Thursday, January 31, 2008

my continuation

I have been busy studying but I wanted to take a minute to share something as my continuation from my post on Monday. Bible study went well on Tuesday and I am so in love with this group. Not that I haven't loved my other groups but this one is just very special to me. The Lord has brought some wonderful women who are truly desperate for God. You can see the hunger in them. Another thing about them is that they are so real. I love for people to open up and share so we can all connect and know that we are not alone on this journey.

I wanted to share a few things that the Lord has been dealing with me on.

First off, Hannah from 1 Samuel 1. I shared about this on Tuesday but I want to talk about it here to.
Please read the passage for yourself and see what the Lord would have you to apply to your own life.
Here is a brief version:
There is a man named Elkanah who has two wives (problem number one) Peninnah (for sake of time we will call her Penny) and Hannah. Hannah has no kids and Penny has kids...Elkanahs kids. It was customary for the men to multiply wives back in that time...that is not something appointed by God. His plan was always one man and one woman. Anyway, you also know that the Hebrew people considered it a disgrace to be barren.
We first need to recall what the following verses say:
5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?"

-The Lord closed her womb
The Lord allows trials in our lives to test our faith which is of greater worth than gold(1 Peter 1). There is always something greater at stake with the pain in our lives. We can choose to lay down in defeat over whatever it is or we can seek to learn and grow closer to God because of it.

-Her rival kept provoking her. The enemy knows where you are weak. he is an opportunist and he wants to play on your weaknesses and heartaches. he has no heart. he also wants to get you to doubt God and he wants to tempt you like he tempted Eve in the garden to think that God is holding out on you. An army doesn't go out into battle without a plan. You and I have got to look at where we are weak and begin to realize that as human as our enemies that provoke us may seem, that our war is not against flesh and blood. The enemy is too strong for us in our own flesh (Ps 18:17) but he is not stronger than Christ in us. We have to keep running to the Lord in prayer and clinging to His word if we want to make it here. I wish I could tell you something different but I can't.

One thing I love about this passage is that Hannah wept and was bitter. As Christians we all will feel and struggle. You are not more spiritual for not feeling or experiencing emotions.
So you and I have a choice with our own bitterness and tears. Hannah chose to pray to the LORD.

Lamentations 2:19 says this:
19 Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
at the head of every street.

When I first read this verse I got the mental picture of a glass of water representing my heart and pouring out that water representing me coming into prayer and spilling out all of my hurt and disappointment before the Lord.

-Hannah was misunderstood. The Lord made us and unfortunately others will never be able to "get us" in the way that our Creator gets us. She was provoked and misunderstood by even her husband and Eli the priest. Your own husband, friends, and even people at church aren't always going to get you.

One of my favorite parts is when Elkanah tries to comfort her by asking why he isn't good enough (v 8). Sunday night I just began to sob over so many things. There are so many people hurting all around me. People struggling with huge giants of depression, addiction, feelings of unforgiveness, people struggling to come back to Christ after they have run so far, family struggles, rejection, disorders, loss of loved ones, and I was just so overwhelmed with the needs and just cried my eyes out wishing there was something I could do. I also was crying over some of my own personal stuff and Rod came in and said "Babe, what is know it is late and I can't handle you crying (translation...I am tired please lets not have to talk about anything)...your not mad at me about anything? You aren't having your time of the month? Just to put it nicely for the few men that read my blog. I am always like dude does it always have to be that time of the month for me to be a girl and to cry? I do feel and have emotions...ok. I just usually don't cry a lot.

-Her bitterness turns into worship. Sometimes the things we want so desperately are the things that can catapult us closer to the Lord the most. I can speak on this one from experience...BIG TIME. I have looked over my life often and praised God for the ways I have seen Him work through my trials and heartaches and I wouldn't trade it for anything...because it is the very thing that has brought me to Him.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.

-God remembered her. He opened her womb in His timing. He is good and His ways are perfect. He is loving toward all He has made.

Psalm 84:11
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

Hannah has a child and Samuel and he is one of my favorite prophets in the OT. Anyway, she then knows that he is a little blessing from the Lord and she gives that little guy back to the Lord in a sacrifice of praise. You just need to read the rest for yourself.

You give and take away
my heart will choose to say
blessed be Your Name

Though there is pain in the offering
blessed be Your Name.
Gotta run!


Maryanna said...

