Every fortnight during school term I attend a Bible study group, called “Pearls” on Tuesday mornings. We follow the ABC format:
We ask each other what has been good and what has been challenging.
We read the section of the Bible set for the day in several different versions. Then retell it in our own words.
Finally we commit to an action based on what has resonated with us in the passage or during our discussion. We then report back to each other on whether we upheld our commitment or not and why. It is an accountable devotion requiring action ensuring growth which leads to transformation.
It’s a bit different to the “normal” format of “let’s look at this passage … this is what someone else says it says … yay, how uplifting! See you next week, Goodbye!”
I could write a book on the all the weird things that have happened following our commitments. Well, ok, mine anyway. Like that time I committed to stop swearing and backed it with morning tea (it turned into a lunch).
So this time my commitment was to blog about on 1 Chronicles 16:8-13.
8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. 9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. 10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. 11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. 12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; 13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
In particular my commitment to Pearls was to “Give thanks and praise to the Lord… tell all the people what He has done… GLORY in his name”.
I was particular caught by the word Glory. It invoked visions of touchdowns by Americans playing grid iron and their funny little victory dances that followed. But the last dancing I did was in the carpark at the kid’s school after hearing our house sale agreement had gone unconditional. Weird right? I mean, I’m a kiwi (think Rugby Union) living in Western Australia (think Aussie Rules Footy) that has nothing to do with America and Grid Iron – wrong sport, wrong country, twice!
However that morning #bloggingfundamentals had sent through the latest lesson on blogging. It was to write a blog using a prompt and when I checked the prompt, the word was retrospective. In order to glory in His name … tell all the people what he has done … sing praises and remember his marvelous works I must take a retrospective view of the last couple of years. So here it is – in this blog I give thanks and praise to the Lord and tell all the people what God has done to glory in His name as a retrospective look at the time I’ve been going to Pearls.
What I love the most about Pearls is the space to pour out what is on my mind and in my heart to a loving and non-judgemental audience.Meeting with the ladies at Pearls was very much like lancing a boil and having pus leak out. I was and am continually uplifted by their love, faith and grace. They created a physical space for me to speak and hear about the love God has for me even though at times I felt like a weeping wound, poison dripping out of me.
Once upon a time, I felt like I had no friends. My life felt consumed by work. My spirit crumpled by a perpetual cycle of brokeness and injustice in the world. Then one a day, a thought popped into my head, like an insidious ethereal whisper. It said:
You know Huia, the world would be a much better place if you just took yourself out.
It curled around inside my brain like a whisp of smoke, pungent, real but untouchable. It made all the other voices about being broken, not good enough, angry, hurt, bitter … louder. It terrified me. So I ran. And that is how I found myself at Pearls.
At Pearls I heard God’s voice. He said:
Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.
My friendships with the Pearls ladies are real, deep and meaningful.It is a wonder their ears didn’t fall off in those early days as I painted the air with bitterness, hurt and potty mouth. I praise God that He led me to that Bible Study group and from there, slowly brought me back. Redeemed. Set free. No longer a slave to sin.
Actually, no longer a slave to fear was the name of the song they played at my baptism. Not by the Pearl ladies. None of them were present at the time because I was born again, again, back in Aotearoa/New Zealand in front of my parents at Changepoint Church. You can watch the video. I’m on at 6:33. So on that day, my past was buried in a watery grave as I “died” with Christ and “rose again” with the Holy Spirit. I was washed clean by the blood of the Lamb sacrificed for me to redeem me into the presence of God. Because God cannot abide in sin. Where there is sin there can be no God except where there is Christ.
God transformed me from the inside out in terms of my spiritual health as a new creation and allowed for my soul to heal. But I still needed some help with the rest. Things like how to be a good wife and mother and a good friend. Let’s just start with the basics here. Food. Sleep. Clean clothes. Get the kids to school in their uniform with their lunch.
Ironically, I lost my job as a lawyer and tried a few things including Nu Skin and Tupperware but even as a Consultant/Lawyer things almost but not quite happened for me.
Through all the drama God introduced me to PHATT – Putting Health At the Top which is a gut-health program transforming people’s lives.At first I rejected the program. It was multi-level marketing. I didn’t need to go on a diet (even though I was 92kgs). I was a lawyer for goodness sake! Even though I spent some 17 years not wanting to be a lawyer- a minor detail conveniently forgotten.
My cousin, Rutu Watson, was posting about PHATT on Facebook. One day she was in hospital having life-saving operations, the next she was playing netball in the Masters Games in New Zealand. So I began my own personal physical transformation.
Oh yes! There was a baby in the middle there somewhere…
You may ask me what has Phatt got to do with God??? In Leviticus 7:3 adipose fat from around the liver and kidneys are burnt on the altar as a guilt offering. God’s People from that time are also told not to eat the fat of sheep, cows or goats. This perspective is discussed more in this an interesting article.In comparison, if you follow the Phatt program, you will burn the adipose fat from around your liver and kidneys (a guilt offering maybe?) and refrain from eating fats for all of stage 2. Not convinced? Then consider Daniel and his diet. Yep. Also fat free.
Aside from being a gut-health program that works, transforms peoples lives and personally provides me with tools to maintain my energy and sanity throughout pregnancy and raising four kids with a part time co- parent, PHATT has opened doors to my heart desires. Hallelujah to all that and bust out the bag of chips!
Blogging, chatting on messenger, saturating social media with my words as random and rambling or short and sweet (#lovehastags) as I like. As a stay at home mum I can even make money online just from doing what I love! Actual. Real life! It’s like a calling or something …
God has not finished the good work he has begun in me but I will sing in praise to Him for all the years I walk this earth.
What makes you do a little victory dance?
What do you thank God for?