Monday, March 22, 2010

A Broken Life Becomes a Beautiful Life! Part 4


***NOTE: As I was completing the final stage of this Bible study, God spoke to me in the midst of my prayer. I was able to capture it and share it with all of you as the message is not only for you but those who read this blog. It is at the conclusion of this post! I've highlighted His words in Red!***

Today is week 4 of a 12 week Bible Study, I have felt call to lead from Shelia Walsh's book, "Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God." I guess I am a living example of this as you have walked this road with me over these last weeks.

We pick up today with, "A Broken Life Becomes a Beautiful Life".

There were many things in Anna's life that were disappointing. She lost her husband at a very early age, and she had no children. Much of what we know about Anna is by implication rather than direct knowledge. That she was allowed to occupy one of the temple apartments speaks volumes about her character. Her world was very much a male dominated one where women were expected to be silent and unobtrusive.

One of the key words that I see in Anna's life is focus. She didn't look back with regret but rather she looked forward with hope. That one thing along could change the way we live. Think of the wasted energy we expend on regret. Obviously, grief plays a very necessary part in our lives, but grief adds to the tragedy when we allow it to define us. When grief defines us we forego the opportunity to truly live again. Although Anna knew heartache and loss, she focused on hope.

When Paul wrote his first letter to the young Timothy he identified himself as, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope."(1:1). This is how Anna lived her life, waiting patiently for Christ who is our hope.

It wasn't just her past that harsh, for Anna lived under the cruel reign of Herod the Great. We know, too, that there was a lot of corruption in the priesthood. Just as today, when we struggle with those who disappoint us in government or the pulpit, we have to choose where to focus our attention. Where are you focusing your attention as you wait on God's promise to you?

Find

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. - Luke 2:36-38 MSG

Read Isaiah 40:25-31

25 "To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

What is the byproduct of waiting on the Lord? He will provide strength to those that are tired, and more power to those who are weak...if we but trust in the Lord.

Take a closer look at verse 31. In what area of your life do you need strength? What is God saying to you through this passage?

The area I need strength in, is to get through the physical pain that the pills are not providing relief from and not allowing me to rest as I should at night. God is saying to trust in Him, life these concerns up to Him, pray to Him, allow Him to help rather than seek help in a bottle.

What dream has God planted deep inside you? What prevents you from realizing that dream?

The dream I believe God has planted inside for me is to volunteer with hospice patients, to walk with them in those final moments and offer them God's comfort and hope in their final minutes. Right now, it's the physical pain that keeps me confined to my bed and preventing me from getting up.

Read the scripture passage above. How would you have felt if you had been in Anna's situation? I would have felt after 84 years that God had forgotten about me and that my dream of seeing the child in my lifetime wasn't going to happen.

Fill in the blanks in the statement that follows:

This stinks. I expected to be "doing so much more with my life at this point at 46 besides being in bed." I expected to have "been fulfilling God's purpose in being a better wife and mom." All the rules seem to be changing. I "am not doing what I wanted!"

What do you expect God to do about your situation? Please give me strength to endure the pain as long as it lasts and let me know here is where I need to be for now!

Based on what Anna did, what should you do in response to your situation? Draw closer to God more and wait on Him to reveal His purpose for my life in His timing.

Feel

Anna had every reason to feel hopeless and useless. Yet, she believed God's promise that she was valuable to him. How do you know you are valuable to God? How does that make you feel?

Because the Bible promises that God created me to be unique and needed to accomplish His will and glorify His life. My life is never wasted and each day matters to Him. It makes me feel very loved and special!

Anna prayed that the Messiah would come. For what are you praying and what do you expect to happen when that prayer is answered? I am praying for the pain to go away and never return. It showed up unexpectedly and without cause. I would expect that when God removes that pain my faith will receive a huge booster shot. People will also be blessed that have walked that long journey with me to also be restored; that answers to prayer aren't always easy, but they do come. It will also allow me to trust in my Heavenly Father to resolve my fears of being afraid of doctors and hospitals. I know God is always with me. He has endured this journey with me. He has carried me when I have fallen and refused to get up. He will help me reach the other side.

