Emily Charkham: This Week I'm Reading...
Happy weekend! With the bliss of a Saturday morning comes the third series in our 'Love The Bible' summer initiative. This is an interview series with girls just like you and me, all about how they make time to invest in reading God's Word. We hope you enjoy wisdom from the lovely Emily today! x
1. What Bible passage(s) are you currently reading/have read recently and found really encouraging?
Jesus walking on Water (Matthew 14:22-33). It’s one of those stories that I read when I was little and didn’t notice anything beyond the fact that Peter walks on water then messes up by taking his eyes off Jesus, and if you were me you were left thinking ‘stupid Peter’.
Then I read it again recently and realized that it’s pretty awesome; and at least Peter gets out the boat!
2. What's been the one, key take-away message so far and how is it changing your day to day life and relationship with God?
Am I limited to one?! God sometimes sends us into storms- Jesus makes the disciples get into the boat (v.22) even though it was getting late and conditions on the lake weren’t good (v.24) : Just because life seems hard doesn’t mean we aren’t in where God wants us.
Jesus sends us to tough places for two reasons:
Firstly to draw us into greater intimacy with Him; He is there in the struggle and as soon as Peter is struggling (“Immediately”) Jesus “reached out a hand and caught Him” (v.31). Then they climb into the boat together (v32), so presumably Jesus and Peter walk back to the boat together, maybe hand in hand-now that’s pretty cool! Jesus sometimes leaves it to what feels like beyond the last minute, but He does not let us sink.
Secondly, He sends us into tough times for us to have a greater revelation of who He is; when He returns to the boat, the storm dies down and the disciples state “Truly you are the Son of God” (v33) and worship Him. If there is no storm, there could be no Divine Intervention and we would not get to see how powerful God is.
The message is that I should trust that God is working in the tough times and stick in there - but it’s definitely a lesson I’m learning rather than lesson learnt!
3. When, where and how do you read the Bible?
I read it in the mornings if I can, but that’s a personal preference thing, I’m hopeless in the evenings! If I don’t fit it in then I will take my Bible and notebook with me for the day and cram it into a tube journey (one way to stop people sitting next to me!) or lunch hour or anytime I can.
I’m reading the Bible in the Year (it’s a reading plan on www.bible.com and also available as an app). I generally read it in my bedroom with a notebook in which to scribble anything that jumps out at me, this may be a general message or few words or whole paragraphs. I would love to have more verses to hand to share with others and encourage myself and this is part of my trying to remember them!
4. What helps you keep a good routine for reading the Bible, and what helps those habits stick?
I have to prioritise reading the Bible: I set my alarm earlier in the morning if I know I might not have time that day. I also find it helpful having friends who ask what I have read and share their encouragements and confusion. We all go through dry patches when it doesn’t seem like God’s Word is saying much so it’s important to draw on others have to say.
I find it helpful knowing that, while reading the Bible is crucial and keeps us grounded and rooted in God’s love (read Lucy’s piece on Peace in the Eye of the Hurricane), God’s grace is huge and if we fail to read it one day we can always pick it up the next! Don’t be put off by one day’s failure.
5. What piece of advice would you give to girls who want to start reading the Bible for themselves, or get back into it?
I would suggest getting a friend to read with you, and maybe start with a devotional that takes a small part of the Bible and offers thoughts or questions about it. When I go through a rough patch I often turn to Just like Jesus Devotional by Max Lucado: it’s 30 days long and takes a snippet from the Bible, expands on what is shown about Jesus then applies it to your life, including a few questions and thoughts. I’ve found it an easy way to get back into meeting with God and seeing how applicable His word is!
We need to open the Bible with expectation so pray before you read, ask God to point out whatever is relevant to you. In the Lord’s prayer we are told to ask ‘Give us today our daily bread’; and this can also be applied to reading the Bible, we need Him to give us what we need for that day.
Emily grew up in three great cities (Oxford, Salisbury, and Cambridge) before graduating from Edinburgh University in 2013 and raining as an accountant in London. After a lot of soul searching she realised that this was not for her and is currently trying to work out where God is leading at the same time as au pairing for a family of seven (including 4 kids under 10 and a guinea pig) in Clapham, London.
She is passionate about seeing others fulfil the potential and unique calling God has given them- and thinks that if we can do this then we can change the world!!