Personal stuff – answering questions and personal study of Genesis 29

Monday, July 24, 2006
Rashel asked the following question.Oh, and for my question:  how do you move past bitterness and anger?

Oh that is a tough one, and I am looking forward to hearing your responses about this. We have a music minister named Joy in our church and she talked about the root of bitterness. Being a gardener she spoke about it being like a piece of crabgrass. If you don’t pull it out and get rid of ALL the roots it grows back. If you leave it alone it grows and chokes out all the good grass.

I still at times find pieces of bitterness in me and try hard to root them out. I think the first step is forgiveness (a process), forgiving those who hurt us. Forgiveness works for anger too.

Before I got saved, I took a good, long, hard look at my life. I thought I had lived a pretty good life, but in a real honest mirror, I saw that I too had hurt people. I had caused damage, I had done wrong. I was not perfect. I wanted God to forgive me, to cleanse me of my sins, and given my sinfulness, who was I to hold onto anger or unforgiveness to someone else.

That does not mean seeing the world with rose color glasses. I know there is hurt and pain, anger, rage, and bitterness. But I have to choose to leave some things behind to move forward toward the good that God has in store for me. I don’t need roots of the past choking my progress, especially bitterness roots. See, what I fertilize will grow. If I stew in my past hurts, I fertilize them and they stay with me. The truth is that most of those who have hurt me in the past are dead, or don’t care, or don’t even know that they caused much hurt, so my stewing over it doesn’t change anything. What does change is God’s transforming of that hurt into something that can help others. I can’t do it on my own, so often I ask God for help. If a bitter thought comes up, I give it to God. He understands and helps. I also have Pastor Don to talk with. The feelings are there, but I don’t have to be controlled by them. I don’t want to be a prisoner of the roots of bitterness.

Anger scares me. I get angry, at times I rage, but when someone is angry around me I cower. I grew up in a home filled with anger. So I run from anger. Yet there is such a thing as righteous anger, like when Jesus cleansed the temple. And we are told in the Bible not to go to sleep with anger.

My sister and I grew up in a home filled with abuse – I have learned to forgive and let go of anger, she has held onto and cherished her anger and bitterness. To date she has had over 27 major surgeries, and is prone to flying into fits of rage. She remembers every tiny detail of abuse, and I have forgotten so much.

Pastor Don says that we have to face or pasts, look at them, give them to God, forgive and repent and over time they become memories not so charged with emotion. I am seeing that kind of healing from God now, there are still pockets of resistance. When I come across one, I stop and pray and ask God’s help in sorting out the issues. I am by no means perfect, but I have to tell you having God in my life has done more in a few years than many years of therapy has ever done.

Have a blessed night. And I really am looking for all of your input in this topic as it is one that I am still working on.

Heather

 
Hey, Remember the book of Genesis????? Bet you thought I had forgotten. Wrong.We have just seen one sneaky guy, Jacob, the heel snatcher, grab away a blessing from his brother Esau. Esau has vowed to kill Jacob once their father dies. Jacob is told to leave the country and go to visit Laban until Esau cools down. Little does Rebekah know that this will be the last time she sees her son, for she will die before Jacob returns 20 years later.

Jacob then has a remarkable dream about angels ascending and descending from heaven, builds an altar, and realized that “God was in this place” and Jacob didn’t know it. So often in our walks with God He is where we are and we do not recognize Him. God gives Jacob a fantastic promise, a gift free of charge, and instead of keeping his mouth shut and saying thank you God, for such an awesome blessing, Jacob has to promise to give God 1/10th of what he gains, and a stone will be a pillar of God’s house. So often God wants to give us of his abundance, and we feel compelled to promise to do things that often we do not keep our promises. What God really wants more than anything else is relationship and love from us. We feel that we have to somehow “earn” God’s blessing. Truthfully, all that we have is His to begin with.

Nope, this is not the current soap opera on TV, it comes straight from the pages of Genesis. Now, after this cliffhanger (One thing to keep in mind is that the Old Testament that the Israelites knew did not have chapter and verses, they were written on long scrolls). We are now up to Genesis 29

I want to know what it is about wells. Too bad there wasn’t a well when I grew up, a lot of meetings and important events take place at wells in the Bible, I suppose because water is so vital to life – water to drink, and the water of the Word for spiritual nourishment.

We are soon going to see a remarkable transformation of this mama’s boy from weak and not a hunter to a man of mighty strength. What brings about this transformation – a girl, and Jacob will flex his muscles.

Jacob comes to the land of the people of the east and sees a well with three flocks of sheep lying by it, and a large stone on the well’s mouth. (Knowing that Jesus is in all parts of the Bible, I think of three days and three nights in a tomb with a large stone).

