The final stretch

This time last year, I hadn’t even thought of the idea to blog through the bible in a year. And here I am… in the final stretch! Today is my first post in the book of Revelation. In 21 short days, I’ll be finished!!

My family is excited about that :)

This endeavor has taken much more time and effort than I anticipated, but I’m grateful for the journey. Many times, as I sat in front of my computer, exhausted and void of coherent thought – God would fill me with the words I needed. I have seen His strength in my weakness this year. The show of His faithfulness to me has been a treasured gift.

So with only 20-something days left, I face my greatest challenge – to blog through BOTH the book of Revelation AND all of the minor prophets in under a month’s time. If you’re like me, I don’t spend much time in the minor prophets or contemplating the beast in Revelation!

But…I hope reading through these prophetic passages will make this Advent season more meaningful. And when I’m finished, I think I’ll sit, drink some hot cocoa and watch a movie… (while doing somersaults in my head :) Merry Christmas!

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200th post

Today, I published my 200th straight post on bible365blog.com I can’t believe I’ve made it this far!!

And the best part… I am only ONE DAY AWAY FROM FINISHING EZEKIEL. This is wonderful for my whole family, because they are sick and tired of me complaining about how difficult Ezekiel is!!

I think we might have to celebrate. It’s Friday after all. Maybe we’ll have ice cream for dinner. Yes. Mint Chocolate Chip… or maybe Cookies and Cream. No… Mint Chocolate Chip :)

Questioning, Doubting and Honesty before the Throne

I’m halfway through with my year of blogging through the bible. I’m currently in Ezekiel, and I feel WAY over my head, but somehow God manages to give me something to write about every day. I’m really experiencing God’s strength through my weakness!

Something stood out to me yesterday as I was reading Ezekiel 8-11… These are the chapters describing Ezekiel’s first temple vision. At the end of this vision, God’s glory departs from the temple because of the enormous sin of the people.

In the middle of the vision, God sends angels out to execute judgment on all but the “remnant.” The judgment was so gruesome that it caused Ezekiel to cry out…

And while they were striking, and I was left alone, I fell upon my face, and cried, “Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” (Ezekiel 9:8)

In the face of such wrath, could Ezekiel be doubting God’s goodness? I don’t know for sure… But I do resonate with the idea of questioning God’s goodness…

Sometimes we are surrounded by such dire circumstances, that we wonder how God could allow such suffering.

I’m familiar with all the theological answers to this age-old question. I get that suffering is a result of sin and that God uses suffering to bring about repentance, faith and sanctification. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I get that. I really do.

But sometimes, like Ezekiel, we are so overwhelmed that we cry out, “Enough is enough!” And whether or not this is an appropriate response or not… it still encourages me that Ezekiel had the guts to be honest. God is big enough to handle our honesty… it’s whether we are brave enough to be honest and vulnerable before God. I believe He meets us there. And I believe He loves us there…

Milestones

A friend kindly wrote to me today… “Thinking of you this week.”

I had to stop and think about what she could mean… And then I remembered, “Ahhh. Saturday is the day.”

Yes, Saturday will mark three years since Anne’s accident. April 13th becomes easier with each passing year. The pain of losing Anne becomes more dull, and the joy of gaining Anne becomes more evident. God is good!

I’m actually hostessing a baby shower on April 13th. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than surrounded by friends celebrating a new life. God’s mercies are new every morning!

And while we’re on the subject of milestones, I just published my 100th post on my bible:365 blog. If I taught kindergarten, I would do something fun like… string together 100 paperclips or eat 100 M&M’s (ugh). But I’m not a kindergarten teacher, so I just had a cookie ;)

Happy 100 posts to me! And more importantly… Happy 3 years of enjoying our new Anne!

Hangin' with the boys

Hangin’ with the boys

Face painting with Canon, Kate and cousin Isabella!

Face painting with Canon, Kate and cousin Isabella!

A picnic in the front yard!

A picnic in the front yard!

We love our Anne!

We love our Anne!

The ministry of kindness and daily routine :)

Many people have reached out to me after my last post. I didn’t expect such kindness! Thank you to those of you who wrote and to those who have prayed. I’m very grateful.

I think it’s the relentlessness of it all that bogs me down. There’s no hope for relief. Even finding an occasional babysitter seems like a difficult obstacle. An overnight getaway is almost impossible. Anne’s care is so specialized… it’s tough to find a qualified caretaker with every-now-and-then availability. I love Anne – but she wears me out sometimes ;)

Oddly, what has been the most helpful has been to introduce two other relentless activities into my daily routine! Blogging through the Bible is also relentless, but it has been a fountain to my parched heart. Also, I’ve been running daily. I look forward to both pursuits as they strengthen me both spiritually and physically.

So, even though I sometimes long for a break from it all – what’s helped me the most is sticking with a relentless routine… Go figure.

And by the way… I just published my 50th post on bible365blog.com. I’m pretty proud of myself :)

Update on Bible:365

Well, I’m over half-way through my first month of reading through the bible in a year… AND blogging about it. I said before that consistency is a huge obstacle for me, but I’ve managed to post everyday so far :-)

I think today’s post is one of my favorites… I love the way the Old and New Testament readings happen to connect today.

So… 17 days down, only 348 to go ;-)

bible365blog.com

Now that you’ve had a taste of this crazy idea of mine of “My Year Through the Bible”… It’s time to announce that I am launching a new blog solely dedicated to this endeavor.

