Lord, This is meant to be a note to follow up for those You are allowing me to share the bible study You are currently allowing me to do. Rachel & Leah: What Two Sisters Teach Us About Combating Comparison. Written by Nicki Koziarz.
To follow the theme of Week One: You Need To Be Honest,
I need to be honest in saying I did not get a chance to even do my homework until the the last hour or two before night 2. I was pulled off in a parking lot and realized right off… Oh no, this was a daily homework thing. So I did the best I could. Look for questions and comments I could answer.
I made it back to the church and realized I didn’t even bring in a camera. Thank You for the picture from last week! At least I remembered to bring the Bloom book by Caralyn, and the Coloring Journal. I gave those to Keitha (an assignment from You that took months to achieve.) I sat down with the ladies just in time before we began.
While we were having snacks and sharing our discussion, it would be right near the last conversation that You gave me a very clear message from Keitha! She was talking about the verse we were using for the week…
Psalm 139:1 “Lord, you have searched me and known me.”
In the homework it had said to read verses 1-16 of the chapter, and advised reading the whole chapter. I have loved this chapter for so long, so of course I read it all. When Keitha started talking about God knowing our thoughts… ALL of them… and still loving us… and she said this with excitement and amazement… and a “Girlfriend!” added on….
THAT was the whole week for me right there!
I hadn’t even realized that was the lesson. Because while I did have the nerve block that wiped me and left me feeling so amazingly calm and good, and very tired, I also struggled with thoughts! All kinds of random thoughts of past abuse, childhood memories, the filth I lived, the filth I’ve seen, the cruelty among people, family problems, sibling fighting, and more. These questions in the study just from the 1st night had stirred a lot of this. And as much as I would pray to the Lord for forgiveness and help to resist these thoughts, especially to stop interfering with praying and getting things done, it seemed like a battle I was losing. The only determination I seemed to follow through on was getting something read before night 2!
And there it was… YOU KNEW MY THOUGHTS! AND LOVE ME ANYWAY! ❤
I felt You personally saying… “And that was YOUR lesson for the week.”
From there I sensed Your leading to do a follow up to what I learned in the week, but this week it is exactly what the theme was… I have to be honest and say I didn’t get it read until just before night 2. Which meant I did not get anything accomplished between the physical issues and my thoughts, but I DID learnMY lesson for the week.
YOU KNOW ME! YOU KNOW MY THOUGHTS! AND I AM STILL LOVED BY YOU! ❤
That’s what the verse had been all week… Lord, thou hast searched me and known me! – Psalm 139:1
When Keitha said, “That’s what it’s all about. He knows where we are, what we are going through, what’s coming at us, and the thoughts we can’t seem to get away from. Girlfriend, He even knows when it’s all our own doing. But He loves us!” You immediately brought to mind the song You have just recently introduced me to… Known by Tauren Wells.
If I just allow myself to be honest about whatever is coming between You and me, no matter how much I fear I shouldn’t have that problem if I have You, no matter how much I fear You will be disappointed, and I just don’t want to do anything to hurt You. But in being honest, I am trusting You with what You already know… ME! No matter what comes at me or I simply need to hand over to You, I need to trust You.
I want to trust You! I do trust You! I trust You like no one else!
Lastly, You give me Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
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.
I was excited from the moment Keitha announced it.
I 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)
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.
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.It 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.”
Nicki gave three main points to take with us through the week.1. 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. I 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.
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.In 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.
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…