When the flocks were gathered, the stone was rolled from the well, the sheep watered, and then the stone was rolled back to it’s place.

Jacob greets the people and finds out that they are from Haran. Not only were they from Haran, but they know Laban, Rebekah’s brother. Then they point out that his daughter, Rachel is coming with the sheep. Jacob tries to get the men to water their sheep and moo-ve on for the cattle are coming. And I suspect Jacob was hoping that he would then have some time alone with Rachel, the shepherdess.

Here we get one of those great reversals. Remember that Rebekah watered the camels for the servant, and here Jacob is going to water Rachel’s sheep.

This is an incredible scene – use your imaginations. Remember this is the “weakling” of the family, not the hunter. What a few hormones will do!Verses 10-11 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept.

Reminds me of a swashbuckler sort of a movie. I could just see Jacob acting with a flourish, showing off, and ending with a kiss for a flourish.

He then relates to Rachel that he is her relative, and she runs to tell her father, Laban. Remember Laban? Well Jacob stays with Laban for a month as a guest, and then we are going to see Laban outsmart Jacob – Jacob will find someone who is as shrewd as him.

Laban offers wages to Jacob for serving him. Laban has two daughters. The eldest was Leah, and the youngest was Rachael. Leah had an eye problem, her eyes were delicate and Rachael was beautiful to look at.

Jacob loves Rachael and offers to serve seven years to be allowed to marry Rachel. Laban replies, in verse 19 “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.”  (I wonder why it would seem better to Laban, could he have remembered the servant from the rich ruler Abram?)

Rachael must be very beautiful because he worked for seven years and it seemed to be just a few days to him. Haven’t we all experienced that, when we really want something and are focused, time seems to fly by.

Jacob goes to Laban and says he has fulfilled his part of the bargain, and now he wants Rachael.

Poor Jacob. Laban makes a feast for the wedding, and in the dark, instead of Rachel, Laban gives Leah to Jacob. Jacob goes into her, and in the morning, low and behold Jacob finds out that it was not Rachael, but Leah. What a switcheroo.

I wonder what the look on his face was like. Frankly, I am sorry for Leah, can you imagine how she must have felt. Laban certainly didn’t care for her, he just wanted to best Jacob and glean more riches from the blessing of God that follows Jacob.

But, poor Leah, imagine being the wife of a man that you know doesn’t love you. When confronted about the switcheroo, Laban responds in verse 26 It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill her week and we will give you this one also for the service which you will serve with me still another seven years.”

One thought is that he served a week for Rachael – Daniel talks about a week (seven years), the earth was created in a week. And here we have Jacob getting two girls for two weeks – 14 years. That is a long, long time.

Again, I want to remind you that the Bible tells the whole truth. Just because a practice is mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean that God approves. Yes, Jacob will have two wives and two maids, but that was not God’s original intent for marriage – which is one wife plus one husband making one family.

Beth Moore in her study The Patriarchs makes a point I had overlooked on page 134 “We will discover that in Laban, Jacob meets his match. Yes, Jacob had an encounter with God in Genesis 28, but God makes very sure that Jacob also reaps some of what he has sown. Otherwise, what will motivate a permanent change in Jacob’s character? Our wise God will often appoint circumstances and consequences to change what a fresh encounter with Him does not.”

I have to tell you, God has certainly manipulated circumstances in my life, and I have faced some uncomfortable circumstances. I now pray that I learn very quickly the lessons God wants me to learn, so that I don’t have to repeat the lessons, or face uncomfortable circumstances.

Laban is treating Jacob more like a servant than family, and Jacob will more and more act like a servant for Laban. But over time, this relationship will not be so compatible.

Even in Jacob’s time, as it is in our day and age, physical beauty seems to be a premium. Unfortunately physical beauty does not guarantee a beautiful soul or spirit. We need to look far beyond the outward appearances to find the one that God has selected for us.

Beth Moore points out another fact on page 136 “When the confetti was gone and the chalice was dry, the deceiver had been deceived. Jacob reaped what he had sown. The Beginning of Wisdom offers profound food for thought: “the story offers a powerfully ironic comment on the love of visible beauty, and shows as well the unreliability of trusting alone to sight. For where is visible beauty in the dark? Jacob with stars in his eyes, is shown here to be blinded, not necessarily by lust or drink but by the love of the beautiful itself. He does not know one wife from the other except superficially.”

Beth points out that we can have stars in our eyes over many things, not just beauty. Paul prayed in Philippians 1:9 that their love would abound more and more in knowledge and discernment. Oh how we need discernment for our lives in all circumstances. While a marriage can be forced, the heart cannot be forced.

