Personal stuff

Saturday, May 20, 2006
I had an incredibly fun afternoon. My oldest is in a Jazz Band at school. The band was invited to play at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock. They entertained the guests and us parents with about 45 minutes of wonderful music. Levon Helm came over to tell them how wonderfully they played. Afterwards he came over to greet people and my husband snapped a picture of me with him. Hopefully we will get these pictures computer ready, but I am so proud of my son, he has taken to playing music and practicing hard. I just love to see him see rewards coming for his hard work. Christopher announced in the car that he has met four famous people this year, David Blaine (pictures shown earlier of them looking eye to eye when David was in the bubble), Levon Helm (from the Band), Arch Crawford (an economist) and Art Garfunkel who came to our school to talk with the kids. He is enjoying this tremendously.

Well, I got to talk a bit with Pastor Don on Friday, and it was an intense time of talking. One thing that I have come to grips with is that I have pretty low self-esteem, and because of that many of the situations I get myself into aren’t resolved satisfactorily. The Beth Moore study made me aware that low-self esteem is a stronghold that I have been dealing with, pretty much based on my past (testimony 3/24/06 – second entry). I began to realize that because of what my father did I came away with the image that I was stupid, ugly, unlovable unless I put out for others, and that God did not care for me. I now know that God did care, but there is still a part of me that walks around feeling like damaged goods, like something was stolen that could never be rebuilt (I know that nothing is impossible for God), and that I just don’t matter. To assert myself is not something that I am comfortable doing, so I tend to hide in the shadows (figuratively speaking), not speak up for myself, and too readily comply with others. Granted humility and transparency and giving to others is good, but it needs to come with a healthy sense of self too. Jesus was a humble servant, but He also could assert Himself, and He most certainly did His service from a position of self-assuredness of who He is. I am missing some of that and need to work on this.

Pastor Don says he sees me totally different from my internal experience. He sees me serving and doing well. But he also told me that I have to come to a different perspective of myself and model myself after other assertive people. To act more confident until that becomes more like me. I know he is right, because right now I am almost paralyzed, and it also shows in my worship which is more shy and retiring. Oh, I love God passionately, but am so afraid of drawing His attention to me, and I had been trained as a child to not be noticed. Not being noticed meant that I might survive another night and not get killed – so I had a high premium on being a wallflower. But that is not what is necessary now. I am in a safe situation and these strongholds of behavior are no longer applicable. Oh I could use your prayers to help sort out these issues.

I’ve been pretty raw and hurting, and it has been hard to even crack open the Breaking Free study (only thing that is making me do it is because God has put me where I am a small group leader and I have to do the work to do that service, I suspect He knew that this would be a tough study for me and didn’t want to give me a chance to escape.) So I thought I would share a bit of what I have been learning in week 9 of this study (one more week to go after this), and know that it is painful lessons for me, but I also know God would not give the pain if He didn’t expect good to come of it.

The text that is studied is Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.”

Beth Moore took this passage apart phrase by phrase. The first part is “you will keep”, and that implies a watchman standing on the walls of our mind. The word “keep” in Hebrew is “nasar,” and it means to guard, protect, keep, kind of like guarding  a vineyard and a fortress.

According to Psalm 139:1-2, 23 shows us that God is the perfect watchman for our minds and hearts for He knows our minds and hearts. Romans 1:28-32 shows that if we have knowledge of God and don’t retain it, that He turns us over to our debased minds. He will do that temporarily to teach a lesson, but can also let that happen permanently.

Phrase 2 “in perfect peace”. Beth points out that it is not that God will give us perfect minds if we are steadfast in Him, but that He will give us perfect peace in our imperfect minds.

Phrase 3 “him whose mind is steadfast” – “mind” in Hebrew is “Yetser” which means frame, pattern, image, conception, imagination, thought, device – what is formed in the mind like plans and purposes. Our minds frame our circumstances, and we see events from our own perspective and context. And our reaction to the circumstance depends on how we have framed the event.  The word steadfast means to sustain, be braced, and lean upon – so a steadfast believer would choose to lay their hand on God’s word and know that it is the truth.

Heather’s note: Have you noticed that sometimes satan’s heaviest attacks happen when we are alone. I think it is then that my imagination runs wild – the Bible has really helped me to sort out those things and often I will read, even if I am not comprehending the words, and after awhile the situation changes. It helps me to sort out the situation, and sometimes it helps even more if I speak the words out loud or under my breath. Sometimes I think the sound waves make things in the atmosphere easier to deal with.

Back to Beth: Phrase 4 “because he trusts in You.” “Trust” is “batach” which means to attach oneself, to confide, to feel safe, be confident, secure.

Beth gave such a convicting closing to day one, “Those who have never given their hearts fully to God are not very likely to offer Him the deepest, darkest crevices of their minds. Would you consider concluding with a prayer asking for a deeper trust so that you are more likely to have an open mind in which God can work this week? Remember, His plan is “not to harm you” but to “prosper you” (Jer 29:11). Invite Him to be the watchman on the wall of your mind.

I wish I could say that I have given God these deepest, darkest crevices, but I haven’t given all to Him. I think that it is part of satan’s plan to make us feel so vile that God wouldn’t want to be in all those dark places. But one time, in talking with Pastor Don I told him that there are areas that God isn’t allowed to be in. Pastor Don pointed out that God is everywhere, that I am just not choosing to see Him in those places, but when I am ready to open up them, He will make Himself known, but God will not be like my father, He will not force Himself on me in areas I am not comfortable with, for God is loving, and wants me to invite Him in. It has taken me a long time to come to grips with that, and to realize that this is truly how God works, but sometimes I feel so bound. You know the scripture where he says that He stands at the door and knocks. Sometimes I think I have lost the key, even though I want to open the door.

Tomorrow I will share some of day two, again it is a big ache because God is dealing deeply with me, and I am hurting.

I am hoping that you have a great weekend, and I will share pictures as soon as I can get my husband (the computer geek of the family) to post them, they are digital and I am not allowed to alter them, only him.

Have a blessed night.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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