Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 6 of 6 (Follow Up)

IMG_20190324_153532Week Six

Well here we are my lovely Lord and Savior… the Preserver of my soul… the Bright and Morning Star… the Bearer of my weary soul. How much You have given me through this study… so many thoughts of encouragement and delightful pieces of You to share. Yet all I can give You today in this post is thanking You for allowing me to accomplish this moment… if You allow me to get it typed, pictures added, and posted.

Truth Six: Let the success of others encourage not discourage you.
Combating Verse: 2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.IMG_20190324_153610

So much has happened while I have been struggling just to make it from moment to moment. If I don’t get this typed, I fear it won’t. So many of the wonderful things You have brought me and done for me, and for those around me are lost in my inability to remember… word for word… day by day… or moment to moment. But I remember in moments that make me smile, or at least help me bear my burden (my cross) as we are all called to do. But I will share what You will allow.

I remember the sweet sleep in the car, the fondness of a friend, and excitement to be joining many more dear friends. I remember I was so excited to finally get a Sprig of Joy fundraiser can!

I remember Keitha being excited to let us know Nicki Koziarz is coming to her Keitha’s church on June 20th. Nicki is the author of this ladies bible study we’ve been doing:
Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
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I remember being blessed by the daily devotionals for each morning.

Day One: Where God Speaks6.2.11Day one reminded me of one of the key figures we are easy to forget was an important part in all of the comparison and hardship that Jacob, Laban, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah were all tangled up in. Esau was Jacob’s first rival. It was Jacob who struggled with jealousy and comparison. His actions toward Esau were exactly those of Laban towards Jacob. And Jacob gained the same ill character in his wives and father in law, the same ill character that his children would inherit. The deception Jacob learned from the whisper of his mother Rebecca to usurp what was rightfully his brother Esau’s, would be the same deception Laban would whisper into the ear of his daughter Leah to deceive Jacob on his wedding night after he had labored hard seven long years for Rachel.

Day Two: Go To That Place6.2.12Day Two had me thinking that of all of the places I have been… according to Your will or by my own foolish wisdom. I would rather be wherever You lead me… be wherever You are, and am grateful that You are willing to go wherever I have strayed to lovingly lead me home. Where You are, I want to go to that place.

Day Three: A New Name6.2.13Day Three makes me joyfully think on that new name You tell me You have written down for me in heaven… a new name that only You know and will whisper into my ear. It reminds me of when I started using my middle name as my new name… Gail. My family calls me BrendaGail. It makes me think of the many names changes in Your word… Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Noah to Noe, Saul to Paul, and of course Jacob to Israel. It also reminds me of the sad news of Rachel’s death. It was sad to know how her life had been. Never happy… always living her life in comparison.

Day Four: Party of 126.2.14Day four has me thinking on all of those children born out of manipulation and deception. Yet even in the midst of a dysfunctional family, You created the twelve tribes of Israel, and the lineage from which Jesus was born. It reminds me of when I once felt “barren,” and for years was constantly provoked by all the other girls who had babies, some three or four. They were very cruel. Yet just like Hannah, it was when I made a particular petition and vow that You answered my prayer. And that was before I had read Your bible, and I was a single teenage mom. I don’t know why You allowed things that seem contrary to Your word. I only know that You give life, Lord. Praise Your name!

Day Five: Spiritual Gifts Survey6.2.15Day five had a survey to discern our spiritual gifts. I was began with making sure I only answered between 2 and 4, but was soon all over the place. I leave the results to You because just as we are trusting the outcome to You, we know that You have allowed us to answer the questions that made the score. So as our thinking is (flawed or right on), it will determine what we score.

I have so many blogging friends who have enjoyed the “quizzes” for themselves. Lord, help them to be able to read the pictures. I know in times past, I would have went through the hard work (with joy) to type it out in a neat format aligning the book, but You and I both know I am blessed that the media devices finally charged and worked!
Thank You! 🙂

Dear friends, if you can not read one just let me know. I will type it for you.
There are 80 questions, and score as read above in the previous picture.6.2.16

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Scoring Your Survey
Here are the directions.
There are 16 areas of spiritual gifts listed.
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Graphing Your Profile6.2.24

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My spiritual gifts scored
1. Giving
2. Faith
3. Prophecy

This surprised me considering when I read the sixteen possibilities, I only “had faith” in Faith. The others seemed like actions… involving others. I do not know why my self esteem has went so far to the basement lately, but I know God doesn’t want it there. How can I love my neighbor as God does if I cannot even love myself as my God loves me
(And the second [commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
– Matthew 22:39 KJV
)
I am to believe in who He makes me.
I am a child of the Living King… the One True God!
I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus, which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)
How much more giving can one be than to share God’s love… genuine true love?

