April 16, 2012

`Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of our Hidden Joy on-line study.

It is not too late to join us!! To sign up, simply visit the side column of my web site and sign up where it says “Subscribe to Updates” and “Subscribe to Wendy’s On-Line Bible Studies.” After you do that, you are registered and will begin to receive the weekly lessons in your inbox every Monday. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.

This week we will dig into Chapters 3 and 4.  Thank you for sharing your stories this week.  You were honest and vulnerable…so real.  Thank you!!  I love how you are praying with and for each other.  It is in that vulnerability and honesty that God will do His mighty work!!! 

Below please find my video message for this week.  Click here to go directly to the web site and view message.

 

Assignment: Read chapters three and four in Hidden Joy, “God’s Story Unfolds” and “Treasures in the Darkness.”  Complete the Guide for Reflection and Study questions for Chapters 3 and  4 located in the back of the book.   (So sorry I forgot to include the questions in last week’s assignment, so if you did not do them, please complete them when time allows).  After this week, we will  read only one chapter a week until we reach Chapter 10.

Memory VerseI will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.  Isaiah 45:3

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we cry out to You to meet us in every page of this book and in every Scripture we read.  Show us Your glory!! We invite You to invade our  hearts and minds with Your Truth.  Replace every lie with Truth.  Replace our darkness with the Light of the World.  Show us the treasures in the darkness…Your riches stored in secret places.  And thank You, Father, that You not only know each one of us by name but also summoned each one of us by name to meet you here.  Please knit us together, Lord, into a beautiful tapesty of sisterhood.  Remind us daily to pray for one another.  Burden our hearts with those for whom You would have us pray.  Thank You that You love us so much that You would orchestrate this amazing place to meet and study Your Word.  Do a mighty work in our lives through Your Living and Active Word.  Penetrate us, Lord, to the core of our being.  Bring change, Father, bring mighty transformational change.  We come boldly to Your throne of grace and ask all of this in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

I am excited for what God will teach us this week.

Blessings,

Comments

  1. I needed to read our memory verse this morning; though right now it means something very different to me today. As I read it Perfect Peace by Laura Story popped up on my Pandora and I know it was no accident. Tears are forming behind my eyes but not out of sadness, out of relief. God’s timing is perfect.

    <3 Heather

  2. Julie S. says:

    Thank you so much for your video message this week Wendy! I have to say it was just what I needed to hear. I started the book last week but as usual, got busy taking care of everyone else. I keep feeling like the Lord is leading me for more and trying to heal my brokeness of the past. But the enemy is always trying to bring me down. Bringing up the old hurts, not having many people to talk to and just not feeling good. I want to feel his love and light burning bright in my heart each day and work at not letting the worldly things smash me out. You are right we must replace the bad hurtful damage of the past with God’s truth and promise! I will remember this message as I make time for me this week. If I am not filled….how can I encourage others and shine my light bright?!? Thanks!!
    <3 Julie

    • Chargaile says:

      Julie, the enemy wants nothing more than to bring you down. Dig into the Word of God and refute what satan is trying to tell you. I will pray for you and I will pray that you allow the strength of the Holy Spirit to help you reject the enemy.

      • Julie S. says:

        Thanks for the encouragement Chargaile! It just feels so constant and you are exactly right, digging into HIS WORD helps. Just hard when the world is always wanting to snuff your light and love for Jesus out. Thanks for the prayers <3!

    • Yes, the world continually gets in the way of what God wants to do in our lives because the evil one is the prince of this world. He is a thief who seek to steal, kill, and destroy all that is good and all that is God’s. And as you said, the only way to combat this enemy is with the Word of God…just as Jesus did in the wilderness those 40 days and 40 nights. I pray you will persevere and allow God to fill you and work in you as you meet Him in the pages of His Word and this book.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  3. As I completed week 1 and answering the questions it was tough! It brought me to a place where I need to face the hurt that is still happening in the present. I knew that I was & am struggling with doubt, fear, no joy, no hope and anger…I just didnt realize or I did realize an was putting it away just how angry I’am and bitter. I don’t want to be this person. I know this is not what God wants for me as well. I’m struggling in many areas and I always have this question: Well if God cared, if He loved me then why does the hurt still go on, why has there been no change in my circumstance? Even though week one was hard to get thru, I did it and am looking forward to week 2. I know that God can restore…I need to allow God to do ALL He needs to do!!

