when my water broke at 20 weeks pregnant (part 3)

water broke 20 weeks

this is part 3 of this story.
part 1. || part 2.

By late Sunday evening, both my contractions and amniotic fluid leaking had stopped (without intervention/medication). I started guzzling water like crazy because I figured it wouldn’t hurt and could help replace some of the fluid I had just lost.

I was discharged late Monday morning with a prescription for antibiotics and permission from my doctor (the same one who advised me to expedite the delivery) to continue with normal activities including my regular running. When I questioned why I would be hospitalized and on bedrest at 23 weeks but not at 20 weeks, she responded that basically everyone is betting against this baby since it’s not viable and my labor has already commenced. After consulting with 2 other doctors who advised me not to follow her advice, we decided if I would be on bedrest at 23 weeks, I should probably do the same thing until that point.

Tuesday afternoon saw my husband and I at another appointment – this time an ultrasound and check-up with a high risk doctor. We were delighted to hear a normal heartbeat and see our baby girl with great measurements. When the doctor came in, he remarked that my fluid level “is not just good; it’s abundant.” He repeated this phrase a couple times and mentioned the rare possibility that my amniotic sac could reseal. He advised we wait 2 weeks until I was 23 weeks pregnant and do some more checks to see how baby + fluid level were doing, plus checking to see if my body seemed to be preparing for pre-term labor.

THE TWO WEEKS OF WAITING

During this two week period, I did a lot of sitting and lying down. Sweet friends from church and our community started bringing us meals and coming over daily while Jonathan was at work to watch my kids, clean toilets, do laundry, serve lunch, and take my little one potty.
I tried to parent from the couch. Very difficult.
I continued drinking obscene amounts of water. Difficult to accomplish and stay on the couch for long.
I developed an itchy rash from sitting and lying down so much. Ugh & Yuck.
Jonathan attempted to work, study for his PhD classes, clean the house, and take care of the kids without much of any help from me. HARD hard.

We wrestled through questions we didn’t know how to answer:
Am I going to begin leaking again?
Is this baby going to survive until 23 weeks?
What are we going to do if I’m hospitalized and on bedrest from 23 weeks until this baby is born??

There was a lot of spiritual struggling going on in addition to the physical struggles. But there was one event that stood out in my mind and replayed throughout this experience:

After my water broke and I had called the nurse, I explained to my kids that I needed to go to the doctor because I thought baby might be trying to come. As soon as I said this, my kids took it as they typically do:
Miles didn’t understand and was unphased.
Nate asked if I wanted a band-aid for my pain and said, “Mommy, I’ve had that back before.”
Anna Grace shrieked, “THE BABY’S COMING???!!!! and immediately ran to another room and fell prostrate on the carpet.

I was in such pain at that point, so I wasn’t talking very much.
Before I left for the hospital, she came out to hug me.
She wouldn’t look me in the eye, but I knew she was scared and had been crying.
I lifted her chin in my hands and said,
“Honey, whatever happens I want you to remember this: God is good.
And we can trust Him. Ok? You have to remember that.”
She cried. I cried. And Jonathan & I left for the hospital.

Through the whole period of waiting – bedrest for me; extra work for Jonathan and so many dear friends – this was the lesson God kept lovingly pressing into my soul. Was it an accident that my scheduled Bible reading was in Psalms during the first week? Clearly not. God directed my heart to these verses during those first few days:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

I knew that whatever the outcome of these 2 weeks or the entire pregnancy, I wanted my heart to be resting in God and trusting in His will – whatever His will turned out to be. These verses were also a rich blessing to me:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

I love the verses above because they remind me that peace comes when my mind is dwelling on God. And my mind can only dwell on God (instead of problems + the unknown) when I’m trusting in Him. Truth! It is so important to speak truth to your soul when your mind and emotions are shouting otherwise!

God also impressed His tender love on our family during these weeks. He did it through His Word and through people around us. Sweet friends and our church family made us cry on the regular by their texts, meals, personalized gifts, and grocery store runs. I think I wore mascara 1 or 2 days through that whole time because I kept crying black streaks down my face. I wasn’t even safe writing thank you notes and cried thinking about the way people had shown such thoughtful care for us. God used people like you who graciously took time to pray with and for us, sharing the request with your church family and friends, letting us know you were concerned, and just lifting us up to the throne of grace during this time of physical and spiritual need.

