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Hello again. It’s been a while and I’ve got a lot to tell you.
Not in the sense that I know a ton and I’m smarter than you.
Or in the sense that I’m about to unload a TMI situation on you.
It’s just that it’s been a while, and a lot has happened and I’ve missed you and I’ve missed this. But we’ve got time. So, consider this an introduction to Amy Allender Bible Study Blog and resources.
Last time I really wrote, I was in New Mexico, after having moved away from Minot, ND. Things were good and I was good and it was hot as blazes. But a funny thing happened. Even though I was excited to write…nothing came out. It was like turning on an old rusty faucet. A few drips forced their way out, but nothing else came up. And the crazy thing was, I was okay with that.
That alone is a testament to God’s goodness, grace and activity in our lives.
In the past, I would have been upset that no words came out. That I had nothing to say. I would have bought into the lie that without a “real” job or activities worth writing about that I was doing something wrong. I would have bought into the lie that I needed to share my life with others to affirm that things were good in my world.
Now, mind you, that’s not the only reason I wrote, but it was a reason. It was a way of reminding myself that even though I didn’t have a regular, real job…I was doing things, I was busy and I really did enjoy my life.
I don’t know if that makes sense or it’s just me.
Any way, back to New Mexico.
So when I wanted to go back to writing and nothing came out…instead of forcing it–or thinking I had to force it out…I was totally cool. God gave me a great season of peace and contentment, at least where blogging and writing has been concerned. Once we traded the Southwest for South Dakota, I started to feel the familiar panic set in of being in a new place with no business, few connections, and little direction.
BUT–instead of falling into my normal, natural pattern of discouragement and despair I did something different. You see, last year at this time I was fervently calling on the Lord for help and He showed up in a miraculous way. (I pinky promise I’ll tell you about that later.) I saw God work, I knew He was for me and I wanted His guidance. So instead of pouting, I got to it. I decided that I wanted guidance and direction and His grace more than I wanted the familiarity of a post-move depression. (Being down in the dumps is no fun, but it is familiar, and tricks me into justifying bowls full of ice cream every evening.)
So I prayed with intention. I prayed with expectation. Not expecting God to give me a certain answer, but expecting Him to answer. I told the Lord the things that I love to do and asked Him if He’d like to use those skills–if in His great mercy He could release me from the fear preventing me from pursuing things that He created me to love…even if they don’t seem like “real” jobs.
I prayed and I listened and somehow I scraped up enough self-discipline to truly wait on an answer.
And then it came.
Around January of 2017 I knew I needed to return to writing. Not in a rush, but in a strategic, planned, thought out way. It didn’t happen with prophetic dreams, or from hearing a booming voice. I just knew with great peace that Ineeded to streamline the content I was writing, to write with purpose. The hardest part was feeling a calling to cut out some of the variety in my writing. Instead of writing about everything and anything, I knew God was calling me to write about Him and His Word. Instead of striving to re-start the photography/design/video/art teacher/artist business again…in an effort to generate some income and have some kind of answer to the ever-terrifying question: “So, what do you do…?”
God gave me peace and encouraged me to trust that He will provide. That writing about Him is a good answer to that question. God has given me so much freedom in my life and this was one more place that He freed me. He told me that I am free to pursue this calling, because this is a good calling, worthy because He gave it to me to pursue, and that my value is in His eyes, not my job title, anyway.
It’s been scary. No other cute way to put it. But God has blessed me along the way. He gave me a day job, He gave me ministry opportunities, He gave me opportunity to teach art and use my design skills in new ways. God gave me time to rebuild, reflect, dream and redesign. I wish this was done sooner. The maintenance mode thingy said I would be done in early March. But early March became late March. Which turned into April 8th, then just “sometime in April.” And somehow that was okay. Instead of beating myself up for failing or falling behind the schedule, I knew God was in control. I knew the website would be done when it was done and that He’d give me the words when it was time to start writing again.
These are those words.
I don’t know that this is eloquent or even makes sense. But I’m so happy to be here writing and sharing life with you again. I hope this reintroduction hasn’t put you to sleep. Unless you are listening to the blogcast version as you are drifting off in an effort to sleep–then I hope I’ve totally bored you and you are snoring by now.
Just kidding. Everyone knows my voice is anything but soothing. That’s why I taught high interval training instead of yoga. The voice. And the flexibility. But I digress.
Now that you know a little bit about the last year, let me tell you what is coming up–God willing. You probably noticed that the site looks different. That’s because I’ve totally redesigned with a singular focus in mind–getting folks excited and interested in the Word of God and knowing God more personally. To put it simply, I want you to leave here inspired by God, excited about His Word and motivated to walk in faith.
Bible study is like my all time favorite thing and I totally geek out over it. There is nothing more important than knowing God and connecting to Him. It’s what we are all created to do. When we intimately know God, when our relationship with God is right…we are doing what we were created for. We live in purpose, with purpose. Truly knowing God and understanding what He says in His Word will change. your. life. Change it. Remodel it. Always for the better–always, always, always. I love everything about God’s Word and I want others to know that joy too.
If you aren’t excited about the Bible or have lost your fervor–check out this super awesome three-day kick start! It’s a good place to start if your Bible is dusty and you wish you read it more…but it’s also interesting enough for a well versed (pun intended) Bible geek to enjoy.
I’ve really tried my hardest to tailor the site’s design with readers in mind. Here are some new, cool changes I think you’ll appreciate. First, I am creating and offering special courses and studies and series (like that three day kick-start I just told you about!!) that will be delivered right to your inbox. These are resources just for you that will come right to you. I’ll always tell you when a new tool or resource is available…or you can just check the resource page. And I’ll never, ever spam you. The email kind, or the mystery meat kind.
Next, to help information really take root, or to help you think through complicated topics, I’ve got worksheets and workbooks on the way. I learn best when I can think critically, answer questions and write things down, and I know some of you do too.
One of my very favorite things is learning about culture, context, politics, and society of Biblical times. Knowing a little background can shed a used car-lot spotlight’s worth of light on a passage that you’ve never understood before, or add a deeper level of meaning to a passage that you’ve read a million times. The Bible always has more to learn, more to tell us. In the coming days I’ll write about history and context and I know your interest will be piqued!
Over the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot about God’s character. This has been a HUGE game changer for me. I’m excited to share my experiences with you and examine Scripture to find the truth of who God is.
Now, you might be thinking–“Oh, man…this all sounds great, but I really liked reading Amy’s posts before when she’d tell us all the random and embarrassing things she did.” Never fear. I think our most powerful tool as Christians is our past experiences and testimony. My best testimony of God’s goodness and active nature is evidenced in my own misadventures. I’m looking forward to continuing to share my life with you in the form of true to life devotionals that may cover anything from an epic battle with depression and anxiety to trying to tame a raccoon in our hollow apple tree and everything in between. Because every moment of every day–every victory and every hurt and every smile–all point back to a wonderful God. (And if you get really desperate for the old posts, they are safe and sound over here.)
Lastly, if you know me, you know I L-O-V-E audio books. And talk radio, and audio Bibles, and anything else that allows me to learn on the go. I know we already talked about my less-than-yoga-instructor voice, but if you want to be part of this community and just don’t have time to sit down and read…I will record all blog posts and make them available for download. It’ll be fun.
I guess what I’m saying in all this is–I hope my gifting in the realm of Bible geekery will be a blessing to at least one of you. I’m honored that you are here. I’m excited to learn with you.