Wednesday, 17 August 2011

"blessed...with all spiritual blessings"

I want to invite you on a journey with me.  In order to invite you, I need to first take you on a journey back in time.  We don't have to travel very far.  Well, actually, after a bit of thought (whilst tidying up the kitchen....), I need to take you back a bit further than I initially thought.

Autumn 2009.  I was in the early stages of my pregnancy with Elijah. Easily fatigued, and hormones high.  Being a home-school Mum was wearing me out.  I realised I needed to take a different approach, namely changing the curricula we used.  I don't want to get into the "ins and outs" or the "whys and wherefores" in this post.  Suffice to say, that the Lord very clearly led us into a new direction.  We began in the January of 2010.

Upon starting out in pastures new, I discovered a whole realm of home-schooling communities online, with tremendous resources.  One such was Heart of the Matter.  It's a lovely source of encouragement for home-schooling parents.  They do a couple of different online conferences a year, and I signed up to attend the one last summer.  It was GREAT! I was so blessed and encouraged by the speakers and hostesses - particularly Sally Clarkson, and Courtney Joseph.  Through their roles in that conference, I started to really grow and learn in my role as wife and mother, and especially in home-schooling.

Through Courtney's ministry, I found out about Good Morning Girls.  It's an online accountability system, for having your quiet time.  My quiet times had really not been consistent, and as you would expect, my spiritual strength was lacking.  I tried to drum up some interest amongst friends, to join the Autumn '10 group.  I started out, but if floundered and fizzled out. Then, they announced that they would start the next one in January, studying through the book of James, using the SOAP method, that I shared about here.  I went on the forum on their website, hoping to find some others that I could join with, who also wanted to follow the study.  On the forum, there was a Scottish lady, asking about forming a group!  A SCOTTISH lady, no less.  Anyone that doesn't know a Scot, will not know the affinity shared with their fellow nationals, whether you know them or not.  (Meet a total stranger, who's a Scot?...then you WILL get chatting! lol)  Her name was Kirsteen.  (well, IS Kirsteen, I should say!)  She had another friend, Jennifer, who was going to be in the group, too.  Through one thing and another, several other ladies joined.  Heather, Ingrid and Kimberly, from the "other side of the pond", and Tanya and Grainne (sisters), from the other side of the much smaller pond (the Irish Sea!).  The latter 2 lovely ladies, live VERY near to my 2 brothers in Northern Ireland.  Their parents come from places I am very familiar with.  It was really one of these amazing moments, where a real connection is felt.  Then, we all shared pictures of each other.   Hmmmmm.  Kirsteen looked familiar, but I couldn't place how.  I mean, Scotland isn't exactly TINY - we very likely had never even met before.  Then, she emailed me asking "was your Dad a Pastor in Scotland?".  Erm, yes! Why?  "because I think i met you when I was 14, at your youth group!".  Indeed, we did!  Her Dad was Pastor of a different denomination, but they visited our youth group a couple of times.  I THOUGHT I recognised her face!  (It really hasn't changed much....I was just relieved that it wasn't that I looked like my Dad, as being the reason for her making the's happened before....*sigh*).  Isn't that amazing!  God really does some amazing things!

Well, the group got on like the proverbial house on fire.  We shared our discoveries and thoughts as we studied through the Epistle.  It was was so challenging.  God really spoke to me about many things.  I started getting up earlier, to do my devotions.  I started reading God's Word more.  I changed the way I behaved and dealt with my family.  (That's a work in progress, I hasten to add....but improvement, certainly!)  I was challenged about memorising scripture, and have now nearly finished learning the first chapter of Philippians.   We all grew, and became firmer friends, despite never being able to meet together in person.  The Lord most certainly brought us together to encourage each other "as iron sharpeneth iron".

We started the summer session, with the addition of a new members - Anne, Dawn and Rachel.  Anne and Dawn were asking to join a group, via the GMG forum.  I saw them, and realised that, yup, you guessed it, I KNEW Anne!  We met MANY moons ago, (nearly 20 years, so she must have been about 9.....*whistles and winks*), when I was only a teen, and she was about to become a mother for the first time!

ALL these friendships, developing through our GMG group and via Facebook contact, have been SUCH a blessing to me.  Finally, I get around to the title of this post.  Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3, tells us

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"

I am blessing God.  I am blessing him for the spiritual blessing that I have in my "Good Morning" Girls.   They have have challenged me, encouraged me, prayed for me, laughed with me, empathised with me.  They have blessed me abundantly, and continue to do so, as we enter a new study together.  I am so thankful for the different blessings that each one brings to me, with their own unique God-given gifts and personality's.

The Good Morning Girls fall session will begin in September.  However, for one reason and another, we are not waiting for that to begin.  We are going to study through the Epistle to the Ephesians, which will bring us to the end of the year.  God brought us together as a group of ladies, but we now feel able to study something that fits our group, which is a blessing of it's own! That we are able to share how we feel, without judgement or condemnation.  For that I give thanks.

So, the journey I asked you to share?  It's a journey through Ephesians. Do you study God's Word, in detail and methodically.  If you don't, using the SOAP method is great.  If you want to follow alongside us, in Ephesians, then you will find the reading plan (that you can print out) here.  I will be regularly sharing about what God is teaching me, as we study through this wonderful Epistle.  Please share your thoughts with us, if you follow along.  Your heart will be blessed by studying God's Word like this.  All you need is a notebook to jot down your thoughts, if you use the SOAP method.  If you don't want to study alongside us, but would rather be blessed by following along with the official GMG (who are going to study through I John), then either gather together a group of lady's who want to join you, or find a group on their Message Board.  Your heart will  be blessed, I am sure!

So, please join us on our journey, as we find God's truths and blessing, in Ephesians!

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