I've mentioned that I attend a weekly bible study. I wanted to share the experience I had at this week's meeting.
(If you are interested in following the leaders blog on the study you can find it here.)
When the passage below was read I felt like I was stumbling inside myself and I was/am hoping none of the ladies noticed!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22
I am going to be honest here, I was stumbling because I didn't realize the fruit of the spirit encompassed all these things. I had heard the phrase fruit of the Spirit, but did not know exactly what it was,beyond except maybe love , joy, and peace (and that's a slim maybe).
As a Christian I am not sure I should be admitting that, but you know what, I am guessing there are others out there feeling the same way! That their lack of knowledge of God means they should keep their mouths and questions to themselves, so not to say the incorrect thing. Obviously this is a sure way to keep from learning, and where can we go if we aren't learning? Whether it be God's word or anything else for that matter!
It was stated that the Spirit didn't give just one or two of these to us baptized children, but ALL of them! The study guide stated "it's time to start using the fruit the Holy Spirit has already placed in our heart!" This ignited something in me and I am a tad excited to learn more about each one.
Currently, I feel the patience and self control ones, are the ones that need the most growth within me! Or maybe I should say... restraint with me! Anyone with me on this one? Do I hear an AMEN!?
Anyway, I thought to myself, this is something I should be reading every morning, perhaps I should use lipstick & write it on the large mirror in my bathroom or can I buy a ringtone for my cell phone singing this verse???
I was happy and in awe that these were WITHIN me! That I could grow them and by the end of the study I was feeling pretty motivated.
Then as I was traveling home, I became somber. Something hit me, something that made me sad. No, it wasn't that I doubted these were within me, or the thought of how much I had lacked in displaying them in my life.
The thought that brought on the somber feelings was....."I spent so much time in my life not knowing God."
Since most of you don't know me or perhaps you do but don't know my faith journey, I feel I need to share it. To better explain why I think this entered my mind on this night of excitement.
In my childhood I think I only participated in one Christmas church program, and a handful of Sunday school and church services. The foundation in my home was not that of God. We prayed at each meal but I wasn't raised with a church home or family. I am not blaming, I am just stating truth.
In my middle school years I can recall only two times of experiences with God or about God. One time I was an 8th grader in school The subject of God came up amongst the kids and I felt panic gathering in my veins instantly! I just knew someone was going to turn to me and expect me to know something about God! I knew nothing!
The other time was within the same year, I had just gotten off the phone with my aunt. She had told me that my cousin that was my age had become ill and they weren't sure he was going to make it through it. I hung up the phone and stood there praying to God, begging him to heal my cousin. I don't recall ever praying prior to this in this manner. My cousin made it through by the way and is an adult with a family! Praise God!
Even at this middle school age, I recall feeling like I was missing something by not knowing about God.
I wasn't baptized until I was 22. I did believe and I did accept Jesus Christ as my Savior at this time. But I don't feel I really comprehended what it meant and mostly I didn't "feed" my knowledge.
By 24, I was attending a different church that I raised my older daughters in and came to love the people, the church, and the time I spent there. It brought a deeper growth in my faith life no doubt, and I will always treasure the experience.
After Milton & I married we were dividing our time between two churches with two different beliefs. I want to take a moment to thank my husband for making that sacrifice for me and my older daughters. I understand now it was a sacrifice for him, and I respect him for holding true to his beliefs at that time, yet supporting our family as a united couple.
When I was 38 and our youngest daughter was born, I transferred my membership to my current church home. The one my husband has attended his entire life. He heard God's word from his mother's womb in this church. (To be honest, this makes me feel alittle envious, always has.)
But I wanted my youngest daughter to grow up in one church and I felt I was being led to this place.
Now that all being said, my somber thoughts and feelings were ones that came from from not really knowing about God the first 22 years of my life I believe.
I won't let myself dwell on that fact too long. Just an evening or perhaps one entire day. I will now look to the blessings that I have come to realize.
#1- God was with me the entire time those first 22 years of life, as he will be forever more.
#2- God is providing me with a welcoming church family that will aide me in learning his Word and caring for me and my family. He has also given me a place to reciprocate these things.
#3 - Those little seeds of fruit, the Spirit placed within me....... when I read them, they make me smile. (Because I have been given the opportunity to grow them!)
Thanks for allowing me to write about my life experiences and pray you find some inspiration from this post!
Don't be afraid to learn, ask, and share!