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On Monday, February 25th I read Day 11 of the the 40 day journey outlined in the book Deeply Loved by Keri Wyatt Kent (see end of this post for an excerpt). I had promised to post my review of that chapter along with my observations. My apologies to the author for not getting to it until now, but it has taken me this long to figure out how to write about it. Participating in a devotional study and then writing about it, even just one day of it, is much more personal than my average book review. In fact, this will be my most personal post to date.
I keep a journal. In fact, I keep several. I have done so, off and on, since I was 12. If anyone were to attempt to compile all of my journals into some kind of memoir or biography (as if!), it would be nearly impossible. I am a manic-depressive or as it more commonly known, a bi-polar person. My journals reflect this fact quite well. I write from back to front, then front to back, then upside down. Then I staple things in blank spaces or write random thoughts there because I hate blank spaces. Ironically, I’m also very organized, so I keep different journals for different things: the manic/depressed/scrapbook journal, the devotional journal, the notes from Sunday sermons journal, the reader/blogger journal, etc. For this chapter study/review, I made notes in my devotional journal. I tell you this because if I hadn’t made these notes, I never would be able to write this post. I have been in a state of mania all week. On the Monday afternoon that I was originally supposed to write this, my doctor wrote a note to my boss excusing me from work for an undetermined amount of time because I was one manic/depressive episode away from hospitalization.
The mania has finally let up a bit, enough to allow me to write. I chose Day 11 about meditating on the promises of God because it is this practice that has sustained me throughout my adult life. The author focused primarily on the first part of John 14 which contains promises from Jesus that show us His heart and love for us. I have doubted many things in my life. I have been hurt, betrayed, abused, and deeply, deeply depressed. In the process, I have learned that people will let you down. Life will let you down. JESUS HAS NEVER LET ME DOWN. Every promise he makes in the Bible he has kept. I chose three promises from Kent’s book to inscribe on my heart this week:
1) Jesus promises the divine power to do good works (v. 12 NIV) This promise tells me that even though I have a chronic and sometimes debilitating illness, I am worthy and I am strong enough to serve God because He gives me that strength and He uses my weakness to His glory.
2) Jesus promises that He won’t abandon us (v. 18 NIV) I needed to reflect on this a great deal in a week of such uncertainty. I cannot go back to work for awhile. I have no more sick leave or vacation time left. My husband just finished school and is trying to start a business. I bring in half of the family income. It makes for a very scary time, but I know without a doubt that Jesus will not abandon me or my family during this difficult time.
3) Jesus promises us supernatural peace (v. 27 NIV) Of all the promises that Kent points to in this chapter, I have meditated on this one the most. Not only this week, but for many years. A bi-polar rarely knows peace physically or mentally. But, Jesus gives me supernatural peace, a peace in my heart and in my spirit. I surround myself with reminders. As something of a hippie, I collect peace signs but they serve a double purpose for me. I also collect items with the word PEACE and, finally, I collect crosses. In one way or another, these all remind me of Jesus’ promise. I pray often for that peace, and Jesus never fails to grant it.
In summary, I relished this chapter from Kent’s book, and I couldn’t have read it at a more relevant time in my life. I highly recommend that everyone take the time to meditate on God’s promises. Those promises will comfort you, strengthen you, and encourage you. They will also help you to experience the heart of Jesus.
*In compliance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received this book for free from the author in return for posting an excerpt and reading/reviewing a chapter. Many thanks to the author for encouraging me to participate in this journey.
Book Excerpt and Post from February 15, 2013