“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” – John 15:4 ESV
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Summer is finally getting started! Many of our schedules change over the summer and it can be easy to let our spiritual growth become an afterthought. But, what if we made it our number one priority? It can be challenging to know where to start, so I wanted to provide a few resources for you to consider. We need God’s Word, prayer, and community to grow, so I’ve listed some books, studies, accounts, and suggestions below to consider.
If you haven’t invested in a good study Bible, there is no time like the present! You can learn so much from just reading from a great study Bible daily. I love my ESV study Bible. I really like the ESV translation because it is more of a word-for-word translation, but it’s still written in language we can understand. If you are newer to reading the Bible, you might better understand a thought-for-thought translation like the NIV. But, I wouldn’t get hung up on the translation. I’ve heard it said, the best translation is the one you pick up and read. 🙂
P.S. When you’re on the go or needing to quick look up a verse, using the Bible App or Bible Gateway are great options too!
A great way to go even deeper as you read the Bible, is by reading a commentary. I love The Be Series by Warren W. Wiersbe. I’ve linked “The Gospels” bundle, but you can find any book of the Bible. I cannot express enough how much I love these commentaries. I highly recommend these books and know you will grow so much if you use these as companions to your Bible reading. There are even a few questions at the end of each chapter for you to reflect on!
I would love to help you grow in your faith this summer and I’ve written two devotionals you should definitely check out if you are looking for something less in-depth than a commentary. Ephesians: A Hand Lettered Devotional breaks down each chapter in half, Romans: A Hand Lettered Devotional is broken down by whole chapters, and both include intricate hand lettered art to spark creativity and help with scripture memory, along with thought provoking devotional content to help you apply what you’ve read to your life and remember the main ideas of each chapter. (An additional perk is you can save a lot by ordering both together!)
Prayer is essential to growing in our faith, because it’s really all about growing in our relationship with Christ and that takes knowledge and understanding through His Word, but also requires communication with our Savior.
If you are like me and struggle to sit down, pray, and get your thoughts in order, a prayer journal might be really helpful for you. I recently released my Guided Prayer Journal to help you grow in your prayer life, whether you are a long-time believer or are getting to know Jesus for the first time. I’ve included prompts for praise, gratitude, confession, reminders to pray and read your Bible, and space to write and reflect on prayers for yourself and others. I have been keeping a prayer journal for over seven years and I’ve been working through the journal. I can honestly say, I am so thankful for the balance the Guided Prayer Journal has added to my prayer life.
Connect with others near you
I have learned more than ever this year that community is essential to growing in our relationships with Christ. When we surround ourselves with like-minded people who are also actively seeking the Lord, we are strengthened! Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17)! Attending church is important (keep doing that this summer!), but right now I’m talking about making room for fellowship outside the Sunday morning church service. You can join a Bible study – look into what your church or other churches in the area might be offering – or it can be as simple as making time to get coffee with one or two friends every other week with the intention of talking about what the Lord is teaching you and praying together. I am involved in Bible Study Fellowship during most of the year, so I usually just get together with a few friends regularly over the summer and making that time a priority in the summer is so sweet!
Connect with others online
I hesitated to add this section, but I did think it was necessary. Community online can be amazing, but as much as I love following and connecting with other women who love and share about Christ on social media, I’ve found that it can be harder to get deep and have an actual conversation when you’re just connecting over DMs and comments. If we’re on social media, I think it’s very important to follow, connect, and communicate with others, instead of just scrolling mindlessly through our feeds, consuming whatever comes up. I’ve listed just a few women I have connected with – some have books, some have “official” ministries of their own, some just love sharing the love of Christ, some are close friends of mine, others are friends I only know through chatting here and there online. I hope you’ll be encouraged by what they’re sharing!
- @alissahibst | Alissa Hibst: Wonderful human and friend
- @bisutti | Kylie Bisutti: Former model, now author of I’m No Angel
- @creatifolio | Beth Rufener: Hand lettering and Bible lettering extraordinaire
- @lauren_inspires | Lauren Gaskill: Author of Into the Deep, president if @shefoundjoy
- @letteredlovedesigns | Valerie Harris: I often refer to her as “the nicest person on the internet,” hand lettering and bible lettering
- @makewells | Megan Wells: Artist, illustrator, hand letterer, author
- @myartofgold | Mallory: Kind soul, wood burning artist
- @rawsugarwrites_ | Melissa: Calligrapher, writer, shop owner
- @theo.and.script | Kate Vans: Letterer for God’s glory
Hope you have a great summer and that even just one of these resources were helpful to you or that they’ll lead you to other great resources. Remember, Jesus wants our whole hearts. He doesn’t want to just be a part of our daily routine, He wants to be the center of our lives! Our time with Him helps us recenter and keep Him first throughout the day and He deserves to be made first! So, especially in the summer when things are busy, focus on the quality of your time with Him. Instead of asking yourself, “Did I spend time with the Lord today?” ask yourself questions like:
- What is the Lord teaching me today?
- How is God speaking to me today?
- What truths are God revealing and reminding me about Himself?
It can be easy for us to worry about the amount of time spent, but really He just wants to connect with us, meet with us, reveal more of Himself to us, and make us more like Himself. Sure, more time can really be a benefit, but if we focus more on the connection, instead of worrying about hitting a specific time frame, that’s when we will grow and fall deeper in love with Jesus.
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