April 23, 2012

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: Week Three

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!!

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Thank you Wendy for the opportunity to share my healing with these lovely ladies. Thank you so much for your story and allowing God to heal me using your story in the book. I will forever be grateful. These week’s verse has become one that I pray often.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/287948969895270946/

    • Amanda Mischke says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I too, have been struggling with past pain and hurts. I work towards forgiveness every day, as I know this is a must, and while its on my lips, I long for it to be in my heart. This post was such an encouragement to me. May the Lord continue to Bless you!

      • I am so glad my post from my own journey was an encouragement to you. I encourage you to not focus so much on a specific behavior or issue, instead focus on taking all of it to Jesus and talk to Him like you would a friend and then BE still. I can’t tell you how many mornings I got up 2 hours early for work just so I could pour my heart out to Him and then have time to be quiet, listening for Him. Many mornings I did…not in an audible voice but in the peace that would come over me, a thought that would pop into my head or a verse that would come out of no where. On the mornings I didn’t “feel” anything – I was made a conscious effort to seek Him through out the day and usually I found Him. And remember above all, it’s a journey – not something that will change overnight. I will be keeping you in my prayers.

      • Amanda, we will get to the chapter on forgiveness soon, and I pray the Lord will minister to you through the truths presented in that chapter and move you to a new place in your heart. He is so faithful to give us the desires of our heart when they align with His and forgiveness DEFINITELY aligns with His!!

        Blessings,

        Wendy

    • Veronica: Thank you so much for your beautiful honesty and authenticity. I was blessed by reading your journey. And I rejoice in that your daughter wants an “up and close” relationship with Jesus because of your example. PRAISE GOD! I can’t think of anything better now that I have become a fellow mommy also :). Continue to let your light shine. God is so so good.

      • Thank you so much Tracy!! My daughter has been a blessing to me in so many ways, its amazing how God can work on our hearts through our children. Who would have thought my daughter at the age of 7 and up would lead me to a closer relationship with Jesus and in turn heal me from my past hurts.

    • Thank you for sharing this. Day 46 really helped confirm I can do this. All along I though forgiveness was just do it and it disappears. Thank you for sharing that it is a process and may take time. I have also come to realize this study is a journey to take, not a task to be complete. I am such a list person that like to check things off. Through this I am convinced I need to focus on each chapter for the week provided and not rush through to the end of the book. Guess this is going to be a study in patience as well. Since I have read chapter 6, I am rereading chapter 5 and working on this more. Obviously God is not done with me yet.

      • Angel P. you CAN SO DO THIS!!! I know you can – I am the biggest procrastinator and one who always held onto grudges, if I can let go and forgive anyone can. It is a process and even after you work through it there may still be days when something throws you for a loop and you have to remind yourself “I already forgave that, let’s move on” The upside is what an awesome relationship you can have with Jesus, because it’s in our weakness His power is shown and I never understood that until I went through this study, until I learned to forgive and until I accepted forgiveness for myself. I am such a checklist person too, so I understand! Keep with it and know you are not on this journey alone. :)

      • Angel, thank you for reminding us of a very powerful truth we need to remember…we are on a journey. And although I conquer something in one chapter in the book, in reality, each victory took years and the entire healing process over a decade. It is one baby step at a time, and oftentimes a few steps back in between. But God is with us every step of the way, equipping us and promising never to leave us or forsake us!!

        W

  2. Hmmm, I needed this today, “take one day at a time”. I believe that I am fruitful and blessed today and all I need to do is keep coming back to the foot of the cross for blessing everyday!

    • Thank you Olayinka, I am so glad my story helped you. I now use the “take one day at a time” often when I start to feel emotions that arent of Jesus and to help me to ask Him what He wants for me this day. It’s a great reminder!!! I will be praying for you on this journey.

  3. V,

    Thank you for sharing these highlights from your journey through last year’s study! You are so right! Healing doesn’t come over night and it is choosing daily to go to Jesus. I am so glad we had an opportunity to share in snippets of your journey sister :)!