So then the question was asked…
How has God been speaking to you throughout this study about the situations where you are comparing yourself? How does humility play a role in what God is showing you?6.2.26My health is what it is. He has blessed me many days, and with encouraging and wise, and very patient therapists, nurses, doctors. I need to be thankful, and accept where I am is what God has planned for me… at least right now. Regardless of where that is and what it looks like or feels like, or lives like, I am to love who I am in Him, and to share that love with others. God has known my life long before I did, and as The Great Physician He has every right to do whatever He wants with it to bring glory to His name. Even in and ESPECIALLY in my weaknesses He is made strong.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

In that giving to others… PRAYER is ONE of the most loving things we can give and do. I am blessed to have the prayer requests below to take with me. I pray as often as the Lord allows. This week we had prayed in our small groups, but kept our own prayer cards. Marilyn was excited to share a praise that her friend Etiska did not have cancer after all!! Such good news among what seems like a sea of cancer anymore. We were excited to share in her news, especially after praying with her.6.2.27This is what one of my dear sisters in Christ reminded me… because I am sharing with them in prayer my burdens, they will be able to rejoice with me in what I so easily think is trivial to others but is every bit huge to me and my health.

Just as they rejoiced with me over hearing my stepdad’s complete lung work up and blood work came back good while they have been helping me pray as the doctors work to find the cause of Bobby’s already terrible lung health to be even worse lately. His lung specialist still thinks it’s Bobby’s CPAP issues. So the ladies continue to help me to pray for him. 

And when he sent messages to “thank the girls” and let them know he is praying for them too, the ladies would send the same messages back to him.

As for my health… my lymphedema and lipedema are flaring up the most… along with the things my doctors are already trying to help me with. Sometimes there are great and effective treatments for one health issue but is either hindered by another,  or actually causes more problems that actually render the original problem tolerable. Sometimes I simply have to deal with both. I am trying to use the wraps as much as possible, but my spinal damage is making things so challenging. My positive is to know at least this time I have had a lot of help in my physical therapists whereas last time, I had no help so it was the bandages right off.6.2.10

On top of that prayer need, I have received a Jury Duty Summons6.2.9

I do not know how my Jury Duty Summons will play into the wraps and needing to elevate my legs, but I know that God is well aware of my needs, and am blessed to have friends who will pray with me.

I miss the ladies bible study!
I don’t know if I’ll be able to attend when Nicki comes to Keitha’s church.
But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know He watches me… and them. 😉

 

 

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 6 of 6

RLLBS.2019.19What a beautiful and hypnotic day You gave on this day that would be our last night of the ladies bible study we have been doing for the last 6 weeks.

Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
Written by Nicki Koziarz.

Our last week is
Truth Six: Let the success of others encourage you not discourage you.IMG_20190324_153610And the supporting verse to combat this comparison is 2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
How incredibly wise we would be to realize it is so futile and foolish to compare ourselves to those who are commending themselves. We should be more concerned with what You testify of us.

I was blessed with time to arrive early, and I was looking forward to some time to do some of my puzzle book. However, Your warm sun, Your bright day, and Your gentle breeze continuously playing with my hair was far too much for me! 😉 I was out like a light with those windows down, and it felt so nice.

It would be a nightmare ( or I guess daymare) that would wake me up. I found myself saying so frantically, “OH NO!” I quickly checked the time and figured I better go in before I fall asleep again. Marilyn was walking the parking lot, and happened to be near my left window. She playfully said she thought she was going to have to wake me up.

On the way in, I got to say hey and get a Keitha hug. Then I went to get my badge,6.2

my prayer card for my new request, my ticket for door prizes,6.4and then found my seat at the table.

I was wearing my Ready Wraps on my calves. It had been a rough day at PT. The Lord blessed me with determined and caring physical therapists, but the compression equipment we attempted to use on my legs just wasn’t working. It’s not designed for lymphedema patients, and my lymphedema specialist says I’m a very small case. I can’t tell You how long it has been since I was called small.

We’re trying to use my Ready Wraps at home to prevent having to use the more extreme measures like a year and a half ago (pictured above). With all all of this strenuous and exhausting physical day, my soul is ready for a fresh drink at the well of living water.

I am actually more saddened about it being our last night of Rachel and Leah. I had made connections this time from trusting You in being more open and more honest. It feels like I have done nothing but whine about my health, yet my sisters in Christ are so loving and supportive to call it sharing, and assuring me of their prayers. I can definitely tell You have had so many praying for me… in this study… in the blogging community… among church family… and so many others. Thank You, Lord!

Ellen comes to sit on my left and we begin to fellowship, then Latricia on my right. These have been two of the dear friends You have blessed me with. At one point Keitha brings me my badge! :O In getting the picture for my blogging family, I forgot to put the badge ON! 😉

We begin discussions as we do door prizes and snacks. Keitha lets us know she has exciting news to tells us. Nicki Koziarz (the author of this study) will be visiting Keitha’s church in June! They are all so excited. It is pretty cool at the idea of meeting the person we’ve been watching on the videos. Especially since she was sharing with us in the videos that her mom was in the process of passing while we were studying. By this last night, she had let us know her mom passed. Unfortunately, many of us had gone through the same misfortune, and some are in the process of it still coming to pass.

