging me. Every verse, every chapter screamed at me that I was disgusting and shameful and could never enter the Kingdom. 

That was the enemy, I believe, trying very boldly to keep me from becoming intimate with God. Now, I know that the enemy is not omni-present, as in he is not everywhere and he was not always physcially keeping me from reading, but the lies that he placed in my life kept me from falling at the foot of the cross and walking under grace. That separation kept me from truly seeing the beauty in Scripture. 

That has changed recently. 

A few months ago I found something called "Bible Journaling" and I cannot even begin to tell you what this did to my walk, to my reading, to my intimacy with Christ. 

I long to open my Bible now, to hear Him, to see His beauty, to allow His truths to resonate within me. 

I've always been a journaler, since I was a little girl. But, what I would do throughout my entire life was STOP journaling when the shame would take me over. I couldn't handle the shame I felt and if that shame made its way to physical words on a paper, I had to stop writing. I've always stopped writing. 

Today, I want the words to pierce me deeply. I want to write what's on my heart, with no regard to what anyone else may think--only Him. I am confidant of what He says about me now, and I can rest in knowing that even if the words I write are harsh or need to be clarified more, He will show me. He isawesome  like that. He simply wants me to worship Him and be honest about what is in my heart. 

That is my focus when I read now, worshipping and praising Him. 

I have chosen a few books to read throughout the past few months, and I have been deeply changed through them. But, I have felt this urgency to read the Bible, in its entirety, cover to cover, and I was weary at first. Many churches do this as a whole, but I didn't want to rush through it. I really wanted to take my time, but yet be in a community with other people.

So, I decided to reach out to a few girlfriends, and post on my FB to see if anyone was interested in doing it with me--low and behold, women were feeling the same desire to read as I was. 

There's a website called by Courtney Joseph that is doing this currently, and Courtney so graciously created a plan to go along with the reading, as well as some study notes. 

I decided to adapt the plan to my life, and begin reading immediately. I completed Chapter 1 today and LET ME TELL YOU, the Spirit worked through me! 

I think everyone pretty much knows the creation account, again even non-believers. But, as I took my time, wrote, prayed, and used my pens and stickers, I just felt different about it. 

I mean, God created the entire WORLD out of His mouth--He spoke, and it was done. Created. No question. No lag time. Simply, created. 

How is that not amazing? Well, I think it is. 

So, today marked my journey of reading the Bible, cover to cover, for the very first time in 30 years. I am excited, and I am nervous to see what He has waiting for me. 

If you would like to join me, please, reach out and let me know. I would love to have you on my team! Holding each other accountable is such a fun, and encouraging way to do this journey together! 
You can find me on FB as: Ashley Hermsmeier or instagram as _gingermom5_ 

I cannot wait to hear and see all the way through these pages that we are less than only Three.