    • Hi Lisa,

      As I read your post, I felt like I was typing it myself. I am a little further ahead in Wendy’s book (because I couldn’t put it down!) and it really addresses some of those things. I think we are kindred spirits in that we are in a painful circumstance, not necessarily something that happened in the past that has affected our present. God has been telling me in recent weeks to “let go” and fully trust Him. That is a difficult thing to learn, and we really have to ask for His wisdom to know what that looks like. Anyway, just wanted you to know you’re not alone and I will pray for you that God will show you what is holding you back.

      In Him,
      Katie

    • jackie s says:

      sometimes i have to keep in mind – circumstances may stay the same, but God can change the heart

      • Chargaile says:

        Lisa, Katie and Jackie, sometimes we do have to just let go and trust God, even when we can’t sense His presence, we must still trust that He is with us. Lisa, all of us suffer with doubt from time to time, but God does not fault us for that. Trust is a hard thing to do when everything around you is falling apart. Please know I speak from experience, but trust anyway.

        • Thank you Katie, Jackie & Chargaile for the encouragement! Letting go and fully trusting Him is so hard for me! I know this is what God has been asking me to do and boy oh boy it’s the toughest thing to do when the hurt and pain is there in front of you each day and you see no change…BUT I’m determined to do this! I’m weary of the fight. Thanks again =)

          Lisa

    • Sweet friend, God WILL heal and restore. The process is hard and painful in the beginning. It is hard to remember, hard to face the memories, hard to surrender them, hard to forgive, but step by step you will be victorious because GREATER IS HE WHO IS IN YOU THAN HE WHO IS IN THE WORLD!!! We are walking with you through this. You are not alone. Keep persevering!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  4. Jennifer says:

    Dearest Wendy,

    I just had to share this news with you. God has shown me that I do have FAITH! Holly”s 2nd annual 5K run was on Saturday, the weatherman was giving out a horrible forecast. We were expected to have severe storms and chances of tornado’s during Holly’s event. People kept coming up to me asking what we were going to do, and would we reschedule the run. My reply was NO, I have faith. I had this strong feeling that there would be no problem with the weather. I just know that God would work it out for us. Needless to say when I woke up early on Saturday it was beautiful. The day was just perfect, we raised more money for sexual awareness and prevention than we did last year! Yea! I just had to share this with you because you knew where I was a couple of years ago.

    Growing in Faith,
    Jennifer

    • Chargaile says:

      Jennifer, this is so exciting to read. You know how much I love you and how happy it makes me to see how much you have grown in your faith.

    • I just LOVE reading this. And I love that you shared this great story of prayer and faith. It is word of encouragment we all need to hear. Because if God cares about the weather and answering that kind of prayer, how much more will He answer our cries for healing, for restoration, for freedom, and for a deeper richer relationship with Him. God has brought you so far!! It is AMAZING. Thank you for sharing.

      W

  5. Jillian B says:

    Thank you so much for this study! I was drawn to it as I read that you prayed for each woman, that God would draw us here. I had my second child almost 5 months ago and haven’t been back to church consistently since. I went back yesterday for the first time, to find out we are starting a new series called “God’s story” I am so thankful for God using both this study and my church to bring me back to Him! I was struck by what you said in your video about all the “symptoms” of a parched heart, it makes perfect sense to me and I now know why I’ve been feeling so lost.

    I’m so excited for God to start replacing the lies in my mind with His Truth!

    • Isn’t it amazing how when God brings us to a particular place that He wants us, He will confirm and affirm it so that we know we are in His will? Thank you for sharing your story. It is an encouragment for us all.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  6. Wendy,

    Would you put into your own words what Isaiah 45:3 means in a personal and practical way? “I will give you treasures of darkeness….”

    Thank you,
    Karen

    • Most of us see nothing but black in the dark times. We feel isolated and alone. But God says that it is in the darkness that we will find spiritual treasures…treasures that are hidden except for when we walk through the dark times. And He does this SO THAT we know He is with us, that He has not forgotten about us, and that He is at work in our darkness.

      In the dark times, God reveals Himself in powerful and amazing ways and draws us closer to Him. A biblical example is the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Mary and Martha thought Jesus forgot about them and their brother because He did not come when they called for Him to come and heal their brother. And when Jesus finally did come, Lazarus had died. But before he resurrected Lazarus, He told Martha He was the Resurrection and the Life. Well, she had probably heard that before about Jesus, but when just minutes later, Jesus raised her brother from the dead, Martha REALLY UNDERSTOOD what those names of God meant. That is what God does for us. We come to know Him as Healer, Deliverer, Strong Tower, Provider…depending on our dark place.