I celebrated every day that baby girl stayed inside me as another day for her to grow bigger and stronger. Finally, May 17 arrived and I was 23 weeks along. (picture proof!) That afternoon was my follow up appointment with the high risk doctor. I went in happy that I had not experienced any more leaking, nervous at what they were going to discover, and overall at peace knowing that God was going to help us through whatever it was just as He had over the last 16 days.

Verdict?
Baby girl is doing great.
Fluid level is abundant.
My body does not seem to be preparing for pre-term labor.
No restrictions on activity and no plans for hospitalization.

EXCUSE ME, WHAT.

Jonathan and I left the appointment feeling . . . totally thankful, but somewhat befuddled. As if we had been on a terribly wild roller coaster that had just come to a jerky stop. We prayed and thanked God for answering so many prayers. I walked out of the car as if I hadn’t been on any restrictions over the past 2 weeks. We notified our friends and family. And here we are today.

In a way, I really feel like I’m still just taking this pregnancy one day at a time. I’m more aware than ever that there are no guarantees – in my life or anyone else’s. The only guarantees we have are the ones given in God’s Word. That He is a good Father who loves you so much that He gave Jesus to die for you and take the punishment for your sins. That He is worthy of your trust.

Remember the conversation Jonathan and I had Saturday night before all this happened? How intense life-storms cause us to see the cracks in our lives and notice what needs to be repaired? Perhaps that’s the crack in my thinking that needed to be repaired during these past weeks:
God is worth trusting – not because there are no medical issues – but because that’s Who He is.


He’s a faithful, trustworthy God.

And I hope I never forget it.

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Interview with Leslie Ludy :: Dwelling Richly

Dwelling Richly Series

Today’s guest is a wife, mother of six, and bestselling author. Leslie Ludy is the founder of Set Apart Girl and a widely known speaker. I’ve gotta say -the biggest thing that sticks out to me from the 2 previous sentences is “mother of six.” I loved reading Leslie’s words below – especially on cultivating a desire for the Word and her suggested resources list. I’ve read some of the books and she gave me some titles for my “to read” list!

You can find out more about Leslie – including her bio, books, and where to find her – right after the interview!

 

How do you personally cultivate a desire to be in the Word-

Corrie ten Boom once said, “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Rather, have an appointment with the Lord, and keep it!” I have found this principle to be extremely helpful in making prayer my highest priority. Often, prayer is not what I “feel” like doing. But when I set a regular appointment with God and honor it, no matter what my body or emotions might say, my soul is greatly benefited.

In my current stage of life, I’ve found that the best time for me to pray and be with God is early in the morning, before my children wake up. Getting up early is not easy for me, especially when I’ve been awakened by my kids several times in the middle of the night!

Scripture puts a high value on waking up early, even before dawn, and giving the first-fruits of our day to God in prayer, worship, and seeking His face. (See Ps 63:1, 57:8, 31:15). Jesus Himself set for us a clear example of rising early to seek the Father’s face: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

There is something so right about rising early to seek God in prayer. It is the ultimate way to “deny self” (Matt 16:24); to silence our excuses and yield to the Spirit of God. It’s an opportunity to declare with our lives, not just our lips, that Jesus truly is our most important priority. It gives the Spirit of God the first say over our time and priorities.

John Bunyan wrote, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” I have found this to be true in my own life. Whenever I allow myself to oversleep and miss my time in God’s presence, the entire day feels “off.” But when I discipline myself and make early morning prayer a non-negotiable, I walk in the sweet presence of my King for the rest of my day. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt 6:33). When I apply this command to my prayer life and make seeking Him my first act of the day, every other area of my life comes into alignment.

Whenever possible, I get up early to consecrate the “first fruits” of my day to God by spending time in His Word and in prayer. In those seasons when it has not been possible for me to get up before my children (for instance, when I have been up all night for multiple weeks with a newborn, or struggling with a physical issue that impacted my sleep) I have had to come up with creative solutions to make time for prayer. Sometimes, I’ve had a helper come to the house first thing in the morning and take over with the kids while I got a shower and had a quiet time. Other times, my husband has stepped in to manage the morning routine and supervise the kids so that I can get that much-needed time in prayer and in the Word.