    <3 Heather

    • Thanks Heather, you will never know how much your own posts and comments to me back then helped me to continue going. Even through your writing I could sense a peace and wellbeing in you and I wanted that. Thank you for being my sister and my friend – can’t wait to meet in person :)

  4. Julie S. says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Veronica! I think the biggest thing to touch me is the visible example your daughter saw in you. When He changes us, it is inside and out and she saw your light shining so brightly since your journey of healing and wants the same. I also seek to find this healing so I may be a brighter light to my children. Thankful that each day is a new day, taking it one day at a time! Blessing and love!

    Julie

    • Julie you are so right…inside I really didn’t feel that much different. I did but I didn’t. I felt lighter and more at peace with the things around me, but I didn’t think it was something noticeable until my daughter told me that – I about wrecked the car (as we were driving when she told me this, all our heart to hearts are on long distance drives). And I praised God because my one true prayer is that when people see me, read my writing or meet me that it’s not me but Him they come in contact with. Keep standing on His promises and even though the journey gets hard, don’t give up and keep taking it to Him and you too will become that bright light – I have no doubt. Blessings and prayers for you through this study.

    • I so agree…it is when God uses us to encourage and lead others that we “see” the visible fruit of our healing and our tranformation!!!

      W

  5. Hi Veronica,
    and nice to meet you Wendy… this is my first time here! :) Veronica, we haven’t met yet, but I feel as though I already know you. You shared your journey through this study with such surrender and honesty. It was a BEAUTIFUL recap! He is the great HEALER! He is healing me too! Thank you for sharing with me… can hardly wait to meet you in July! ~ Blessings, Amy

  6. Ok, well, this is going to sound pretty silly. Wendy, you challenged us this week to start small and get off our mats. I like challenges, so this is exciting for me. Since my dark corner is marriage-related, I have a tendency to want to know what my husband is doing and who he’s talked to. It’s MUCH better than it was, in that the Holy Spirit convicts me each time and I don’t question him the way I once did. By all logic, I have every reason to believe that I will find something, and 90% of the time I do. But that’s not the point. The point is that God has promised to restore my marriage and bring salavation to my home, and I am begging for grace to trust Him more. Sooo, my “baby step” off my mat this week is going to start here. I am going to commit to not look at his phone, not drive by where I think he may be, and I am going to try my hardest to take all those thoughts captive that lead me to make those choices. I am nervous just typing it because I’m not sure how succesful I’ll be. But our memory verse says that this is possible with God, so I’m just going to keep claiming that over and over. Lord, help me! :)

    • Oh Katie G. good for you and I can tell by your post how nervous you are…I remember the day I wrote my first comment and I thought I would throw up, it’s scary to put yourself out there and to trust when all your insides scream at you “why would you trust, you KNOW you will just be hurt again” I fought that through this whole study and it was the first thing I ever finished in all of my 30+ years. But through it I came to realize if I thought the worst, yes I would be proved right BUT if I believed the best in God and stood on His promises – I would be proved right too! God can’t lie and if He directed you to put your trust in Him to restore your marriage – He will. It might not be tomorrow or the next day but He will. I just saw the answer to a prayer I prayed everyday for 22 years! It happened, in God’s timing – which was perfect! Don’t let the enemy have that foothold, keep giving it to Christ and fight the temptation, each time you want to check up on your husband go to your Bible and pull out Scripture. When I finally chose to give it to God and trust Him it was then that He finally worked and it was obvious to everyone that it was His power that answered my prayer, not my own. I will be praying for you my friend.

    • Katie, I am SO PROUD of you!! I love that you are taking on this challenge in a very practical way. I pray that the Lord will bless and reward your obedience in very real ways as you give this over to Him. I also pray that your husband will NOTICE your choice and respond with thoughtfulness to share infomation on his own and with love and tenderness.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

    • WOW!! I LOVED reading this today Katie! Praying for complete victory for you sister as you take this baby step off your mat! God will be faithful to carry you through this. Christ fed a crowd of thousands with a simple offering of bread and fish…He can bring you complete victory with even a baby step :D.