      I hope this helps with your great question.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

      • Wendy,

        Thank you for answering my question.You were VERY helpful. Please pray that I might recognize the spiritual treasures He has for me in my dark places so that I might know He is with me.

        God bless you.
        Karen C

  7. I am really looking forward to this second week in Bible study. This past weekend, I put a milestone in my healing from rape. I was able to share it as part of my testimony at my first public speaking assignment from God with about 40 women at a women’s brunch/tea. I have gotten use to being on the Christian radio airwaves as a co-host each week but this past weekend was defintely untraveled territory for me. I am so thankful for my faithful God…women at the brunch kept coming up to my afterwards to tell me how refreshing it was to hear “real” and “honest”. Some women, also shared their own pain of being a survivor from some sort of sexual crime. Thank you so much for this online Bible study and the book.

    • Chargaile says:

      Tammy, I am very proud of you. Now, you are a blessing to other women as well. Keep telling your story and sharing you faith in God and how it has helped you through your ordeal. These blessings of helping others will be your treasures from the darkness.

    • Tammy, I am SO proud of you. A godly woman and psychologist once told me that everytime we tell our story, God places another layer of healing balm on our wound. I just love that picture, don’t you? God uses our pain, when surrendered to Him, to lead others to hope and healing and to bring glory and honor to His Name.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

    • Stephanie N. says:

      now THAT is how we bear fruit! Well done, friend :)

    • Tammy, I love how you’re allowing God to work through you! I’m so happy for you and so proud of you. Satan will double his efforts to discourage you, but I pray God will continue to give you strength! You can do all things through Christ Jesus!

    • Tammy, that is just amazing! I pray that this experience brought you a whole new level of healing!

      <3 Heather

  8. I too have to say how Father God is working in my life since I started this study. I have chosen to surrender daily to Jesus – everything from daily appointments ( which is the small stuff ) to big stuff like getting rid of fear and worry. The last few weeks i have been going back and forth to the doc/ hospital to find the cause of abdominal problems the trips were costing me more then I can deal with and as I started this study I made the choice to give this to Jesus and trust that He would work things out for the good – as He says he does. And each small step I have asked for Jesus’ hand in making things work. And He has, The schedules so far are working for to where I do/did not have to cancel any appointments and so far can make them all w/out conflict. Including a cheaper way to get back and forth. There was no way
    I would have been led to this site without Jesus. After I got off the phone I thanked Jesus for leading me to the sight. Then today I started worrying because I hadn’t gotten a confirmation for the ride – which I was supposed to get – and immediately said ” Jesus I am not going to worry about this and am putting at the foot of the cross I know you will work this out you are in control.’ And within an hr or so I receive a call confirming this ride for tomorrow morning.

    Sorry this was so long, but for me this was important because this is the first time EVER I have totally given God total control of the events over my life, And I am already seeing the results and change in my life.

    And it only gets better. Praise God!!!!

    • Debra, thank you for sharing how already God is using your time with Him and with us to affect change in your life. THAT is my primary prayer…transformation for each and every woman. For God to meet them where they are and take them to a newer, richer, more trusting place with Him.

      W

  9. Through the past week, I have had a miraculous change in spirit. I started off inspired but my flesh remained slightly doubtful, scared, unsure and cynical. But as the study is progressing my spirit has become more courageous, strong and hopeful, almost like the innocence of a child…just “simply” believing God’s Word. I cannot explain how rested and hopeful I am. Thank you for the continuous prayers!

    • Chargaile says:

      Riene, isn’t it wonderful when we come before God as with the innocence of a child and then He rewards us the way He has rewarded you. His Word does give us rest and hope and a peace that surpasses all understanding. Keep that childlike innocence and just trust God. He will be your portion forever.

    • Riene, this wonderful journey forward will continue because God promises in His Word that when we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. He will continue to draw you to Himself and will open the eyes of your heart to understand His Word in new and powerful ways. Praising God with you!
      W

  10. Jennifer C. says:

    Question and guidance. I know that it is important to read the Bible, it has all the answers. My question is how do you read the bible? Do you start at the beginning of the book like you would with a novel? In the past I would look up words in the back of the Bible and then follow to the scripture, but I do not know if that is the best way to find the answers I am looking for. I try to read the Bible but get frustrated because I feel like I am wasting my time because I do not get it. Wendy shared with us that at first it was hard for her to understand. Please guide me, I want understanding and to hear the voice of God. Show me the way!

