Six years ago in August, the Lord began a very significant work in my life. It was a work that no one could see. A work that I did not know was occurring. A work that seemed so simple. But it would be a work that would be absolutely foundational for my soul six years later.
God began taking me through a study of His promises. And He did it in an interesting way. I didn't hear a sermon series, read a book or attend a women's bible study. I began teaching a year long curriculum to a group of elementary-aged kids. Yes, you read that correctly - God used a children's bible study to deeply impact my walk with Him and my faith.
Every weekend, for a year, I would teach a group of kids about the promises that God makes in the Bible. We learned about God's promise of salvation, of provision, of protection, of eternal life. We learned about the promise God made in Genesis 3 to send a rescuer, a savior and His faithfulness to fulfill His promise by sending Jesus. And we learned about some of God's more difficult promises of discipline and to be with us when suffering comes (because it will...).
I am a firm believer that if you are teaching children well, you will yourself be learning as you teach. Those who say they are not growing or learning while they teach children the Bible are doing something very wrong. But I did not expect teaching these kids about the promises of God to be so foundational for my own walk with Him. I knew these stories. I knew these promises. I knew these verses. But in spending an entire year focused on them and teaching them to others, they became very deeply ingrained in my heart.
God was doing a very special, very generous work in all of this. What I did not know six years ago was that God teaching me these promises because they would be the rock that I stood on when my world came crashing down. They would be the light in the darkest moment of my life.
When tragedy strikes, the mind and heart do not recall complex, vague ideas. The heart does not find comfort in something it does not truly believe. We recall and find comfort in the simple truths that are so ingrained in our souls that no amount of panic or grief can cover them. As I sat in my husband's hospital room, not knowing if he would live through the night, the words that ran through my head were: "The Lord our God is with you, He is mighty to save." Zephaniah 3:17. And as I began the long journey of healing and learning to live life without him after his death, the words that run through my head are: "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." 2 Samuel 22:33 and "You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11. All of these were verses that God pressed upon my heart as I studied and taught His promises.
Next weekend, I will once again be teaching the promises of God to a group of elementary-aged kids. The curriculum will be slightly different, but the truths will be the same. Thank you God for revealing these beautiful promises to my heart six years ago. Thank you for using them to strengthen, comfort and carry me through the last year. Thank you that I will get to once again sit in them for another year, with another group of kids. May they become a foundation of truth and hope for these kids that leads them to salvation and helps them stand during the hard times.