Week 2 Check-In!

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Hey y’all! How’s it going? Can you believe we are already at the end of week 2? I am really enjoying learning about the Kings and the rich history of Israel. A couple of things I wanted to mention as we wind up this week.

I have heard from some of you that you are actually staying on track with this study and that you have built it into the regular routine of your day. This is actually one of the best ways to create a good Bible Study habit…. by intentionally creating a margin within our busy lives to allow our hearts to hear from the Lord. Keep up the great work! By the end of the study, you will have a great habit formed and it will make things so much easier!

For some of you, I have heard that this week was a struggle. You got a day or two or six behind. It’s ok. Keep going. For me, if that happens, then I just double up my days until I am caught back up. It’s not the best idea to try to cram it all into one day. These studies are really designed for you to work through, little by little, and really digest what you are reading and learning. Allow yourself some grace, and keep going. I know that for me, I really struggle with the “all or nothing” mentality. If I get too far behind then I tend to want to give up. Don’t let that happen! The enemy wants nothing more than to steal this from you. See that tactic for what it is, and allow it to give you some new resolve to push through and stay on track. I am praying for you. You got this, sis!

Here is this week’s session video: Week 2 Session Video

These videos are placed at the end of the week so that you can study on your own and allow God to speak to you through His word. What are you learning? Anything you want to share?  Join the discussion on our Facebook page here: She Hears Facebook Page

I know for me, one of the most helpful things is to write down all of the things God is showing me in a separate journal. I also keep track of prayer requests and the different ways I see God moving. It helps me to process all the things I am learning. The reality is you can use a plain notebook or your computer to keep track of this. But for me, I love using these really beautiful Christian journals.  They are simple, beautiful, and affordable:  Bible Study Journal

How can I pray for you this week?

Rach

No Rival, No Equal

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My husband tells a joke to almost all of his patients. They usually ask him if he is married.  After replying that we happily celebrated our tenth anniversary this past year, he tells them that I am Italian and Irish so divorce is not on the table. Murder, however, might be an option.

Although he is joking, he does speak to an important part of my identity. Raised by first generation immigrants, my grandparents, I often refer to my Italian heritage, many times speaking some Italian words as I parent my children. Italians seem to have a sense of pride, much more so than my Irish side of the family. Even though I have blonde hair, burn easily, and had a maiden name that reflected the sheep herding side of my family, it was the Italian side that I identified with the most.

When the ancestry.com package arrived, I was anxious to read about the parts of Europe my family was from. We knew the village from Italy that papa was from, but the Irish side was a little more unclear. As I started to read over my genetic results, I realized quickly that I was unprepared for what I was reading. The surprise wasn’t from the Irish side. Instead it was from the Italian side. Rather, the lack of Italian side. There as only 1% Italian blood running through my veins. I had no idea how this could be possible, as I had a pot of pasta sauce simmering on the stove. What I realized through the results of my DNA testing was that my Italian side of the family were actually wanderers. They were Croatian, Russian, and Greek. Yet several generations lived in the southern part of Italy before coming to America. Very little Italian blood coursed through my veins. As silly as it may sound, this concept rocked my identity. I had grown up visiting the Italian bakery every day for fresh Italian bread. There was an Italian deli that was the only place in town to get the special Italian sausage that we ate every Sunday. We started making pizzelles at the beginning of December in order to pass out to waiting friends and family at Christmas time. Yet, here it was in black and white. The majority of my heritage was not actually Italian.

Any other week, I probably would have responded differently. But this week was one filled with discouragement and I sank into feeling defeated. As I turned off the pasta sauce that was simmering on the stove, I went to the bathroom to cry. I had so much of my identity wrapped up in being Italian, that I didn’t know what it meant to NOT be Italian. Maybe this is not something you can easily relate to, but I bet there have been times in your life that you felt insignificant. Times where your worth was wrapped up in something external. For me, I find myself in this place often. There are times that I feel like I don’t measure up, and the enemy uses those moments to whisper, “just give up.”
This was the place I was in when I began to worship. I was afraid to even say out loud what I was feeling, instead I started to just offer my hurting heart to the one who made it. As I started to sing along to a familiar song, there was a phrase that caught my heart.

You have no rival, no equal.

As I felt the Holy Spirit press these words into my heart, I repeated them back.
Yes, Lord. You have no rival, No equal.

As I did, I was met with the familiar voice of the Father.

You misunderstand, beloved. YOU have no rival, no equal.

Immediately my eyes burned with the tears that overflowed. In a moment, the Lord had spoken to the hurting parts of my heart. He brought to mind several places in the Word that explain what He meant. I sense that He wants you to know this too.
You are made in God’s image.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

As I looked at my daughter, she was sitting on her bed, reading a book and twirling her hair. It’s something I do often. In fact, all my daughters do. My daughters look like me. Do your children look like you? Or do you know people who have children that look like them? Children look like their parents because they have their parents blood running through their veins. The Lord reminded me that as His daughter, I was made in His image.

No rival.

2 The Lord God tolerates no rivals; Nahum 1:2a

I know this. I know that God has no rivals. But I had never considered the fact that because He had no rivals, it also meant I had no rivals. Neither do you.

No equal.