Once my kids got past the infant/toddler stage, I found that having a regular time each morning for them to sit and quietly read books or watch an edifying video provided an opportunity for me to spend time alone with God. Evenings are another great time for me to plan times for regular prayer, though it’s not often what I’m in the mood for at the end of a long day. When I get my kids into bed and the house is finally calm, I typically feel like unwinding with a good book or browsing the Internet to find ideas and inspiration for various household projects. But I’ve learned that right after getting the kids settled for the night is a wonderful time for my husband and I to pray and study the Word together. We’re able to pray about our cares for important needs in our family or ministry. This not only builds deeper unity and spiritual like-mindedness between the two of us, but it also strengthens our individual relationships with Christ and makes Him the priority of our evenings. It’s not that we never spend time at night reading, talking, or browsing online, but whenever we make prayer our most important nighttime activity, both our marriage and our spiritual lives are greatly blessed.

 

What has been your driest time spiritually and how did you overcome that period-

When I first surrendered my life to Christ as a young woman, I understood what it meant to be consecrated to Him. Instead of spending time on frivolity, I had spent time in prayer and the Word of God. Instead of chasing after popularity, I had learned how to put others first and serve those in need. I’d studied Christian biographies and gleaned wisdom from the lives of great men and women who had gone before me. Scripture was alive and powerful, and my relationship with Christ was the highest priority of my day. But as I grew older and got into full-time Christian ministry, the pressures of leadership started taking their toll. Public ministry was grueling, and I often found myself drawn to pop culture entertainment to find my reprieve. I felt entitled to a break from being in “ministry-leader mode” all the time. I began to realize that I had left my first love. I was building my life around temporal pursuits instead of spiritual ones. I still believed all the same things. But my spiritual fire had faded to a flicker. I had lost my hunger for more of God. I had to admit that I would rather spend an evening curled up on the couch in front of the TV than on my knees in prayer or studying God’s Word. I felt more at home surfing the Internet for new fashion trends than searching the Word of God for priceless nuggets of truth. And I was far more inclined to open a Grisham novel than an inspiring Christian biography.

God’s message to my soul was unmistakable: “Remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first…” (Rev 2:5). He was reminding me of the consecrated, Christ-centered life I was called to live. He was ready to purify me from the inside out and ignite my spiritual fire once again. I repented of the worldliness and compromise I had yielded to. I became broken over my apathy and hungry for His righteousness. I asked God to give me a singleminded, unshakable loyalty to Him.

As I once again embraced a life of whole-hearted consecration to Jesus Christ, I began to experience a vibrant, victorious walk with Him again. Now whenever I start feeling spiritually dry, I take a careful look at my daily life and ask myself whether I am building my life around temporal pastimes and pleasures, or seeking Him with my whole heart. James 4:8 gives us a beautifully simple reminder: Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

 

What resources have influenced you the most in giving you a desire and tools for dwelling in the Word-

In Romans 12:1 Paul says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” I have often read that verse and wondered, How is it possible to never lose my zeal for God and to always keep my spiritual fervor? Certainly it is possible, or God would not have put it in the Bible.

I have been personally inspired and challenged by studying the lives of Christian women throughout history who lived out this command. Women like Amy Carmichael, who went to the mission field as a young woman and rescued over 1,000 children in India amid intense persecution, danger, financial distress, and ill health. Or Gladys Aylward, who risked her life again and again to bring the gospel to China during a war–even to the point where her clothes were riddled with bullet holes and her picture was on “most wanted” posters. Or Esther Ahn Kim, who maintained a passionate relationship with Christ even during years of torture and imprisonment. And scores of other valiant women such as Mary Slessor, Elizabeth Fry, Catherine Booth, Sabina Wurmbrand, and Corrie ten Boom whose spiritual flames burned brightly amid staggering obstacles and trials.

When I study the lives of these women who pursued Jesus Christ amid some of the greatest difficulties and trials imaginable, I realize I have no excuse for spiritual slothfulness, and it helps to keep my own passion for Christ alive. Some of my books about these women include:

Great Women of the Christian Faith by Edith Deen

A Chance to Die – the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot

The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord – by Corrie ten Boom

Gladys Aylward – The Little Woman – by Gladys Aylward and Christine Hunter

If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim

The Pastor’s Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand

 

How do you make time for Bible study when your children were little-

Just a few years ago, our four children were all ages four and under. Three were in diapers at once, and the noise level in our house rivaled the “Who’s Down in Whoville” on Christmas morning. Cultivating my relationship Christ felt next to impossible. But no matter how many times I resorted to this mindset, I continued to feel His gentle whisper to my soul, inviting me to come away from my hustle and bustle and sit at His feet, just as Mary did.

