Time for A Life-Turn

She was desperate.

She was frantic.

She was anxious.

She was distressed.

She was hopeless.

She was despondent.

She was at the end of her rope.  She dreamed day after day, year after year, month after month-only to see the evidence of her natural desire unfulfilled.  She watched others bring forth life and felt the stabs of pain in her heart with every child’s cry she heard.  She probably tried numerous herbs and recommendations from other women.  Still nothing helped her.  What was she going to do?

To make matters worse, she’d no doubt heard others talking about her.  She’d seen their stares, felt their condemnation and scorn.  Surely they believed the problem was with her.  Motherhood was a defining point in a woman’s life-but not for her.  She was empty.

Now years later getting closer to 100, though her cycle had long ago ended, her desire for a baby of her own was still there.  In fact it was worse.  Beyond desperation, she thought there must be another way, especially since YAHUAH had promised them a son.

Until…

Sarah saw no other way, so a plan began to come together in her mind.  Her plan seemed perfect.  What could be the problem with it?

The problem was that it was not from YAHUAH.  His timing was way past the possibility of human control.  His plan was for an appointed time-a miracle by any standard.

Since Sarah got ahead of YAHUAH, she had to deal with some consequences she did not foresee.  She had pains, heart aches, worries and fears-all because she went ahead of YAHUAH.

How many times have we done the same things?

This is how I’ve felt off and on for a while.  What seemed like “good, logical, common sense things” to do weren’t part of YAHUAH’s will for us.  Over the last few years, in the back my mind, I had doubts with going forward with the things that we thought we should be doing.  I struggled with real peace during these times.  I found scripture verses to apply to the situations-creating  a false sense of peace yet further torment.  In the back of my mind though, I had the feeling that either we aren’t supposed to be making certain changes or that the timing was not right.  Still, we worked to try things this way and that way because it made sense to go in those directions-we had good reasons for continuing on.  Like Sarah, we had people around us who were doing some of the same things and having no problems succeeding, while we failed, every-single-time.

Like Sarah, dealing with the challenges of Hagar, while Hagar was pregnant, we began to have challenges and the stresses of trying to reach the end were consuming us.   I complained that I have no time for the things that I was supposed to be doing, that I was stressed out and that money was being wasted.  Yet I kept pushing for ways to make things work.

However we brought these challenges on ourselves.

Eventually though like Abraham and Sarah, it was time for a life-turn.  A life-turn is when we turned around, stopped and cut our losses from the situation, and then went back to the place where we first got off track.

Brick wall after brick wall we would hit and kept receiving no after no.  YAHUAH’s answer was clear.  YAHUAH was not leading us in that direction, at least not for right now in some instances.  In others, the answer may be yes but not right now…

When we stopped, when I stopped researching for ways to do these things, when we finally said no more, then peace came.  Sanity and order was restored.  Suddenly the financial constraints weren’t hard.  Yes, we did have some consequences to deal with.  The last affected one person in our families’ health.  It was horrible!  Again we had to cut our loses and walk away!

We had to see that we were coveting other people’s paths in life.  Coveting is against YAHUAH.  Coveting lead us to complain, to be ungrateful for where we were at that present time and to believe that the area/place/situational change would be better than what we have right now/had right then.  When we finally stopped and accepted that this is YAHUAH’s will for us right now, we then could see His divine hand of provision in our lives.

As we read through the Old Testament, I noticed something.  We people went through challenges, were blessed or were changed-the place was given a name-not that YAHUAH had additional names!  In this season of our life, I believe it is called Providence.

Providence is the place/time when we are in YAHUAH’s care, that He is the power sustaining and that He is guiding our every step.  We prayed daily YAHUAH don’t let us do anything outside of Your will and nothing happened at all.

At times, we were wondered what was wrong with us.  Why not us?  When is our time?

Yet our time had not come.

When we stopped looking at others, we began to see all the blessings that YAHUAH had given us.  Then we began to repent, asking YAHUAH for forgiveness for not believing His word and for not listening.  We began to thank Him for all the closed doors.  Furthermore, even though we tried to look at the good and bad of each decision, I know there were something’s we could not have seen, nor planned for but YAHUAH is All-Knowing and He kept us from moving forward for our own good!  His will is better for us to be stopped than for us to keep going.

I was listening to a special podcast from Crystal Hurst, which featured Crystal Hurst, Patricia Shrier and their mother Dr. Lois Evans (it was freebie for completing a survey) and I heard them say some things I already knew but this time it made so much more sense.

Mrs. Shrier said, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean that I should.”

Dr. Evans said, “When you have a decision to make, look 5, 10, 20 years down the line and think about how this one decision will affect you then.”