I often teach on a verse from Ephesians 2:10.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

You are His workmanship, there is no one equal to you. He created you uniquely and on purpose.

As I pondered how these words spoke to my aching heart, I realized that these words are not just for me. They are also for you.

You are not what you THINK you are….. defeated….. discouraged.

You are made in God’s image because HE is the one who gave you life. That’s your genetic makeup.

If He has no rival or no equal, then YOU have no rival, no equal.

In a world where we compare and we feel like we don’t measure up, walk in confidence that, you were CREATED, by the very nature of who your creator is, as precious in His sight.

You have No Rival, and No Equal.

Be Blessed.

Rachael

 

I originally wrote this post for Warner Press but decided to share it here with you.  If you would like to read it on the WP blog, you can find that here: WP Blog

On Fridays, I cry.

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On Fridays, I cry.

Saturday through Thursday, I pretend nothing is wrong. I put a smile on my face, I go about my day, I keep it together.

But on Fridays, after my husband goes to work and the kids are at school, I’m all alone. I start out thinking that this Friday might be different, that I won’t need to cry. But then I realize that there is this place in my heart that has been swelling all week. There’s a bit of a guard there, so if anything pricks it, the guard doesn’t let it in. That surfaces sometimes as disinterest or busyness. Or withdrawal. Don’t let that fool you, that’s to cover up what’s really going on. Inside, my mind is overwhelmed with just sadness. But if it’s not Friday, I don’t pause long enough to think about it.

But on Fridays, I think about it. I think about how much I miss her. I smell her sweatshirt that I have hidden in my closet in my bedroom. I look at her picture, and I hold it tight. I think about all the lost moments and the unsaid words. And I cry.

It’s been a little over three months since I lost my Nana. For all intents and purposes, my mother. She raised me when my own mother wouldn’t. She took me and loved me and called me her own. And now she’s gone.

So on Fridays, I cry.

So many people expect you to quickly pick up the broken pieces of your heart after you lose someone. There seems to be an acceptable time of grieving, to be sad, and then it’s time to move on. Except that’s not how grief works. It’s like being at the ocean, only you have no idea when the next wave is coming. At first, they are quick and crashing and close together. Until they aren’t. Then, when you think the water is calm, and you can breathe a little, you get slammed with a wave so huge you get knocked down. And it takes you a couple minutes to catch your breath.

So on Fridays, I cry.

I wish there was a timeline. Some way to mark my calendar and plan ahead so I knew to be alone, or carry tissues, or to at least prepare myself. But instead there are faint warnings that come in the form of my daughter giving me a look that reminds me so much of her. Or a box that had been unopened but holds something of hers. Or a piece of clothing that I forgot she gave me. Or a book, unread, that was a birthday gift from her. Some days, those things don’t bother me. In fact, they remind me of her and they make me happy to have those memories to hold close to my heart. In those moments I love to share stories or recipes or habits that I picked up over the years. But then there are the other days. The days that, out of nowhere, there is a feeling of being pressed down so hard and so quick that you feel the wind being sucked right out of you.

So on Fridays, I cry.

I don’t think it will be like this forever. I think eventually, Fridays will be happy again. Eventually I will be able to think about her and smile instead of cry. Just not today. Today is Friday. And today, I’m going to cry.

I will NEVER not see you

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This past week, I saw my dad at the gas station. I looked up and locked eyes with him, but he ignored me, pretended not to see me. As he pulled away, I felt a drop of pain added to the pile that I hid deep in my heart. Quickly pushing the thoughts of rejection away, I resigned to not think about it. But it spoke to that place in my heart that is raw from years of rejection by my father. As I went throughout the week, when that rawness would surface, I would quickly bury it under a pile of ice cream or social media.

Saturday morning came. It was my one day a week to sleep in. The kids had already been prepped….. there were breakfast bars on the counter and the tv remote was on the couch. No one was to wake mommy up before 7. Yet at 6AM, I woke up with a song on my heart. As I snuggled under my warm comforter, I heard the Lord whisper, “come away with me.” I thought about how tired I was and how comfortable I was. “Come away with me, ” I heard again. As I heard that beckoning, the still small voice was too loud to ignore.

Still sleepy, I meandered out to the couch and tiredly fell down onto it. As I sleepily laid there, half awake, I still had the same song on my heart. So, I pulled up the song on youtube and sang along. I found myself wondering if the song was based off of scripture.

The Lord prompted me to look up what that song was based on, and I found out it was Psalm 103. So I started to read Psalm 103. As I read, I suddenly was waken right up with a portion of that word. It was this verse that hit me:

Vs. 13 “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” Psalms 103:13-14 NLT

Wow. It says the Lord is like a father. Immediately my mind went to the gas station. Then I heard the whisper,

                                                        ”I will NEVER not see you.”

Tears immediately came to my eyes. God woke me up early to tell me that He sees me. Even when my earthly father doesn’t.

As I kept reading through the Psalm, with blurry eyes and a softened heart, I came to this one:

“But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children” Psalms 103:17 NLT

                                                    “I love my grandchildren.”

God spoke directly that place I have as a mother…. a momma bears heart. The kind of love that God gives is one that knows you intimately, as He is the one who knows your innermost thoughts.

Even the ones you don’t want to speak out loud.