How timely, that You would have this happen in her life about the same time Rachel would be passing in the material. We’re all left to wonder our own opinions on how Rachel’s passing affected everyone. But we all can come to the same conclusion… life is not always fair. Honestly it’s just a reminder to never expect life to be fair. Instead, we are to be thankful for everything and everyone, and every second we have with them.

Last week our theme was Her Gain Is Not Your Loss and the verse was Romans 12:15
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”  It seems so odd this week to be focusing on comparison when it feels like it’s also all about loss. You know what You’re doing, Lord. Isn’t that when we most judge and compare?? At funerals??

We also got news on our Nickey from our group who is fighting metastatic breast cancer. It’s not good, not good at all. Yet Nickey is determined to hang on to her faith regardless. Only You know, Lord, what Your plans for her are. It is our job to keep praying and having faith with her.

All of this comes at a time when our family will be reminded of so much loss. So many birthdays of loved ones gone home with You. And Mom and Gran’s birthdays both fall on Easter this year. The 24th will remind us of my granddad being gone. The end of the month will remind is of not having my baby brother anymore. He was 10 months younger than me, but was killed at 37 years old. And we have more than one friend signed into hospice who could pass before Easter does.

It’s amazing how many aspects of our lives are so deeply affected by comparison. It is a battle with our self, and the world we must live in and deal with, trusting our struggles will strengthen us. You strengthen us, even when we don’t feel like it or believe it. You carry us in our weaknesses. You are our strength.

We did the video and our prayer groups. Latricia and Marilyn were so sweet and patient enough to wait for me to return from the restroom to start. That was so touching. We did pray for our requests, and Marilyn even had a praise for her friend Etiska whose tests showed she did not have cancer after all! We kept our own prayer cards.

I then was able to get that Sprig of Joy fundraising can Keitha had mentioned before. (Having to wait for device to charge to get pic for the blog). There were many things I have forgotten or cannot remember well enough to mention… like our snacks… other announcements… and lots of deep discussion on our material.

I will miss the daily prayer and devotion, but I am still working on copying the bible by hand. I just went into 1 Samuel this week.

And, Lord, don’t let me forget about YOUR loss… or so it seemed like. YOUR pain was real in watching Your Son suffer. YOUR circumstances were not trivial. There was a reason. And for Rachel’s sake, for Nikki’s mom’s sake, and my mom, and grandmother, my granddad, my brother, and so many more, I am grateful.

We are grateful You’re agony conquered death. You’re pain conquered comparison. Your identity conquered ours. Your obedience conquered our disobedience. We’re sorry, Jesus. We dismiss or carelessly overlook Your suffering, Father, in watching what was happening to Your Son. How many times have we agonzied in watching our child suffer the loss of their innocence over something they did not do. How it must pain You to see it. May we never forget Your sacrifice.

Lately, I pray over these campers.6.6Help them to raise their funds, and have a blessed time.

 

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 5 of 6 (Follow Up)

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Whew! Lord, am I so glad You are in my camp! Thank You! Some days it seems this exhaustion just gets worse, and that’s with me doing nothing but sleeping as much as I can! I am especially glad You were with me this week as the doctors are trying to help Bobby with his struggling to breathe. Unexpected appointments, quickly carrying equipment back and forth, having to run back to the car so many times because it was so warm I left my jacket in the car, but everything is my jacket because I just can’t carry everything, so I leave my purse in the car.

A lot of those places Bobby was waiting in the car during my appointments or getting something they say he needs, but it’s so hot he got out of the car. Honestly, I usually have to go find him if he did not go in with me somewhere with me to begin with. I typically find him leaving smiles on faces on those who are so patiently allowing him to wait in their lobbies. They love that he’s 85… short… and so friendly. I always hear the words… cute… and sweet.

How does any of this have to do with the study from this week… Her Gain Is Not Your Loss? You know, Lord? This is far from a rant or complaining. It’s every bit of praise to You! I know we still have the rest of the week to go, but that’s why You’ve been giving me so much sleep! I have no idea why I’m waking up as though I could go right back to sleep for a couple of years, even when I sleep night and day, but I surely love the peaceful feeling it gives. I am so numb, and in a fog. Sometimes it keeps me from stressing because I cannot remember anything other than that very second, and all I can feel is… whew… so grateful to have got what felt like 3 or 4 moments of sleep (that was 6, 10, or 12 hours)… or whew… feeling so tired I wished I could just lay back down and sleep my life away.

IMG_20190408_081103I will admit one thing I have tried to avoid bringing into this study is the battle that seems to go on between me and my sister. I figured because I did not compare myself to her, nor envy her, not begrudge, her, that I really didn’t see my need for this study. I love my sister. Unfortunately she does want to argue with me, accuse me, turn everything into a competition, and hates for me to have confidence because she believes I am saying I think I am better than she is. I was convinced mentioning anything would be me speaking ill of my sister. But this week really showed me something about comparison… and me.

