Genesis 12-15

I know I skipped the beginning of Genesis. No excuses, I just started writing down my thoughts ūüôā So Genesis 12 through 15 is about Abraham (Abram at this time) and him moving away from his family and friends because God told him to. My question is this–would you do it?

I try to be a good Christian. I try to follow His plan and I try to ask His opinion about every big and little decision. But I have to be honest, I am not sure I would just pack up and leave. I mean, I live about 30 minutes from my family and friends. And that was by choice. I really appreciate my family when I see them I think the distance makes me enjoy them way more. But would I move like miles away? I guess if God asked, I would do it. But I wouldn’t be happy!

The other part of Genesis was about how Abram told Sarai to lie about being his wife. God punished Pharaoh for taking Sarai as one of his wives. Ok. So I get that Abram was worried about being killed for his wife. I am not sure how I would handle that situation so no judgement. But why doesn’t God punish him? Not only does God punish Pharaoh, but after giving him a stern “talking to” about it he gives Abram a bunch of stuff. I don’t know about you but in my world lying doesn’t get you rewarded!

One of the highlights of this passage for me was the side story about his nephew Lot. Lot loves his Uncle and chooses to uproot himself to go with him when he leaves his homeland. Lot becomes a successful person and has a lot of livestock and workers. When Lot and Abram’s workers start bickering and fighting over the land they were sharing, they decide to split up before it ruins their friendship. Abram decided. Ok, so maybe he isn’t just a jerk for making his wife lie. He felt so strongly about his nephew and their relationship that he sent him away. Just like God to put his faith in someone who has flaws but ultimately is a pretty great person. Kind of reminds me that even flawed, I am still chosen!


Now¬†the¬†LORD¬†said¬†to¬†Abram,¬†‚ÄúGo¬†from¬†your¬†country¬†and¬†your¬†kindred¬†and¬†your¬†father’s¬†house¬†to¬†the¬†land¬†that¬†I¬†
will show you. Genesis 12:1

Job

Let me start by saying that I found this to be long and redundant. I am sorry and I will read it again in the future and wonder what I was thinking but for today, it just felt like it was going on and on. Maybe I am too cut and dry about stuff but I feel like it could have been a shorter book of the Bible. That being said, there was actually a lot going on in this book.

I know that Job was the most righteous. I know that what happened to him was just unimaginable. I understand that Job never blamed God for his misfortunes and tragedy, which made him all the more righteous. And probably burned Satan’s butt as a happy side note!

I get that Job’s wife and friends all tried to blame God or Job himself for what happened and Job never faltered from his undeniable faith in God. Over and over he seemed to be blaming himself for some sin that he doesn’t realize he commited. He curses his even being born, with the thought I am assuming that none of the people who worked for him would have lost their lives and his children would not have been born so they would not have died either.

Isn’t it funny how the default thought is to blame God? How many people have you talked to who said they stopped going to church because they lost their family member or their close friend died in an accident so they just can’t believe in a God who would make bad things happen. The thing is, believing in God is also believing that your life is not your own but instead is a book written by God that you get to live out. And just like in a good book, there has to be some conflict and tragedy to make it worth reading. I don’t know about you, but when I am reading through a hard part of a book I am truly hoping that everything is going to work out in the end.

I have tried to live my life the same way. When conflict arises (and I feel like I have had my share of conflict, although not all in the same day and time like Job!) I TRY to remember to thank God. When I am feeling like it is hopeless, I remember other times in my life when I felt that way and how God brought me through them. Usually stronger and more prepared for the next challenge!

I am not saying that I don’t have days when I feel weak. Just last Sunday I had a day where all I could do was hide under the covers and cry because life was just too much for me. But even through all of that, I knew that God had me. I don’t smile and walk blindly through my life but I do have a peace in my heart because I know that I am not walking through this world alone.

I am not even close to as righteous as Job. I am pretty sure if God and Satan were talking about which one of his children Satan should test, my name would not be in the conversation. As a matter of fact, I would not even be a “but what about…no, she did ‘fill in the blank’ so she won’t do” thought! But what I do have in common with Job is the inability to place blame on the Lord. When you have faith, you just KNOW that everything that happens is bringing you one step closer to being the person God has in mind for you to be. Isn’t that everyone’s goal, Christian or not, to be the best version of yourself?!

Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. Job 21:21-22

Herman’s Head

Does anyone remember that show? A guy lived a normal life but we got to be a part of what his different brain parts thought and did in every day situations. It was cool how everything had to work together and how the different parts had to communicate and figure stuff out. Even on TV life is a team effort!

I have been having problems at work with just that. Some of us work together but there is always that one lone wolf who wants to go it alone. The thing is, though, this job (and most jobs!) are way more effective when everyone does what they are supposed to do and leaves the other stuff to the people who do that stuff. There is no I in team and all that.

