Read THE Book 2019

Welcome to RTB 2019, a place to read through the Bible in the year 2019 and stay in contact with others who are doing the same thing and have a little hand-holding as you go.

Some of my local friends know that I’ve been teaching through the Bible chronologically for many years. My goal was to help you sort out all that confusing timeline stuff so that when you read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, you have an understanding of where you are, when you are, and what was going on in the world at that time.

In 2017 I decided to do a trial run of a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year discussion group that met every week to discuss what we read as we followed a reading schedule using the traditional book by book order. Have I mentioned that “book by book order” does not flow chronologically? Nope – the books are grouped into sections, but they don’t always flow in the order that the events happened. So to help us along, I wrote a weekly reading guide with three sections: What’s Going On? When and Where Are We? And Who’s Who? This was a one page handout that gave you just a little head’s up about things I thought you might want to know at the beginning of each week’s assigned reading to help you keep your bearings. The trial run turned out to be a success for those who finished.

I have decided to go ahead and make those weekly notes available here on the blog so that even if you start but get behind, you can still follow along at your own pace. It also will make it easier for someone who wants to start after Jan 1st but still have a guide to lead you through. I’ll post those notes each week here on the blog and I hope you will use the comments section to stay in touch while you are on your own reading journey or if you aren’t able to meet with us in person. Maybe you could even host a discussion group of your own with friends or church groups using the notes as a guide?

It doesn’t matter to me how you use this information as long as it does what I always imagined it might do. If it helps you to Read THE Book, then I’m happy to know I’ve made it a little easier. Soon, I’ll have available the reading schedule, the group guidelines, and the discussion group information as I spend the next few weeks reformatting the blog to make that information easy to access.

Want to be part of the local discussion group? Right now I have one group that will meet in Scottsboro, AL at the First Methodist Church on Sunday nights at 6:00 PM. I’m working on forming a Guntersville group as well so let me know if you are interested.

And of course, I’ll be having several workshops throughout the year that give the overview of the whole Bible, known as “THE Bible Story” Workshops. I’ll announce the information about these workshops as soon as I have the dates set. I encourage anyone local to try to come to this workshop as it will really help you get all the chronology sorted out. You’ll even make your own timeline showing the major people and events from Genesis to Revelation and that will come in handy as you are reading.

It is my prayer that anyone who is thinking about making a New Year’s Resolution to read through the Bible in 2019 will join with me and let’s make a commitment to each other to do it together! It seems like everything is just a little easier when you have friends who can share the same experience with you. The reading schedule will begin on January 1, 2019 and I’ll have all the information you need well before that, so keep checking back as I post new information here.

Let’s Do This!

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Group Guidelines & Reading Schedule

Daily Reading Schedule [Word] [PDF]
One-Sheet Schedule Overview [Word] [PDF]

