I can feel the scratchy rub of Sunday school carpet on the bottom of my feet each time I think about reading through the bible again. That first time through, a small group of newly married women met together on Tuesday mornings in one of the empty classrooms at church. A woman named Ann Bentley, 20 years our senior, had encouraged us to read it all. "There's no better time than right now, before you have children. Your lives will never again be as simple as they are today. Read it together, do it in a year, and don't ask me to lead you. All you need is a Bible and the Holy Spirit."
So we read it! And the Bible came alive.
During those Tuesday mornings together, as we took turns sharing all that the Holy Spirit was speaking into our lives individually, I would slip off my sandals, plant my feet firmly on the rough floor, and inhale, thinking, "This is holy ground."
through the Wilderness
to Plano, Texas...
all of it holy ground.
By the time we reached the end of that barefoot journey through thin pages, I wanted to go again. Like a child at the end of a ride, a ride they had been too frighten to go on for years and years, then finally they threw their hands up into the atmosphere and begged to go again. So I decided then and there to read it every other year. One year on, one year off. One year on, one year off. One year on, one year off. That was the plan... and then I had a baby.
A baby changes everything... but God's Word.
We brought him home from the hospital on December 19th, 2003, nearly one year after I had ended my first journey through the Bible. Swaddled in blue I placed him on my lap in front of the Christmas tree, white lights twinkling, and opened the leather bound Word to Genesis. Aloud, I read chapter one to my newborn son.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I walked the road a second time.
As I nursed and rested and learned to care for a baby, I'd read another chapter here and there, sometimes out loud, sometimes quietly as he napped. Four years later I completed that second trip from Genesis to Revelation. Four years it took me! By the time I was done, I had birthed three sons and moved three times.
I thought of Ann's words, "There's no better time than right now, before you have children. Your lives will never again be as simple as they are today."
One year off stretched into a couple of years. When the boys were seven, five and three, I began again, determined to make a more consistent go of it this time through. Three years later I finished that third journey.
Now here I am, and my firstborn is now eleven years old and determined to read it along with me this time, and I'm inviting you to grab your Bible and join us as well. It doesn't matter to me which translation you use or the pace that you go at, if you read it straight through or follow a chronological reading plan, if you use a commentary or not, a Bible reading app or that old brown Bible your parents gave you on your wedding day... All I care about is that you begin. Slip off your Summertime sandals and embark on the holy road that always winds us to Jesus.
Everyone is posting pictures of their deep stack of summertime reading - showcasing bindings lined up side by side, all the titles they'll be bringing on vacation this summer. Why? Because there's no time like summertime for reading a good book... No early morning crazies, getting children off to school. No afternoon hustle to soccer practice, so another chapter poolside is possible with a glass of lemonade.
[Tweet "Summertime is the perfect time to dive into the refreshing Living Water of God's transforming Word."]
It's as juicy as that harlequin romance novel, as engaging as your favorite historical drama, as transforming as... well... the Bible.
There's no better time to begin.