For what are you watching? How do you expect God to overwhelm your life? I am watching for an answer to my prayer. I've been asking God for a sign that this is my path and so far He hasn't failed me yet. To use others to bring me along with the same message of hope. I would really like to see Him do something amazing, no pain following surgery.

Follow:

What is the role of your ongoing relationship with God in regards to your personal and spiritual expectations? My role is understanding that I need to focus on today only and trust Him to handle the details and the rest that follows.

How do you discern God's guidance from your feelings or the advice of others? I do this by spending time really laying it all out there for God, humbly dropping all of my protective walls and exposing everything to Him and asking for His will not mine.

Complete the following statement: Because God said trust...I will be... strengthen and find rest to persevere forward.

Now write a prayer expressing your desire to wait for God's answer to your prayers. Use this prayer as part of your daily time with God and as an expression of your desire to live with God-honoring patience as you wait for him to reveal his plan to you.

Dear Glorious God,

As I was doing this study with you, I felt your presence here. I felt the warmth of you near me. I heard your words so clearly as you spoke...

Dearest Kathleen,

I know this journey has been so difficult for you, physically challenging and emotionally draining. I know how often you've tried to share your feelings with those around you and those who read your words everyday.

I know the difficulties you've faced in trying to smile through your pain and still reach out to those in need. I see you hide it from them but you've never been able to hide it from Me. I see your tears at night and wish so often you'd cry out to Me.

I know you think your prayer is always the same and that it won't help or that you've already tried but I want to hear your voice. I love to hear it. I love to hear you ask Me for help.

Even though this walk has been longer than you'd hoped it would be, I've been using this to reach out not only to you, but those you know what you are going through. People need to know prayer doesn't always answer what you want, when you want it to. Prayer is simply you talking to me like a child would to their Father.

Oh how I would want nothing more than to instantly heal you, but there would be no real lesson to be learned in that. Only a few lives would be changed and some of those would forget sooner than I would like.

I want to thank you for taking this walk with Me. I know you've fallen and wanted to give up, but you became encouraged and let Me help get you through this time.

I know when you see that mountain in front of you...you look at Me with a smile believing it's the last one and our path is almost there, only to find yet another mountain.

Yet, this time its different. The mountains are growing smaller so that they aren't mountains any longer but hills.

Our time for this pain is almost over, and you've endured well. You've taken others with you so you've learned it's OK to lean on others and ask for help.

You've learned much more about faith in prayers from my examples in Joseph and Esther. You've learned answers to prayers don't always come when you would like, but you persevered. You've clung to Me.

You've kept your focus where it should be and you've not forgotten that I AM GOD!

I will pull you through.

I will not leave you.

I will endure, comfort and encourage you!

I am Jehovah Rapha, the Lord Who Heals, let those who have witnessed this time be blessed by what they read and know.

The path is just ahead...

I think it's time to run!

You're steps will be much lighter adn once you get there with Me, I will hold you and tell you just how proud I am!

Well done, Kathleen...your faith has made you well!

By encouraged and encourage others through this testimony!

I know the plans I have for you...Love Your Father ~ God!




27 comments:

Greg C said...

Someone is either up early or stayed up late. I enjoy Bible study as well and need to find a good group again.

SusanD said...

I'm loving this study you are doing. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and your heart. God's words are like a balm with healing to a tired soul. Have a great day. Blessings, SusanD

Darcie said...

I so love the thought to not focus on regrets from the past, but to look with hope to the future.

It also is such a beautiful thing to feel God's presences near and to hear his voice to our hearts. Keep strong my dear.

christy rose said...

How precious are His words to you!! He loves you so much!!!

Loren said...

Kat ~

What beautiful words the Lord has given you! I know HE has prepared the way for you and your faith and trust in HIM has grown deeper still. May you feel HIS love, His strength and His healing power every step of the way! I love you

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...

Kat this is a great Bible study. Thank you for taking the time to post for us. I need all the intake of God's Word I can get.

Deborah Ann said...

I really needed this encouragement today. To not give up on the promises and plans God has for me. Thank you, my dear sister in Christ!