      <3 Heather

    • Thank you so much Veronica, Wendy and Heather. This seems like such a small thing, but this is the beginning of much fear and anxiety for me. I’m learning so much about myself thru this fire that God has allowed me to travel thru, and I am confident that He will help me to give my husband to Him completely. Thank you for your prayers!

      • Julie S. says:

        Praying for you Katie! I too have struggled with trust! I know God will give you the strength this week…..stepping off your mat…..and from this day forward! Hugs!

        Julie

  7. New “pin” for the study on Pinterest:

    http://pinterest.com/pin/287948969895276381/

  8. Well, God is speaking again. I just started Renee Swope’s study “A Confident Heart” in addition to this one. The first study reveled to me the I need to not only believe in God, but to simple believe Him at His word. Trust seems to be a big issue with a lot of us ladies on here. Maybe someone else on here need this as much as I did. So I challenge each of you to stop believe IN God and BELIEVE Him. He can’t lie so what do you have to lose, other than fear and bondage to a life of unhappiness.

    • Renee is a dear friend, and I think it is wonderful you are doing her study. My guess is the Lord will speak many similar truths as you walk through both studies because both are so BIBLE based in their messages.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

      • I smile a little as I think “I am pretty hard headed, maybe God needs to say the same thing twice to get it through my think head”. Struggling today so a smile from this helped. Thanks

    • Jessica Jackson says:

      I’m doing both as well Angel. I haven’t started “A confident heart” yet. I am also involved in “An Untroubled Heart” I have about a week left in that study! God Bless!

      • It has started off pretty good. The thing that weaves these two together is the focus on scripture. I am amazed at how Wendy and Renee both rely so much on God’s word. I am beginning to understand, that’s it, His word. It’s the most important. If both of these Godly women over came and became confident, I can too if I do what they did… read God’s word. It sounds so simple, but yet I resist. There goes my hard hardheadedness again. :)

        • Julie S. says:

          I was going to do both as well but am consumed with Wendy’s book right now….and think I would be putting too much on my plate! On my list to read next and it sounds like you guys are enjoying it! I hear you about his word….I feel like I’ve been wanting to learn more bc he is revealing so much to me right now and drawing me back to him! He is filling me up <3…I pray He does the same for you ladies!

          Julie

      • I went from Hidden Joy to A Confident Heart to Made to Crave to An Untroubled Heart, each one is based so completely in Scripture, that’s why i love the P31 ladies.

        • Reading these comments tonight blesses me beyond measure!! Just love how what God has taught us through our journeys is now encouraging all of you to dig into the Word!!

          Love,

          Wendy

    • I’m also doing both, and its interesting ( in a good way) how connected they are, they over lap in the teaching. The challenge I’m having is how to cross reference them both so if they focus on the same issue from a different perspective I can catch it in order to get that extra deeper understanding and clarity. Right now I am putting “cf see HJ pg 10″ or CH pg 12, I’m also seeing how many scriptures are used for both, its so wonderful to see the scriptures come alive like this …. ( I was going to postpone Confident heart, but I see I’m not alone and things are getting worked out, you cant learn if you quit).

  9. Veronica, Day 41 and 46 really touched me, 41 because I will also need to ask Jesus daily to help me forgive. And 46 made me kinda laugh I saw you saying ” My God is bigger then you Devil” and watching the Devil turn tail and run. Which is what happens but just envisioning it made me laugh.

    I wanted to share something from page 48. Where Wendy says that Fear imprisoned her and the question ” do you retreat into a shell? Fear gripped me imprisoning me and caused me to retreat into a shell where i could hide – the greater the fear the deeper I fell into the prison I created for myself. I was hiding from everyone including myself. But the one I couldn’t hide from the one who really saw me was the only one who mattered. Because God was the only one who could do something about it- my pain hurt and whatever else I was feeling. He could bring me out of my hiding place breaking the chains that bind me and set me free from fear. And as I work to trust him I know That greater is he that is in me then the one who is in the world.