  • You may use any Bible translation that you are comfortable with.
  • I have scheduled readings for Monday through Saturday with an average of about five chapters a day. Take Sunday off, use that day to catch up, or read some Psalms.
  • Each Sunday I will post notes about what you will be reading the next week. These notes will have three sections: What’s Going On, When and Where Are We, and Who’s Who. These notes are designed to guide you as you read through the Bible and my way of pointing out some things I wish someone had told me the first time I read through the Bible. For example, there are places the books don’t go in chronological order and there are times that when you begin a new book things have changed significantly in the world. I’ll try to help you keep it all straight.
  • You can Subscribe to the blog so that you will get an email notification when a new blog is posted by adding your email on the right side of the screen and hit “Subscribe”
  • I will be leading local discussion groups and encourage you to attend if you can. Or form your own discussion group with friends where you can share your a-ha moments, questions, and reflections with each other. If you are flying solo, please stay connected by following along on the website and use the comments section if you want to ask questions or share your own thoughts. I’d really love to see the weekly blog posts turn into their own discussion group and will do my best to keep up with the comments and questions there. One big advantage to this format is anyone can begin their reading journey at any point in the year and follow along at their own pace.
  • If you get behind or take time off for vacation, illness, or unexpected what-not, I suggest you rejoin the group when you are able and pick up with where the group is reading. You might miss stuff. That’s ok! Read the notes from the weeks you missed and don’t try to catch up. The goal is to stay with the group so that you can be current on discussions. You can read what you missed later.
  • I have decided not to include the Psalms in our reading schedule. Suggestions for how you might read through them:
    • Read one Psalm every day. There are 150 so you will read each one at least twice
    • Read 3-5 Psalms every Sunday
    • Wait until December (we finish our plan on Nov 30th) and then read all of the Psalms by reading five or six Psalms each day of December
    • Work your way through the book of Psalms any way that works for you
    • SUGGESTION: I don’t normally suggest the King James Version for daily reading. But the Psalms are at their most beautiful in the KJV. Consider reading them in several different versions
  • Consider keeping a journal as you read through the Bible for personal reflection. Everyone has their own style, but you might want to keep notes and random thoughts as you go along.
  • Some weeks will be lighter than others. I tried to keep the readings even throughout, but I want us to come to natural breaks in the story at the end of each week.
  • On the master schedule, there is a place to mark what you’ve read with an X. It feels good to mark things off as you accomplish them!
  • I’ve built in two breaks. One is halfway through the Old Testament and the other is between the Old and New Testaments. Use these weeks to catch up if you need to.
  • If you have never read all the way through the Bible before, your goal is just to keep up and finish! If you have read through the Bible before, I suggest that each time you read it through you find a different goal for that year. For example, you might read a different translation or use a study Bible with notes, or you might use the map to follow the story by location, learn the Names of God and see how they are used differently in different passages, etc. The last time I read through the Old Testament, I underlined all the words that God spoke in red. The words of Jesus are often in red in the New Testament and I thought it would be good to see the Words of the Lord in the OT the same way.
  • If at any time you read something that troubles you, ask Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding. You may need to set something aside and trust that as the Lord wants you to learn something from that passage, He will bring it up at the right time. Don’t let it upset you if you struggle with some of the things you read. Bring it to the group and let’s talk about it. There are things that I struggle with, too. It’s ok. God knows our struggles and loves us anyway.

I suggest you begin each day with a prayer that might go something like this…..

Thank You, Father, for Your Word. Please guide me as I read today and help me understand what YOU would have me understand and absorb what YOU would have me absorb. Hide the words and the message in my heart so that I may carry it with me into everything I do. Open the eyes of my heart to what You would have me see, learn, know, and remember. Take me by the hand and walk with me on this journey. Send Holy Spirit to be my guide, my teacher, my helper, and my shield. In the Holy Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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Week 4: Exodus 1-18

“I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt” “So now, go. I Am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.”             Exodus 3:7; 3:10

What’s Going On?

Moses, having told us the backstory of how the descendants of Abraham ended up in Egypt, now begins to tell his own story. Four hundred years will go by between the book of Genesis and the book of Exodus. During that time, Jacob’s family has grown from 70 to over a million and the first part of the 3-fold blessing has already come to pass – Abraham’s descendants have indeed grown into a very large family. Because there are so many of them, the Egyptians have made the Hebrews into slaves and have even commanded that the male Israelite children be killed in an attempt at population control. One Israelite woman defies the order and places her son in a basket in the river. That son, Moses, is rescued and adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh where he receives the finest education. But, when he sees a Hebrew slave being treated badly, he kills an Egyptian and then flees to Midian and settles down with Jethro/Raoul who is a descendant of Abraham through his second wife, Ketura. One day Moses hears the voice of God coming from a burning bush telling him to go back to Egypt to set the Israelites free. Moses returns and with the help of his brother, Aaron, asks the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Of course the Pharaoh refuses and God begins to bring plagues on the people of Egypt until finally, after the death of every first-born Egyptian son, Pharaoh orders them to leave Egypt. The Israelites have been spared from death by painting the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the doorway of every household so that the angel of death would “Pass Over” their households. Jews still commemorate this event every year when they celebrate Passover. Many years later, Jesus would be celebrating the Passover meal when He is betrayed at the Last Supper. As the Israelites are finally leaving Egypt, they are chased by Pharaoh’s army and trapped at the edge of the Red Sea until God holds the water back allowing them to cross on dry land. Safely on the other side, they witness the Egyptian army being swept away when the waters are allowed to rush back in and Moses, Aaron, and their sister Miriam along with all of the Israelite people celebrate their deliverance from Pharaoh, just as the Lord had told them they would. The people are given instructions and are even allowed to witness the Glory of the Lord as He speaks to Moses, and yet they grumbled and complained about their situation, blaming Moses for their hardships. Moses gets some help from Jethro/Raoul and sets up a system of judges to act as leaders within the community.

When and Where are We?