    I read Jesus Calling every morning, does this count as reading the Bible? There is a message each day, but not sure if this is true bible reading.

    • Great questions!

      First, the only way I would start at the beginning and go forward with the Bible is with a chronological Bible because it makes it “more interesting” to read since it reads more like a novel.

      But I usually advise women to pick a book of the Bible (new believers book of John is great or really any gospel) and read it through. You can read a chapter a day as a goal to start with. Keep a journal/notebook to jot down throughts you have, what you hear God speak to your heart as you read.

      Devotionals like Jesus Calling are a wonderful way to spend a few minutes with God, but they do not “teach” you and grow you in the Word like reading it for yourself, chapter by chapter.

      After we finish Hidden Joy, there are a few old on-line Bible studies (Hebrews, Ephesians, Proverbs) you can access and doing one of these may be a great way for you to start. Just let me know if you decide to do this, and I can give you more information.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

      • Jennifer says:

        Yes, I want to after the hidden joy study. Please hook me up with the info .

        Love ya Wendy, thanks so much.
        Jennifer

      • Hi Wendy – I would be interested in accessing prior bible studies you have done as well. This one has been great so far! Thank you for taking your time and sharing your faith with us.

      • Hey girls,

        To find the studies, click on the link at the top of my web site that says “Bible Studies.” It gives you a drop down with each on-study we have done. Simply click on the one that interests you. Some have videos and some do not (did not do videos when I first started). Each study will be much like this one but with Scripture reading instead of reading from a book, memory verse, prayer, and homework assignments. You will be able to access past comments as well, but there will be no interaction since the study is over.

        If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.

        W

  11. Angel Parnell says:

    Hello,

    I just finished chapter 3 and was blow away at how God spoke to me. I have been “reading” the 1 Year Bible since Jan 1 2012. It has been such a struggle. It was just something to add to me to do list that I could check off each day. This chapter has brought to light why it is such a struggle. I was just reading, not studying and digesting God’s word. It’s not just words on the page, but God’s love letter to me. reading the scripture in the study guide convicted me and taught me what God’s word really is, not just some book to read because that’s what Christians do. I am praying for more understanding as I being reading with a new since of purpose, to hear God and learn His plan for my future. Thanks Wendy for following God’s plan for you, which lead to me learning this most important concept.

    • After reading chapter 4 and watching the video clip, I have been refreshed. I finally understand why I am never content. I can’t be with out fully submitting to God. A better relationship with my mother, nor my husband turning to God can fill the empty places of my soul. only God and His word can do this. I am ready to trade all the negatives in my life for God’s promises. I can’t wait to stop reading God’s word and start studying it in a way that nourishes the deepest darkest points of my heart. God truly lead me to this study and I am blessed to be apart of this group.

      • Chargaile says:

        Angel, I did the Bible in a Year reading and realized the same thing, I was reading and not studying. To gain insight into God and His Word, we have to study the word. I subscribe to several devotions via e-mail or read devotional books everyday. I find that if I have a problem I am dealing with or a circumstance I dont’ understand, that I learn more by looking up the passages of scripture that apply to my problem and study those passages. Just give it a try.

        • Thanks Chargaile, I’ve decided to do both. The 1 year reading is not much and a great place to start. i also am going to looking for areas in m life God wants to change. Then I can study those areas more closely. Thank you for you kind words and encouragement.

      • Angel,

        This is where I was and isn’t it so exciting when you finally realize that? I still find myself drawn toward my old tendencies (the old flesh rearing it’s ugly head), but God is holding me by my right hand and is guding me thru all of this. I hope that you see that what you just learned is one of those treasures in the darkness. It is so worth it. :) Have a blessed journey!!!

    • Your words make my heart SING!! You got it, girl!! God will do amazing things in your life now that you have learned how to approach His Word.!! Thank you for sharing. I am honored that He used Hidden Joy to lead you to this truth. It is truly an answer to my prayers for each of you.

      Love,

      Wendy

  12. Thank you, Wendy, for your encouragement to search and really dig into God’s Word. I just want to tell you that especially one plea in the prayer at the end of the Chapter 3 questions is an earnest desire in my heart: “Allow Your Word to penetrate all those places in my heart that I have been protecting, those places I don’t want to let anyone in, even You.”