So finally, I began to “make room” in my life for time with Him, even though it was far from convenient and I often had to forgo other pastimes like social media and movies. But I had to remind myself which was truly more important– checking the latest news on Facebook, or cultivating a personal relationship with my King.

As I began to make time with Christ my highest priority, I was amazed at what happened. Suddenly, life became fruitful instead of frustrating. No, my responsibilities and demands did not go away. But instead of rushing around in a stressful frenzy, I now had supernatural strength to tackle my daily challenges calmly and joyfully. My “defeated and overwhelmed” perspective was replaced with a victorious one.

 

How did you encourage a love for God's Word in your children- Did you have a method for helping them learn how to study for themselves-

Our eleven-year- old son has a quiet time each morning, in which he listens to the Word of Promise audio Bible through his headphones, while following along reading the same passage in his Bible. Seeing and hearing Scripture at the same time helps him grasp it at a much deeper level. At breakfast, we often spend a few minutes letting him share what he’s learning from the Word of God.

With our younger kids, we are working on the basics of prayer. We model prayer for them, and then invite them to pray. Sometimes they just go through the motions. But other times, there is a genuine and heartfelt “casting their burdens” on the One who cares for them, and a precious demonstration of child-like faith.

We try to start each day with prayer and discussions about spiritual truths, and end each day with worship and prayer. Whenever fears, behavioral issues, or conflicts arise, our goal is to point our kids back to their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to teach them to immediately turn to Him for anything and everything they need. Are they afraid? Let’s pray and ask Jesus to give you His peace and remind you that He is always with you. Are they angry? Let’s ask Jesus to change your heart right now so you can forgive your sister the way He forgave you. Did they do something sinful and disobedient? Let’s think about how that makes Jesus feel. What should you to do to make things right in your relationship with Him?

About a year ago, our youngest son was having trouble falling asleep because he was scared of bad dreams and of being alone in his room. Leaving the hall light on with the door cracked open only provided a small amount of comfort. I reminded him that Jesus was always with him, watching over him, and that if he was scared, all he needed to do was ask Jesus to give him peace. Kipling seemed comforted by this revelation, but he wanted some additional reinforcement. “Can you get me a picture of Jesus watching over me, so I can hang it up in my room?” he wanted to know. Since it was about nine p.m. and Eric was out of town, it was impossible for me to go out shopping for a Jesus picture. I told Kipling to wait for a few minutes while I tried to find an image online that I could print out. After a little bit of searching, I found the perfect picture-a beautiful image of Jesus comforting a small boy, who just happened to look almost exactly like Kipling! I quickly printed it out and took it to his room.

As soon as he saw it, a huge smile creased his face and he declared, “Yep, Jesus is watching over me all right!” Then he asked me to tape it on the window next to his bed. As soon as I did, he fell peacefully asleep.

I have discovered that children are usually eager and ready to build a personal relationship with Christ. They respond to spiritual truths with a simple, uncomplicated faith. All we must do is take the opportunities in front of us each and every day, and continually point their hearts to the One who loves them more than we ever could.

 


leslie ludy

Leslie Ludy is the wife of Eric Ludy, the mother of six exuberant kiddos, and a bestselling author and speaker. She is passionate about helping women bring Christ into the center of every area of their lives, including motherhood. Leslie’s bestselling books include When God Writes Your Love Story, Authentic Beauty, The Set-Apart Woman, and Set Apart Motherhood. Leslie is the founder and director of the Set Apart Girl Magazine—a beautiful resource that inspires women of all ages toward Christ-centered femininity. Visit Set Apart Girl to learn more about Leslie’s ministry. And for more of Leslie’s powerful articles on Christ-centered motherhood, visit Set Apart Motherhood!

 

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when my water broke at 20 weeks pregnant (part 2)

water broke 20 weeks

this is part 2 of this story.
you’ll find part 1 here.

