Rachel & Leah Bible Study: Night 1 of 6

Father God, How delightful You are to me time and time again! Day after day! And this last Thursday (3.7.19), You poured such love and attention to my soul… a Ketiha Bible Study!!! 🙂

Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison.
Written by Nicki Koziarz. 
RLLBS2019.22I was excited from the moment Keitha announced it.

RLLBS.2019.20I am grateful You allowed me to sign up and make the first night.
After getting signed in, I found my badge.

got my book, was given my schedule, a poster of all of the images with the theme and verse for each week, and a ticket for door prizes.

It was so nice to say hey to Keitha and the ladies. It’s always so good to hear the busy hum of so many voices just talking away all over the room.  We were give a small piece of purple paper for any prayer requests we had.
(I mentioned my cervical nerve blocks coming up on Monday 3.11.19)RLLBS.2019.23

We were given a white index card to think on what we think You might be preparing to talk about with each of us individually as we spend the next few weeks studying Rachel & Leah, and the struggle of comparison. I think I dropped mine while leaving because I don’t have it to take a picture to share. 😦

We were given another but smaller piece of purple sticky note, but I missed why. I stuck it in the front of my book to keep up with it.RLLBS.2019.9

We went around the table doing introductions. We gave our names, our churches we attend, and how we came to hear about the study, as well as answered if there was anything we struggled with in comparing with others. Oh and of course all while having a bite with the snacks provided… taco chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, hamburger meat cooked taco style, grape tomatoes, (all in a little plastic bowl made a nice taco salad), water, and desert. My desert was some kind of foreign named banana bread that started with b. I can’t get remember if it was Belgium or Bovarin, but I know what starts with g… good! 🙂 With my spoonful of meat having a little bit of a bite itself, I was grateful for the bread to calm the heat.

After a little discussions on the background story of Rachel, Leah and Jacob, and a few personal testimonies on struggling with comparing, we gathered all our things and went into the sanctuary to watch the brief video on the study created by Nicki Koziarz.
I wasn’t familiar with her name, but she was nice and desired to keep it as focused on You and Your Holy word as much as possible.RLLBS.2019.14It was introduction week/week one and the theme for the night was
Truth One: You Need to Be Honest.
The supporting text was from Psalm 139:1
“Lord, you have searched me and known me.”RLLBS.2019.10

Nicki gave three main points to take with us through the week.RLLBS.2019.121. Just Go! Go and study Psalm 139:23 KJV
“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts” 

2. Wrestle with God (referring to Jacob’s wrestle with You).
3. Be honest. (Admit to the struggle of comparison)

She also suggested to Dismiss Denial and Embrace Transparency.
Lastly, she suggested memorizing Psalm 139:1
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.”
(I use King James Version to study and memorize. It helps.)

Afterwards, we discussed the video and the material. We were told to use our white index cards to write down what we thought You would be talking to us individually for through the study. She asked us to think on if it was the same as what we had thought on at first, and then told us to keep the card to compare as we grow. It may be that we change our thinking on it, or that it might not be anywhere near what we thought it was going to be.

As I said earlier, I think I dropped mine somewhere,  but I wrote that I struggle with comparison of my physical health. I don’t begrudge anyone good health, but I do miss being able to swim, bike, dance, run, and as of lately I had been walking better than I had in years. But now these new kind of headaches and recurring cervical issues sometimes feel like I am going backwards.  😦

But I pray, I do my therapy appointments, nerve blocks, and whatever my doctors tell me. I’m following You first. That way I know it’s You in whomever You bless me with.

We were then split into groups to switch prayer requests and pray. RLLBS.2019.6I was blessed to pray with Jerrie, Vicki, and Latricia. Between us, we prayed over finances, health, family, ministry, the ladies, the study, and Keitha. Keitha then said a prayer aloud for all the ladies and our prayers.

 Keitha then took a group picture, and dismissed us.RLLBS.2019.21

Just before I left, You blessed me with Keitha hugs ❤ , and three attempts at a picture with her.  🙂 Two attempts on my little smart phone that is so challenging trying to get a selfie of any kind because I have to turn the phone around and try to feel for the snap button… on a very sensitive touch screen. LOL

The first picture is actually pretty cool because is shows how easily and sincerely Keitha listens with her heart. That’s You in her face… in her heart. ❤
The second picture is awesome in showing her love for life. That’s still You… the life she loves to see through Your eyes! 🙂

Keitha was so very wise to ask someone else to take the picture for us.RLLBS.2019.5In the third picture, though I wish the picture would have gotten more of Keitha’s smiling face, I will absolutely praise Your Holy name for what You gave! And I will praise You that Keitha was very patient and merciful to try again. ❤

I thought long and hard on the way home. Like a lot of the other ladies, I first thought I don’t struggle with comparison because I don’t envy or begrudge anyone. But comparison is also about how we see ourselves. How we see ourselves determines our thinking regarding the image we are made… in You. It determines how we love our neighbors, regardless of the denial we hide behind.