    “Places I don’t want to let anyone in, even You.” I love God so much and I could never be where I am today without Him, but a part of my heart is holding back on Him. I have been asking Him to heal more layers in my heart from past spiritual, emotional, and sexual abuse. There are so many deep layers that I know need healing in order for me to live fully and freely in the joy that is available in Jesus. I admit I sometimes have severe trust issues, and it grieves me that I don’t wholeheartedly want to trust God and His power and willingness to work through me. I feel like I’m behaving the same way to God as I do to friends who have shown only love and support towards me, unlike some “friends” in the past. I feel close, but I’m still protecting a part of me. A part of me seems always ready with my running shoes… Does this make sense at all?

    • It makes absolute sense. It is SO hard to open up and be vulnerable with anyone. But what we must remember is that God already knows it all. His heart is pure. His love is pure. His agenda is good. And His plan is perfect!!! He is trustworthy. And the more you spend time with Him in His Word, the more you will realize this and the easier trust will become. You are on your way!!!! He will be faithful.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

      • Your love and encouragement touch my heart, Wendy. Especially when you remind me how pure and perfect God’s heart, love, and agenda are. Thanks so much for allowing God to use your pain to ease the pain of others.

        As I read other posts, I see cause for both prayer and praise. So much deep pain, and yet indisputable evidence that through Christ Jesus, we can and will conquer! To each of you out there, I pray your pain turns to joy in Jesus. He hurts when we hurt. He doesn’t want us to be victims, not even survivors. He wants us to dance in victory. Praying that each of us will learn to dance!

  13. Chargaile says:

    I mentioned earlier that I did this study last year and received such a blessing.

    2011 was a roller coaster ride for me. God blessed me by putting Wendy and her book in a dark period of my life.

    By May of last year, my husband and I were in financial ruin. We had to file for bankruptcy, which was very humilitating to us. Then in June my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Then in July, during a colonoscopy he was diagnosed with colon cancer. After 2 major operations only 5 days apart which entailed 12 days in the hospital, we learned that we did not get a winter job that we had bid on for our line of work. Plus, my husband had to have a port surgically implanted in his upper chest to receive the 6 months of chemotheraphy. Those months of chemo was both physically and mentally a strain on my husband. Keeping him from becoming deeply depressed became a daily struggle for me. Watching what the chemo was doing to his body the last couple of months became hard for me to bear sometimes.

    What kept me going? God and His promises. Promises like He would never heap more on me than He would give me the strength to bear. Promises like He was with me always. Promises like His never ending love for me.

    He placed people in our lives that gave us financial support, prayer support and words of encouragement. People that blessed us in ways I could never have imagined.

    Refined! Yes my friends, I have been refined over the past year. But, without a doubt, I know there will be others refining times in my life. This period of coming through the fire makes me stronger for the next trip through the furnace.

    • Charlotte, thank you for sharing your testimony with us!! I know many women will be blessed and encouraged. You have been such an inspiration as I have watched you walk this journey with your husband and your finances with such faith. You were real and shared your heart, your worries, your fears, and then you responded to those with prayers and messages filled with His truths and promises. It has been beautiful to watch. We are blessed to have you and your wisdom as part of our study.

      W

    • Julie S. says:

      My 2011 sounds a lot like yours Chargaile! I am encouraged by your words and progress! Thank you for sharing and reminding us all that God never gives us more than we can handle! “God’s exercise” is always making us stronger to fight the good fight! Blessings to you and your family!

      Julie

      • Chargaile says:

        Julie, keep your hope in God. I know from experiences that He will lead you through. I wish I could explain how He just seem to put a shielld over my mind to push out the worry during this time. It was absolutely surreal. He kept a peace over me and He put people like my prayer group in my life to stand in the gap with prayer, love and support of all kinds. Never doubt that He is capable, we just have to hand it to Him and walk away, knowing He is in control. I am 67 years old, however, this last year was the hardest yet but He brought me thru once again.

  14. Stephanie N. says:

    I shared last week that I suffer from bipolar and depression, and am dealing with a lot of anger with God at His allowance of this in my life. I have read chapter 3 twice now, and something great was revealed to me. I take several different medications for my “issues.” However, God showed me in this chapter that His Word must be part of my daily medicine! I have been in the Word for years, but go through seasons of weeks or months where my study is not deep or consistent. I see now that staying in God’s Word is part of my treatment. I firmly believe this will help prevent the cyclical nature of my disease, or at least lessen the severity of my downward spirals. Thank you, Lord, for such clarity!