When we arrived at the hospital room, one of the first things the nurse did was to listen to baby girl’s heartbeat. To our delight, it was strong. She strapped a device on me to monitor contractions, though at this point they were not nearly as strong as they had been at home. The doctor on call was notified and I was so happy to hear that the OB I’ve had for over 5 years was on call that weekend. Before she arrived, I had several large gushes of fluid – so much fluid came out that my nurse said she didn’t think they needed to do the test to determine whether or not it was amniotic fluid leaking.

When my doctor arrived, she looked at my baby and fluid level via ultrasound. Baby girl looked great, and shockingly so did my fluid level. Because I still had a good amount of fluid surrounding baby, she wanted to do an amnisure test to see if it truly was amniotic fluid leaking.

While Jonathan and I waited for the results of the test, I had a couple more large gushes of fluid. I told him I would love to think my water hadn’t broken and baby was safe, but couldn’t imagine what else all this fluid could be.

My doctor came back and confirmed that the amnisure test was positive – my water had broken. “You have three options. You can expedite delivery, you can go home now, or you can spend the night and leave in the morning.”

Hold up, what? Jonathan and I glanced at each other.

I asked my doctor if anything would be done to save the baby if we expedited delivery. She said no. “So I can either expedite delivery and be positive my baby will die or I can wait to see if she stays in the womb a little longer?”

My doctor confirmed that those were my options. But she stressed that if I didn’t expedite delivery, there was a risk of infection which could result in a hysterectomy for me or cerebral palsy for my baby.

Praise God for the wisdom He gives. Based on the ultrasound that had been done in the last hour, we knew – and our doctor knew – that the baby girl inside me was strong and healthy. There were zero signs that she was in distress. Despite the potential of infection and any number of outcomes that could have, we couldn’t make a decision based on what might happen, but based on what we knew was true.

What was true?
God had given us this baby. And whether we have her for 20 more minutes or 20 more years, we have the responsibility to protect her.
Since were no signs of distress, we could not in good conscience expedite a delivery that would result in certain death, despite my doctor’s encouragement to do so. Because I was still leaking at that point, we decided it was best to spend the night in the hospital to keep a close monitor on both the baby and me.

My doctor told me that I would go home until I was 23 weeks along, at which point I would be hospitalized and on bedrest until baby was born. They immediately started me on 2 antibiotics to ward off infection.

When Jonathan and I were alone in the room, we cried and prayed together. We were so scared. Scared for our baby. Scared because it looked like we would lose her that day. I was so glad to have him with me as the only prayer I could pray was, “Jesus, help.”

I spent the night in the hospital, being monitored often and always delighted to hear baby girl’s heartbeat. A few months ago, I heard a song for the first time that stopped me where I was and forced me to pray and worship God. I sang it over and over, knowing that it wasn’t my heart and asking God to make it true about me. The night I was in the hospital, I prayed and cried it out to God again:

“Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain?
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain?
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought?
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide.
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled?
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well?
You are good when I’m poor and needy.
You are true when I’m parched and dry.
You still reign in the deepest valley.
You’re still God in the darkest night.

So quiet my restless heart in You.”

The truth that speaks so deeply through this text is that God is the same in all of life’s circumstances. His character is not lessened during my hardship. He isn’t only good when I experience good. He isn’t only in control when my circumstances appear to be controlled. How I want a faith that desperately clings to truths about my God even when my emotions and circumstances seem to scream out the lie that He doesn’t love me and isn’t in control. He is my good, true, reigning King through it all.

[gracious.
I’m always amazed at how many words I can fit in a story.
part 3 is coming.]

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when my water broke at 20 weeks pregnant (part 1)

water broke 20 weeks

It all started on Sunday morning, May 1.
But I think I need to start with the night before.

On Saturday, my family drove a couple hours to meet up with family for the day. During the drive home, Jonathan and I were talking about a bunch of random things. I was telling him about one of the workshops I went to during the ladies’ retreat about building a strong marriage. The speaker was explaining how intense storms will cause you to see a building’s true strength – as well as any cracks from either poor building or the intensity of the storm. She stressed the importance of building a strong marriage so that when life-storms come, our marriages will be strong in Christ. Jonathan and I talked about how true that is – both for our personal walks with the Lord and in our marriage.

Enter Sunday morning.