Dying to self does not mean killing the life You have given us, nor beating up on the child that You died for in each of us. It doesn’t mean blowing off the value of a reputation because we compare having one to some popularity contest. Our character is just as valuable as our faith, our salvation, and the Creator we represent. Failing to fight for that character can unknowingly cause us to compare and compete for who can be the most unworthy. Fighting for our independence more than we fight for the responsibility to assemble together can rob us of fellowship, bearing one another’s burden, and putting Your kingdom above our petty pity parties.

We are to lift one another up. We are to cheer each other on. We are to ask for help when our war is raging fierce against our strength. We are not to compete, instead we are to love one another as ourselves. Not any more… on some pedestal. Not any less… wallering in ourselves. We are to love one another with the comfort that You have comforted us with. We are to love one another as You have loved us. We are not to drag the name of Christ (Your precious Son and our Savior) through the mud.

We need to be honest… with ourselves… and one another.RLLBS.2019.11

I eagerly look forward to next week, Lord. I pray You will allow me to come. I am so in love with all that You do in my life! Thank You for continuing this theme in the message that Pastor Tim gave Sunday morning using Psalm 37. Another reminder to keep our trust in You regardless of how much greener the grass seems on the other side, especially when it’s really our strength that is waning in the fight.

Pastor Tim told us…

When you feel like evil is coming at you,
getting ahead of you… and God,
even in their wrong doing.
..
read Psalm 37.

I am so glad I read it! ❤

Pastor Tim also said to remember…

David was a giant killer,
but even a giant killer needed God.

Lastly, I thank You for the song You have given with all of this… Building My Life by Pat Barrett.  I’ve fallen so in love with it because I have simply fallen even more in love with You! It is so fitting because we are to build our lives on You, not on the examples and things of others, and not on the skewed view in our own eyes. As the song says…

“Holy there is no one like You
There is none beside You
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me.”

Help me to build my life on You, Jesus! You are the man that we are to mark as the perfect example that lived the life we are striving for. And help me to remember that I am living the life that You gave me to live. I can not compare to Your perfection either, but I can absolutely put my trust in You!

“I can do all thing through Christ, who strengtheneth me.”
– Philippians 4:13 KJV

Lead me in Your love to those around You so I may tell them…

God loves you! ❤

 

Telling It Like It Is

I write hard and I write cold.
I tell it just the way it is.
You can criticize me all you want.
Your dislike is not necessarily His.
Just because you fear or appall
what I have to say,
doesn’t mean I’ll put my pen down,
nor turn and walk away.
If you don’t like it,
don’t read it.
If you hate what you read,
you don’t need it.
But someone somewhere
knows exactly how I feel,
and there’s a world full of people
who love my being real.
God is the one who made the ink
that flows from this pen,
and the message was very clear,
“This shall be in print.”
So as you read and judge my work,
remember I am a part of His.
His command to me is not just to write,
but to tell it like it is.

7-4-01 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
This was written several years ago because there were some people who were tired of me writing about God all of the time, and there were some Christian friends who thought I was a little “too honest” with my testimony. I write what God gives me.

Satisfied Hunger

The Lord delightfully surprised me in a way that might be trivial to share with you, but meant so much to me. For God to be so personal about it! I love how He keeps doing that, even with trivial things! He loves saying, “I’m thinking of you. Even the little things.”

I was taking my son to work by 4 am. After letting him off, I found myself hungry. I mean hungry people. Remember, I hate to chew, get bored with eating, and when I do eat I pick away at my food. But my medicines sometimes eat away at my insides. I was becoming sick, and getting sicker. But there was a new problem.

From midnight to 5 am, it’s hard to eat without being stuck with McDonald’s. They’re not the worst, but it’s only breakfast and SO greasy! Biscuits or griddles mean having to eat bread. I have a bread thing. Cook Out closed at 4 am. Denny’s closed down a few months back. IHOP and Huddle House are open all night on the weekend, but this was midweek. Only place left… Waffle House (aka Awful House). Ugh… the idea of grease… or breakfast!

