Welcome to Week Three of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. This week we study Chapter Five, “On the Mat.” I’m so excited to announce that we still have women joining. If you are new this week, welcome. We are so excited to have you!
This week I have a special treat for you. A dear Proverbs 31 friend and sister in Christ, Veronica Herzing, shares a guest post today. Veronica went through Hidden Joy with Melissa Taylor’s On-Line Studies several months ago. God did an amazing work in her life during that study, and she wants to share some of her journey with you today. We are blessed to have Veronica joining us for this study as well. Below please find Veronica’s message. Her story is not only encouraging but also honest and authentic. If her words bless you today, please leave her a comment in the comment section of my web site. If you would like to know more about Veronica, you can visit her blog by clicking here.
At the end of Veronica’s message you will find my video message as well as this week’s memory verse and homework assignment. The prayer for the week is in my video message. This week I challenge you to take one step off your mat. And, if you take the challenge, please share with us what step you take and how God works in and through your step of faith.
Dear Hidden Joy sisters,
I want to encourage you as you go through the Hidden Joy Bible study. I am living proof that through this study you can find your joy and become closer to Jesus – forming an intimate relationship with Him. I want to share some highlights of my own journey last year:
Day 1 ~
I am feeling nervous, uncomfortable, excited, anxious, relieved!! Could this possibility be the start of being free? I truly pray so. Will I start AND finish this? I pray I will.
Day 2 ~
I can’t do this. I am going to throw up. What are my fears? That it will be painful and make things worse. Yet through this study, I hope to realize I am no longer alone. I don’t want to waste another day, let alone another year with emptiness and a hole inside my heart.
Day 13 ~
Today was a day of choosing to remember the awesome things the LORD has done for me. Instead of dwelling on the past and all that has gone wrong. I opened myself and allowed Him to speak to my heart that is so bruised and battered.
Day 28 ~
Focusing on Christ despite the pull to focus on my past and wallow in the pain. It would be so easy to go back to that place. I prayed silently during Mass for complete healing for each of us in the Hidden Joy study. No sooner did I finish that Father stood up and prayed “Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for the pain in our lives and that through You we have joy as well. That’s what the Cross stands for – joy in spite of pain. Joy through Christ despite the pain of the world.”
Day 41 ~
I wasn’t able to completely forgive just from reading Chapter 6. Thirty plus years of hurts and unforgiveness doesn’t go away in six short days. However by going to Jesus often and asking Him to help me forgive I believe, I can forgive those who hurt me, myself included.
Day 48 ~
I had many opportunities in the past week to tell the devil that my God is bigger than my strongholds. However, I gave in and focused on my pain, the past and my weaknesses. After wallowing in my pain for days, I finally said, “I don’t know what to do or where to turn except to God.”
Dear God please show me without a doubt what my next step is, where I go from here and what now
Day 57 ~
Hard to believe we are entering week 9. It’s been a great journey. I have to say I have never felt closer to God before now and that is what this journey is about. It is more than my abuse, my mistakes, my marriage, my motherhood – it’s all about my up close and personal relationship with Jesus.
Final Day ~
As I read the final page I am sad to see the study end. I have made some wonderful connections; I never gave up during the study, and I finished it!! I have experienced growth, healing, and the hole I had in my heart at the start of the study is now filled with Jesus and His love.
Now friends I don’t want you to think “that’s all good for her, look how easy it was.” It wasn’t easy. I had a lot of ups and downs; however, I kept coming back to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” There were days that I went to Jesus every minute begging Him to help me. The key was that I then looked for the help, He sent it. At times it was a perfectly timed message from a friend; other times an unexpected gesture from a family member, and sometimes it was as simple as five minutes of peace.
Did my life magically change? Yes but not in a worldly way. It changed through my seeking to have a closer relationship with Jesus. Did that mean my life became the fairy tale ending I dreamed of? Not quite. I still have down days; I still feel the pull to sit in my pit, and I occasionally fall back into the victim mentality. However, I don’t stay there long…I pick myself up and CHOOSE to go to Jesus. I CHOOSE to take pleasure in the simplest things. I CHOOSE to believe I am much more. I CHOOSE to believe Christ’s promises and truths are for me and that I am His beloved.
Will you start believing that for yourself? How about just for today? How about taking it one day at a time and not worrying or thinking about tomorrow. Just for today, know that you – yes you:
Are His BELOVED and you have immeasurable VALUE!
One year later ~
My daughter summed it up best. We were having a heart to heart talk. I shared with her my abuse, how it affected my life, and how I completed the Hidden Joy study. I also shared with her that it was because of her that I wanted to be healed. She was my inspiration. I wanted what I saw in her life: confidence, fullness of life and a deep faith.
My 19 year old daughter made my journey worthwhile and complete when she responded, “Mom, I now want what you have. I want an up close relationship with Jesus. I see the difference and I want that.”
Thank you, Veronica!! Your message has been a huge encouragement to us today.
Below is this week’s video lesson and assignment.
Assignment: Read Chapter Five in Hidden Joy, “On the Mat.” Complete the Guide for Reflection and Study questions for Chapter 5 located in the back of the book.
Memory Verse: What is impossible with men is possible with God. Luke 18:27
Please know I will be praying for you as you take a first step off your mat. Please share what God does this week!!