I will continue to update kathrynJackson.com regularly with updates on Anne and our family.

So now I have two blogs – with two different e-mail distribution lists!

  1. kathrynJackson.com is my current blog which chronicles my personal journey as a mother to a disabled child. I also share updates of her progress, specific prayer requests and other stories from our family life.
  2. bible365blog.com is my second blog dedicated solely to my daily bible readings. There is a permanent link to this blog in the left-side navigation of this site. If you want to join my journey of reading through the bible this year, feel free to go to this new blog and click the “follow” button on the right of the site to be notified by email whenever there is a new post.

I hope that wasn’t too confusing :-) Blessings for a new year! -kathryn

My Year Through the Bible: Day 3

Genesis 6-8; Matthew 3

Genesis 6-8 is the story of the flood. I actually taught a bible study on this not too long ago. The idea of God destroying the earth caused me to wrestle… really wrestle. I struggled to see how God’s goodness was revealed in destroying every living thing on the earth (except those few on the ark). Seriously, what good was the flood?

I believe God patiently endured my questioning and gave me not just one, but several glimpses of his goodness in this passage of Scripture.

  • Firstly, I believe God gave the world the opportunity to repent and be saved. Remember, I’m no bible scholar, but think about it… It took Noah and his sons a VERY long time to build that ark. Scholars debate on the specifics, but it was somewhere between 75-100 years of building. Don’t you think news would have spread about this crazy guy building this humongous boat? Don’t you think Noah tried to warn people of the coming flood? They had a chance to repent, believe and be saved… But they didn’t. And they perished.
  • Secondly, (and this is a hard one for me) every living thing deserved to be destroyed. The bible says “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God showed his grace by preserving a remnant.
  •  Thirdly, (and I love this) I see God’s tender, personal care for Noah and his family in verse 7:16, “And the Lord shut him in.” God, himself, shut the door to the arc and protected them from the deadly flood. He, personally, saved them.
  • And finally, Noah’s story is both a warning and a joyful proclamation to us. Just as those who were in the ark were saved from the flood… If we are found “in Christ” we will be saved from the judgment that is to come. God, in his mercy, warns over and over that there will be judgment for those who do not turn to Jesus for help. None of us are good enough to earn entrance into heaven. Jesus offers us a trade: we get his perfect record, and he gets our tarnished one. As a result, he received the punishment we deserve, and we get the reward that only he deserves. That’s good news. That’s the gospel.

P.S. You can follow the rest of my journey through the bible at bible365blog.com

My Year Through the Bible: Day 2

Genesis 3-5; Matthew 2

Ugh. Genesis 3 has to be the saddest chapter in the whole bible. Talk about a choice with far-reaching consequences. Adam and Eve’s disobedience destroyed the perfection God intended and now every human who has ever lived on this earth knows the “fallenness” that is this world. Anne is living proof that our world is not as God intended…

But have you ever wondered… after Adam and Eve ate the fruit and were hiding from God in shame, why would God (who is all-knowing) ask, “Where are you?” Not to sound irreverent, but doesn’t that seem like a stupid question? God totally knew where they were. And then God goes on to ask more questions he already knows the answer to: ““Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

I’ve always wondered why God asks these questions, and not long ago, I was reading a book by Nancy Guthrie, and she gave me a very satisfying answer…

Here we see one of the first pictures in Scripture of what our God is like personally. He takes the initiative to seek after sinners. …God didn’t question the Serpent. There was no need for that since there was no possibility of his redemption (Guthrie, The Promised One, pp 74, 75).

God longs for us to repent. He longed for Adam and Eve to repent, but “instead of making a brokenhearted confession, [Adam] offered an excuse” (Guthrie, The Promised One, p 75).

Which brings me to a very hard passage of Scripture in Matthew 2. After Jesus was born… “[Herod] killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16). That wouldn’t have happened if Jesus hadn’t been born. The very child that was born to save us from our sin magnified the sin in Herod’s heart so that Herod chose to slaughter… babies. Those poor families. The grief of the mothers. The whole community shattered by the fury of one man.

Yes, the disobedient choice of Adam and Eve has far-reaching effects. Should I wonder how it would have been different if they had repented? No, I think that’s futile. I think a better endeavor is to wonder how my life will be affected if I, a lowly sinner, choose to repent instead of make excuses. Yes, that seems like a good thing to think about…

P.S. You can follow the rest of my journey through the bible at bible365blog.com

My Year Through the Bible: Day 1

Genesis 1-2; Matthew 1

I love how Genesis 1 is an overview of the seven days of creation and Genesis 2 zooms in to give more detail – especially re: Day 6. When I read Genesis 2, I imagine God as a loving, meticulous artisan… Listen to the verbs:

formed
breathed
planted
caused

And God’s most amazing creation happened on Day 2… forming woman, of course!! (That was a joke, by the way;-) Female-ness makes an appearance in Matthew 1, as well, where we see the surprising addition of women in Jesus’ genealogy. Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife) all have scandalous stories, and i believe they are mentioned in the family of Christ as a reminder that no one is outside the reach of God’s amazing grace.

And amazing grace is what I will need to continue my journey. Day 1 – check. 364 to go…

P.S. You can follow the rest of my journey through the bible at bible365blog.com