top of page
Search
  • jentulipano

Year One Reflection

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

August marked one year since I decided to make reading the Bible a priority in my life. September, one year since I decided to go semi-public with my Bible reading experience. (Those of you who I invited to read my blog, please know how difficult that was for me! I am not one for vulnerability. I admittedly do not handle criticism well. I internalize many things that are said to or about me. Like all, I remain a work in progress.)

.

In August, I began writing this post, excited about my “one-year” anniversary event, quite a significant milestone in my life. As I sit here, four months later, still editing, I am downhearted by the amount of time that has passed since I last had the willpower to finalize it.


Not to make excuses for my absence from the screen, but my family experienced a traumatic, life-changing event in September. I won’t write about my experience for the protection and privacy of all involved. At this point, all I do is pray for God’s continued hand upon my children. I pray He brings my family peace which passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:6).


With that said, I genuinely believe the previous year of my life, unbeknownst to me, was spent in preparation for this September. I don’t know how I would have gone through that month and those after, if I did not have the foundational support of God’s Word written on my heart, filling my mind through this dark time.


In August, I was content and hopeful, harboring a sense of accomplishment in my Biblical endeavors. I was sticking to my plan to read my Bible daily for one year straight, making the necessary pauses to reflect on my journey. I had grown closer to the Lord in Spirit and saw the fruits of His Word in my life.


I imagined that God was smiling down on me, saying, “Well done.”


Not too shortly after, smack-dab in the middle of my writing this post, all hell broke loose against me, propelling me into a battle that left me brokenhearted and listless.


I began wondering if God had any use for me after all. What was the purpose of all my study if I couldn’t apply it to my own life? Could all of my efforts have been made in vain?


Of course not.


That’s not the way God operates.


God promises that His Word will never come back void. (see Isaiah 55:11) God’s Word does what it says because He always does what He says.


The amazing thing?


God magnified His Word above His name. (see Psalm 138:2).


The problem with my initial thought process is that I was looking back, trying to make sense of my experiences, when God is calling each of us to look forward.


He wants me (and you!) to take this journey with Him one day at a time.


From this changed perspective, I was able to see that my past efforts and experiences were necessary to build my Faith. They have taught me to put my trust in God and God alone. In turn, they became the very source of strength needed for the present battle.

I know that I have to continue fighting the good fight of Faith. I boldly confess, “When I am weak, then I am strong in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 12:10). I believe that God has broken me down to nothing, shattering this vessel of myself so that He can fill me more completely with Himself.


I have many moments of self-doubt and defeat.


Daily.


Several times a day.


I struggle to wake up and fall asleep.


I fight back wells of tears at random and without particular cause.


It is only through the goodness of God, with the power to exercise His Holy Spirit, that I can take hold of these moments of weakness and replace them with the strength of His Truth. (2 Corinthians 10:5).


In particular, Psalms 23, 25, and 91 have become alive in my life. As I meditate on His Word, I envision God holding my hand, walking me through a dark, misty place. I sense Him guiding me to sit with him beside still waters. I imagine Him pulling me close beneath the feathers of His wing.


I am His, and He is mine. (from Song of Solomon, 2:16).


Jesus told his disciples, and therefore tells us, that in the world (we) will have trials and tribulations, but to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. (see John 16:33). He doesn’t say that we won’t experience hard times. He tells us that we can be cheerful while going through them. The struggles that we are experiencing now cannot compare to the joy on the horizon. (see Romans 8:18). When we are troubled with anxieties, we have to cast them onto Him, who can calm our fears and give us the confidence that we need to trust in His will. (see 1 Peter 5:7). He most graciously sends people - fellow followers in the Faith - to help carry out this Message in countless tangible ways. My family and friends have provided me with a network of support, for which I am forever grateful to Him.


No one knows what the future holds. We don’t know what the next month, week, or even tomorrow will bring. Only one thing is sure. This one thing that just so happens to be the only assurance we need to face any of life’s challenges:


“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this Faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of Faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” (Hebrews 11:1-2, The Message).


