Sunday mornings are my love. I am ashamed that I haven’t written this year. Forgive me. As I sit here meditating, reading the word, and other reading tools that help me go deeper into God’s word I notice my Bible. I notice how worn it is, how the tears, nicks and picks have crept in over the years. I notice how the binder has completely ripped and the back of my Bible, my ragged Bible is falling apart. I notice how the faces of the women appear bubbled, out of focus and I smile. Well I tear up and smile.
The appearance of my Bible is a replica of my worn-torn, war –wearied, heartbroken-heart and healed/healing soul. God has watched over me. God has pushed me; He has talked to me and He has loved me because He promised He would. His capacity to love us without the pull of guilt or you owe keeps me hinged to Him. God gives value to our souls.
In reflection, I purchased this Bible on July 7, 2007 and inside I wrote, “To understand God, you have to spend time with God.” (How God works.) I began studying more of the Word in an effort to save the beginnings of a crumbling marriage; we had not made it to the seven-year mark. I wanted to find solace in the One Belief I trusted…if I just prayed hard enough—I would not break my vows. God could still trust me with the big things. I yearned for the big things. God will turn our selfishness into His greatest opportunities. Oh, how things got worse the closer I became to God. We were divorced two years later. Nevertheless, my Bible was still intact, still looked new.
My journey to return to school as a Business Major, older and as a single parent of four was challenging. Many a night, this Bible was read, yet not felt. We are required to read, to study, to show ourselves approved. I cannot tell you when the binder ripped but it hurt when it did. I refused to tape it, to add anything to it to fix it. I let it be —I just carry the pieces together. (How God works.) Recently, my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling was granted on March 1, 2018. You would think He and I are even…that I have done the work and all is now within the realm of completion. The master’s program journey was devastating. It tore me apart and put me back together so different than I expected. My thought, let’s let the blessings flow, Jehovah. (Laugh) Nope, smh. I have submitted my application for certification in Clinical Pastoral Education—to be educated in spiritual care. I am not a minister…yet my gift is to care for those who are.
I am so far out of my comfort level. Shoot, I have been for years. These next steps of my life are huge and I am terrified. I am alone. This past week, I have endured so many attacks, spiritual attacks. It has been a whoa-Jesus kinda week. So much so that my deceased parents have visited me in my dreams. My mom, “You’re taking care of everyone else. Don’t lose sight.” My Dad, “You’re’ not alone. Stick with it, Michelle.”
Yet, my ragged Bible, this ragged Bible, my, “Aspire, the new Women of Color Study Bible.” My ragged Bible is in pieces, tattered, pages bent, filled with love notes written by my kids; highlighted words that hem my heart…written for purpose of guidance, written for purpose to encourage, written for the purpose to build, written for the purpose to heal…my ragged Bible, is written for the purpose to initiate and cultivate purpose.
Our need, our individual want to prosper, to be better in life, to live brighter than yesterday cannot be done without Him. I encourage you to find your niche and allow God to incorporate the work, the journey; the balance required to live your greatest life. Again, I write, “To understand God, you have to spend time with God.”
Each time I read the story of Jesus healing, the man born blind I receive a number of different insights. My favorite verse, John 9:3, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might displayed in his life.” This had to happen. Our things had to happen. Our must go through is required. Know that what has become increasingly clear to me is that without self-evidence, without the pain and heartache, without the disappointments, the hurt, without the journey, without painful, historical insight I could not share with you that prayer —our relationship with God —is the very breathe of our greatest human existence. Spend some time with Him, your way.