My sister struggles to rejoice with me because she feels like it means something towards her. And if she sees my tears, she is either quickly cruel to say things like “You’re not actually crying are you?” or she will leave the room or make some kind of get away with the clear intention that I watch her do it. She has told me all of these things and more. This has happened for so long along with me trying so hard to figure out why or how I send these messages to her. I try so hard to get into her head to avoid this, that I unknowingly start to compare myself… thinking less of myself.

IMG_20190408_081143Day One: Facing Insecurity
Facing insecurity is a great way to describe comparison because even if I do not think I am better than someone else, God, You don’t want me thinking less of who You made me to be. I am not suppose to allow my mind to doubt, and worry, and take blame where there is no need for it. If I am saying something needs change or I am not good enough that is a silent form of pity and not accepting who I am in You. I may not mean to, I may even be pushed into it, but only You can say I belong wherever I am, know exactly what trials You do or do not want to walk me through, and why You need… want my confidence… in YOU!

IMG_20190408_081229Day Two: Desperate Desires:
Lord, while I wrote You a note in the book about being glad You allowed me to finally come home, when I read those two words… desperate desires... how can I not think of my health. And when I read that instruction You gave to “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you,” I can’t help but think of yesteryears when my desperate desires were to go home… night after night. While I never thought it would happen, You answered those prayers. I know You hear my prayers now, and are teaching me to accept and live my new normal, trusting the one who designed it.

 

IMG_20190408_093058Day Three: Leaving Laban
How many times in my life have You led me away from Laban, and Laban being my family too. It’s hard leaving people you love and are supposed to be able to live together in trust and helping one another… rejoice as they rejoice, and weep as they weep. I remember how hard that was to do with a little one, and several times through his childhood, up through college… all to follow You, and live as You teach. It’s amazing how six people can grow through life together under the same roof (most of the time) while living six different lives, but that was us.

IMG_20190408_081556Day Four: Comparison’s High Cost
You are absolutely wise to warn of the high cost of comparison because that is exactly what it does. It costs us the relationships with those we are comparing ourselves to, even if the only one we are comparing to or about is our self. Laban comparing himself to Jacob cost him the relationship he first enjoyed with him, and it cost him his daughters, and all of his family. Rachel and Leah paid the high cost of not being able to rejoice in the birth of each other’s children, and robbed them of the ability to console one another on loss. It cost them a relationship as a sister to the other. The comparison my sister insists on, and my comparison to lessen and blame myself continues to cost us and our family. And it’s so sad because we really need each other, just as Rachel and Leah needed each other. But You knew it would not be their path. Sometimes the only way we avoid the cost of a relationship with You is in abandonment of all and who we know, or be abandoned by them.

IMG_20190408_082725Day Five: You Be You
There was another pop quiz at the end. Sometime these tests are hard to answer because it forces to choose answers that are KIND of what you would say. For example question one was answered by what usually happens. When a bunch of strangers get together (especially with kids) it is one loud activity that usually comes in the form of questions… Do you go here? How long have you been here? Which one’s yours? Question two would not be about coffee because I don’t even like coffee. Yuck! 

IMG_20190408_082810Question three was answered with fear of not knowing where we’re going, and being used to being the one who gets the directions and visits through Google earth before our family goes anywhere. Question four I would actually sit anywhere, including the front. I actually prefer it. I can see and hear better, and am less distracted from“comparing everything and everyone.” I am too busy praying for those singing and preaching. That takes a lot of faith. Question five is pretty much the same as three, trying to combat fear of the unknown.

IMG_20190408_082841Results:
I came out tying with Mostly 2s, You’re excited about unseen work.
Ironically, thought the tests are opposite of how I think I answered, the result is right in that I am excited about unseen work. How crazy is that to be afraid of people, yet loving working in their lives… wanting them to know God loves them?

The other I tied with was Mostly 5s, You’re excited about new relationships.
How crazy is that!! It’s so true, yet I am always so afraid of people! I want to love them as God says. I so want them to know God’s love and have their own personal relationship with Him, but I can literally be so terrified of people. Even the ladies of this study, as much as I love them as dear sisters in Christ. Yet God says that’s excitement for new relationships??

This study is coming to an end, but its affect and teaching will still be going on for as long as God sees fit. And that’s a good thing. He always is! ❤

The key thing He has taught me is that
comparison is a battle with self.
If I fix my mind on Him,
I will dwell less on me.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”

– Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.”
– Isaiah 26:3 KJV

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 5 of 6

RLLBS.2019.18Week 5, Lord! Only one more night after tonight. 😦 Thanks for letting me make it! I’m not quite as rested as last week, but I’m not as quite exhausted as I have been either. img_20190408_081103.jpgTruth Five (aka Week 5): Her Gain Is Not Your Loss
Verse for Week: Romans 12:15
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”

Making it in I got my badge, a prayer card for my request this week
(I asked prayer for my doctor who will be referring me to a new neurologist),
and my door prize ticket.
IMG_20190408_084514No prize this week, but I’m still BLESSED You allowed me to find my ticket for a picture. I have such a tendency of losing it within seconds, even if I just go straight to the table. By the time I get my camera (or phone this time), I lose it. More often, without ever finding! Praise Your Holy name I found I was sitting on it, and got the pic! 🙂 Thank you!