I want to leave Jacob’s offspring for another time as there are powerful lessons in their names.

Hoping you have a blessed day.

Heather

 
*************************************************************

Hydrangea Blue asked the following questions:
Yay! Here are my 3 questions:1. Have you ever consider writing a book about your testimony?

At one point I wrote my autobiography, at the time when books about incest survivors was rampant. I actually got back two personal letters from editors and an author, but the market was saturated. When I first met Pastor Don, I gave him the only copy of it and he read some. It is still in his office, but it would not be the message I would want to write about now. I have considered writing a book, and probably will do so, but I still have some growing to do spiritually first. I could share now, but I think God is wanting me to wait a bit until a few more pockets of pain have been dealt with.

2. Do your children read your Xanga?
If they ever wanted to read my Xanga they could. I do not hide anything I write or share from my husband or kids, but mostly they do not want to do read it. I guess Bible studies are not so interesting to them. More fun to chat with their friends and IM. They do know a bit about my past, but not all the gory details. Some days when they are complaining about the misery of their lives (usually in conjunction with being bored and we parents are not responding to their desire to be taken somewhere, or we have told them that they cannot do something), I have told them that they do not know what real misery is. Mostly I have shared a bit of what it is like to be living with alcoholic parents, and the fear that I experienced, the bruises up and down my arm, and being hurt far too often. But they roll their eyes, and figure that they have it worse. I have not shared the sexual abuse or some of my reactions to the abuse. I would do it in an instant if it would help them to prevent making some of the same mistakes I have, but they seem to have no inkling to make those mistakes. I would answer honestly if they asked, but they haven’t asked. So it is kind of like a need-to-know basis.
3. In my opinion, it’s getting extremely difficult to bring up godly children, especially girls in the United States. (My fiance and I joked about having boys only. Seriously.) Your teenage children seem pretty OK. How do you do that?
That was one question Pastor Don asked me when we first started talking. I told him that in dealing with my kids I usually thought about what my parents would do and did the opposite. I am blessed with three good and intelligent and fun kids. My husband and I work together raising them. I seem to be the stricter one and he is more their friend, but together we work well. We started early with our kids, not talking baby talk, not allowing certain things, even though they might look cute. We expected them to behave, to obey, and to be nice. They got more punishment for hurting another or being disrespectful. Punishment for them usually meant time out because for them that was a fate worse than death – they hated having to sit still when the others were having fun. Oh, and church is not an option, it is required.
Regarding school we expected them to do their homework and be respectful for teachers, again punishment was more for being disrespectful than for a bad grade. I have explained to them that if they have been trying and get a bad grade we can get them help, but there is no excuse for being disrespectful. They have had to write letters of apology and apologize in person to teachers if a comment is made about disrespect.
The standards have remained constant, and to be honest, teenage years are tough. They are trying out their limits and I really haven’t a clue what “normal” teenage years are like, so I rely on my husband to keep me in check if I am being too demanding. I think that they, because they have limits set early on, just stick with them.
Now my husband and I spend a lot of time explaining things – simple things like, if you treat a person with respect they will treat you with respect. And when they do so and get a response they like, we complement them and let them see that their behavior is what caused the good thing.
Regarding sex and drugs, from early on certain things have been explained. Things like don’t take candy from strangers, don’t take pills given to you by anyone other than us. They saw their grandfather die from smoking and that made a big impact so they do not smoke. In tiny sound bites, during car rides (individually) we have talked about sex – basic concepts like men marry girls, etc. We also talk about marriage being forever, and STD’s. Regarding drugs and sex they roll their eyes, but I use the Russian Roulette idea – that maybe their friends could have 100 good experiences, but it takes only one to kill you – and there is no guarantee when that one will come.
I do try to get them out individually and in the course of doing something drop what I term a “sound bite” a tiny bit of a teaching, not a long lecture. Seems to get through more.
I am not a perfect parent, and I repent of mistakes often, but my kids are good and I make sure to complement them a lot, emphasize the positive, apologize when I make a mistake, and let them know when others complement them to me. I know that they know that they are loved and that their dad and I will be there for them, love them passionately, and will stick up for them. They also are blessed in having two parents who love them when many of their friends are children of divorce and unstable relationships.
I am still learning how to be a good parent, and Christianity helps a lot. I spend time in prayer for them. One of my favorite places to pray for them is folding their clothes when I do the wash. The other day I went with my anointing oil and prayed over their rooms.
More and more I need God’s help in parenting. I can’t believe I tried to do it without God.
Can I ask more questions?  I love questions, they stimulate me to think and process things. If you have more questions, please feel free.
Have a blessed weekend,
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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