I am getting so worked up and there is nothing I can do about it. I am pretty good at letting stuff I have no control over go but for whatever reason I can’t seem to do it. It is making my stomach hurt all the time and I feel awful. Something’s gotta give! So I figured I would occupy my head a little more so I have less time to stress out.

I am doing a bible plan to read the Bible as it actually happened for a year and I am going to start giving my commentary here. I learn something new everytime I read it and writing down my thoughts will be interesting to go back and read.

So, starting tomorrow I am on it. I am reading Job right now and I gotta say–stop whining already! I will get more into it tomorrow ūüôā

Hiding my light under a basket

Hi there! I was not planning on writing today but something happened that is threatening to send me into a spin. Jesus tells a parable about not lighting a lamp to cover it or put it under the bed but put it on a table so it can shine it’s light everywhere. Although not exactly what he meant, I feel like telling my story out loud is like putting that lamp out where it’s light will touch everyone around me. If I don’t talk about the grief or the anxiety when it hits me, it is akin to putting that light under a basket where I will know it is there but it won’t be seen and won’t be able to help anyone see the way.

My cousin sent me a Facebook invite to the annual Thanksgiving family Football game. It brought back memories of all the years previous with my Beloved and how much he looked forward to this tradition. I remembered when he threw a snow ball into the megaphone my Aunt was using to cheer her team (not his team!) during the first game he had participated in and how I was mortified and certain that no one would ever want me to bring him anywhere after that. Of course, everyone loved him and maybe even more because he stood up for his team even when he probably didn’t even know the names of the people he was playing with yet! I remembered how every year when we got the invitation he would say he wasn’t playing this year, he was too sore after last year’s game, blah blah blah. And then we would go and he would play. I remember that he never told me if his team won or lost, just about all the fun things that happened or how different people did stuff on the field. I remembered that last year he was barely walking and the idea of bringing him to this state park with its dirt road and grassy fields was too much to even plan. Even when Al was just getting to know us, he was a part of the family when it came to playing football. After crying on the couch, I responded to her invite with an enthusiastic “Can’t wait!” (Fake it till you make it, right?!) And I can’t wait for real. Even though every part of me wants to spend this holiday alone in my pjs, I don’t think that is what I am meant to do. My sister in law always tells me “Life is for the living, go live!

My Pastor talked about forgiveness in the last sermon and how it is truly for the person who is holding the grudge. I realized while he spoke that I am holding a grudge against Al for leaving me here to go through all this alone. I know it isn’t realistic to be mad at someone for something they couldn’t control, and I am sure if he could have Al would be here. Still, I need to be angry at someone so why not be mad at someone who can’t fight back or defend themselves, right? I wrote Al’s name on a piece of paper and put it at the foot of the cross. Symbolic but also part of my memory now. Whenever I start to feel that anger bubbling up I recall writing his name down and giving it to God to take away the feelings of hurt. Maybe it is simplistic, but that truly helps me to stop and thank God for the experience.

I am trying my hardest to be a light in the darkness for those who will go through this experience. It isn’t always easy (actually, it is almost always NOT easy!) but God gave me the power of a voice while Al was sick and I don’t think it was a tool he wanted me to use then and discard after!

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Nehamiah 8:10

The Highs and Lows

Day 16 talks about the highs and lows in my days. More specifically, being thankful for the highs and lows in every day life. It is easy to be thankful for the good stuff and ignore or even be mad at God when bad things happen (even “simple” things like a missed cab or getting cut off in the grocery store!). But just like all the other days, having a grateful heart revolves around being able to recognize and appreciate that sometimes bad things happen but they are all for the purpose of making you the person God knows you should be.

When my kids were little, we had a practice of starting each dinner by going around the table and talking about our days. Each person would say something bad that happened, something good that happened, and how they would make tomorrow better. They were not allowed to say anything insignificant or lame. I know that even small things can make a big impact in our day but truthfully, they were likely to say something just to have their turn be over. By making them pick something significant, I was making them really think about the responses before they gave them. The point in starting this tradition was not to instill a grateful heart inside them but rather to have an opening to let them tell me about their day without being a nag or without them saying “fine” when I asked how their day had been. Now that my daughters have children of their own, they have told me they wanted to have that same talk over the dinner table when the kids were old enough. They recognize that it was a good way to have a conversation with moody kids!

I would like to say that I practice gratitude in all parts of my life but I would be lying. I am grateful for the difficult stuff when I am writing in this blog but not in every day life. A new habit I need to get into is saying thank you when someone cuts me off at the grocery store. Maybe I will get back into the habit from long ago and tell God the good the bad and how tomorrow will be better!

