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!

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 3 of 6

IMG_20190324_152647

The emblem pictures that I have been using for each week as the feature picture for our bible study has a misprint for week 3  as you can see below… it still has week Truth Two: See It Like It Really Is” written on it.RLLBS.2019.16

This could just be God reminding us to keep seeing it like it really is as He also reminds us of Truth Three: “You Don’t Always Have To Be Okay.”

IMG_20190324_152658 (2)

The verse for the week was 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.”

This was truly representative of my week, and the the whole study so far. Between so many tests, procedures, and therapies (all for my good), I am exhausted. And can you believe that I kept forgetting that I was fighting a sinus infection?? The good thing was it wasn’t one of those sinus infections where I was miserable in my sinuses and blowing like crazy, or being stuffed miserably. It was just a lot of continuous blood, scabbing inside, and occasionally very stuffed (as during one of my procedures.) I could not do an antibiotic during some procedures or they would be cancelled. I needed them too much to risk that. When I got the green light, I was put on a 10 day prescription. It took about 5 days for the scabbing to finally heal. Sometimes I still have blood, but I really believe it’s the scabbing coming off from using the vaseline inside.

I only tell you this because following God’s lead in these studies helped me to deal with them so much better, and they were very rough days. Some more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging than anything. I think of you my dear friends who struggle in many of your own chronic illnesses and nightmare procedures. Our dear Caz was so unfortunate to experience her visit she shared with us in her Mini Me Update: A&E Emergency Surgery. I hated having to see her suffer in her picture, but that was such a raw and honest cry of someone in pain and it seemed like the world didn’t care, was even cruel in their own way, or at least could do nothing to help her as much as they were trying.

I would think of her when my pain was so unbearable the tears I was trying to withhold in front of the techs doing my testing failed to stay inside. It helped me to remain silent despite the intense pain when I realized the techs WANTED my screams and cries. How cruel, yet I had to be appreciative, or at least still until they were through. I mean I was hooked up to their fun in causing torture. When they finally realized I was crying and quiet, they actually tried to cheer me (to comfort me) by telling me (with enthusiasm and great delight) how they had a young man curled up in the corner of the bed, afraid to let them touch him…. joyfully calling him a coward. I looked at her with great disgust and told her “How horrible! That must have been so painful for him!” I admit my tone was not as fitting as it should have been with the clear disgust intended, but it was filled with the devastation for that young man. And it will be voiced clear and properly on my feedback to the hospital!

I also thought of my dear friends Wendi of Simply Chronically Ill, Tasha of Pain Warrior Code, Caralyn of Beauty Beyond Bones, and so many more. I talk of a lot of you, and my precious blogging community as a whole. How blessed I am that God led me to such wonderful dear friends… family… around the world! And all from trusting His lead to start blogging… first to Him… then in trusting Him to open my settings to public. My reward… a world of love… literally. So I openly share with you that I am not okay lately... and that’s okay! My God says it is! And it’s okay to share it with you because He reminds me you may need it. I don’t worry about likes, views, and numbers. If you only knew how many of your posts I read without getting a chance to like, or comment. And I AM the one who was blessed by them.

Oh my.. I need to finish this post to make it to night 4 of 6… tonight! LOL

I forgot to mention a very important factor… Keitha was not there this week 😦 As many of you know she leads the bible study… with a huge heart for God, and her own lovely personality God gave her. She was speaking at a weekend convention. While I missed her hug, I was so glad for her and praying for her!!

She had Beth fill in, and one of the most amazing thing Beth did to make a point about comparison was a magazine she had in front of us. She counted how many pages were for ads compared to how many total pages were in the magazine. There were well OVER half the magazine…. most of them being skin care or something to do with catering to (or pushing the notion of) changing something about ourselves, implying we weren’t acceptable. I counted magazines everywhere I had an appointment this week… the same result!

 

  1. Picture one above is my poor badge after I accidentally left with it on week 2 and put it in my jacket pocket so I would not forget it. I smoothed it out a LITTLE bit, but the damage is done. Oh well. See Like It Really Is.. right?? To my poor badge, “You Don’t Always Have To Be Okay.” 😉
  2. Picture two was my prayer card to write my new prayer request on, and my ticket for door prizes. Let me tell you, God touched me so! I wrote my prayer request after thinking all week that Truth 3 was the same See It Like It Really Is,” and feeling like God just wanted me to accept that I wasn’t ok. That I was tired, to be honest and make others accept the same. So my prayer request was to help my spirit listen to the Holy Spirit’s whisper to rest and accept that I am not okay! Then I got to the room for the video and heard her talking about us accepting that we are not ok! How clear is God!! And so loving!!
  3. Picture 3 are all the prayer requests I have received so far. I pray for them each time I study. We are praying for a 39 yr old who was a part of our class but suddenly found she had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer… ironically her name is Nikki too. (not the author of the study, and I hope I spelled her name correctly.)

