Hello Mornings


::deep breath::

So, I’m doing a Bible study.

::exhale::  Anyone still reading?  Or have you left me already?  I seriously have a ton of trepidation about posting this today.

This is something very new to me.  I rarely attended church as a child, and when I did it was because I tagged along with a friend or relative – never because my family had a church it attended.  Because we never, ever went to church.

Yet for my whole life I desired to believe.  Over the years I have met many people (my husband being probably the most inspirational of them) who are true believers, so convinced of the truth, and I wanted that.  I wanted to believe, but more so, I wanted to know.

But how?

The Bible seemed like a good place to start, but it always proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated.  I attempted to read it a number of times during my life.  Once I got as far as Exodus, but usually I’d get hung up on the story of Noah, and what a jerk he was to his sons.  Then I’d get discouraged because I realized I obviously wasn’t taking the right lessons out of the Bible, and I’d quit.

Then, on more than one occasion, I tried going to church.  I found a church that I absolutely loved.  I loved the music, the enthusiasm.  I felt included.  I was learning.  And my friends mocked me.  Relentlessly.  Sadly, I stopped going to the church because of what they said, yet I longed for the experiences I had there.

I was getting nowhere.  And I really felt like I was missing out.   I was missing out spiritually, certainly, but there was more to it than that.  I also felt like there was an entire cultural experience that I was missing out on.  A moment’s contemplation brings up dozens of examples of cultural idioms and ideas that I have no reference point for:  the prodigal son, “east of Eden,” turning swords into plowshares, a camel through the eye of a needle – these all have their origins in the Bible, but my understanding of all of that was just an inch deep.  I have no depth.  I was experiencing a cultural illiteracy because of my lack of understanding.

I hate illiteracy.  I won’t tolerate it in myself.

But that brought me back to the question that I’ve always struggled with:  where do I begin?

A few weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends posted about Hello Mornings, a women’s online Bible study group focused on rising early to spend some time studying the Bible.  The impetus is to make time for God and study before getting involved in the busy work distractions of the day.  Members keep one another accountable through Facebook and Twitter check-ins.  Optionally, a specific Bible study on Peter was available.  I knew I would need some structure if I was going to get anything meaningful out of this practice, so I started the Bible study on Peter.

I’m on my second week of studying Peter through Hello Mornings.  At the very real risk of sounding like the type of person I used to roll my eyes at, I’m going to say that it has been life changing.  And things have started to happen:  a verse that I liked and wrote down showed up not even an hour later on a bookmark in my Little Free Library.  Songs on the radio that were just background noise before spoke of different meanings – ones I understood and appreciated.  I feel like I have a whole new level of understanding, not just of the Bible, but of the passion that people like my husband have for life and its meaning.

(As I write this, I think back to how my friends had teased and mocked me for going to church years ago, and I actually consider deleting this entire post.  Peer pressure isn’t just for teenagers – I just can’t believe I’m still feeling that self doubt and insecurity now, even though those friends are far in my past).

But I am getting there.  I am developing an understanding, an appreciation that I never had before.  And posting this blog today is a huge step for me.  By declaring my intentions, I feel like I am wiping away the doubts and insecurities I’ve been battling and taking a step in the direction I want to go.

I still think Noah’s a jerk though.  Maybe I’ll need to do a study on him to change that.  Wish me luck.


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42 Responses to Hello Mornings

  1. Stephanie

    I love this. You know I do.

    Just. You are awesome.

    • Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction

      Stephanie, you know that you are the person who inspired me to do Hello Mornings. Thank you for that! And thank you for this encouragement. I can’t tell you how much it means.
      Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction recently posted..Hello Mornings

  2. Larri @ SeamsInspired

    YOU are a treasure. I’m so glad I was pointed to your post today. YOU can do this….this Bible Study, this HelloMornings, this posting from the heart. PS…You are not alone in the friends’ failing to understand. Have a look at Psalm 41:9-13 when you get a moment. :) Happy Friday!

    • Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction

      I will look at Psalm 41:9-13, and thank you, THANK YOU for your kind and encouraging words. It means so much to me.

      I actually got butterflies in my stomach knowing that this post was set for today. Reading comments like yours has really helped.
      Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction recently posted..Hello Mornings

  3. Mandy M

    I love your post – your honesty and your boldness to be transparent – transparency is something that even seasoned believers struggle with.

    Hello Mornings has been life changing for me as well – it’s an exciting adventure.

