One delightful surprise with regard to My January Rest, was the support I got from the small group I am in at Second Pres called Sisters. While most of the ladies are Presbyterian, several of us have been grafted in and made ourselves at home with this amazing group of women. Last year we finished a great study called, The Grace Walk Experience and the final chapter instructed us in how to walk in grace. We had our next study lined up to begin after Christmas break, as we usually do. But, I kept thinking of practicing the Grace Walk and The Rest. When someone asked the author what he does as far as reading the Bible, he said he often read the Psalms. That intrigued me.
Last year, one of my almost purchases, was Saint John’s Psalms Bible. Psalms! I had held this book in my hands several years ago. In fact, I had the whole set, minus Revelations that hadn’t been released yet. They were my friend’s, Diana, who died. Although I wanted to keep them, I donated them to a place where they would get more use. However the beauty of the art adorned, hand-calligraphed, books beckoned me.
Our group talked and decided that instead of jumping into a hefty inductive study, we would slow down in January and practice the grace walk. Joy! I had a whole group of dear sisters, to peck our way through some Psalms with! Then we meet weekly to discuss them, review The Grace Walk Experience, and share how our journey was progressing.
It felt like living water. This January was much busier than a normal January for me. We have a houseguest, sometimes two. I spoke at a church twice in January, which took a lot of time to develop clear messages for. Sickness, snowdays and other various assundries nibbled and gobbled my time.
What I did get from resting from study was time to be. IF we had begun the inductive study, I would have not completed it, completed it poorly, or completed it out of duty. Doing things out of duty is exactly opposite of the grace walk. Ironically, several other ladies had abnormally busy Januarys too. January we enjoyed learning about the Psalms. Some didn’t really care for them initially, but have found beauty in them. We talked about the darkness in them, the power, the redemption and the restoration. Mostly, we talked about the comfort that comes from them. One of the ladies Googled and discovered that there is a list of Top Ten Psalms.
We shared how God spoke to us individually. We discussed as a group our experience of walking in grace and the obstacles that we faced. To end our session each week, we were lead through an ancient process, called Lectio Divina, to slow us down and savor The Word. The rest from study was refreshing.
Before January, I used my birthday money to purchase the Psalms book and I also purchased a new journal for my January Rest Experience. I found one with a tree and it was perfect. Someday, I need to write what God has done in my life through ONE Psalm, Psalm 1. He took me on a two year journey and used that one Psalm to prove He was asking me to do something huge. Last summer He asked me to teach art to 450, 13-15 year old, inner city kids from Chicago. Me, a person who likes big people over little ones and who is a professional artist, but doesn’t teach art. He did and I did. It was life-changing for me!
When the book arrived, I was blown away, because Psalm One was written larger than the rest. I would have never thought of that when I had it years ago, because God hadn’t made a big deal of Psalm One yet. Of course it it is the first one in the book, so it makes logical sense that it was featured. But still, it touched my heart in a way only God can do. It felt like it was a gift for me.
Today is February 1st and The Rest is over for now. The rest from Bible study was so wonderful, I hope our group will do it again. One of the women found a book called, Psalms: Folk Songs of Faith. I’d love to go through some of them together next year. So many possibilities. What I know, is that I benefited from resting from study, in order to slow down and enjoy more richly The Word. One of the ladies said it is like savoring a piece of chocolate. Sweet. Great description.
I’ll savor The Rest from study and I will never think of the Psalms in the same way again. I’ll always want to savor them.
As January ended for our Sister’s group, we agreed, we are rested and ready to tackle our study in February.