new things for your new year.


At 21 I loaded up my parents’ garnet mini van with most of everything I owned in the world. Tom was there. We had just uttered I-love-yous a few weeks before and here I was taking my timid and searching heart off to Roanoke, Virginia. I was going to live in the city and love on the city. For a whole year.

That year brought heartache and heart-swelling and some very humbling stretching. Tom and I broke up. I despaired. People challenged my heart in good ways. We started a youth ministry. We started a neighborhood church. I drove right into poverty for young hearts. Really, God did all these things.

It was a wild and precious season and it still follows me.

Everyday I had many minutes to spend in prayer, reading the Word, worshiping. Feasting like that? It started something in me. You don’t want to settle for tiny, crumbly pieces that have fallen off the table when you’ve feasted. I’ve had my seasons where life has made coming to the table more difficult, where I’ve been complacent or frustrated or fist-shaking or sleep deprived. But somehow God always brings me back in His grace.

A handful of years ago, I got tired of the in between. I’ve been a good Christian girl and sought out Bible study after Bible study. I love the growth that’s been wrought in me there. But what happens in that time after one ends and before another one begins? I felt ill-equipped and overwhelmed.

But God has said that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. And so I started a quest to just dive into His Word for myself. I love it and my heart is for everyone to know this God-given confidence.

I’ve used too, too many words to tell you that I will be teaching a class this month on studying the Bible through the Influence Network, which launches today. It will be easy and accessible and-I hope-challenging and you can take it in your jammies. It’s mostly more of a conversation about the obstacles of time and belief and how we can overcome both of those through God’s gracious gifting. It’s for anyone. Any.One. I’m not some expert. I’m just a girl who has a heart to know and live by what God has said about me, my life, this world, Himself.

You can head right over here to read more details and register if you’d like. There is a small cost to take the class and/or join the Influence Network.  All together, a little bit of your Christmas money would cover this easily. Plus! there are some really wonderful and awesome classes being offered in January.

If you’d like to tell others about it (which I’d be so grateful for), there are a few things you can do. First, I have finally created a facebook page for this blog. You can like it here and share this post from my wall. If you’d like to tweet, you could copy and paste this little ditty:

studying God’s Word. a conversation and class by @sweetwaterellie: @InfluenceNet

I’d really like for y’all to be a part of this new thing. So, would you share with me about your successes and failures with digging in to the Word?

8 thoughts on “new things for your new year.

  1. Hey Ellen,
    Great timing on this post. I’m 22, recently went through a breakup, and finding myself totally relating to yourself at 21. Each day comes with the choice to either commit my path to the Lord or focus on myself. Funny how the second option always seems more easier and more glamorous, but leaves me empty and tired.

    When it comes to reading God’s word, the best times are simply when I’m in the discipline of diving in each morning. The longer I spend away from God’s word, the harder it is to get back into it.

    It’s kind of like running for me, the more I do it the more I realize I need to do it, the better I feel about it. Of course, most days I don’t feel like running or reading my Bible, but those two things are always exactly what I need for the day.

    Thanks for sharing this and cheers to spending more time in God’s word in 2013. I’d love to join your study (currently my flash player is out of date, so I can’t check out the website just yet – don’t worry, it’s next on my agenda).

  2. So, so proud of you, Ellen. I can’t think of anything more important and, sadly, more neglected than studying the Word. Praying for you and all who venture through this class with you. You will be a blessing as you always are!

  3. Hi there Ellen,
    I just had a little brain flash and headed to your blog.
    I remember that I really wanted to take your online class but was otherwise engaged.
    Is that content available anywhere?
    I didn’t see anything to that effect on the Influence site but I thought I would check with you.
    Thanks so much!

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