    • Julie S. says:

      I agree Stephanie! I struggle a lot with IBS and anxiety…medicine helps but He always has the right words for me….at the right time….when I open His word and turn to Him. He has all our answers and all we need to do is trust and ASK (ask, seek, knock)! I don’t feel anger about not feeling great anymore. I just look at it as my cross here on earth and God’s exercise making me stronger each and every day for Him! Don’t get me wrong, we all have our bad days and I struggle a lot….but if God could give his one and only son for my eternal life in Heaven with Him because he loves us all soooo much…I am reminded that this is not our HOME and someday all of our pain and suffering will melt away! He is the great physican and healer and this isn’t where we belong!! We are His and we belong in paradise with Him! Building 429 has a great song about this not being our home if you’re interested :). Hugs <3

      Julie

    • This is such a powerful truth that most believers do not discover. His Word is HEALTH to our body and HEALING to our bones. It is our nourishment and our medicine. AMEN!!!

      W

  15. I think my biggest struggle thus far is doubt. I have such a hard time believing that these promises are for me–that these things will work out for my good because I love Him. My whole life has been one thing blowing up in my face after another, and most of those things happened because of my ignorance, sin, and insecurity. I am really having a hard time breaking free of the mentality that I shouldn’t get my hopes up because I know how it will end. I KNOW in my head that my hope is in the Lord, but why can’t my heart feel that most days? I’m not sure what’s holding me back, but it is getting more annoying than I can describe….my brain tells me the truth, but my heart still doubts. Any words of wisdom? Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Julie S. says:

      I always think when things slow down, or when life gets easier or when everything stops going wrong all the time…things will be better. I don’t think it will ever really happen, because life is always moving and changing! God is the only helper in life! Katie, God loves you so much! He gave His only son because he wants you to be with Him. I think feeling His love in your heart is a daily commitment. I pray daily for His love to fill my heart first and foremost so that I am able to find joy in every day things and be a light to others. I think it is hard to say Yes to God each and every day when the world leads us and shows us a much different picture. I don’t know what is holding you back….other than the enemy always trying to bring us down….but I have learned if I let go and let God…I at least feel better. That burden is lifted and I can breathe. If I pray and give it all to him and remember he wrote my days in a book before I was even born, I am reminded how much He loves me and the wonderful things He has in store for me. He knows your heart, ask Him to fill your heart with love and to cover you in His amor so that doubt isn’t allowed in any more…I pray for His plan for your life and for Him to lead you with His strong hands and fill you up!! I’ll be praying for you <3! Hugs and love!

      Julie

      • Your encouragement brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know what it is either, other than that doubt could be a stronghold in my life. I just know that it is so frustrating knowing what I should believe and having to try to convince myself of it. I’ve done so much in my life (this sounds like a total pity party) that sometimes, even subconciously, I wonder how in the world He could erase it all. I find myself believing that I’m paying for my past. And in some way I guess that’s true–there are always consequences to sin. But they aren’t things that God puts in our lives as punishment. Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to encourage me. It lifts my spirits knowing that not only does He care, but others do, too!

        • Katie I believe that we go through things in life, not bc of our past consequenes, but bc the Lord is trying to show us something, use us for his purpose and draw us closer to Him. I’ve gotten disappointed several times in the past bc thngs don’t go the way I think they should….but I know that God lovs us all and has a plan for us all. I just recently went though a 2 1/2 year trial of living with my inlaws while trying to save money to buid a new house. I never thought I would make it through,but God revealed himself to me in new ways all the time. I encourage you to fnd a Christian station you like…that always upflits me. I live in GR, MI and we have a super one that has helped me through….you can google it and strream it online if you’re interested. 91.3WCSG.org. I daily have to pray for God to fill my heart first and foremost but have learned that he is the way! Let go and let Him love you and fill you till your cup is overflowing and you dwell in his house forever <3 (Psalm23). Always here for ya! Hugs!

          Julie

    • Katie, as you get into God’s living and active Word, as you allow it to penetrate these doubting, hurting places in your heart, THAT is when CHANGE will come. Persevere, sweet friend, persevere!! This is His promise from His Word, so He must honor it.

      He also promises to work all things together for good when we LOVE Him and are CALLED according to His purpose. You, both love Him and are called according to His purpose if you have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. So He will take this sin, pain, and hurt when you surrender it to Him and do a new, good thing with it in your life. It is another promise, and He is faithful to honor His promises.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  16. Today I ponder Psalm 139. And how God made us and scheduled each day. Today I am preparing for surgery Which is scheduled for Thursday. Today I meet with the man who will be monitoring me while I sleep and know full well God has this in the palm of His mighty hand, but the human is a little nervous and unsettled . So I have been collecting scripture to read and immerse myself in to fill my heart with truth and love instead of fear and dread. He knew this day would come and He has already worked it out for His glory. But I would like to ask for prayers both for today and for Thursday, I check in at 10 and surgery is at 12. Thank you

    • How was your surgery Debra?