We could have continued and tried to find other ways but that didn’t mean that we should have.  Furthermore, in a few years, we may have had some big changes happening and this decision would have hindered those possible changes-greatly.

So we stopped.  We did a Life Turn.  In the last six years, we have had numerous Life Turns.  When I look back at those turns, I can see that though some of them where harder than others, they were the best decisions for us.  Life-Turns are necessary to put us back to the place where we went off track; we just have to put our trust in YAHUAH and turn around.

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Who Was She? Meriyvah and Malchuth

Their names where  Meriyvah and Malchuth.  They were the wives of Yishma’el and had very different personalities or responses.  At times I have been one but I strive continually to be like the other.  Let’s learn about them now.

After Yishma’el and Hagar are sent away by Avraham (Yashar 21:11-17), they lived in the wilderness for awhile, then they went to Mitsrayim.  Meriyvah, also known as Riv’ah was taken as a wife for Yishma’el, by his mother Hagar while they dwelt in Mitsrayim (Yashar 21:17 and Yashar 25:15) .  She bore him four sons, Nevayoth, Qedar, Adbe’el, Mivsam  and two daughters (Yashar 21:18 and Yashar 25:14-16-only says one daughter Basmath).   Sometime later Yishma’el, his mother, his woman and his children leave Mitsrayim and go back to living in the wilderness, living in tents, traveling here and there.

Avraham desiring to see Yishma’el goes to pay him a visit (Yashar 21:22).  He is old and advanced in years, so Sarah reminded him to stay on his animal (Yashar 21:26).  When he arrives at Yishma’els place he witnesses somethings that disturb him greatly.

It is about noon, when he arrives at Yishma’els place and inquires where Yishma’el is.  Someone direct him to Yishma’els tent where he finds, Meriyvah sitting in the tent with the children (Yashar 21:23).  Avraham asks her where Yishma’el is and she says that he had gone into the field to hunt-she is still in the tent.

Then he asks her for some water, but she answered saying that they had no bread nor water.  She wasn’t prepared at tall.  She was still sitting in the tent.  To add more fire, she was beating the children, cursing them, cursing Yishma’el and reproaching (which means chiding, reproving, criticizing, scolding, blaming) him.  Who knows if that was just her demeanor-you know just how she is, or whether she and Yishma’el had had an argument that morning.  Maybe she wanted to go away with him too?  Why should she be stuck at home with the kids, again?  Wasn’t she important too? Why did his mother have to go with him?   Maybe it was one of those days?  Maybe she was tired?  Maybe she was…..

While we can all fill in the blanks from our own lives with our own attitudes or incidents that at the root of our hearts.  The words of her lips, the actions of her hands and the selfishness she displayed spoke loud and clear.  All of this in front of a stranger.

She could have still been upset but that aside when this stranger came up.  She could have sent someone to get water.  She could have gotten up and introduced herself and found out who this man was.  She could have welcomed this old man with hospitality and offered him to rest awhile (even though he would not have gotten off his animal).  She still could have showed hospitality.  We all know that kids can misbehave, but we must be wise in our actions and word choices with them. We definitely should not be cursing them or beating them.  Furthermore, she should not be speaking ill of her husband at all-rather praying for him.  Praying for his safety.  Praying that YAHUAH would provide meat for their home…

I am not merely pointing the finger at Merivyah but at myself.  In times past, I have spoken ill of my husband, in frustration.  I have taken my frustration out on our kids by speaking ugly words.  I have been selfish not to notice the needs of others. I have.   Yes I have. But many years ago, YAHUAH, told me that I needed to be careful what I said and thought about my husband, especially when I am upset.  One thing I don’t do when I am upset, is call other people.  Why?  Because all it takes it one simple question from them and the flood gates of my wrath are released and I pour forth my feelings.  In times past, at those times it felt great; but later, I regretted the words that I spoke.  Many times, we have had disagreements or one of us is upset over something that simply is taken the wrong way.  Many times it is the enemy causing trouble but we don’t see him in the problem, we see our spouse and they become our enemy.  And we become tools of the enemy through our actions and words.

So, Avraham is very angry and displeased and finally calls the woman to come out of the tent.  Then he told her to tell Yishma’el:

“A very old man from the land of the Pelishtiym came hither to seek you, and thus was his appearance and figure; I did not ask him who he was, and seeing you were not here he spoke unto me and said, “When Yishma’el your man returns tell him thus did the man say, When you come home put away this nail of the tent which you have placed here, and place another in its stead.”  Yashar 21:31

Then he left and went home.