    • Debra, thank you for your comment. I am glad that day 41 spoke to you in terms of forgiveness. It’s important for us to realize we too are forgiven and to let that forgiveness wash over us. I am glad you got a laugh, sometimes, a good laugh is exactly what is needed.

      When I first went through the study, that passage you just shared from page 46, gave me goose bumps, it described me so much. I retreated and retreated until I had no where else to go. I wanted to hide from everyone, but mainly from myself. Today as I read that passage, I don’t ever want to go back there and the passage still gives me goose bumps. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • Amen!! One of the most powerful verses we can pray and believe…GREATER IS HE WHO IS IN US then he who is in the world. May we all STAND on this Truth in our battles.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  10. Stephanie N says:

    I am completing chapter 4 questions today, so I have not read chapter 5 yet, but this challenge scares me. I have no idea what my step off the mat will be. I am praying for inspiration after reading the chapter and working through the questions and scriptures provided. I will continue to pray for all the ladies in our study :)

    • Don’t let it scare you….I didn’t know what my “off the mat” was going to be about it, there were so many things I knew I needed to focus on and concentrate on – I thought I really had to “pick” one and then work at it. It didn’t work that way for me. What happened instead was I felt God nudging me to change just one thing in my daily life (I resisted thinking “that’s not a big enough change”) but from that small change, everything just sort of fell together. Don’t be afraid and let Him lead your heart.

      • Wow, thanks for sharing this. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by not getting ti ALL together. I think because I read chapter 5 and need to get off my mat I have to run full sprint away from my mat. That is the “I’m never good enough” voice saying that 1 small thing is not enough. I am recommitting to take one small step at a time and I know before long I will look back and not even recognize where I am because I have come so far. Thanks again!

        • Yes each small step brings together huge change. As my husband always tells me when I get impatient: gotta crawl before you walk, gotta walk before you can run; and gotta run before you can fly!!!!

        • This is the best advice ever…one baby step at a time. Remember we are on a journey. Each time we conquer one baby step, the Lord empowers us through Christ Confidence to take the next baby step.

          W

  11. Jessica Jackson says:

    Wendy,
    Your book so far has been such a blessing to me! I feel like I have learned so much already and I’m only starting chapter 3. Thank you so much for sharing your trials and tribulations with each of us and guiding us through these verses so we can apply them to our lives! Love and God Bless!

    • Jessica Jackson says:

      Meant starting chapter 5! Thanks again for being a great example and sharing your life lessons and Godly knowledge w/ us!

      • You are so welcome, Jessica!!! That is my heart’s desire…that each of you will dig into the Scriptures and find the ones that will enable you to be victorious in your trials and tribulations. God will be faithful!!

        W

  12. Sometimes I feel I’m sharing too much and sometimes i feel I share not enough. I am just now finishing ch 3 questions and saw my notes from last year when i did the study with Melissa, on question 4 c the scripture was 1 Peter ch 2 : 2 But I wrote 2 Tim 2:2 However, the scripture that SPOKE TO ME and one I have high lightened was 1 peter 2:1. (TLB) whic says ” So get rid of your feelings of hatred Dont just pretend to be good! Be done with dishonesty and jealousy and talking about others behind their backs” This scripture teaches me That I am not to have hatred or pretend to be fine. This fits perfectly with How does this affect your every day life- but will fit perfectly with Ch 6 on forgiveness. ( I will also write out the NIV version in my notes as well. May share more when we get to that chapter. It looks like I’ll be digging deeper when we get to that chapter, if this is any indication of what to expect.

