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.
6.2.8

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

6.2.17

6.2.18

6.2.19

6.2.20

6.2.21.jpg

Scoring Your Survey
Here are the directions.
There are 16 areas of spiritual gifts listed.
6.2.22.jpg

6.2.23.jpg

Graphing Your Profile6.2.24

6.2.25

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.