Monday, January 30, 2012

A World of Firsts

An update on Buddy the border cat.  Apparently, I wasn't too observant on Buddy's behavior toward the stuffed sheep on display in the guest bedroom.  True, she hasn't been ripping their faces off as she has with other stuffed animals, but strangely enough, on the sheep, she is chewing through their feet and legs.  What can I say other than Buddy is being biblical in the sense of being a good shepherd that breaks the lambs leg to keep the lamb from straying.  This morning I was pulling some sheets and towels out of the linen closet not paying attention to Buddy's where abouts because this is usually her late mid morning nap time.  I just happened to see a flash of gray tail on the towel shelf.  Buddy has ensconced herself in the linen closet with the towels.  Good thing I saw her tail because that door would have been shut.  Once she woke up and wanted to move about, what noise she would be making and what if I was gone for most of the afternoon?  She would not be a happy camper for sure.  I left her in the closet but with the door slightly ajar. 

Something has been kind of rolling about in this addled brain since Wednesday.  Nothing to do with Chilly Bowl, at least not directly.  Pictures will be coming of that fun event.  No, it has to do with a conversation I was having with a friend and fellow choir member.  We were discussing Bible study and the subject of a particular study that has three initials that are kind of like BFF came up.  We both laughed at our mutual lack of personal diligence and personality that would make us less than suitable for following their strict rules.  My friend had actually gone for a couple of weeks and thought it best that she and the Bible study part ways.  I only tried one attempt of joining that study, early on as a young married.  In fact, it was probably in the hay or hey days of this organization.  There were so many women wanting to study the Bible that they limited their enrollment and would only take a few new ones to participate.  The old sanctuary of Second Baptist, which back then was the only sanctuary at Second Baptist, was filled with women interested in studying the Bible.  We filled out the information cards and would be notified by mail if we had made the cut.  My mentor had been studying with them for a couple of years and she knew how much I loved to study the Bible.  My mentor had been my Sunday School teacher when I was a new Christian and junior in high school and now she was once again my Sunday School teacher in the young marrieds class.   Her presence in my life had made a huge difference and effect on my life, and still it continues even to this day.  Because of her teaching and influence, I believe I was picked at Southwest Texas University's Baptist Student Union to be on the freshman council.  My area of service; Bible studies to be started and led in all the women's freshman dorms.  Loved that and even when I came home to finish out my studies at U of H, I was involved in leadership for Bible studies there on the campus and at church.  And now, I was thrilled to maybe have the opportunity to study the book I loved so much and serve the Lord with all my heart.  But, it wasn't meant to be.  The year I wanted to join, they already had their quota of Baptists and would put me on the long waiting list if ever a "Baptist" spot opened up.  Never heard from them again.  Yes, I was overly disappointed and at that time I didn't think the rejection had much impact upon me.  In retrospect it did.  Not by any one's fault but my own, my interest in studying and learning about the Bible wained, I audited a few Bible courses at HBU, but my spiritual journey took a detour.  I became a little more cynical about "Bible study" and a whole lot more cynical of women's ministry in general.  I saw it more like the popular sorority and like B*F, and pursuing any activity involving women's ministry surely would just lead to more rejection.  So I did the real mature thing and rejected it before it rejected me. 

With that, and I have written about this before, we kind of put other priorities in a different order than we usually had.  Pretty soon you could really only find us at church on rainy Sundays and that was due to the fact it was raining, so we weren't out sailing with friends.  But, the Lord had other plans for us besides sailing and He is bigger than any real or perceived rejection I felt.  It wasn't Sunday School attendance or Bible study attendance that got us to step back in the doors at First, other than rainy Sundays.   The Recreation and Fitness Center, formally known as the CLC, opened and it is there we made so many friends.  Also about that time, Beth Moore was transitioning from aerobics instructor to Bible study teacher.  A friend invited me to attend her Bible study at First Baptist and I was hooked!  There wasn't any closure on enrollment.  As her classes grew, room was made for the expansion.  I think I started Bible study with Beth when it first moved to the chapel.  Beth actually went over the homework with us.  Along the way, that love for the scriptures and study returned.  I wanted more than a casual Sunday morning relationship with Jesus and I was learning how that happened and how love for Him could grow.  I made many friends from that Bible study and all these years later, we are still friends.  

There have been a lot of firsts at First.  The style of the worship center with access to the balcony from the main floor, The Christmas Pageant, the dream and creation of Gerald Ray, made cantata's and shepherds in bathrobes obsolete, a church that survived and thrived during a four and a half year interim period without a pastor, calling a pastor who had never pastored a church before and giving a young woman the opening to change Bible study forever.   Fast forward to 2012 and Bible study with Beth fills the worship center, the chapel, the fellowship center and probably every other room that has a flat screen in it.  All are invited and there isn't a quota for only a certain amount of every  denomination.  In the words of Toddlers and Tiaras, Bible study with Beth is the complete and total package.  There is worship, learning, guidance, laughter, fellowship, friends (both old and new and those waiting to become friendships), growth, dreams birthed and maybe, just maybe many would love to wear a tiara to Bible study. 

In no way am I trying to lift up Beth and her Bible studies or trying to ease my way into attracting her attention.  I'm merely marveling at the mighty needed change she introduced into women's ministry and Bible study and how God has used this to His glory.  She never set herself up as the perfect example of what a Christian wife or godly woman looks like.  She shares her struggles and victories.  No rules concerning how many inches needs to be between you and the next person sitting on the pew, no discussion not allowed if you haven't completed the homework, no exclusion because the class has too many Baptists or any other such silliness to this sanguine.  I'm very thankful to be blessed to have had the opportunity to attend and be changed and transformed by the Word. 

In reality, it is probably good the B*F didn't chose me,  I would have probably been kicked out before the first semester began. 

Well, I better go check on Buddy's status and see if she has moved from the linen closet onto one of her regular napping spots. 

1 comment:

annette said...

So well said, Nancy. I have often wondered what Jesus's Bible study would look like in comparison to the legalistic ways of some today. It is a refreshingly sweet place to do Bible study with Beth and the women there. I always love your posts, Nancy. Hope to see you this evening!