We serve a Mighty God who is “able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, through Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).


Who is this God we serve? What are His qualities?


God has given me a glimpse into His immeasurable greatness throughout the past sixteen months.


These things I know for sure:


1. God is all-knowing (Omniscient).

~ Psalm 139:4 - “You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”


2. God is all-powerful (Omnipotent).

~ Jeremiah 32:27 - “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is

anything too hard for me?”


3. God is all around us. (Omnipresent).

~ Matthew 18:20 - “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am

there among them.”


4. God is all-forgiving.

~ 1 John 1:9 - “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive

us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”


5. God is all and in all.

~ Ephesians 4:5-6 - There is one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is overall, in all, and living through all.


6. God is Patient.

~ 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”


7. God is Kind.

~Isaiah 63:7 - “I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he

has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love.”


8. God is Merciful.

~Lamentations 2:22-23 - “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

9. God is Just.

~ Luke 18:7 - “Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think

God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”


10. God is Sovereign.

~ Colossians 1:16-17 - “for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”


11. God is Good.

~1 Chronicles 16:34 - “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”


12. God is Love.

~1 John 4:8 - “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”


13. God is Light.

~1 John 1:5 - “This is the message we heard from Jesus, and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”


14. God is Trustworthy.

~Psalm 9:10 - “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”


15. God is a strong fortress and a mighty tower.

~Proverbs 18:10 - “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”


16. God is a present help in our troubles.

~Nahum 1:7 - “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is

close to those who trust in him.”


Who is God not?


The scriptures tell us, in Numbers 23:189, that “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act?” Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”


God is always true to His Word. He is ever faithful to his promises. Unlike man, God always does what he says He will do.


With this knowledge and the help of our loving Father, we can get through even the darkest of times. Our Faith will be renewed and restored as we hold steadfast to His promises. Despite our troubles, we can keep on doing the good work that He created us to do by His grace and mercy.


As I sit here four months post (a self-inflicted) deadline, finally ready to publish this year-end review, I do feel that sense of accomplishment I had anticipated months ago. The fire of hope has reignited, and there are moments of pure joy amidst the struggle.


It is December, and I am enjoying a steaming cup of my favorite loose herbal tea, soaking in the beauty of my freshly farm-cut tree. I am admiring the twinkling lights and ornaments of Christmases past, with new ones to remind me that we serve a God who “makes all things new” (see Revelation 21:15).


My Bible is worn, its pages tattered, a gift put to the best of use.


I can see now that I wasn’t just marking the end of my first year of Biblical study back in August. Rather, I was entering into the beginning of a lifetime of study.


God did not whisper the words, “Well done.”


God cheers, “Good job. Keep going.”


He is just getting started.


August and September have both come and gone, as have October and November.


Still, I remain a faithful reader of the Word daily.


Still, I am learning new things about God, His Word, this world, of which we are only temporary citizens, my family, friends, and myself.


Although different, life will still be good because God is still good.


Thankfully, His goodness will always be something that will fuel me to write.


Yours in the Faith,


~Jen


*I know, with every fiber of my being, that God has called me to be a defender of the Faith. I am committed to sharing the Gospel of our Lord with others until my dying day. I share with you my solemn prayer and proclamation. Feel free to hold me to it if you happen to catch me slipping again.


I will continue to write for you, Lord God. I will spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the sick and the hurting and the persecuted, to the ends of the world. May your goodness and mercy permeate through every evil and touch the souls of the lost. May it reach the remotest areas, climb the highest mountains, descend the lowest valleys, and shine a light in the darkest corners of despair. I vow to help your Word circulate to those places, Lord, no matter what comes my way. I remain your faithful and trusted servant. In the words of the great prophet Isaiah (ch. six v. 8), “Here I am Lord, send me.”





“Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.” ~ John 21:25



59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page