By Laura Brooke Allen
Reading the Bible from left to right 10 times seemed a bit bland. I prayed for innovation.
Though my husband, Anwar, and I both love God’s Word, all attempts to consistently explore it together had failed rather miserably. We were both growing, though we rarely found ourselves, quite literally, on the same page.
I longed for the oneness described in Genesis 2, where Adam and Eve “became one flesh.” How could that mystery translate to this portion of our relationship?
God granted me the desire of my heart when He called Anwar to become a pastor. Before Anwar enrolled in seminary, the admissions staff encouraged him to read through the Bible 10 times, preferably with me. They held the opinion that Scripture is best learned between husband and wife to equip the couple for a life of ministry.
Inspired, albeit slightly overwhelmed, by this goal, I quietly asked God for a way to go about this task. Reading the Bible from left to right 10 times seemed a bit bland. I prayed for innovation.
In the middle of the night, I woke with the idea to construct a sticker chart. I pictured a long sheet with the 66 books of the Bible along the left-hand column and lines extending to the right for us to place a star every time we completed a book.
A simple chart deepened spiritual intimacy in our marriage.
We hung the chart on our bedroom closet door, so Anwar and I see it every night and morning. The first day we started to collect stars, together Anwar and I read six short books of the New Testament while our 3-year-old napped. We oohed and ahhed over parts that applied in that moment to our lives, and other parts that showed us areas where we didn’t shine for Jesus.
Our sticker chart has given us room to bounce about as interest or the Spirit leads. For the first time in our marriage, we find ourselves on the phone during Anwar’s lunch break asking, “Did you finish Matthew yet?” followed by cheering and conversation about what God revealed. It put us on the same team, and we endure for the joy set before us: a vision of a life serving God together as a family. The journey has changed us from two separate parts exploring God’s Word, to one flesh.
Laura Brooke Allen and her husband, Anwar, live in Charlottesville, Va., with their daughter, Samaria.
This article first appeared in the October 2011 issue of HomeLife. Subscribe.