My stomach kept getting sicker, so I decided Waffle House so I could eat something besides a burger. I did remembered a ham and cheese omelet years before. I was dreading the grease. I was hoping something was on the menu… spaghetti or something.

It was busy, loud, and cold! I had a light jacket on with short sleeves, and am normally hot. I was freezing, but hungry! The menu was all burgers, patty melts, and breakfast. I avoid ham because of my blood pressure. I was trying to avoid meat altogether. I literally pondered for about 30 minutes. They were so busy, only the cook noticed.

Kayla came to ask me what I wanted to drink. Yes, I did soda instead of water or hot chocolate. After talking about the foods, I went with the classic cheeseburger. It was a dollar burger size. No French fries at Waffle House! I was proud of them! But the only side was hash browns. I was so hungry I just yes! No to the sauce.

Wow! My burger was small and seemed grease free (I knew better). There were large pieces of juicy, crisp lettuce. Two pieces of thick fresh tomatoes… also juicy! The bread was small and light! Didn’t bother me a bit! The hash browns were good. I started with my burger but after one bite of those hash browns, I was eating away.

I realized I was eating and was tempted to think too much. I did not care! I was hungry! My burger and hash browns satisfied my hunger! I thought, “Everybody wants me to eat. I’m eating! And good!” I even ate pie! Oh. My. Word! I’ve not eaten pie in forever! Freddie the cook made it warm and delicious! The pecans were soft! I ate away from the crust, but I ate! I even drank half of my drink!

You think I feel guilty for those who believe I’m overweight because they think all I do is eat, and think I’ve been big all my life? Or because of the struggle TO eat because of hating to chew or thinking it’s boring to eat? No ma’am! No sir! God made my morning! He thought of me personally. My hunger was satisfied. My body felt great! Hydrated! Nourished! Thank you, God, for our time! We made 2 new friends… Kayla and Freddie.

30 Posts Challenge: Follow Up

30 Posts Truth Challenge BadgeHi Guys! Just wanted to share with all of you who came along my journey of posting 30 true aspects about myself that you may not know… the AWARD from our dearest Fatima aka Splendor In Embers! Praise the Lord for using her to challenge me… in many ways!! Wanting to encourage someone I love and care about blessed and encouraged me!

By opening up myself to sharing truths with others, we spoke on these things below:
1. Introducing myself
2. Me and God
3. Me and Writing
4. Me and Anthoni
5. Me and Foster Care, part 1
6. Me and Foster Care, part 2
7. Me and My Fireworks
8. Me and Anxiety, part 1
9. Me and Anxiety, part 2
10. Me and Anxiety, part 3
11. Me and Depression
12. Dying to Self
13. Friday the 13th (A Blessed Day)
14. Designed to Follow
15. How a Devo Becomes A Poem
16. The Devo Poem
17. “Crucify him! Crucify Him!”
18. I Mourn, I Grieve (Edited)
19. What Makes Me Happy
20. River Baptism
21. I Love to Sing Hymns
22. God Speaks, I Listen!
23. Bearing One Another’s Burdens (as a Prayer Warrior)
24. A Friend Loveth at All Times
25. I’m a Very Private Person
26. My Fear of God
27. Ripping Your Heart out
28. My 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience
29. One Last Aspect
30. Challenging You

Along this journey, the Lord used His whispers, His nudges, and His many resources for encouraging me! Lovely A and her Self Care Challenge was a part of those resources! There are others I can’t mention, but you know who you are. Thank You for letting God use you to help me “fly” within God’s gift of life. And what would I do without InnerManTheatre… my patient son for his feedback and tech support (and Anita!).

I praise Him for each of you who took to read  (while patiently waiting for me to learn my way), for reaffirming His whispers (with your likes and follows) to be meant for more than just myself. Your comments allowed God to fill my cup with blessings. And the Awards! So unexpected! All crowns to lay at His feet! God bless you, Lovely A!

My Dearest Fatima, How grateful I am to God for you! For your challenge! For your heart. Please know I am praying for you and your precious family as often as God allows. You’ve always been dear to our family! You ARE family! Thank you for my AWARD!