I woke up and went for a slow 2 mile run. (Nothing unusual there as I typically run throughout all my pregnancies, even up to the night before in some cases.) As I came home and started getting ready for church, I noticed a growing pain in my lower back. With my last pregnancy, I began having round ligament pain, so I assumed that was what it was and went on with my morning. As the pain increased, I thought about taking tylenol, but decided to try to massage it out instead. I didn’t think anything was up at this point, but I did happen to talk with my kids about my back hurting and even texted Jonathan (who was already at church) just to tell him I was in pain.

There were a couple big “wait a minute” moments that made me think this was something other than back pain. The first was when I was moving so much through my back pain and thought, “Wow, this reminds me of labor!” Of course, I quickly discounted that thought since I was only 20 weeks pregnant.

The second was when I felt a small gush of fluid leaking. “Wait. Did my water just break?”
Back pain still very present. It’s time to leave for church. I’m about to miss a music practice.
Is this just normal back pain? Was that really my water breaking? Do I need to go to the hospital?

I call Jonathan. No answer because he’s in the same practice I’m supposed to be in. Unless I’m supposed to be going to the hospital. Which I DON’T KNOW because I’m only 20 weeks along and this isn’t supposed to happen! I realize that if I were full term, I’d be heading for the hospital because this I’m 70% sure this feels like labor.

I decide to call the nurse and tell her what’s going on. I begin my conversation with “This is my 4th baby and I think my water just broke.” I figured she’d be more likely to believe me once she knew this wasn’t my first rodeo. Towards the end of the conversation, my pain was increasing. The nurse put me on hold to talk with Labor & Delivery, then came back on the line to tell me to head to the hospital where they were expecting me. When she started giving me the address of where to go, I was in so much pain and said in a very irritated voice that I could just figure it out. That was my third “wait a minute” moment.

By now it was around 10:15. Jonathan was in the middle of teaching Sunday School. Anna Grace was organizing a card-making-party with Nate since Mommy was in so much pain. Miles was throwing a couple temper tantrums in rapid succession. I’m debating whether this is worth pulling Jonathan from the middle of his class.

Then I get the urge to push. Twice.
I text Jonathan: “I think my water might have broken. I just got off the phone with the nurse and think I should go to the hospital to get checked out just in case. I need you to come home…”
He texts back: “On my way”

He told me later that he filled out the rest of the blanks in his handout, gave it to one of the guys in class, and said “Christa needs my help. Will you finish this lesson for me?” Bless him.

Some sweet friends from church came to watch our 3 littles and we headed to the hospital.

 

[find part 2 here]

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Interview with Pat Berg :: Dwelling Richly

Dwelling Richly Series

In 2015, I had the privilege of hearing Pat Berg speak at a women’s retreat. The main thing that stood out to me from that weekend was how well the sessions were grounded in the Word of God. Based on that experience, I knew I wanted Pat to be a part of this Dwelling Richly series!

If you are a mom of littles, make sure you check out Pat’s answer to the last question. Although it’s been many years since Pat had young children at home, she writes with an understanding and encouraging spirit that I know you will find so refreshing as you pursue God more through His Word.

 

What's your regular routine for Bible study-

Nearly every morning I get up early, get a cup of coffee, and sit down in a blue chair in the corner of my bedroom. I open my “Daily Reading Bible” and read the four chapters for that day. It is laid out with four chapters from different places in the Bible for each date of the year. It is not an expensive copy of the Bible, and I freely mark with my own color codes anything that catches my “spiritual eye” that day. I become curious about learning more about those topics and will sometimes just grab my Thompson Chain Reference Bible and look up that topic and read all the verses it lists on that topic before I finish my Bible reading for that day.

I also study the Bible in other blocks of time during the day, usually because I am preparing to teach it at school or at a retreat or at my church. Those times of preparation to teach other women are personally life changing for me. The Holy Spirit brings those new truths that I learn back to my mind over and over again until I have incorporated them into my way of looking at life and living my life.

 

How do you personally cultivate a desire to be in the Word-

If I were to say that I do anything to personally cultivate a desire to be in the Word, it would be that I make a choice to do it. Studying the Word results in the Holy Spirit’s illumination, and experiencing the Holy Spirit’s illumination is pleasurable. That pleasure keeps me coming back. As He illumines me, He shows me the beauty of His truth, motivates me to live it, and gives me the joy that is His fruit. The more I experience these things, the more I desire to go back to the Word to learn more.