Give thanks to our Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever. And say “Save us God of our salvation, gather us and rescue us from the nations so that we may give thanks to your holy name and rejoice in your praise.

1 Chronicles 16:34-35

Lucky Day 13

Hey there! Like I said in a previous post, I am returning to my 21 days of Gratitude Bible plan. I have completed the plan but it was kind of nice to dissect each day here. So without further ado…Day 13! (Que the applause…)

Day 13 is about focusing on the Lord instead of on the “stuff” of this world. The reflect asks what I catch myself focusing on; and whether there is anything in my focus that I need to lay down so I can shift my focus to my Creator. Hmm. This is a hard one because I don’t focus on either!

I am realizing that I don’t dig too deep into every day occurrences. I would like to think it is because I don’t want to cause any waves in my world. Ignorance is bliss and I can’t forget something once I have learned it. I used to be told that it was because I had a weak mind (whatever that means!) and so I tried to really pay attention and learn stuff about the world around me. It was exhausting!

When someone is mean or disrespectful, I usually just assume that something in their life is really bad because people of good. They just have bad seasons. I have never been a person who stresses about money. I have a job that I love and I make enough money to get by and save a little. I have not thought about how I wish I made more or what I could buy. I don’t look at other women and think I wish I had their…fill in the blanks. As unhealthy as it is to see nothing but flaws in yourself, it is equally bad to think you don’t have any! Don’t get me wrong, I know I have flaws. But I genuinely believe that my good qualities far exceed the bad ones. I am coming to realize that I have always known I was special, I just didn’t realize it was because I am a child of God!

I guess the one place I definitely turn my attention away from my Creator is when I start trying to write my story without waiting to see how it is going. More specifically, when I am thinking about who I will spend the rest of my life with. It will happen when God decides it will happen, but that doesn’t stop me from looking at every guy who steps in my path and wondering how to make them love me hahaha. I need to focus on the Lord and know that He will let me know when “the one” comes into my life.

My Pastor friend and his wife reminded me to just keep praying that God will open doors for me when it is the appropriate time. So keeping my focus on God instead of myself to solve this “problem” and I will have peace about it. He said that when he turned his attention to God, he was still lonely (of course) but all the stress in finding a wife left him. God took that from him and left him with the feeling that it would all work out. I have changed up my prayers and I do feel better already. Of course, I still ask myself when I meet someone new if this could be “the one.” Then I pray for God to lead me to the person I am meant to be with and if it is this person, let me know.

So that is it in a nutshell. Changing my focus to the Creator and knowing in my heart that my life is not my own and will work out the way it is meant to. Sounds easy, hopefully it is! It has only been a day and the ball of stress in my chest has loosened up. Focusing on God truly does take my mind off how I can make my life work in my way!

Philippians 2:16 “holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”

An attitude for gratitude…revisited?!

I finished the attitude for gratitude bible plan a while ago but stopped posting my reactions. I have decided to go back and continue the plan but with my reactions posted. I know that it isn’t going to help me with my dating dilemma but it will take my mind off things!

Today (and most days, actually!) I am going over in my mind about how I was SURE I would be dating like crazy when I was ready. The only reason I wasn’t was because I wasn’t ready–but when I was ready the world should watch out!

Except that is not how it works in the real world. In the real world, I am amazing and beautiful. But not unlike a really great book with an uninteresting cover, not everyone is going to remove the book from the shelf and discover the greatness within. I am not saying I have an uninteresting cover, but it isn’t for everyone! Add to that the fact that I am not “normal” when it comes to being intimate with someone and it isn’t going to happen because you spent a lot of money on dinner (!) and it is clear why I get put back on the shelf.

I am learning that many of the guys my age are looking for younger women. And the older guys are smart enough to see my greatness but I have emotional issues for not dating an older guy. I guess if I had to break it down into a simplistic theory I would say it is because I dated Al and married Al because I had planned on spending the 2nd part of my life with him instead of alone. It is stupid and ridiculous but I am scared of that happening again. I know that a younger guy can die just as likely as an older man but I have to work past it none the less!

God works in His own ways so my heart has been telling me to find myself. You can’t love someone else until you love yourself and all that cliche stuff. Except it is true. I am learning so much about myself, like that fact that I have tried so hard to keep the peace with everyone that I have never really learned how to take a stand for something I believe in. A good example is my job. I am considered an expert at work but I am so afraid of offending someone that I don’t always stand up for things I believe to be right. I made a pact with God and with myself that I would not do that anymore. The worst that could happen is I am wrong, and it isn’t a life or death situation or anything!

So…an attitude for gratitude is in order! Everything that happens is part of God’s plan and I need to be grateful. Like I said before, even when God’s plan is not comfortable or even GOOD for me I need to know that He has me and it will all work out as it is supposed to.