I am praying for your surgery this week. I'll be out of town for the next two weeks, but I'll still be praying...

Saleslady371 said...

Thank you for this study and the personal Word from the Lord you shared. I'm working on my post and studying right with you! Should be up soon.

RCUBEs said...

Just popping over to let you know that I'm keeping you in my prayers for your upcoming procedure. God bless and protect you siste Kat! Be strong in the Lord's mighty power!

Denise said...

I love this.

LV said...

This old world needs more people like you. Thanks for another great inspiring chapter of the great Word.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a beautiful post....Praying for you this week.

Sandra said...

Sounds like a really good Bible Study Kat, thank you for sharing :)

I'm thinking of you and praying for your surgery this week.

Hugs,
Sandra

Marydon Ford said...

Hi, sweetie ... I get teary eyes every time I read your writes. I hope all goes well with your surgery, prayers lifting.

Happy spring!
Have a beautiful week.
TTFN~ Hugs, Marydon

Kelly L said...

beautiful - praying for you.

Love to you always.

Kelly

God's student said...

Thank you for this amazing piece of Bible Study Kat!
I can relate to God's words to you so well after the week that I have been through. Keep the faith, Keep praying and know that God is always there for you.

You are a blessing xxx

Miti said...

Hey Kat. Steve stopped by my blog and told me you are having surgery and just wanted to let you know that I'll be thinking of you and praying that all goes well.


(Hugs)

Charlotte said...

Hi Kat -- You always have a lovely way of making each day just a little bit brighter.

May God to watch over you and keep you safe as you travel this road.

Hugs and blessings,
Charlotte

KrippledWarrior said...

Prayers in progress young sister.

Joyce said...

I'll be keeping you in my prayers as you have your surgery Thursday...God has you in the palm of His hand.

Clif said...

Just left Loren's blog where she is asking people to pray for you. So here I am to say that I am doing that.

Heckety said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN!

TRUTH SHARER said...

Kat:

I'm not sure why it took so long for us to connect because I've seen your name out there before.

BUT GOD!
His timing is perfect!

I have some heavy physical issues that no doctor could diagnose - so I'm there with you as each day is filled with pain [2+years now].
I only tell you that so you know I understand your heart! God is our only STRENGTH! And praise Him for that!

GOD has an OBSESSION to be TRUSTED. Hope remains our focus.
God has promised my healing - I desire to TRUST HIM for that with all my heart.

I am adding you to my prayer list and blog as well. I hope we can connect soon.

We are one in CHRIST JESUS!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie
JESUS ONLY in 2010

Jane In The Jungle said...

I absolutely love the time we talk to Father as his child...truly as a child to Father. I have been encouraging my youth class to use the name Father as they pray. It is so exciting to see the change in connectivity with those who do! Bless you Kat for all you share!

Praises,
Jane

Alleluiabelle said...

Sweet Friend,

Know that I love you and my prayers are going up to the heavens for you.

Your time with God is so beautiful, so amazing, so deep. Oh the presence of who He is takes my breath away all of the time and as I read through His Words to you, they were ever so beautiful. No one can ever take away from you these very special times alone that you have with the Lord. You just know what you know what you know...I've been there and continue to be there and it's breathtakingly awesome.

May He continue to bless you more and more and more with His Words. He is with you dear one. All is well. Oh yes, He is with you!

If you have time, please come over and read through my posting for today. In the wee hours of the morning as I was praying for my sister, He gave me visions...beautiful visions.

My mind, heart and prayers are with you especially during this week and the weeks to follow recovering. The words coming to me right now are: all is well...all is well.

Love you my friend,
Alleluiabelle

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

This question caught my attention: How do you discern God's guidance from your feelings or the advice of others?

That discernment at times has disconcerted me; I am sometimes unsure. A book that really helped me is Authenticity by Fr. Thomas Dubay. Have you read it by any chance?

Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

Kathleen, the letter at the end brought me to tears, because it so felt as if God had written/said it. I have been reading your studies and enjoy them. Now that I have recovered I will participate more often.

So joyful I know you!