Here’s a picture of the BLESSED Rae Dunn cup You allowed me to win last week since my frequency of winning is extremely low. It honestly doesn’t bother me. Of course I love surprises like anyone else, but I love seeing others win too and celebrating with them!
(hey… Lord, That goes with our message and verse this week! 🙂 IMG_20190330_140458I also love saving the ticket to get my blogger friends a pic too! 🙂

We had a blessed time in fellowship, even if our numbers are dwindling. Maybe that’s why I was more comfortable talking so much this week. I was so open and honest about my health comparison so much more that after I got in the car I kept telling myself “You shouldn’t have talked so much!” But, Lord, I am just trusting Your leading, and the dear friends You have given me in these precious ladies in the study with me. They share so much with me too.

It’s hard to put your heart out there about things that have already hurt you just to have happened or be happening. It makes it so much harder when that pain is treated like whining or a waste of breath.

We had snacks while we discussed how our week and gone from Truth Five: Her Gain Is Not Your Loss We had so much laughter in discussing different details regarding Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, Bilhah, and Laban. Of course we have been discussing Your word with reverence and sincerity, Lord. But it was such a blessing to laugh about those questions and thoughts we are all asking, but usually cannot when around the guys, the children, and those who would take it as gossiping. It was actually the laughter and sharing those questions that shed a better light of understanding, and compassion… in them… and ourselves. Thank You for allowing me to take part.

Keitha let us know her church is having a
Good Friday Walk ThruIMG_20190408_083542Front of card (top photo), back of card (bottom of photo)

and Easter Egg Hunt.IMG_20190408_083000We each took some business cards and fliers to share with others.

 We then went into the auditorium and watched Nikki’s video. We then discussed a little bit on the last theme we will have next week Let The Success of Others Encourage You Not Discourage You, and how it was comparison that led to an obsession  for both sisters to think that any gain for one was a loss for the other, and that a loss was actually a victory. Laban made this same comparison with Jacob, and was afraid to let Jacob leave with all he had gained. These sisters could not rejoice for one another because of the same greed and manipulation they had learned from the father. We too can do the same thing. We need to Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15

Keitha then said a prayer out loud for all of us, and then we broke up into smaller groups to exchange our prayer cards and take turns praying quietly aloud in our group.
(Did anyone catch that cool oxymoron, Lord? 😉 )IMG_20190408_081032Sadly, the card I received has 2 more ladies (Caitlyn and Tara) with breast cancer. Some may or may not remember (or have not read) that our class is praying for one of our own ladies (39 yr old Nikki, not the author of the study) fighting a pretty rough battle with metastatic breast cancer. According to this card Caitlin is in her late 20s.

It was such a blessing to fellowship with the ladies… to laugh… to pray… to participate in the answers for the leader You gave us (Me and God love you, Keitha! ❤ ), and to actually share a little of me with them, as they have shared so much of themselves with me. It may not be the answers that first come to mind, nor those things that must stay between me and You to the grave, but my health is a genuine comparison issue for me. And as I know these ladies and each person who may read this knows in their own secrets that will go with them to the grave, when You, my dear Lord and Savior, bring them out… it will surely be time to deal with them then and You will show us how. There will be no more hiding those secrets.

Oh and thank You, Lord, for helping me to answer another prayer given to You during this study. I was able to stop by Walmart and get the battery to Anthoni’s Kia key fob changed out. (pic 1 and 2 below). Praise Your Holy name it was as simple as buying a small pack of batteries and changing it myself. Thank You for the girl in the jewelry department for showing me the info and demo. Thank You for not having to go to a dealership or anything expensive. I’m still praying about the Explorer keys.

pic 3– Oh and I got a new puzzle book! Thank YOU!!
pic 4 – Also while checking out, I met a lady who had no shame in sharing You!. She actually turned to me and apologized (with enthusiasm) for holding up the line, but gladly explained that she was giving You glory! Of course I told her she was just fine! And praised You with her! (And I prayed for the rest of the line too). Tameika had a darling little girl with just as much life. Tameika then gave me her number because she is opening a restaurant or something to do with food.  She had a sale the next day. I missed the sale, but will be calling her back to see if she still needs me to pass along word about her business. Maybe even just drop by for a bite some time. 😉 At the least I met a new sister in Christ… make that 2. 🙂

 

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 4 of 6 (Follow Up)

IMG_20190324_153406What a challenge Week Four has been, Lord, with this study.
But one worth taking no matter what!
Thank You for bringing me along! ❤

IMG_20190330_134706Truth Four:
You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
.
That’s a powerful statement.

