Tropical beach at beautiful sunset.

Last year, the girls and I read through the entire Bible together. It was the first time the girls had done so, and they were so excited to have finished that they were eager to do it again in 2018. We switched over from a start to finish approach to a one year Bible. Each day was going to include a piece of the Old Testament, a piece of the New Testament, and some of the Psalms and Proverbs. We were excited! Last year, we’d been on task and hadn’t missed a day. 2018 was going to be just as awesome!

And then… well, it wasn’t.

We’ve had the hardest time keeping to the task this year. I think a large part of this is due to the format of the one year Bible. It’s hard to get invested in three different storylines at once, especially when the Psalms and Proverbs portions are just one line without any kind of context. (And my nearly forty year old self has a hard time remembering what we read yesterday and putting it into a bigger picture. You can imagine how Ana and Emma have struggled!)

Whether or not this has played a part in our success (or lack of success) is beside the point. We’ve been inconsistent because we, as people, are often inconsistent, sometimes with the very things that matter most. We can blame the format we were using (and we have), and we can blame the move and the busyness of life (and we have). But what it comes down to is this – it wasn’t a priority to us.

It’s a downer, really. The girls and I came off of a growing year and tripped up into this slump. They know it as well as I do and have told me more than once that they’re discouraged by it all. But can I tell you something? This has been an amazing opportunity to talk about grace with them. “Look at all the days we’ve missed,” Ana has said as we’ve been getting back into reading. “We’ll never catch up!” Emma has echoed. “I know,” I’ve told them. “That’s why we’re going to start again, not worrying about what’s past. We’re going to make a fresh start right now.”

How often do we need this in our own lives? We’ve fallen away from what we purposed to do in walking with Christ, and our temptation is to make excuses, to assign blame, or to just wallow in self-pity. It’s too much! I’m too far gone! There’s no point! But there’s grace, no matter where we are or what has happened. And we’re able to start again, have a new beginning, and go on without looking back.

Maybe you’re in a place where you don’t even think that’s possible. And I don’t know your circumstance or your situation, so I can’t speak to that. But I know that God is good and that He gives grace that is never dependent on our efforts or righteousness. Could it be that in your most dire and hopeless regret, He’s ready and waiting to make a new, fresh start for you?

The girls and I are recommitting to our plan and keeping one another accountable to it now, praying that we’ll stay faithful in the days ahead. And as we read about who He is and study more about Him, we’re overwhelmed again and again by the grace that He offers…

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