We begin in Goshen, in northern Egypt. It is now about 1500 BC, 500 years after Abraham. Moses flees Goshen to Midian near Mt Horeb which is called the Mountain of God, possibly the same location as Mt Sinai. Midian is named after one of Abraham’s younger sons and is most likely located east of the Sinai Peninsula in modern day Saudi Arabia. Moses then returns to Egypt where he miraculously leads the people through the Red Sea, into the Desert of Shur, and on to Elim where there is water and fertile ground. They then set out to the Desert of Sin where they see the Glory of the Lord! (I hope you caught that – the see the Glory of the Lord in the Desert of Sin.) They finally arrive at the outskirts of The Promised Land near Canaan where they are attacked by Amalekites at a place called Rephidim. This part of the story leaves the people back in the desert at the foot of Mt Sinai.

Who’s Who?

  • Moses – a descendant of Jacob through the family of Levi and God’s chosen prophet, teacher, and leader for the people of Israel as they begin their journey back to the land promised to Abraham
  • Jethro/Raoul – A priest in Midian who becomes Moses’ father-in-law when Moses marries his daughter Zipporah
  • Aaron – Moses brother, who will speak for Moses and become the leader of the Levite priests
  • Miriam – a prophetess, Moses’ older sister
  • Joshua and Hur – leaders in the fight against the Amalekites

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” Exodus 3:14a

Weekly Reading Assignment:


Monday: Exodus 1-4
Tuesday: Exodus 5-7
Wednesday: Exodus 8-9
Thursday: Exodus 10-12
Friday: Exodus 13-15
Saturday: Exodus 16-18

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Week 3: Genesis 27-50

“God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.’ So He named him Israel.” Genesis 35:10

What’s Going On?

This week we will get to know Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, whose name will be changed to “Israel” in chapter 32 and confirmed in chap 35. His offspring will become the Nation of Israel and it is this family we will follow throughout the Old Testament. We will see God’s promise of blessing pass from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and will go on to include the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel who will become the forefathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. One of those sons, Judah, will lead us to David and the Kings of Judah and will carry the promises of God all the way to Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise that all the world would be blessed by Abraham. Another son, Levi, will be the father of the line of priests that we will be following next week when we meet Moses. We’ll also meet Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son.  Joseph will be sold to slave-traders by his jealous brothers and be carted off to Egypt. Joseph will also carry God’s blessing, though, and circumstances will lead him to be in a position to later save his family when there is a famine in the land of his ancestors. God’s plans are bigger than man’s plans, and the end of the book of Genesis will leave all seventy members of the family of Israel together and living in peace in the land of Egypt. I highly recommend watching Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” starring Donnie Osmond. You can find it on Youtube as a 20-part playlist by Hannah McKinney.

When and Where Are We?

Although it would be very difficult to pin a specific date to the early events of Genesis, we can now safely put the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at 2000-1800 BC. This week we begin in Canaan where Abraham had bought land in order to bury Sarah and where he himself would be buried in the Cave of Machpelah. Then we see Jacob flee to his uncle Laban in Haran with a stop at Bethel on the way. After 20 years in Haran, he’ll return to Bethel, and then home to Canaan. Joseph will be taken to Egypt and eventually the whole family will go to Egypt as well, where they will settle in the land of Goshen, outside Egypt. There are great map images and an explanation of locations at https://www.bible-history.com/maps/6-abrahams-journeys.html

Who’w Who?

  • Esau – Isaac’s older son who legally holds his birthright, Jacob’s younger twin; also called Edom in Gen 36
  • Jacob – Isaac’s younger son who will carry the promise given to Abraham; Esau’s twin who will trick his brother out of the birthright; ’ father to twelve sons; given the name ‘Israel’
  • Abimelech –possibly the son or grandson of the Abimelech of Genesis 20-21, King of Gerar
  • Laban – Rebekah’s brother, father of Rachel and Leah
  • Rachel and Leah – two of Jacob’s wives along with Bilhah and Zilpah – their two maids
  • Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin – the twelve sons of Jacob
  • Dinah – Leah and Jacob’s daughter; Shechem defiles her, Hamor – Shechem’s father
  • Tamar – marries Er, Judah’s first-born son, who dies; Tamar and Judah are parents of Perez
  • Pharaoh – King of Egypt
  • Potiphar – one of Pharaoh’s officials, his wife accuses Joseph of trying to sleep with her
  • Manasseh and Ephraim – sons of Joseph, will be included in the twelve tribes of Israel (replacing Levi and Joseph)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

This Week’s Reading Assignment:

  • Monday:  Genesis 27-30
  • Tuesday:  Genesis 31-34
  • Wednesday:  Genesis 35-38
  • Thursday:  Genesis 39-42
  • Friday:  Genesis 43-46
  • Saturday:  Genesis 47-50
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Week 2: Genesis 1-26

“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

What’s Going On?