    Keep pressing in, dear sister, no matter what others say or think about you! God is worth it and so are YOU!! <3
    Mandy M recently posted..Pinning Real Life ~ Stain Remover = Clothing Saver

  4. Susie

    Hi Jenn,
    Just like Larri and So Glad I saw a reference to this post on Twitter & Facebook! It’s nice to “meet you”, my new Hello Mornings Sister!
    YOU are Precious! I loved how you shared your heart today in this post. I’m sure it will encourage so many to take a chance and try ‘this Bible Study thing’ once more! Yes, You Can Do This Thing! [Check out my 'reminder verse' when I'm frustrated ~Philippians 4:13] It’s just One Step at a time, like running…& talk about a “potential for more and more life”…lace up your shoes tight ’cause, Your Adventure Journey has Just Begun! ;)
    Looking forward to getting to know you and seeing what our Mighty God & Father is going to do thru His Princess Jenn.
    Hope You have a JOY-Full Weekend!
    Love Ya, Susie :)
    Susie recently posted..Susie Cantrell ~ Mountain Ministry, Speaking

  5. Julie Reynolds

    What a beautiful post! You are exactly why I love being part of the Kingdom of God. Who but God could arrange to meet you right where you are? We all have fears, doubts and times when nothing makes sense-you just pushed through and made it!! Inspiring! Thank you!

  6. Becki

    I love this – so incredibly brave of you!!

  7. Jen Shultz

    I think the beauty of this post is that no matter how seasoned believer one is, butterflies still appear when taking steps forward in our Walk of Faith. I am so thankful to have found Hello Mornings for my personal journey and thankful that you found it for your journey as well! This post shines!

  8. Betty McB

    My heart did an extra squeeze of pain when I read that your friends mocked you for going to a church you loved. I am so glad you bared your soul and background for us. Persecution didn’t just happen in the first century AD, but continues on now.
    Looking forward to seeing your growth through more reading of 1 Peter.

  9. Stephanie Manter

    Love this, Jen! So proud to have met you via our HMC group & your excitement makes me excited! :)

  10. Kara @ The Chuppies

    I felt my heart skip a beat when reading this post.
    I’m serious.
    Who does that?
    Who signs up for a random online Bible study just because they want to give reading the Bible a serious chance?
    I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting that is to me…
    And to read how God is already using your time reading the Bible…
    Just. so. encouraging.
    Love that you were willing to share this.
    Thank you.
    Kara @ The Chuppies recently posted..What I Actually Believe About God…

  11. Katie Orr

    I’m with Kara, this post is so incredibly exciting! A tremendous blessing to hear of how God is using HelloMornings, and the Kept study. He could have used anything, as it is ultimately Him alone who works in hearts, but what an honor to be a part of it.

    He is doing a good work in all of us. He is faithful to complete it! (Philippians 1:6)

  12. Ashley

    Hello there! New to your blog, and I love it! Great post!!
    Ashley recently posted..Your Blog vs. The World

  13. Lindsey Carlson

    You’re describing the faith ride! It’s amazing and God will open your eyes to his immeasurable riches if you hang on for dear life. It’s not easy and it’s full of bumps and sharp turns, but they’re all for your good and His glory. I absolutely relate to peer-pressure and wanting acceptance. It’s not for sissies. But, the good news is that in Christ, you’ve been accepted by the only one whose acceptance matters. Don’t fear the faith ride! http://www.byfaiththecarlsons.com/2012/06/when-faith-ride-is-actually-fear-ride.html

  14. Deanna

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your heart. I love your honesty and I am so glad you are trying it again. God is good and has a plan for you as you study his word. Starting in the NT is a good place…work your way back! :)
    Deanna recently posted..The Rock is Rockin’ My World

  15. Kat Lee

    Just…wow. Your heart and authenticity positively shine in this post. I can’t wait to see the amazing things God is going to do in and through you. Just reading through these comments – you’ve already inspired so many, including me.
    Kat Lee recently posted..KEPT by the power of God {1 Peter Study}

  16. Laura

    I’m proud of you. Taking that deep breath and pressing publish can be so hard and yet you did it. And you were real and honest and I’m so excited you are learning! I still haven’t joined the Hello Mornings group and perhaps the accountability would be helpful to me…

    And also… Noah was a jerk. So was David. Actually so were a lot of people in the Bible. God still loved them! Which is hugely encouraging to me since I fail at godliness far too often for my liking… if God will extend these men grace, then I think I can extend it to myself as well.

    • Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction

      Thank you for saying that – that Noah was a jerk. That really hung me up every time I read his story. What can I learn from this jerk? But your point is so well-taken: even the jerks can receive God’s grace. If there’s hope for them, there’s hope for me!
      Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction recently posted..Hello Mornings

  17. Kathi

    I totally understand what you mean about things happening now. I grew up in the Church but have never read the Bible and always had trouble doing so. I’d also get caught up in details and got so bogged down. I found out about HelloMornings from one of the blogs I read a few weeks ago and also started with the Kept study. I can’t even begin to tell you how it’s affecting me. The funny thing is that it’s not even what I’m reading. I don’t know what it is. I was really ill this past spring and have spent most of the summer recovering. I also suspect that I have ADD after researching it with regards to my son – I get completely overwhelmed and haven’t been able to properly manage my household. But suddenly, IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS, I’ve started accomplishing things! I’ve got so much more energy! I’m getting the house organized slowly. I’m cooking meals and even freezing and planning ahead. I don’t understand it but I plan to keep it going. And I soo enjoy that time of quiet and peace in the mornings before everyone is up. Thank you for your post! You’re positively amazing!

    • Papel

      Oh, so true! Whenever I want to add something imnpotart to my regular schedule, I want to put it in the morning. Mornings are so full of potential for me, the best time for practically everything. But not everything fits in the morning, alas.

  18. dj Faul

    So very encouraging.
    So very inspiring.
    The Lord will bless you for this boldness.
    As you can see, it has already had a positive impact.
    Keep pushing through those feelings that would have you give up and keep quiet. You won’t be disappointed…

  19. Aubrey

    Wow! This is so cool to read! I really appreciate your honesty and authenticity in your post. God is doing something in your life and I’m thankful that I was pointed to your post to get a peek inside. Really encouraged by your courage to push through those feelings of insecurity. We all have them at times!

    Thanks for sharing!

  20. Berni

    I SO love this post! Glad you found hello mornings, just like me :) . By opening your heart to us, and God, you’ve made God so happy. The verse you keep seeing repeatedly is God’s little happy dance to let you know He hears you, and is pleased :)

  21. Christy

    I appreciate your honesty. Our pastor just preached about friends making fun when we decide to follow God’s direction in our lives. The sacrifice is worth it. He will provide much more than your friends can offer. I hope you’ll give the church another chance. :)
    Christy recently posted..Weekly Menu

  22. Scott

    This friend won’t mock you about it :) I’m glad you are getting so much out of it. Your husband has made me think a lot about the same topic as well. He doesn’t need fire and brimstone and a big show to do it either, it’s his knowledge and his calm conviction. He makes you think.

    As for Noah, I’m not expert, but I did have a thought. Sometime for a really big job, you kinda need a jerk! Jerks get results! I’m being entirely serious here. Think about Patton. He could be a jerk, but he was the right jerk in the right place at the right time. I’m sure it’s not the best argument that has ever been made in Noah’s favor, but there you go.

  23. jamee

    Just wanted to say good morning and add to the list of encouragements! I am so impressed…and I LOVE seeing the way God can use a particular scripture or lyric to whisper right into our hearts.

    I am excited for this adventure…..keep pressing on!

    there IS hope~

  24. Kris

    LOVE love love this!!! God is going to continue to move and stir things in you, and it’s going to be awesome–this is just the begining! How thrilling is that?! Yeah! Rejoicing with you- “behold I am doing a new thing” Isaiah 43:19 ;)
    Kris recently posted..Facing Foward And Letting Go

  25. Mel

    Well said…seriously. :) Your post needs to be read by so many. Keep pressing on. The hardest step is the first step, and you are well on your way. Excited for you and praying that this is only your beginning. Many blessings to you.

  26. tree peters

    I haven’t been reading or writing blogs all summer, but had to chime in here to offer support and assure you that I, for one, only admire any spiritual pursuit. And I’m often an eye-roller myself. I had too many years of Catholic schools, etc…
    However, I believe that taking the time to seek and to be open to God and love and learning more is nothing but brave and brilliant.
    And you are clearly already reaping the benefit which is lovely.

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  32. Christine @ African Babies Don't Cry

    This is lovely, I grew up in a household with absolutely no spirituality at all, and I often wondered what I was missing out on. It seems faith can be a great help, and a wonderful coping mechanism, people are stronger for it. I, myself, have turned to an alternative type of spirituality, as I was not lucky enough to find a church or christian following that suited me. I’m glad you are getting so much from it!
    Christine @ African Babies Don’t Cry recently posted..The Best Natural Parenting Blog Posts of 2012

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