I’m a big fan of journaling. I always have been. I remember writing in this red and blue Mickey Mouse journal when I was no more than 7, probably filling it with notes about how I hated wearing uniforms (former Catholic school girls, ya feel me?!). I remember writing “poetry” (more like stories with line breaks in random places) in middle school in a lime green spiral notebook. I remember writing sporadically in high school, making pros and cons lists about boys (no, you can never see these) and which college to attend. I remember when I first put my faith in Jesus and this desire to pray but this inability to really know how to do it. While I couldn’t pray, I could write. Enter eight years of journals filled with prayers, praises, pleas, Bible verses, and commentary. (Thankfully, I was over my pros and cons stage.)
Writing has always been in my bones. Words are a safe place for me, an anchor to a reality that sometimes I can understand only through the process of writing. Writing seasons ebb and flow, sometimes words come rushing out fitting perfectly together, other times they are stubborn and take a lot of determination and coercing to get them out at all.
But, about two years ago, I got stuck.
I had words, but I had no place for them to go. I’ve had blogs in the past to share words with the world, but I just couldn’t share them anymore. I was in a season where I was scared and searching and storing. I wrote, but never for others. I wrote for me. And it was liberating. (I also quickly decided all of my writing was WAY TOO HONEST and could never be seen by anyone ever. All the feels.)
Despite that freedom that came from writing just for me, I couldn’t shake this feeling that God gave me a gift with words to share with the others. In a process that’s stretched over the past few months, I started putting all of my passions together: Women. Writing. The Word.
And here it is. While I can’t unearth all of the writing I’ve been storing up for the past two years (yet), I can share something I’m also deeply passionate about: the Bible.
In my searching season, I did something that I didn’t realize would be significant. Every day, as part of my time with God, I “SOAP’d” through the Bible. SOAP is simply a way of reading the Bible where you choose a Scripture, Observe what’s going on in that passage, figure out the Application for your life, and then end in Prayer. (Here’s a quick overview.) SOAP stretched me – I could no longer skim a passage; I had to dig into it, dissect it, really understand it. I SOAP’d for me. But, I guess in some ways, I did it for you, too -- I just didn’t realize it at the time. God is pretty cool like that.
So, we’re going to SOAP together. Figuring out where to start was the hardest part for me – I almost made our first SOAP study together Esther…I KNOW. So cliché. #sorrynotsorry Then, I thought about Nehemiah or Isaiah, but I wasn’t quite brave enough to do an Old Testament study with you right off the bat. So I looked at John, and the Timothys, and Ephesians, and Galatians, and Colossians…and then I found it: Romans. It’s a long book, but not too long. It highlights all of my favorite things – Jesus, the early church, grace, hope, baptism, spiritual gifts. It’s challenging in some parts, encouraging in others, and sometimes even a bit confusing. It’s written by the apostle Paul, and honestly, Paul is the man! I’m fangirling big time. For starters, he wrote a ton of the New Testament (best job ever). He loved Jesus and he loved his friends and he poured into leaders and he was bold and brilliant…and I could keep going, but you get the idea. When I name my firstborn after Paul, you’ll know why.
Here’s what our SOAP’ing will look like: most days we’ll only read a few verses, occasionally an entire chapter – my goal from the beginning was to design something that will fit in any part of your day. Each day, I’ll highlight the scripture for the day, my observation of what’s happening, application to help you and challenge you to apply it to your own life, and a prayer. It’ll be a prayer I’m praying for me and a prayer I’m praying for you, too.
We’ll start on Monday, November 16th, and finish on Friday, December 31st. In the craziness of the holiday season, I pray this will be something you hold on to, something you look forward to, and something that leaves you transformed, encouraged, and confident in who you are through Jesus.
I’ll see you on Monday.