The Bible begins with the story of how all things came to be. We see God with an orderly plan and His creation is brought forth at His Word. It’s important to realize that the book of Genesis was most likely written by Moses at least two thousand (or several billion?) years after the events of creation occurred. Moses is writing what had been handed down as oral tradition for many centuries. The stories of the creation, the first occupants of the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and the consequences for their sin, the years of sinful man that led to the time of Noah and the great flood, the rebuilding of the population, and the attempt to reach heaven by building the Tower of Babel are all told in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, thus establishing the world before the time of Abraham. We see a shift in the narrative in chapter 12 when we meet Abram. The story becomes much more detailed as we get to know the man who would later be called Abraham, “The Father of the Hebrew People.” In chapter 15 we read about a covenant ceremony that will mark out the future of Abraham’s descendants to be God’s Chosen People and the Promised Land that will later be known as Israel. The next nine chapters cover the lives of Abraham and Sarah and the miraculous birth of their son, Isaac who will grow up and marry Rebekah. Isaac and Rebekah will become the parents of Jacob and Esau. These three: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be known as the Patriarchs (forefathers) of Israel. So, within the chapters we will read this week, we will get to know the heritage of these three men and their importance in the history of the people who will later become the Nation of Israel. Pay attention to the promises that God makes to Abraham because they establish what I call the “three-fold promise” that 1) Abraham will have a big family, 2) God will give that family the land to live on, and 3) that all the world will be blessed through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). We will be watching throughout the Bible to see the family of Abraham grow into the Hebrew people. They will eventually come back to claim the Promised Land and it will be known as Israel. And we will follow the genealogies (all those hard to pronounce names) to show that Abraham’s lineage will, in fact, lead to Jesus who will be known as the Savior of the World.

When and Where Are We?

We begin before time began being measured. If we go by the scientists, it must have been millions of years ago. If we count up the generations and take them to be a precise record, we begin at least 6,000 years ago. In other words, we don’t have exact dates and we miss the point if we try to pin these dates onto our timeline until we get to Abraham, who lived about 2,000 BC. Our story begins in the land of Mesopotamia and the land of the Tigris and Euphrates which you can easily still find on a map today in southern Iraq. Then we learn about Mt Ararat which would be in modern day Turkey, Babel, the land known as Ur of the Chaldeans, Egypt, Bethel and Ai, Sodom and Gomorrah, Gerar, Beersheba, and we even get a glimpse of what would later be called Jerusalem in Genesis 14:17 in what they call the King’s Valley.

Who’s Who?

  • Adam and Eve – the first man and woman of God’s creation and their sons Cain and Abel
  • Noah – The man God chose to survive the flood
  • Shem, Ham, and Japheth – the children of Noah who will begin to repopulate the earth.
  • Abram – later is called Abraham, becomes the Father of the Hebrew Nation
  • Sarai, later called Sarah – Abram’s wife
  • Lot – Abram’s nephew
  • Hagar and Ishmael – The maid that Abram sleeps with and the son that is produced
  • Isaac and Rebekah – Isaac is the son of Abraham and Rebecca becomes his wife
  • Abimelech – the king of Gerar
  • Jacob and Esau – sons of Isaac, grandsons of Abraham. Jacob will later be called Israel.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 (NIV)

This week’s reading assignment:

  • Monday:  Genesis 1-4
  • Tuesday:  Genesis 5-9
  • Wednesday:  Genesis 10-14
  • Thursday:  Genesis 15-18
  • Friday:  Genesis 19-22
  • Saturday:  Genesis 23-26
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Week 1: John 1-21

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

What’s Going On?

