Today is the last day of 2013. And today, I finished something I started on January 1st. I actually finished it. I finished something I started.
I started this on January 1 and I didn't really tell anyone about it, because, let's be honest, I rarely complete a task of this nature. I didn't want to tell people and then somewhere mid-April start to slack off and then have the embarrassing moment of admitting that, once again, you failed.
So, today, December 31 is the day that I'm finally able to tell you what I've been doing all year!
In the year 2013, I can now honestly say for the first time in my life that I have read the Holy Bible in its entirety.
I've never done that. I've gone to church my whole life and owned a Bible my whole life. I've read all of the New Testament and I've read probably 60% of the Old Testament. But only in bits and pieces here and there. And I always skipped the boring parts. And I've never read Habakkuk and Haggai and Amos and all those Minor Prophets.
Here's how it came about: My church provides a yearly devotional each year. In 2013, we did the "Read for Today" plan. Each day is assigned a chapter of Psalms, a chapter of Proverbs, a reading of the Old Testament and a reading of the New Testament. You actually end up reading the New Testament twice over the course of the year, and the Old Testament only once. Today, I completed the book of Malachi which was the last part of my year-long reading plan.
Here's how I broke it down:
I downloaded the PDF from the church website and printed it out. I also downloaded a diary app onto my laptop. Every day I would open a new diary entry and type out what I would be reading that day. After I read the daily reading, I would type out my daily prayers. This has been incredibly beneficial for me because a) I get distracted when praying so typing them out helped me to focus more and b) I can go back and read and see how I've grown this year and how God has answered SO MANY of my prayers. It's really quite remarkable.
I need to come clean about a few things.
1. I missed a lot of days. We would be out of town or busy or it might be a holiday or whatever so if I failed to read on Tuesday, I would just read the Tuesday AND Wednesday readings the next day. It kept me on top of it though because there was a time in July where I missed 5 or 6 days and I ended up reading for a loooong time to make up for the days I missed.
2. It wasn't always fun. There were days that it was definitely a chore.
3. I did this during Ellie's nap time everyday. If she didn't nap, I don't know that this would've happened. Honestly, the fact that I was disciplined enough to do this for an entire year is an act of God. Seriously. I am SUCH an undisciplined person so this is pretty crazy for me.
4. It got really hard towards the end. The end of a calendar year brings about so many stressors and calendar events and travel plans and it was really hard to finish strong.
5. (This is one point I want to be super clear about) I still don't understand everything. There was stuff that I read that was just in one ear and out the other, so to speak. I am not a Biblical scholar or a theologian and a lot of this is just a foreign language to me. I looked up a lot of things online and some stuff was just way over my head. However, I can say that after reading the entire thing... so much of the content makes more sense to me now. Reading the Old Testament made certain things in the New Testament more understandable. Also, one thing is for sure, God knows what He is doing. He has a plan and He sticks to it. He's always right. And we make a lot of stupid, dumb mistakes because we think He is wrong. He proves Himself time and time again. If only I would trust Him....
I'm so glad I did it. I learned a lot. I have been a Christian since childhood and there are still new things that I am learning to this very day.There is more I want to learn. I am in awe of how the prophecies in the Old Testament came true in the New Testament. I feel like this journey, both the reading of the Bible as well as my daily prayer time, made me more aware of the majesty and power of God. And the timelessness of Him. The God of Adam, the God of Abraham, the God of Esther, the God of David, the God of Isaiah, the God of Daniel, the God of Mary, the God of Jesus, the God of Peter, the God of Paul, the God of John... IT WAS ALL THE SAME GOD. And the God that I pray to? The God that I praise? The God that I ask for help and mercy and forgiveness and blessings? It's the same God. He was the same then as He is now. Powerful. Merciful. Loving. True.