Here are more personal daily prayers we write for God. Again, there are 5 days, but for some reason only 3 of my pictures survived. Sorry. I’ll just thank God I have the 3! 🙂

 

I loved this quote below.
IMG_20190324_152804Faith does not mean that everything is going to turn out okay.
Faith means we trust God even when things aren’t going okay.

I thank God for the study, the ladies, my doctors, therapists, family, friends, church families, blogging family, and everything that God gives.

Dear friend, God loves you! He wants you to know too:
“You Don’t Always Have To Be Okay.”

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that,
if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
– 1 John 5:14

Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 2 of 6 (Follow Up)

RLLBS2019.2.1So I am finally posting the follow up to week 2 of 6 in the
Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
Written by Nicki Koziarz.RLLBS2019.2.3Truth Two (aka Week 2) was See It Like It Really Is
The verse was Proverbs 31:30. “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting,
but a woman who fear the Lord will be praised.” (NIV)

The King James Version read “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

I was able to do the homework designed to be done a little each day for 5 days. Each one beginning with a few lines to write your own daily prayer to God. I don’t know why I only have 4 pictures because I did each day. I can only use my little brother’s favorite excuse… “I’ve slept since then.” And I have… a lot! Yes, I am still dealing with exhaustion.

 

I actually enjoyed these little prayers so much that I missed them on days 6 & 7. I was blessed to get the homework that came along with it done too, but it sure did hit so personal each time. I was grateful my health was another strong issue so that I didn’t have to deal with the first answers that came to mind when asked questions. I felt like the chaotic mess mentioned on this page.RLLBS2019.2.6“You may also be living in a chaotic mess – a cycle of sin, a continual battle of comparison that seems to hold you captive and is threatening to define you. Know that the sovereign God has not abandoned you. His love has and will always be a CONSTANT in your life. He is working in your midst, guiding you, and wanting to empower you to break out of the chaos. You don’t have to live like this.”

There was a pretty cool chart that had 3 columns
1. When Comparison Makes Me Believe I Am…
2. I’ll Read…
3. And It Will Remind Me…

 

During discussions I told the ladies one of my answers for “When Comparison Makes Me Believe…” was Selfish, and that when I told my son Anthoni I was trying to think of a verse in the bible that would help me to combat feeling selfish, he reminded me of 1 John 3: 20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” I was so caught off guard when one of the ladies quickly said to me, “Well done, Momma!” God can use the most amazing ways to encourage us!

I loved filling out this list of telling God what I’m still longing for…RLLBS2019.2.11

– Heaven
– Him
– To never disappoint Him again
– To do all that He asks of me
– His presence
– His wisdom
– His leading

But I admit the one at the bottom of the page shamed me a little. I’m glad He searches our hearts and tries us. It is good to see any cleaning or reality check necessary.RLLBS2019.2.12

This was interesting too. I thought I’d share it with you, if you’re interested. Hope you can see it. I will post the answer page below.RLLBS2019.2.13

RLLBS2019.2.14I was MOSTLY 1s:
You tend to compare yourself to others in the realm of Physical Appearance.

This just confirms what I already said about wishing for the health I use to have, even more so when watching others.

So that was week 2 follow up. I forgot I was fighting a sinus infection too. But God helped me through, and I am grateful for all He gave! And I am grateful for all the health that I do have, and the medical help in maintaining that. I do not begrudge others their health. Quite often it encourages me to see what others can. Comparison can be a very cruel thing. Yet it can be a very helpful and healthy way of reminding us to give God all of His praise… even in that which we are unable to understand.

Jacob, Leah, Rachel and even the handmaids Zilpah and Bilhah were all in unfair situations that could not be undone. But the circumstances did not have to determine how they would choose to deal with things. It is only for God to judge each one of us stuck in our situations, while still stuck in our human flesh.

I pray for you in your circumstances and your personal feelings. More importantly, I pray for your relationship with God. Trust Him! He knows better than anyone the unfairness done to you, the things you cannot change, and the way you honestly feel about it. Believe it or not… God does love you!.

Though He Were A Son

“And he taketh with him Peter and James and John,
and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
And saith unto them,
My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death:
tarry ye here, and watch.”
– Mark 14:33-34 KJV

“Who in the days of his flesh,
when he had offered up prayers and supplications
with strong crying and tears
unto him that was able to save him from death,

and was heard in that he feared;
Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation
unto all them that obey him;
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
– Hebrews 5:7-10 KJV