But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish, away from the Lord. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down in it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the Lord. - Jonah 1:3Have you ever seen a map of Jonah's travel? I did recently. And it surprised the heck out of me. Why was it a surprise? It was a map of my heart.
How many times have I run from the calling of the Lord? How many times did I go above and beyond to avoid His voice - err maybe even the whisper that He gives - calling me to something.
- - -I have been in hot pursuit of a bible study. As an at home mom of a 9 month old, I need something available online. But many that I found, though Christian, are outspokenly anti-Catholic. I need something that would fill my soul with God's word and balance it with my Catholic faith. Enter SheReadsTruth. It is this perfect balance. I see Protestant & Catholics alike on the site. And they are welcoming, open about their hearts, encouraging, and also in pursuit of the Lord. All of this came from my active anti-participation of Lent in 9 years. (see backstory here.) I thought I would just take it easy and read from St. Faustina's Diary: Divine Mercy in my Soul & from a book called "In Converstion with God" by Francis Fernandez. Boy, was I wrong.
God wanted to fill me with His Word & consume/overflow my heart with His love. He put scripture study on my heart. So in pursuit, I found SheReadsTruth and it's first study I am participating in is on Jonah.
God wanted Jonah. He pursued him until he couldn't avoid Him any longer. And God came at him strong, but in full love. God met Jonah where he was at, even if that's in the middle of a raging storm.
I'm realizing that God is pursuing me - in the middle of my storm. Lent is a time to turn to the Lord and seek him. My heart hasn't been able to do that these past 9 years and recently I asked the Lord to meet me in this place. I didn't/couldn't/was to scared to come to Him. So He found me where I am and is speaking to me through Jonah.
This post is just on chapters 1 & 2. I am understanding now that I, like Jonah, have an awesome God who loves me unconditionally. When I say understanding now, it's not that I have just accepted my Jesus. Rather, it's been a reminder or rekindling of this relationship that I have had all along. It's like, "oh yea, I do have a merciful, loving, compassionate God who forgives and accepts me - how did I forget that? Duh."
God could have let me drown, just like he could have let Jonah drown. He could have let the waves crush me and let me be forgotten into the endless sea of the lost. But God didn't do that to Jonah. And He hasn't done that to me.
"But I, with a thankful voice, will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed to pay: deliverance is from the Lord." - Jonah 2:10
God is delivering me from what I thought Lent would be: a dry desert, abandoned by God. (again, see backstory) Rather, He is delivering me from those lies and showing me that I am never abandoned - I just have to say yes to Him and willingly obey.
I'd like to add here the timeline of finding this study:
- March 7th: Made a reluctant agreement with the Lord that I will try to participate in Lent.
- March 11th: Spoke with a friend of mine that bible study was on my heart.
- March 11th - March 18th: Searched Google, Facebook, and Pinterest high and low for an online bible study. Nothing. (rather, nothing called to me)
- March 18th a.m.: FINALLY wrote in my prayer journal (this makes it an actual request in my mind for some reason - weird, I know) that God must give me a bible study because I'm at a loss.
- March 18th p.m.: Discovered a study on Jonah that just so happens to start the next morning.
- March 19th: MIND. BLOWN.
.today I visited the sea - what a visual gift from the Lord that serves as a reminder of Jonah's story.
This post is a participation of the #SheSharesTruth collaboration where the participants from the Jonah study share what the Holy Spirit has been stirring up in our hearts.