We are going to start our reading journey, not on page one, but with the climax of the story. I believe that everything written in the Bible is connected to Jesus so it makes sense to me that we ought to start out with the account of His human life. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is going to begin at least four thousand years before we meet Jesus in person. But even before we look at how everything got started as recorded in the book of Genesis, I want us to have Jesus at the forefront of our minds. Colossians 1:15-20 tells us that Jesus was the “Firstborn over all creation” so even before we look at how the earth was formed and how the creation of all things began, we know that Jesus was there as part of the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Next week we’ll go back and start at the very beginning and see how the whole Bible is really just the story of how desperately the world needed a Savior, a Messiah, and how Jesus came to walk the earth in human form in order that God’s will for mankind could be fully carried out through Him.

John sat at the feet Jesus and heard His Words, saw Him perform miracles, watched as He was killed and then rose from the dead. John witnessed how the Gospel message spread throughout the earth and forever changed what was known about salvation. Years later, through the help of the Holy Spirit, he wrote down everything he wanted us to know about Jesus. There were already three other accounts of the life of Jesus, and we’ll read those when we get to the New Testament in September. But John had outlived all of the other disciples, he had read the words they had written, and he believed there was more to the story. The other three gospel accounts tell us more about what Jesus did, but John is the one who is going to tell us what it all meant.

So, before we start at the very beginning, let’s start with the words of John. I can’t help but sing “Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear. Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here. Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea; stories of Jesus – tell them to me!” Let’s spend this first week together reading the story of Jesus as told by the one who knew those stories better than anyone and through divine wisdom, tells us about Jesus the Messiah, the Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

When and Where Are We?

The events take place around 30 AD and center around the areas known as Galilee, Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem in the land we know as Israel. Of course, there was no timeline known as BC and AD at the point these things took place. In fact, the events of this story are so world changing that because of them, all of time would forever be marked as Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD) which is Latin for “In The Year of Our Lord.”  

Who’s Who?

  • Jesus, the Son of God, made flesh to live in human form, in order to save the world by giving Himself as the ultimate sacrifice so that sinful man would have access to the sinless God through the salvation offered to anyone who believes in Him.  
  • John, was both a disciple (student) and an apostle (messenger); the author of this book, was one of the twelve Disciples who walked most closely with Jesus during His earthly ministry.
  • John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin who was sent to help prepare the world for Jesus. He preached out in the wilderness and was known for baptizing those who wanted to repent of their sins.
  • The twelve disciples: brothers Peter (also called Simon) and Andrew, the brothers James and John (the author of this book), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon (another Simon), and Judas (the one who will betray Jesus)

“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name.”   John 20:31

This week’s reading assignment:

  • Monday:
  • Tuesday: John 1-4
  • Wednesday: John 5-9
  • Thursday: John 10-14
  • Friday: John 15-17
  • Saturday: John 18-21
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Ode to Cindy – The Best Ministry Partner In The World

I started this blog/website several years ago, not really knowing how I wanted to use it. I assumed it would be a place I could just park some things I had written and taught and thought somebody out there ought to write some of the things down that I thought were basic knowledge for Christians, but that are rarely taught inside the religious institutions or other Christian websites. I thought about writing a book about how to read the Bible, but then realized there are millions of other books out there about how to read the Bible and I had no unique contribution – no Doctorate of Biblical Studies – no formal seminary training – no church I was pastoring or even working at. Why would anyone listen to me?

But I had a friend who kept telling me that the way I taught was so unique, so different – that’s what qualified me to do what I do. She encouraged me when I had no courage. She lifted me out of my doubts and believed in me. She read everything I ever wrote and had nothing but praise for my efforts. When I started doing workshops, she helped me. She was my photographer and took pictures of me and my work. She was my editor and helped me with the formatting and stuff I didn’t know how to do. She was my friend and listened to me whine about my insecurities.

She had worked for a local newspaper for years – and hated it. She left that job when the opportunity came up for her to be a volunteer coordinator for a local seniors group. She had an impossible boss and left that job so discouraged and confused – it made no sense. How could anyone not realize how amazing she was? Then I had an idea (He gave me an idea). I had years and years’ worth of things I had written that were on paper, but the computer I had originally written them on had died so I had no digital copies. I asked her to help me figure out how to get them into a digital format and offered to pay her to help me. She was so excited! She spent the last four months working to help me. We had already been meeting together once a week as friends, but our weekly lunches turned into business meetings. I would give her assignments, she would work on them and bring them back, I’d go over changes, etc. I think she was more excited than I was! She believed in my work and was so thankful to be able to support me in what I was doing.