From the moment I left the study and went to our familiar “quiet”place, I was completely… stuck! Completely in another world. It felt like there was this looming cloud following me, ready to burst this shower of love all over me, but I couldn’t see or feel past this gripping fear of familiar darkness that always causes me to feel like I’m struggling to breathe.

I knew this statement was regarding Leah and Rachel, and Jacob. And we were to consider them, as well as the handmaids. But we were also to consider the comparison from a personal point of view. That hit way too close to home, as all of the studies have done since the one we did written by Lisa Harper on Job. Lord, You have been dealing so closely with me, but I do not know what to do with it. You and I both know there are some things that can never be told. Some have already been confessed, as a part of my testimony. But we all have things that must go to the grave with us. To deal with such personal things on an emotional level! Personal pain open to others! 

Physical pain itself has been a lifelong distraction from the emotional pain. I grew up being told we all need to avoid being so emotional. I have been told by numerous professionals and tests that I am a rationalist. My family and friends have always been annoyed with how I am always safety minded.

Now our world says we need to open up. You brought me out from the world, and taught me how to follow You! No one else! No other belief! Your Word! Your Will! Your Way! Yet You have personally been bringing such deep and painful things forth to deal with, to share, and to heal. Yet You also know I am at a loss on HOW, WHAT, WHY. The only thing I have a clue on is Your constant encouragement through those who comment on how my writing/poetry helps them, encourages them, especially the raw truth, the honest, and most of all my constant love for You DESPITE all that has been.

I can easily see why I love You so much. I can easily remember what You have brought me through. But I thought we were at a point where it was all about telling them You love them too! I don’t know how to go any deeper. And quite frankly, I am scared too. Being told something like I didn’t do anything wrong feels so foreign. It’s like when I experience someone’s kindness to me, especially when I did nothing to earn it. I try to figure out why. And it blows my mind that it was just because.

SO anyway… before I take up any more space on this follow up.

Day One was Soul Dysfunction
My daily morning prayer to you, ” Lord, help me not to cling to anyone or anything so much that I would let it determine the worth of my life. Let me put nothing above You. Help me to trust You in all things, including my disappointments. Open my eyes to any secret sins, and help me to rely on Your strength. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Day Two was There’s A Winner
My daily morning prayer to you, “Lord, help me discern between when I am to wrestle, and when I am to rest in You and trust You are wrestling for me. Help me not to be carelessly high minded in my own self wisdom. Help me not to judge others. And help me to celebrate with those who have cause to celebrate what You have done or allowed. Help me not to get caught up in the war of comparison. It is an ugly battle with ourselves.”

Day Three was The Overthinkers
My daily morning prayer to You, “Lord, I am broken for Leah, yet disappointed in her too. Of all things, she had 4 pure blooded sons with Jacob. And they would always be Jacob’s blood sons and always older than any children Rachel or any maids had with him. Jealousy brought two more women into the bedroom, and into Jacob’ bed.”

Day Four was Manipulation Mandrakes
My daily morning prayer to You. “Lord, help me to not have a manipulating spirit. Help me to be honest, fair, and loving. Help me to remember that though the wrong seems oft so strong, You are the ruler yet. This Is My Father’s World. <3

Day Five was You Be You
Another one of those quizzes.
I was MOSTLY 3s… More Than A Conqueror
“Life is challenging, but you are a steadfast fighter. Keep showing up for battle and putting on the armour of God. You know how the story ends! God’s got this!”

I get to praise You too, for the answered prayer of trying to finding Anthoni’s spare key to his car.Yay it was in the bigger coat pocket. Thank You, God!0404190525

I finished my antibiotic for a sinus infection. Less Meds!IMG_20190330_140903

I finish with a song to Thank You for all You do! ❤

Though Your love I have learned I didn’t do anything wrong

When I had tailbone injuries at 3, 10, and 12.
When I woke up unable to walk at 12.
When evil forced itself on a 3 yr old.
When evil turned from a moment to years.
When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 22.
When my leg popped and never completely popped back in.
When I was riding in a vehicle that hit a telephone pole.
When I was riding in a vehicle that slammed into another.
When I was riding in a car that slammed our heads into a rock wall.
When I was tricked into to foster care at 9.
When I trusted authority figures.
When my wrist was crushed at 9.
When my other wrist was jammed at 9.
When no was not taken for an answer… too many times.
When screaming and fighting for my life served no purpose.
When I gave my heart, soul, and life to You! ❤
When I trusted You in continuing to trust people can be good.
When I Turned My Eyes Upon Jesus and looked full in His wonderful face! ❤
When I finally told someone about the sexual abuse just shy of 18.
When I was pushed to the floor and my T1 area rammed into the back of my head.
When I was baptized at 8.
When I kept trying to find a counselor I could trust.
When I refused to have an abortion at 18.
When I took care of my dying mother…
even when doctors warned my health would permanently pay for it.
When I was diagnosed with Lymphedema and Lipedema.
When I went to church even as a single mom.
When I gave up ALL relationships that come between You and me, Lord.
When I gave up ALL friendships that come between You and me, Lord.
When I entered into the best relationship I have ever had in my life with You!
When I wrote this long list of things Satan and the world has tried to convict me of, or continues to try to convict me of, and despite worrying it might be too long, it’s not near long enough, and some things are to remain between You and I!
You understand, God! How grateful I am.

