A vivid image from my childhood: my mom with her worn Bible open, her scrawling cursive filling up the blank spaces of her Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) lessons. I must have been in grade school at the time, but it was obviously a memorable image - my mother intentionally seeking the Lord in a non-negotiable time of study that I recognized as special and sacred.
Bible Study Fellowship is an international organization, so there are BSF chapters that meet at churches in 38 nations across the world. The study year begins in September and ends in May, and during that time you study one book of the Bible - everyone around the world seeking the Lord and studying the same book at once. Beautiful.
Earlier this year, my friend Melissa suggested that I join a local BSF class that was beginning this September - the designated book for this year was Genesis. It's been so long - too long - since I've been in an organized, disciplined Bible study, and as much as I felt my soul craving it, I immediately started making excuses in my mind:
"Yeah, I already know Genesis. Adam & Eve, Noah's Ark, Abraham."
"How could Genesis possibly be relevant to my everyday life in 2012?"
"I don't really have time for this."
"Would Luci Belle be okay in the children's class separated from me for a few hours?"
But I took the plunge, and I can't possibly state more strongly how much it is changing me and how much my daughter is learning. On a typical BSF day (Wednesday mornings), I drop Luci Belle at her class, where she eagerly runs to her teachers without a single tear. Then I head to the church sanctuary where hundreds of women gather for a few songs before we split up to our small groups. During small group time, we discuss the previous week's study notes and our answers to the questions. After small group, we reconvene in the sanctuary for the lecture, which my education-loving self thrives on - notebook open and ready, Bible open, colored pens uncapped. Only through the Holy Spirit could a straightforward, very un-exciting lecture move a person to tears - which it has already done for me multiple times.
The BSF children's classes are not just childcare. These teachers love the children deeply, pray for them individually, and teach them a pared-down version of the exact lesson we're learning that week. My two-year-old is soaking it up like a sponge, asking me practically everyday if it's a "school day" and if she can go to "Bible school." The second week of BSF, I inquired during the car ride home what she had learned that day. She boldly declared, "Da Bible is twue." Last week, we were getting ready to leave for BSF, and my husband picked her up and asked her if she was excited to go to Bible school. She took her palm, placed it on his chest and said, "Jesus in heart, Daddy?"
I adore the ladies in my small group. I didn't need another young moms group, but a group of women from diverse backgrounds and ages, and that is what I got. Most women are older than me, and I love learning from their wisdom.
More than anything, I'm pleasantly surprised how much Genesis is applicable to my daily life, how often I think about my BSF lessons all throughout my days. I've found that the Word of God is absolutely "alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). The Scriptures have come alive to me once again, as I see the perfect picture of how the Word of God is a pursuant story, with cohesiveness from beginning to end.