If you are interested about this Challenge, you might be delightfully surprised to know that you do not have to wait for someone to nominate you, as I have read some of you have for quite some time. You only have to accept and post. See for yourself her 3 rules posted here. Praying for each of you! God loves you! ❤

gaillovesgod

And…. here we go again. Attempting to do another blog. An attempt at putting together my testimony to leave behind… and share while I am here. Praying that my testimony praises my God for what he has done for me throughout my life, and continues to do now. I have attempted to do a couple of them before but never can find the page again, or as with Myspace… lost access when the space was exiled. I do still have my poetry page on Google with a brief testimony for when addressing someone with what it meant for Jesus to come into my life. It was even originally made to be public for anyone and everyone, as opposed to my private FB account, but eventually I made a little security to keep the ranters and haters out, but then made it to where no one can even comment because of family. I do have a separate poetry page as well in a private group on my FB called Gail’s Poetry, but I have to invite anyone. It’s really to keep from filling up the news feeds too much.

This blog is an attempt to more honest and open, as that has become my biggest hindrance… in writing… speaking… thinking… communicating… socializing… living. For the earliest part of my life through my early twenties I was always a VERY quiet person, kept to myself, not  speaking, but using one word to answer (literally if I could get away with it, and usually did), and spoke only the needed answer. That all changed in the early 1990’s. What happened, you ask? Life! It’s not like I didn’t have enough to talk about already. It’s just all of the tragedy and danger of my childhood always called for silence to survive, along with making no sign of emotion. If people could figure out my thoughts and feelings, they used them against me… to protect themselves and to gain more access to more power. In 1990, I discovered talking as a way to get through dangerous situations, and learned that it could keep people away. The more I escaped having to worry all the time, the more I awakened.

That’s right. Gail awakened. Life before that was just life. I would say it was about trying to survive, but I didn’t even know I was trying to survive. I didn’t even know I was in danger. Not only did I not realize that things that weren’t right were not normal, I didn’t even know I was here… literally. Death had been just as much an occupant in my life as people that I knew as family. That will make for a blog or two some time. For now, this is to get this page started. The hardest part is being honest. I have never wanted to shame my dad, my mom, or any of my family and friends. Telling my testimony, sharing what God has brought me through, even as a summary does that. With both of my parents  now deceased, my grandparents, brother, so many family and friends, I still do not wish to shame them, but I know that they will not have to take it personally or ask me to change my mind when they themselves encouraged me to write, to tell it like it really is, and to not be ashamed. They were ALL supportive of my writing and were so proud of me. That was the word they used.

But it will still be a struggle as nowadays I have family that gets so mad at ANYthing I say… literally. If I write a personal FB post, they get so upset. Also, the last time I attempted to “tell my testimony” as the churches so passionately preach, I was told it was too inappropriate for church. That it needed to be cleaned up. I don’t use foul language or anything like that, but sex has been a part of my life since I was 3 years old. That’s the earliest I can remember anyway. Yes it’s disgusting to mention a 3 year being molested, but how do you think the 3yr old felt… and wouldn’t you like to know the beautiful purity God has restored for her? So please pray for me. I do not wish to offend God or fellow believers. If it is my responsibility to give God all of His glory for my testimony, then He deserves every bit of truth. Every time these subjects have come up in life, those going through the same thing (nonbelievers at that) are always telling me they wished I would tell my story, that someone from the church needs to be honest. That there are so many people who will never see a church, and there are few people who will be honest about their testimony.

Lastly for this post, let me just that yes, I did notice my bad grammar, punctuation, and possibly misspelled words. But that’s just me. You wouldn’t know that I graduated from 2 colleges…. AB-Tech with an A.A. (Pre-Liberal Arts) Degree, and from Montreat with a B.A. (English Literature). What an insult to them, but this blog is about… my testimony is… gaillovesgod! Cause that’s what my life has ALWAYS been about. Yes God was the one doing the loving me until I had a chance to meet him, but that is what a relationship with Jesus is all about. We love Him because He first loved us.

So until next time… I leave this post to start. I don’t intend to add anyone right now unless they ASK to be added so that I can have time to figure out what I am going to do if those family members read. Eventually my testimony is meant to be public. And I have to tell the ugly so that God can get the glory for the restoration. There are so many people hurting and going through the same… or worse. They need to know someone loves them, and they need to know it’s God. They need to know that loving Him is NOT going to take the pains of life or the possibility… the LIKELIHOOD of more tragedy. But they can know that going through it with Jesus makes ALL the difference in the world. And the best part is that I can’t wait to get to the part of the testimony where I get to share what He gives me, bless me with, and so much more NOW… every day… just by being Himself!