Help me to remember Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”

and 1 John 3:20
“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart,
and knoweth all things.”

 

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 4 of 6

RLLBS.2019.17Oh my loving Lord! How beautiful You are to give such sweet rest… contentment… ease… when we are truly and genuinely refreshed… in our body… in our mind… in our spirit… in You! This is what You allowed me to feel this ladies bible study night! My week would be just as much a challenging week as the others, even in being exhausted. But for this night… for this study… I was very relaxed… extremely refreshed… and absolutely 100% present. Praise Your Holy name! It was so nice! ❤

IMG_20190324_153420Truth Four (aka Week 4) was You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong.
The verse to combat feeling like we did something wrong was Proverbs 16:9
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

I arrived in time to get grab my badge, a door prize ticket, and a blank card for my new prayer request. Walking toward the table, I just sat in the nearest corner. I would eventually be delighted with Ellen at my left. We enjoyed such sweet fellowship. I enjoyed sharing notes on our week. I was also so glad to see Keitha back!! 🙂 Beth had been a blessing!  But I am so thankful You brough Keitha back to us! It was nice to see her lively smile and get a Keitha hug! ❤

As we ate our snacks, Keitha told us about her convention she spoke at. There was so much good fellowship and laughter. A great deal of it being on the very subject of Comparison between the bible characters we were studying… Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Laban, Zilpah, and Bilhah. It is the most incredible thing to sit down with people who think and live just like me as we study these bible characters we have long heard of, and their horrible situations. Comments that no one else will hear us say, and familiar ways of saying the same old thing. “And he was 80! Ugh!”

IMG_20190330_134332We were given some information on different things we were considering helping out. I don’t have a Sprig can or I would share a picture, but I am checking the pantry for any of the items mentioned above on the Every Child Initiative.

Oh and the door prize tickets that we get each week, Lord?? IMG_20190330_140433

Thank You for letting me hear my number!
I was so delightfully surprised with a cup!IMG_20190330_140413

I am so BLESSED in You!IMG_20190330_140458

Now I finally see what Rae Dunn looks like close up!
IMG_20190330_140546Keitha LOVES Rae Dunn products!
I know this may sound weird, but my cup felt SO SOFT!!
I know, right?? A cup… feeling SOFT. But it did! It does!
It’s awesome! Thank You, Lord! And it’s large! 🙂

IMG_20190330_134706After we went to watch the video, I was blown away with
Truth Four: You Didn’t Do Anything Wrong.
It came with the combating verse Proverbs 16:9:
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

I struggle to find the words to describe the sudden and heavy darkness that someone had suddenly shed a light on, and all I could do was freeze and go numb. Comfort wrestled with shame. Disgust wrestled gratitude. Numbness wrestled with feeling sick to my stomach. Holding my breath wrestled with strangled breath wanting a moment to finally let go and inhale a nice deep breath of fresh air of new life. I ended up having to go to the ladies room. My stomach was in such knots. And I felt so numb to life. So confused at what I was supposed to think… to feel.

IMG_20190330_135931When I got back, we were beginning discussions. Then Keitha said a prayer for us before we broke into small groups, exchanged prayer cards, and took turns praying in our small groups. My prayer cards now have me praying for jobs and employment issues, incomes, finances, health, pain, and friends with CA (Cancer). On my card this week, I asked for prayer regarding my stepdad Bobby’s breathing issues and over the tests results he would be getting back during the week.

I enjoy praying with and for others… individually, as a large group, in small groups, out loud, silently, and at home each day as I do my study. And when You lovingly lay them on my heart at random times. Bobby helps me pray to. And tells me he loves the ladies praying for him. That he loves them and is praying for them too.

I left the night with hugs from my sisters in Christ, laughs, and the most awesome conversations going on even as literally going out the door.

“He was 80! Ugh!”

“Well why did Rachel give her handmaid to Jacob for a wife?? Hello! That was just adding another wife when she was already jealous of Leah! That was another woman in his bed!”

“I was disappointed in Leah giving her handmaid! I mean she had FOUR PURE BLOODED SONS… who would ALWAYS be the oldest… having the birth right… and she knew her sister didn’t have her OWN son yet.”

“I feel sorry for the handmaids. Just given to someone they didn’t even want… to have children that wouldn’t even be theirs!”

“Who would name their children after farm animals?”

“And he was 80! Disgusting!”

Looking forward to seeing You next week, Father. I’m getting sad to know there are only 2 nights left, but I will be grateful for even those 2! I love You!