Three other things motivate me to be in the Word:

  1. I teach it, so I must be learning it in order to be accurate and prepared.
  2. I disciple and counsel others individually, so I am always studying to find God’s solution to their problems.
  3. I use it to counsel myself. I have lots of problems in life just like everyone else. God gives me all kinds of things to help me with those problems through His Word.

 

What resources have influenced you the most in giving you a desire and tools for dwelling in the Word-

The thing that more than anything gave me a desire and the tools to dwell in the Word was my education at Bob Jones University. I majored in Bible on the undergraduate level and then got a master’s degree in counseling. The faculty there truly equipped me to study the Word carefully and acquainted me with the tools I needed to do it well. I would highly recommend that kind of education to anyone who has the opportunity to get it. Many of the classes are offered online now.
Is there a favorite Bible study method you use-

When I am doing in-depth study, I like to print out the text of the chapter in a 4-inch column down the middle of full-size sheets of paper. This allows me to define the words in the original languages or write the literal meaning of a phrase on the left side of the paper and to outline the passage or write other comments about the flow of the thought on the right side of the paper. I use all different colored highlighters and markers to mark repeated words in the passage or to show contrasts between ideas. I read the chapter over and over again to try to understand the thought process of the writer. I also use commentaries to learn the meanings of parts that I don’t understand and to check my interpretation.

 

Any recommendations for Scripture memory- Meditation-

I prefer to memorize chapters, though I do memorize individual verses on various topics. When I memorize whole chapters, I add one new verse each day.

On the first day that I am learning a verse, I read it aloud 25 times;
on the second day, 20 times;
on the third day, 15 times;
on the fourth day, 10 times;
& on the fifth day, 5 times.
After that, I say it at least once a day for 45 days.

When I am memorizing a chapter and add a new verse on the second day, I read the new verse alone 5 times; then I say the two verses together 20 times.

When I add a new verse on the third day, I read the new verse alone 5 times; read verses 2 and 3 five times together; and then read all three 15 times together. Eventually the verses move to the once-a-day group. I say these chapters as I go to sleep at night. They are a great sedative.

As I add a verse each day, I study that new verse in detail so that I understand it. I have an electronic document that I can print out and keep in a notebook to record all these repetitions on. This method is not for the faint at heart, but it really works. When I am working on a whole chapter, it can easily take a half hour to review all the verses I am working on, but it is so rewarding to know that I am treasuring God’s Words in my heart.

 

dwelling richly question

I have an 8 ½ by 5 ½-inch loose-leaf notebook that I always carry to church so that I can take notes on every sermon. Even if I do not look back on them, I listen and understand our pastor’s messages better when I am outlining them and writing down the points he makes. I also write down my own personal applications that the Holy Spirit is making in my own heart or my own thoughts about other passages of Scripture that I am reminded of.

 

How did you make time for Bible study when your children were little-

When my girls were really little, I had little time for extended Bible study. Before I went to bed at night, I would put my Bible and any other materials I needed on a small table beside my rocking chair so that when I got up in the night to nurse my babies I would have my Bible close at hand to read for a half hour or so while I was nursing. It was the only quiet time I had when I had other toddlers running around during the day.

These days there are resources that we did not have when my children were little. It might work for a young mother to listen to recordings of Scripture while she is doing something else. I think it is important for young mothers to remember that God knows the burden they are under time-wise. He doesn’t expect more than they can do. As He was able to multiply two fishes and five loaves of bread, He can multiply the effect of His Word if we will use the time we have and not get frustrated that we have little time. If we are angry about having little time, we will probably get little out of the reading or study that we can do. And if we are too tired, we can’t get much. Sleep is a spiritual thing when you need it. This time will pass.

 


pat berg

Pat Berg holds a degree in Bible and a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling, both from Bob Jones University. She developed classes on the Biblical Role of Women and Counseling Women, both of which she has taught for over ten years. In her classes, Pat emphasizes to her students the importance of knowing God through His Word, learning His plan for them, and growing in obedience to Him. She urges her students to become women of the Word, able to counsel themselves and others who need their help. 

She has 3 married daughters & 11 grandchildren and is heavily involved at her local church.

 

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