She didn’t ask who he was, even after she had come out of the tent.  She probably didn’t look at him in the face, for if she did I am sure she would have noticed the resemblance of this man and Yishma’el and could have concluded that this was his father.  She certainly wasn’t convicted by his words about her to tell her husband.

When Yishma’el returned, he had to go into the tent and look for her.  She repeated what  Avraham had said to tell Yishma’el and he knew it was Avraham who had come to him and that his woman did not honour him.

Think about that for a long while, I did.

Yishma’el understood the words that his father had spoken and he listened to Avraham and put the woman away/sent her back to her father’s house  (Yashar 21: 36 and Yashar 25:17).

Then Yisham’el went and took a woman, Malchuth from the land of Kena’an  and he bought her to his tent. She bore to him Nishma, Dumah, Massa, Chadad, Teyma, Yetur, Naphiysh and Kedma.

Three years, later Avraham returns.  Let’s see what happens this time.

Again, he arrives at Yishma’els tent at noon.  He asks about Yishma’el and…

Malchuth comes out of the tent and says “He is not here my master, for he has gone to hunt in the fields and to feed the camels.” Yashar 21:40

She stopped what she was doing, came out to greet him, showed respect to Avraham by calling him master and answered his question.  Her demeanor and heart was that of a good servant.  It was no problem for her to stop and talk with the man.

Then she said to Avraham:

“Turn in my master into the tent, and eat a morsel of bread, for your soul must be wearied on account of the journey.”

She shows hospitality and invites him in, offers something to eat and acknowledges his age (she could see he was an old man and more than likely needed rest) and that he had been traveling.  Avraham declines the invitation to come into the tent but asks for some water.

Malchuth runs!  She hastened and ran into the tent and brought out water and bread (she was prepared) to Avraham which she placed before him urging him to eat and drink! He ate and drank and his heart was comforted and he blessed his son Yishma’el, and blessed YAHUAH and then tells Malchuth to give Yishma’el this message:

“A very old man from the land of the Pelishtiym came hither and asked after you, and you were not here; and I brought him out bread and water and he ate and drank and his heart was comforted.  And he spoke these words to me: When Yishma’el your man comes home say unto him, The nail of then which you have is very good, do not put it way from the tent.” Yashar 21:43-44

Then Avraham left and went home.  I can only imagine how relieved he was as a parent that his sons’ spouse was respectful, graceful, hospitable, joyful, pleasant, prepared, and truly a blessing.

When Yishma’el returns home, guess what happens?

She comes out of the tent meeting him with joy and a cheerful heart.

He didn’t have to go searching for her.  She wasn’t too busy to notice his return home.  She wasn’t on the phone with her mother or best friend when he got back.  She was looking for him.  Children can truly test a marriage, whether one child or eight children but even still, she was full of joy and had a cheerful heart.  Lately I am finding many blogs with women who are encouraging wives to be very similar to Malchuth and this is so needed in this  time of technology and idols are taking over the most important relationships we will have.

During our first year of marriage, a married woman gave me a piece of wisdom I have never forgotten.  She said, “When your husband comes home, don’t be on the phone.”  It is important to acknowledge our husband’s return home.  It is something I make an active effort to do.  Even when we are at odds, I still stop what I am doing, greet him, hug him and smile.  I am not perfect, sometimes if we aren’t on good terms I don’t smile.  But YAHUAH is working on my heart here lately to greet him always with a cheerful countenance.

What was Yishma’el‘s response?

“And Yishma’el knew that it was his father, and that his woman had honored him and YAHUAH blessed Yishma’el.”  Yashar 21:48

I would also believe that she had a nice meal waiting for Yisham’el when he returned too!!!

I want to have a more hospitable home.  I want to have blessings spurring forth from my mouth for my husband, for our children and others.  I want to be prepared with water and bread.  I want to do better at greeting my husband when he returns home.  I want others to feel honoured when they are around me; not that I am some bitter woman too busy to notice others, not thankful for the blessings in my life that YAHUAH has given me.  I want what others witness about me, when I am out with our children, to bring honour and esteem to my husband and YAHUAH.

When I first read this chapter, I was convicted of the tone of voice that I use when I am out shopping with our kids.  Some days it is a challenge to take all of our kids to the store.  While it would be easier to go with a few or even I alone, I know that this teaches them how to shop and behave.  Many times I have people come up to me and say they have never seen such well-behaved children.  But what about me?  Is my tone of voice too commanding?  Am I being brash with my tones and not listening to the kids?

What about you?  How do you see yourself now?  Are you being a Meriyvah or Malchuth?

The next woman we will learn about is one who was married man times but an evil ruach slew her husbands’ on the wedding night.  We learn how YAHUAH removed the evil ruach from her life and what happened to the eighth husband.