      W

      • Wendy, Surgery is scheduled for this thursday at noon. All that other trips was pre op testing and allergy to meds.I will be checking in at 10 am and surgery noon then I’ll be there over night and back home sometime Fri, I have several at church praying and one of the ministers wants to be called when i go into and then when I come out and am in recovery. I tell ya I have never felt so cared about at a churxh..Its a great feeling.

  17. Angel Parnell says:

    Well, I must confess, I worked ahead in the book to chapter 6 and now, I am stuck. I feel like a three year old arguing with her daddy. I understand in my head, but I can not process forgiveness in my heart. I won’t go into great detail now since not everyone has read ahead, but please pray for me that I can work through this with God and surrender. I want to, but it’s like standing on the edge of a cliff, toes on the ledge, holding my breath, wanting to jump, but terrified that He won’t catch me. How do you manage relationships of forgiveness when the person is and will continue to try to bring you down? Thanks in advance for your prayers. I love being apart of this group.

    • Angel, forgiveness is so hard. It is truly a process. One day, the Lord will bring you to a place where the first thing you think of when you interact with this person will not be your past. Just continue to seek after God’s heart for forgiveness. He will move it from your head to your heart over time. And I do want to say that forgiveness does not always mean we invite the person back into our lives to continue to hurt us. Sometimes we need to set boundaries to protect our hearts. Seek Him for next steps in this relationship as well.

      W

  18. Angel your ahead and when Monday comes I may just be behind, at least when it comes to writing out the notes and questions. But I’m doing fine on the reading. Your not alone, I ask how can you forgive when the person who hurt you keeps telling you your a liar and the abuse never happened. Reading 5-6 are this upcoming reading assignments right, so hang in there – I’m sure once I get there , we’ll have much to discuss.

    By the way my surgery is scheduled for Thurs at noon, so I’ll be away from home Thurs and back Friday. Happy Saturday to you all. I’ll be spending today and tomorrow catching up on my notes ..

  19. I have a question , I was reading ch 3 and taking notes and where Wendy talks about how the memories made her feel, I began to think about my memories and something came to mind. When I was first abused my abuser said the phrase “I’m going to show you what your husband will want from you when you get married.” And until this moment I cringed when I thought of it – but at this moment I thought about the scripture where it says God works everything out for the good. And had to stop and see it from God’s lens Yes the abuser used that as a negative in my life but seeing it thru God’s eyes I can now anticipate what my husbands desires are and be ready to please my husband because of the horrible that was done to me. Now would that be turning a negative into a positive?

    • Debra,

      I saw this comment when you first posted it, but I’ve been in VA for a few days and could not get to a computer to respond properly. I hope these words will bring you some clarity, without being to forward.

      Dear sister, I understand that you wish to find the positive in your situation; however, your husband and your abuser are completely different. Your abuser was selfish and desired to take something from you that he had no right to take. He used “teaching” as justification for his actions which were very wrong. Your abuser has no insight into what your husband’s desires are because your husband desires you out of love…not selfishness. The only one who knows what your husband desires is your husband. I think many of us get nervous talking about sex even with our husbands, especially when we have sexual hurt in our past {I’ve been there Debra}, but it’s important to make it part of our conversation. I worried about how I would react to my husband’s touch, because my past was filled with sexual hurt and even personal sin which I was afraid would surface. I encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with your husband.

      A book that helped me in this specific area is called Sheet Music by Dr. Leman. It is wonderfully written and covers a wide variety of sexual issues, from personalities, birth order, and dealing with past abuse. Dr. Leman is a Christian and uses God’s perspective in his writing. He isn’t crass in his writing, He is frank and honestly…he’s very funny too!

      I hope this helps you a little, though I’m not sure how to answer the good that God desires from your situation. It’s so very different for each of us. Wendy has used her past very effectively to lead women into a deeper relationship with God. I don’t use my past in that way, instead I do my best to be there for the youth that I lead in order to draw them into a closer relationship with Him and let them know that they are never alone, which is something I felt potently when I was healing from my own past.

      God DOES have a good purpose for your past as well. For now, continue to dig into His Word, get to know Him better, in His perfect time, He will be faithful to show you what that good looks like in your life.

