Transformed by the Bible

This is my newest piece for incourage.
You can read the whole article here!

How Reading the Bible Will Transform You www.annswindell.com

I was twenty years old, fresh into my junior year at my Christian college, when Dr. Dorsett — an aging professor with a shock of white hair and thick spectacles — startled me into paying attention.

He held a Bible above his head and asked us, “How can you call yourself a Christian if you haven’t read every page of this book? If you don’t even know what’s in here?” His tone was kind, but his words were piercing. He was asking us to own our faith.

His words dumbfounded me.

I had grown up in the church, and had read parts of the Bible during my growing-up years. But here, as a young woman, I realized that I hadn’t ever read the Bible cover-to-cover. I’d read bits here and chapters there, but I hadn’t read much of the Old Testament, and I’d never read all of the New. It dawned on me, there in that class, that I was basing my life on a book that I hadn’t fully read — and suddenly, that admission stunned me. Who bases their life on a book but doesn’t read all of it? Did I even know what I believed?

Who bases their life on a book but doesn’t read all of it? Did I even know what I believed? Click To Tweet

And so, that very week, I started a one-year Bible-reading plan and began my journey into reading the Bible all the way through.

At first, reading several chapters a day felt overwhelming — going from reading a few verses here and there to actually reading whole chunks of the Word felt like going from talking a walk around the block to training for a marathon. My spiritual muscles were weak, and it was difficult on many days to keep my mind and heart engaged. Don’t even get me started on the book of Numbers; it’s a miracle I kept going!

But what I found, as I kept my nose in the folds of those crinkly, thin pages of my Bible, was that I was meeting God—actually meeting with Him! I wasn’t solely reading about Him or learning about Him: I was encountering the Lord on every page.

You can read the rest of the article here, at incourage!

Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

Embracing Change: The Pearl of Joy

Embracing Change at www.annswindell.com

This is the start of my newest article for (in)courage.
You can read the entire article here!

This last year was a whirlwind of change for me. Our family uprooted from the city we had lived in for over a decade—the city where my husband and I fell in love, the city where we found our first jobs, the city where we figured out life as newlyweds, the city where we navigated serious sickness and struggle, the city where our daughter was born. We had a home there, and not just a physical one. Our community, our church, our jobs—we had a place that we knew, and people who knew us. We were settled.

And then, God.

God opened a new door for us, one that we knew we were meant walk through. My husband had the opportunity to go to graduate school, and that meant moving to a new state, finding a new home, and starting a new life where we hardly knew anyone. It meant, essentially, change.

For me, change has always felt gut-wrenching, difficult, gear-grinding tight. I have never loved change; I have usually avoided it.  

But this past year felt like a gift unwrapped for me, given by my heavenly father. Because I found, for the first time in my life, that I was not terrified of the unknown. What I experienced this past year, as I prayed for help to accept and embrace the changes we were facing, was grace.

Read the rest of the article over at (in)courage!

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Taking Care of Each Other

I’m honored to be writing for (in)courage today, sharing my heart about friendship and learning to receive care from those who love us. The article starts below, but you can link straight to (in)courage here!

Our value is not found in what we do but in  whom we belong to. www.annswindell.com

It had been a particularly difficult week, and after a short trip to visit my parents, I was dreading the return to “real life”—a life that I loved but one that currently felt like more than I could handle. We were trying to get our house on the market—a house we would already be losing money on—and had experienced multiple setbacks. I had been sick, the bitterly cold winter was relentless, and my daughter was having trouble sleeping. I was tired, emotionally shot, and worried about our finances with the house.

Still, I had to return to my life, difficult or not. But when I turned the key to our front door, what I found surprised me. It was cleaner than I’d left it! I opened a card on the table and discovered why: my friend Katie had cleaned, left dinner in the fridge, and stuck notes on surfaces throughout the house—notes that reminded me of my value in Christ and His love for me.

I was overwhelmed.

Because I felt—how else can I say it?—I felt taken care of. There is no other way to articulate why Katie’s actions meant so much to me. She had cleaned my house—the house I felt responsible to clean. She had provided dinner for my family—the meal I felt responsible to cook. And she had reminded me that my value was not in what I did, but in whose I was—Christ’s.

As a wife, mom, and teacher, most of my days are spent taking care of others. I rub backs, prepare meals, kiss cheeks, tie shoes, wash dishes, mentor students, write checks, grade papers and give lectures—along with a hundred other things. I can guess that you do numerous things, too. You may not be grading papers or preparing meals, but you’re probably caring for others somehow. You’re probably taking care of those around you.

I think that, as women, we are used to being the nurturers, the ones who take care of others.

But how often do we let others take care of us? How often do we ask others to take care of us?

Please click over and read the rest of the article here, at (in)courage! You can also sign up here to receive free daily encouragement from the writers of (in)courage, right in your inbox!