tending tuesday: the sweetness of the Word

Welcome to Tending Tuesday!

This week I want to introduce you to Jana Fraley! Jana is a Wyoming ranch wife, mom and Christian writer. She loves all things western: art, music, books, skies and people. When not writing you will find her working cattle with her family, cleaning a barn or chicken coop, having deep faith conversations over coffee with her adult daughter, or helping her son with his 4-H projects and cheering him on in the rodeo arena. Her favorite pastime is riding her horse in the hills and valleys of their McCormick Creek Ranch. She has a heart and passion for encouraging women to seek an authentic, boots-to-the ground kind of faith with Christ through consistent Bible study, prayer and fellowship.

Here is how Jana tends her life by the Word…

Around the age of 9 I realized my mother got up before the sun to spend time alone with the Lord. She was faithful about giving Him the first fruits of her day. I’d watch her reading her Bible and praying and it brought comfort knowing she was spending that time with Him.

As a young girl I loved the Lord with a sweet, childlike faith, but believed my relationship with Him centered around how good I was. When I left home for college I felt anxious and exhausted as I tried to do right but failed.

Believing I’d never be good enough, I tried to see how far I could rebel against God.

That was a hard and lonely time; and after pushing Him further away so I could ignore my shame, I felt He’d finally given up on me. But it was then I found Him to be faithful even when I wasn’t. 

I realized I needed to figure out what I wanted my life to reflect, what direction it should take, and what I truly believed. And I knew I needed to begin by getting deeper into God’s Word.

So I opened up a Bible and started reading in Genesis. I got through that first book and was honestly riveted! The stories in Genesis sparked my vivid imagination, but when I hit the middle of Exodus I stalled; and once I got to Leviticus it was game over. I set the Bible aside in discouragement.

Months later my mom gifted me with a Study Bible and this was the start of a wonderful journey. Including a Bible Reading Plan with extensive footnotes and commentary, I found myself getting up at the crack of dawn so I could read and study it.

Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

I experienced this truth as I read, underlined, highlighted, journaled, and wrote in the margins of my Bible. The more I consumed the more I wanted.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

His Word became alive and active once I began consuming it daily.

For 30 years I’ve made the Word of God a daily practice, and I’ve learned a few lessons over the years:

  1. Give to God what you’re able. 5 minutes or an entire day; God sees the season we each are in. As a young mom, sometimes my bible reading and “study” was done as I nursed babies. Now that my children are 23 and 12 years old I have more time. He uses both the “cracks” and the “canyons” of our days to reveal Himself  through His Word.
  2. Devotions and commentaries are great tools to read alongside the Bible, but don’t let them take the place of His Word. The greatest tool is Bible reading covered in prayer! The same is true with different versions; they are handy to read alongside/parallel with a more accurately translated Bible, but not as beneficial when reading alone.  
  3. Find a reading plan and consider an accountability group or Bible Study. Reading with one or more people and discussing Scripture is a great way to dig deeper into His word.
  4. Figure out your own personal study style. We each study and glean information differently. Some take notes and process the facts of the Bible by asking the Who, What, When, Why and How. Others write thoughts or questions on post-it notes. Perhaps scripture memorization is the best way for you to learn and meditate on God’s Word. Whatever it is, figure out what works best for you and then dive in!

The number one tip is don’t give up if you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged! Find a study, reading plan, or group that will help you in this daily cultivating of God’s Word in your life today.

Connect with Jana:

Need a simple tool to help you get into the Word for yourself? Drop your email below and the PDF for Tend: How to Hear the Gardener’s Voice will be sent to your inbox today!

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