      <3 Heather

      • Heather thank you for commenting. My husband does know about my past and I cherish my husband to no end. I think that’s why I love bearded men, they look NOTHING like the abuser. I agree there is a difference between the selfishness of the abuser. vs the gentleness of my husband. They are very different. And I remember two statements my hubby said that made me know without a doubt he was not like nor was my abuser. When we first got together he said “I will never hit or hurt you out of frustration or anger.. Nor has he ” The other “I never want to do anything that will hurt you, I love you too much”.
        And I am getting closer to God every single day and minute.

        Hope your trip was a good one

    • I love how you are seeking to find the positive, the “good” that God promises will come from our trials. The words of your abuser have no value because he spoke them to manipulate you and to justify his horrific actions. Your husband’s words and actions are tender and loving. You are so blessed! May the Lord continue to knit you both together through the power of His Holy Spirit.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  20. Julie S. says:

    Happy Sunday ladies! Today at church I was reminded that Jesus paid it all!! He paid our debts and washed our sins as white as snow. Let us claim his love for us! Have a wonderful day <3 blessings!!

    Julie

  21. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for a very dear friend & God, yet there is part of me that keeps pushing them both away; in fact I push most people away or keep them at a distance. I am very protective & yes I have severe trust issues, this I know to be true, I live it each day. There is a part of me that holds back so much & I can’t understand why I would want to hold on to something that stopped me form living my life to the fullest, that has robbed me of my best years of my life, years that have never be reclaimed. I am always running, running back to where I feel the safest, into the shadows. There are moments when I just break down & cry, I get angry with everything & everybody around me, including me & I also get angry at God. This really saddens me.
    But then I have days when I step out of the shadows & stand in God’s light, I feel him, I see him everything around me & I just know that I know that I know….
    I must admit that I am having trouble with answering some to the questions in the study. It’s like digging in a grave yard of my mind…
    So I have skipped a few & will go back to them later & try again. I just don’t know how to answer them… Stupid I know….
    May God Bless you all this week.

    • Julie S. says:

      Sometimes we don’t always have the words or the right answers…I think in time Karyn, you will find what you are looking for. It is not stupid to be unsure of how to answer something, we’re all there and we are all learning!! I understand the pushing away and keeping people at a distance, I do that well from my past trust issues as well and bottle everything up. I shine bright some days and hide in the shadows of pain others. I am just trying to fight the good fight and push through the pain. All we can do is trust him and pray! Blessings to you this week <3

      Julie

    • It will take time to work through these questions. Just take them as you can…as long as you continue pushing through. Persevere and don’t give up. As Chapter Five says…don’t stay on the mat…take baby steps. Each question is a baby step!! I am proud of you for being willing to take your questions to the Lord. He will be faithful.

      W

  22. stephanie N says:

    I am a little behind after traveling out of state last week. I had done the reading, but not the questions. I just completed the questions for Ch.3 and had an epiphany at the very last scripture and wanted to share! Deuteronomy 8:2-4 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.

    Here is what I wrote in my journal: I am speechless. I’ve read these verses so many times, but they are like a breath of fresh air and comfort today. V2: God is LEADING me through this wilderness of mine, I am not alone. He is testing my heart and my faithfulness. V3: HE causes my “hunger”, my “desperation,” so that HE MAY FEED ME, so that I need Him and hunger for His Word and what only He can give me. V4: He is sustaining me and all my needs in this present wilderness.

    I’ve been so angry and so hurt up to this point, believed lies from the devil, felt abandoned by God…but I see it so clearly now. Yes, I feel miserable and have a ways to go before I am well, but I’m on my way, and God is leading me. Without times of distress, disappointment, hurt, whatever it is I’m feeling that I don’t like, what would I need God for? God has allowed this pain so that I will seek Him.

    What a revelation! Thank you, Lord, for speaking to me today and honoring my obedience in this study. Thank you, Lord, for showing up and showing off!

    Blessings, Ladies!

  23. Stephanie E says:

    Little late to post – been a bit consumed with my “circumstances” lately. What a wonderful reminder that God wants our faith to be in him because of the promises in his word and not whatever storms we are weathering. Two quotes comes to mind, “He can turn our test into a testimony” – Wendy’s story is a great example of this. Another quote I heard in a sermon once is ” I know God ivan do it, but even if he doesn’t I still believe.”. I am in a season of my life where God has brought me to total dependence on Him. I daily ask for peace, strength, and guidance and am praying he daily increases my faith.

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