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 3 of 6 (Follow Up)

IMG_20190324_152647So here we made it through another week, Lord. I am so grateful You sent me through it with Truth Three: You Don’t Always Have to Be Okay with me because it really helped me get through my exhausting week.  Just to have the freedom to say that out loud… allow myself to be honest with myself, and the world… sure took a lot of unnecessary stress off of my already weary flesh.

IMG_20190324_152658 (2)I am grateful for what You gave us in 1 John 5:14  “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” But You know, Lord, I struggle with confidence because people always accuse me of trying to think I’m better than they are when I am trying to remain confident. I’m glad You allow me to hear “believe Me and what I tell You” when it comes to Your word.

IMG_20190324_160500I forgot to mention last week I was so tired I wore my pajama top that night, and the next day to appointments and therapy. I need some long sleeved shirts, especially if Your going to keep winter hanging around any longer. However, I was just too tired and wanted to make sure as soon as I got home, I could get right in the bed. I fell asleep in the chair… a common thing for me. I woke up in the night to get in the bed and under covers.

Lord, I know I spoke a lot about being so tired, but I did take from our lesson too. I do care about what happened regarding Leah, Rachel, and Jacob… and the handmaids. Comparing their circumstances does bring to light many of the principles You warn us of. But in looking at them with the intention of comparing our own circumstances can be so hard for me. Quite often I have to skip those things that first come to my mind and deal with my health issues instead.

Day One was It’ll Be Okay, Just Not Today.
My morning prayer to You was “Lord, help me to see Your sovereign hand over my life… health and all. Help me to trust You with my “not okay” days, to be able to express it when necessary, and with those who persecute me for not being what they want or need of me. Help me to pray for them.”

Day Two was This Is What It Feels Like.
My morning prayer, “Lord, this is what it feels like to start another day of the rest of what is left of my life? Help me to start each one grateful for the day You have given, that You are with me, and that at the end of the day nothing will have happened without You. Help me to trust You more and more, as I already do. I love You! <3″

Day Three was Her Three Sons
My morning prayer, “Lord, I don’t know where You’re taking me with this study, but if You have designed for me to find myself in the actual details of the study, lead me and help me. If it’s just about comparison and it’s still about my health, lead me. Whatever this is about between You and me, about my secret sins, even a lack of confidence, whatever it be, open my eyes, my mind, my heart, and lead me. No matter what. I love You!”

Day Four was But This Time
My morning prayer, “Good morning, Lord. Thank You for the day. I pray this day and everything in it (including Anthoni’s spare key)  into Your hands. I would pray for Leah, and Rachel, and Jacob, if it weren’t too late, but I do pray for those stuck in complicated situations like this, of any kind. I pray for Samson’s too. I love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Day Five was You Be You
It didn’t have a place to write a daily morning prayer to You, so whatever I prayed is not written down. It was however the quiz I shared. This one tested on how we view or use our Sundays.
I was Mostly 3s… Your Sunday style is: Refreshingly Rejuvenated.
Blankets, leggings, and Netflix – oh my! Whether you or sleeping or just enjoying some down time, Sunday is your time to unwind and rest.”
Well, praise Your Holy name. Isn’t that what You designed it for… a day of rest.
🙂 Thank You! And thank You for changing my Netflix to Pure Flix! ❤

IMG_20190324_153916I have so many things I need to catch up on. And it doesn’t help that I am always falling asleep while trying to do them. SO I consider it a gift from You to be able to rest.

IMG_20190324_161817To give my swollen feet much needed elevation.

IMG_20190324_160547And to do puzzles with or without listening to sermons or Your music.

IMG_20190324_153748And to reflect on the study You have give me for the week.

Thank You for all You have given me in just reminding me “You don’t always have to be okay.” A lot of times I made it this week on the strength of remembering to say “I’m not okay. And that’s okay.” Sometimes I felt like saying, “I’m not okay. And it’s NOT okay.” That is a whole other answered prayer in itself. I would say that is for another blog, but I will leave that to You.
Thank You for letting me trust You! Thank You for being trustworthy!
And thank You for pouring Your love out to me in the touching comments from my fellow bloggers… my God given friends from around the world. I pray for them, Lord! And thank You for the loving support from the ladies in the bible study... in the hugs, comments, and listening ear… and for whoever gets my prayer requests. I pray for them. And thank You for the love You show me through caring medical professionals. Especially those who have become such good friends. Thank You for their comments, hugs, advice, and the time to just sit and listen… and talk… to each other… sharing and learning from one another. I pray for them each one.
And thank You for my family! They are such a gift from You! Especially my son! There’s not enough space on WordPress to thank You for what family does! Bless them, Lord. I pray for them!
And dear Lord, where would we be without church family! I know where I was before I gained one… and two… and three… and a world full of brothers and sisters in Christ. There’s probably not enough space on WordPress for You to tell me what they do for me! But I thank You for all that You through them. The hugs, love, cards, advice, and most precious of all… sharing You! And a love for You! Invaluable!