No Longer My Own (music)

Why I’m Skipping Bible Study

My Bible and one sleepy pup.

My Bible and one sleepy pup.

Summer Greetings to you, my lovelies…

Somewhere mid-late May I sent the following text to a friend:  Hey, girl…I’m strongly considering not doing our summer study this year. When you get a moment can we have a conversation about that?

I had already been having conversations in my head. Summer study was just around the corner. We’d done it every year since I can remember. Always rich. Always fruitful. Some seasons, a downright lifeline. It has become tradition. Several women from different area churches gathering together under one roof to study God’s Word. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Not a thing.

Only somehow this summer felt different. Plans were already underway and I had every intention of diving in, just as I’d always done. But, coming up for air after Spring travel, something inside said no. What about all those books you’ve been wanting to read, Cheri? They’re stacked here and there in little piles taunting me. A homework intensive Bible study wouldn’t leave much time for extra reading. What will they think if I bow out? I hate to disappoint. They’ll be counting on me. Will someone step up to fill my place?  I had always helped facilitate in some way, whether leading small group discussion, setting up and tearing down, or closing out in prayer. Some wonderful friendships have been forged as well. A sweet camaraderie of Christian fellowship.

But, still, sitting this one out felt right. It’s as if God was writing me an excused absence from summer school. Saying no to this meant I could say yes to other things. I had already declined an invitation to the beach and another retreat this Fall. In seeking the Lord about these wonderful, who-in-their-right-mind-would-turn-it-down opportunities, I found it helpful to make a list. I needed to remind myself what I was saying yes to…

Yes to reading books/Bible
Yes to writing songs
Yes to blogging
Yes to booking gigs
Yes to building up my youtube channel
Yes to ministry prep
Yes to healthy eating and zumba
Yes to church fellowship
Yes to time with my daughter (my son lives out of town)
Yes to time with (wouldn’t you like to know?!)

A couple other specific yes-es and well, you get the idea. Likely you could create your own ‘yes list’ and gain a little clarity about your schedule as well. Not coincidentally, I just finished Susie Larson’s book, Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy. Someone kindly sent me the book and DVD and I watched all six sessions in the comfort of my own living room. She admonished…

“When we’re sloppy with our yes, we miss out on God’s best.”

Looking up that word sloppy in my dictionary app, here’s what I found:  sloppy means not careful or neat, showing a lack of care, attention, or effort. Hmm. Interesting.

Would I haphazardly plow ahead like I’d always done or would I listen to that still, small voice inside leading in a different direction? Would I seek to please man or please God? Would I cave to what Susie calls the ought-to’s and should-do’s, succumbing to “a busyness that drains vs. an abundance that trains”, or could I find freedom and relief in choosing God’s path for me? Even if it looked different than the norm?

I had made my decision. An email to the team was met with grace, understanding, even encouragement. A small act of obedience, yes. But, a tremendous sense of relief followed. Relief and, ultimately, peace.

Before closing, I must add this caveat…I wouldn’t normally advocate habitually skipping Bible study. Those who know me know I’m big. on. God’s. Word. And I love to study it with other women. Please don’t see this as an excuse to take a vacation from The Good Book. It may be that for you, for this summer, you absolutely need the accountability of an organized study to inspire consistent time in Scripture and grow in the faith. To ditch would be inadvisable, even foolish. But for me, for this summer anyway, I get to play hookie.

Daisy's Lamb Chop.

Daisy’s Lamb Chop.

Someone once said, “The devil drives, the Shepherd leads.”  We are His sheep uniquely equipped to hear His voice. What is He saying to you? Will you lean in toward that Holy Whisper?

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27)

Other translations say my sheep recognize my voice or my sheep respond to my voice. Oh, how I want to respond to the voice of the One Who loves and leads me best. And give Him my best yes.

May it be as Paul writes in Philippians 2:13, God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. 

By God’s grace, I will.

Have a sweet and safe summer in the Son. I’ll get with you again soon.

Cheri

What Do You Get (For the Woman Who Has Everything?!) – A Poem for Mom

Greetings! Mother’s Day is here….I sent Mom something mermaidy to go with her collection of mermaids. I’m pretty sure she’ll love it. She loves beautiful things, makes beautiful things, collects beautiful things, and gives beautiful things to others. And as you can see by the pictures in this post, she, too, is absolutely beautiful.

Mom making Sarah's bridal bouquet.

Mom making Sarah’s bridal bouquet.

It was her birthday this past September and I called up my sister in California to have the “what should we get Mom” discussion. As I recall, the conversation went something like this…

Me: “Got any ideas for Mom’s birthday?”
Lisa: “Nope.”
Me: “Me neither.”
Lisa: “I know. What do you get for the woman who has everything?”

Striking out, I muttered, “Maybe I’ll write a poem or something.”

We hung up the phone and the next thing I know I’m cracking myself up putting this little piece together (you’d have to know Mom). I emailed it to my sister to print out, my niece added some whimsical illustrations and BAM! Birthday gift complete! Mom practically peed her pants laughing…

A gift for Mom's birthday, my niece added the clever illustrations.

A gift for Mom’s birthday, my niece added the whimsical illustrations.


What Do You Get
(For the Woman Who Has Everything?!)

A Poem for Mom
Written by Cheri Keaggy

What do you get
For the woman who sits
In a room full of wonderful things?

Her cupboards are full
Excess is the rule
Why have one when you need seventeen?!

There’s nothing she lacks
See those big, plastic sacks
Filled with dozens of specials galore?


Though not yet on Etsy

She sips Diet Pepsi
While stringing her beads from the store.

What do you give
To the woman who lives
In a house full of beautiful wares?

Each room is eclectic
Nearly purposely hectic
Thank God, she’s most willing to share!

Her closet is packed
Years of clothes on the racks
Gorgeous handbags, and bracelets, and shoes.

Come morning’s agenda
Her biggest dilemma
Is which of her outfits to choose.

If there’s something you need
There is no need to plead
She is ready to head out the door.

For shopping is grand
And she’s got a big plan
To be first on the showroom floor!

When out comes the purse
There’s no need to rehearse
For this sure ain’t her first rodeo.

Just give her a minute
She’s in it to win it
Ask how? Just trust me, she knows!

Me, Mom, and my blonde-haired, blue-eyed sister, Lisa.

Me, Mom, and my blonde-haired, blue-eyed sister, Lisa.

 

What do you send
To the woman who spends
Enough for ten neighborhood blocks?

You turn up your nose
And type up some prose
Saying, “Here, take these ten dollar socks!”     ~The End

If you look closely at the first picture, you’ll spot the multi-colored socks. My sister even added the $10 price tag. The perfect touch.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma. As I said in your card, I know I got a good one! And I’m so grateful.

Love,
Cher Bear