Girl, I just love you!!!!

BethAnne said...

I have been reading and studying these same verses this week! I love the story about Hannah and Samuel. I love that it says "Now the BOY Samuel ministered before the Lord....." He was just a boy who had never heard God speak but God spoke to him anyway. I those verses He didnt speak to Eli, but to a boy. That gives me hope when I think that God is revealing Himself so much more to 'the more spiritual' people --- God spoke to a boy and He will speak to me. I love Samuel!

Super B's Mom said...

This is so ironic because my study this week has been on I Samuel. I have cold chills after reading your post!!

Hannah's story touched me on so many levels - as a mother, a wife, a Christian trying to remain faithful through both good times and bad.

As a mother - I was touched by I Samuel 1:15 when Hannah says, "..But I am discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord." I recalled times in my own life when I was discouraged and asked God for help. But it wasn't until I shook off my self-pity and absolutely poured my heart out to God that I saw Him move in my life.

Hannah's life is a perfect reminder of the fruits of faithfulness. Later in life, Hannah gave birth to more sons and two daughters. This speaks to me that God blesses us in ways we don't expect and can't imagine. His blessings might not be immediate, but God's timing is PERFECT. Earlier in her life, Hannah wept because she couldn't bear a son. And in the end she was the mother to many.

The thing that touched me the most is Hannah's resolve. She was steadfast in her promise to God to dedicate her son to the Kingdom of Heaven. Her top priority in life was ensuring that Samuel was given back to God.

Hannah entered motherhood prepared to do what all mothers must eventually do - Let Go.

Such a tender - yet powerful story. THANK YOU for posting this. Your thoughts really opened my eyes on several things I hadn't thought about. Have a GREAT day!!

Bev Brandon said...

"Her bitterness turned to worship"---love it! Her desperation! I just posted about Gen 42:21 that the affliction to Joseph's brothers made them surmise in their own affliction that they were guilty concerning throwing Joseph in an empty cistern. Affliction has a way of inviting us all to acknowledge those faults which otherwise might have remained hidden. I JUST LOVE YOUR HEART JENNY HOPE! You offer me hope. You offer me a taste of God in midst of my struggles. Love you this morning and just have to say---God just showed up at my Benbrook door in an anon FED EX envelope with five money orders worth $1,000 each to which I FELL in a heap on the floor sobbing in gratitude to HIM. He's here!

Charity said...

This is also something I have really thought a lot about lately! My favorite part of what you said:

"There is always something greater at stake with the pain in our lives. We can choose to lay down in defeat over whatever it is or we can seek to learn and grow closer to God because of it."

That really is the bottom line of it! We have the choice to be defeated in our tough situation or use it to grow closer to him and grow as Christians.

What a great word, girl!

To God be the Glory!!

NYC said...

I remember when I first became aware of the scripture that says the Lord gives and takes away. I didn't (still don't) want God to take anything away from me, but I know that when He does it is with a higher goal/purpose in mind. I may never know what the specific goal/purpose was until I get to heaven, but God has a purpose for both the good and the bad in our lives.

Great post!

Alissa said...

Thank you for your continued pouring out of your heart and for sharing God's word. You lift my spirits everyday!

Mr. and Mrs. D said...

Hi Jenny,

This post meant a lot to me. Shortly before my husband left me and disappeared (for another and then filed for divorce), we were planning to start a family. So when that happened, I felt like I had lost so much--and having a child was one of those things. Time and time again God used Hannah's story to confirm to me that He had a plan for me and that He had heard my cries.

Just last June, part of His promise came true. I married a wonderful, godly man and am starting a life with him that is centered on God and His word. We hope to be starting our own family soon, and I have to admit that I am letting satan get the best of me with fear. I am fearful that because of my age, I won't be able to conceive. I am fearful that we won't be able to afford it. I am fearful that because of.....

You get the picture. I have tons of fears when it comes to this issue. So thank you for the reminder of the promise that God gave to me years ago.

May God bless you!


twinkle said...

That Penny...don't you just despise that! Hannah took her pain to God. And He remembered her. I think God was looking for someone to mother Samuel...and there she was. You just never know what God is up to! He is looking for people who will believe Him so that He can use them AND bless them.
Great post...

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just hopped over here from the LPM blog, and I want you to know that this post spoke directly to me. Thank you, thank you!

Susan from PA