Several years ago, I was teaching a Wednesday night class at church that was a twenty-six week class that covered the events of the Bible chronologically. I lectured for an hour each week and one year decided to record my classes. And the recordings somehow just sat in my computer, or on a flash drive, or maybe still one of two digital recorders I had stuck into a drawer and forgotten about. I don’t know. But I asked her to help me figure out where they were and see about transcribing them. So she did. She figured out how to do every little thing I asked her to do.

This past Monday we met for lunch and she handed me the first of the class lecture transcriptions. I couldn’t believe that after all these years, I finally was on the brink of seeing my dream come true. I never forgot about writing that book. The work was daunting and I had never actually done anything about it. But when she showed up Monday with the first lesson done – it was the beginning of the book. We had done it – we had started. We had a plan. We looked at each other in amazement and celebrated the beginning of a project that I expected to take a year to complete – but we had started. I’d been weary, and she gave me hope. For the first time in a long, long time – I was excited. After lunch, we went in Staples to pick up the first of several posters that she had created to go along with my notes. We said goodbye in the parking lot and I just stood there with my jaw hanging open saying – “this is really happening, isn’t it?” She smiled her big smile and said – “You HAVE to do this! You have to see this through!” She knew that for a while she had been having to nudge me. My heart hadn’t been in it. My personal life was falling apart and the “work” was not a joy to me, it was something I was doing on auto-pilot. I was teaching in several other settings, but hadn’t taught that year-long class in several years. But to be honest, I wasn’t enjoying teaching anymore. I had done several workshops, and I did enjoy doing them, but hated all the work that went into preparing them. The marketing part was painfully hard for me, and she knew it. She just quietly encouraged me to keep going. So I did.

Monday afternoon, we both went home and started looking through our computers, flash drives, the digital recorders. I know that when I recorded my classes, I kept them all together on my computer somewhere with file names for each week. But I couldn’t find them. She had the recorders but we couldn’t find the cable that attached it to the computer to see what was on the recorder. I had brought her one from home that day and gave it to her at lunch, but it was the wrong cable. We texted several times that afternoon about where a certain flash drive might be, but we couldn’t find it. I went to bed that night excited. We were really doing this! I knew those audio files were somewhere and she had figured out how to transcribe them from one she was able to pull from another recorder I’d give her. She even brought me the first one, the one where I tell the whole Bible story from beginning to end in one hour. She handed it to me and I knew it was the first of twenty-five more to come.

Tuesday morning, I see a message on my phone from her husband. I quickly called him back and learned that she had passed away in the night. No warning. No symptoms. No explanation. She was gone.

I’m writing this blog post, knowing that very few people will ever see it. She was the only one who ever read anything I wrote and I had stopped writing here because I saw her almost every week and told her what was happening. What’s the point of writing it for her, my only real audience? I never advertised my blog/website. It was printed on a few business cards and I would give it out at my workshops, but I had no real audience and I knew it. Not much incentive to write. Did I mention that my personal life has been a mess and I wasn’t really excited about much of anything? Was I depressed? Probably. Am I depressed now? Absolutely. My ministry partner, my cheerleader, my audience of one is gone now.

What do I plan to do with Read The Book Ministries? I don’t know. For now, though, I have decided to stop teaching for a while. Within twenty-four hours of that horrible phone call Tuesday morning, I had cancelled just about everything that I was teaching or made plans for them to end. I don’t feel like teaching now. I was struggling before; my heart’s just not in it anymore and hadn’t been in a long time. I won’t give up on this project, though. She’d kick my butt if I did.

One of my last texts from her said, “Our hated word, persevere, is when the going gets tough, you keep going. I love you. I believe in your ministry – –  ‘Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.’ Romans 5:3-4.” She did believe in my ministry. I did, too. I DO, too. But my heart is heavy and my light is faint. For now. One day I’ll come back here and pick this back up. Her husband assured me we would find all of the things she had been working on at her house and return them to me. He thanked me that for the last four months she had been able to stay home and work on this project with/for me and it gave him four wonderful months to spend with his wife before she left us. But without my partner, I just don’t see myself doing this alone. Why am I putting this here on a blog no one reads? Because I know it’s in black and white so that kind of makes it a commitment. I’ll know it’s here waiting for me. And I’m guessing she’ll find a way to lead me along from the other side.

In loving memory of my best friend, even if she had never helped me with this project, she was my sister, my soul-mate, my friend. And she believed in me.

Love you, Cindy. I’ll see you again.

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