|I have been doing the Beth Moore Bible study, Breaking Free. This was a tough, tough week for me, but I learned a lot as well. We have been doing week 6 which is “Beauty from Ashes” sounds wonderful doesn’t it – perhaps it is, but first in order to attain the “beauty” we have to scrape out the infections of the hurt and pain, sigh. so that deep healing can occur. Now this is not to say that God cannot instantly and completely heal, and he does in many instances.
The main Bible story we worked from was 2 Samuel 13:1-22 which is the rape of Tamar. Those of you who know my past can pretty much presume my hackles were raised by the handling of Tamar by her brother and father. In those days sackcloth and ashes were used to show mourning. In our past people wore black and tore their clothes, but in today’s day and age we are pretty much told to suck it up when we face a loss – bear up under the sorrow, and there is less emphasis on the outward signs of mourning. I am not sure that that is the most healthy way to deal with this. Beth Moore contends that “Squelching emotions only stores them in explosive containers. God’s Word constantly recognizes our emotional side.” p. 117
What interested me in the discussion today is that one of the members of our group said that this story had further reaching implications than the rape of Tamar, that it could stand for the violation of any area of our lives, not just sexual. That sometimes how we are treated in a relationship or at work, or in another aspect of our lives can also feel like a rape and abuse. And again we are told to hide those feelings by society.
Then another member mentioned how wonderful this was, that God could redeem any violation of a person and she found a positive aspect to the lesson. I am constantly amazed at how rich and fruitful the Word of God is and how it speaks to a person so intimately, just where they are at and just what they need to hear.
She then talks about four dreams every little girl has, 1. to be a bride, 2. to be beautiful, 3. to be fruitful and 4. to live happily ever after. We were chuckling because in today’s time these dreams do not seem as prevalent as they were back in my childhood. I think little girls do not have the same sorts of dreams today, they are taught to look to their careers. What do you think?
A few points on being a bride that touched me is that we are a bride (not a wife). A bride implies newness of relationship, beginnings, excitement, virginal, desire, longing, etc. And that God will replace the ashes of our mourning with a crown of beauty. (Is 61:3), This was not Tamar’s story, but it can be ours, that Christ can lift our heads and give us this crown of beauty. What the bride must do according to Revelation 19:4-8 is to make herself ready, this is spiritually ready, repentant, prayed up, sins confessed, filled with the Holy Spirit and most important, clothed in Christ’s righteousness by his shed blood.
The chapter that gave me the hardest time was “To be Beautiful”, it is something I have never felt. Personally my father killed that dream so early on it wasn’t funny when he informed me that I was so ugly no one would want to marry me, so I had to learn how to put out so that I could at least get a man – he told me that at the age of 8 when he was raping me. That pretty much killed what tiny bit of self-esteem I had, and I am still dealing with some of the void of that.What I am beginning to try is to try and see myself as Christ sees me. There is a wide disparity between how I view myself and how others view me. I still struggle to realize that God views me so differently from my earthly father. I get glimpses, but it is so easy to lose those glimpses.
Then we talked about being fruitful, and that is not always having physical children, but it is also spiritual children that we raise up. And there is a place for everyone, at every age and stage of development to be fruitful, if we are seeking to serve Christ and reach out to others.
And then, the To Live Happily Ever After, went through a discussion about joy, gladness, and happiness. Happiness is not always present in our lives, but joy can be because joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and is not dependant on external circumstance, it is based on God and God’s glory and love, which can give us joy in the midst of the hardest trials.
Next week’s topic, the potter and the clay, sigh. Beth Moore even warns us that it will not be our favorite week. Can we say some bondages shattered? Honestly I can say I am not gleefully looking forward to next week’s homework.
I sure wish growth was not as difficult as it sometimes is. But I also know that God loves us so much that He wants us totally healed, healed from deep within, outward. And often in the healing there is a need to lance the hurts and let out the poison, so that it can be filled with God’s truth.
I once asked Pastor Don why sometimes there was so much hurt in areas of my life that I thought I had resolved, and he pointed out that now that I have God in my life and a good support system, God is allowing a deep healing. I have to admit that I thought I had dealt with some of these issues and put them aside, guess there was still some areas of difficulty. I also felt guilty because I thought that I had to have one of those instantaneous healings that some get with salvation. Pastor Don told me that God works individually in people, some build their faith and healing grain of sand by grain of sand (how I described it to Pastor Don-microscopic grain of sand…). Pastor Don also told me that as I heal and reach out to others I will have patience with them because I know how challenging and slowly I was healed of my past. And the truth is, I am so different today from when I first found God that I see in retrospect the mighty work He has done, we are cleaning out pockets of resistance.
And speaking of bondage, I spoke with Pastor Don about the inability I have to really be free in worship, how much of what I deal with is very controlled. There is nothing wrong with control and reserve, and it is appropriate at times. But there are other times when it is ok to be joyful, or more expressive. I have a hard time being expressive. Guess it comes from my past conditioning that made it necessary to be in control to preserve my life, but now that is not necessary. So I could use prayers that God frees up those areas that are held too much in control. It isn’t control if you can’t let go of the controls, it is bondage. And I am not talking about wild and crazy things, just ordinary expression of certain emotions. One day I was near tears and needed to really cry, but the tears get choked down, pushed under. This happens whether or not I am alone or with people – sometimes tears can be good and healing.
So now I have shared some of the tough stuff that I have been sorting out, but I also want to let you know that in looking back at the last time I looked at these lessons from Beth Moore my attitude was so different. God has grown and changed me so much. I think when we look at ourselves with the light of the Word, God will show us the next steps that need to be taken care of in our walk with Him. And He will not crush us with all the details, but just give us the next step, when we resolve that, we get the next step. I count it a blessing that God cares enough to show me the next step.
Have a blessed night.
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