    • So glad to know that there are other people who feel that way…..sometimes I have to tell myself “Be Quiet already!!! You don’t have to talk so much!” and then other times where I want to speak out but I don’t. I am so glad you are getting so much out of the study :)

  13. Guess I’m catching up so when you dont hear from me Thurs or Fri you wont miss me, lol. I just finished chapter three’s questions and question 5 stopped me in my tracks. I want to share what I discovered:
    In reading Deut 8:2-4 I had to stop and reflect back on this past year. I remember exactly when my wilderness started. Well not the date as much as the event. I was at a restaurant and was feeling good. I was heading to the Y after grabbin g a quick bite. But i never made it to the Y. Instead the events that followed lunch sent me home. I gorged on food that day including a chocolate shake. Before long I got sick as my body rejected what was put in it. I lost control and needed to change clothes- it was a humbling experience- because as I look back my focus was so much on eating the food instead of on God. Now as i wandered in the wilderness my focus switched from eating to not eating and before long I was crying out to God to help me and show me what was wrong. I am now more focused on God instead of what I am putting into my body.

    So my wilderness really was about going hungry ( because i feared food would cause a reaction – and after surgery I will be on manna as my body gets used to solid food again.

  14. Marcia L. says:

    I have already read the book…done all the questions…and really…honestly do, for the most part, feel that I can forgive and move on…however…there is one thing holding me back…o.k….I must be honest there are actually a couple of things holding me back…one I can not speak of…too horrible for me to even begin to wrap my brain around…the other is I have a 19 year old daughter…I can not help but be OVERLY protective of her! That is my biggest struggle with this whole thing! It absolutely drives me crazy when I think of her being out with a guy or just out hanging out with friends. I know that God is sovereign…I know that I can trust Him…I know that all things work together for good for those who love Him…my brain understands all these things…can somebody please explain it to my heart?!?

    • Marcia, I too had the head knowledge but never fully let it sink down into my heart. I found that until I completely 100 % believed in His promises and that I could trust Him WHATEVER happened, I wouldn’t have the knowledge in my heart. I recently was able to completely give my children up to His care – NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS – I prayed and prayed, He brought to my heart and my mind, that no matter what happens He will be there and nothing will be too much to bear as long as I trust Him. That does mean WHATEVER happens…..

      My mama’s heart will be protected by Him and when it gets broke, He will be there to help me pick up the pieces. I finally realized that the only thing that could forever affect my children is being out of God’s grace and mercy, so as long as they are secured in His eternal kingdom, nothing here on earth matters. I don’t say this lightly….I have seen my son wrestled to the ground by six cops, I have seen my son handcuffed, I have seen my son almost die, I have seen my son almost homeless. I have a 19 year old daughter too and I imagine some of the things happening to her that happened to me, it makes me sad, it breaks my heart but I also know that if I fully trust in His promises I can help her get through it IF it even happened, I can be the example that something good can come of it.

      I hope this helps. I didn’t mean for my post to be long. I will be praying for you.

    • Oh, how is know how you feel. For so many years, I was overprotective of my kids, especially my sweet Lauren. And I never told her why for years. She just thought I was crazy. When I finally shared what happened to me, she was so much more understanding, and it opened a good dialogue between us that helped me let go a bit. But sending her off to college brought back lots of memories for me since that is where my attack happened. I had to really give her to the Lord and trust her to follow all the instructions I gave her the last night before we said goodbye. It is truly TRUSTING IN THE LORD WITH ALL OUR HEART and leaning not on our own understanding (which is formed by our own experiences)) and in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths. Keep praying and surrendering. God will be faithful.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  15. Julie S. says:

    Wendy you are truly God sent! Everything I keep reading and hearing is everyting God has been revealing to me over my journey the last few years. I just have to laugh to myself bc God sure has a sense of humor sometimes! Thank you for your encouragment and love. I appreciate this study so much and and thankful for a safe place to come and talk <3. I will step off my mat this week and fill myself daily with his love and am going to make an effort to replace all my negitive hurts with His blessings, promises and love for me!! My needs are just as important as the people I care for and I need to make me a priority too! Letting go and letting you fill my heart God <3. I feel like I do really good then one thing happens and it brings me right down. I KNOW it is the enemy. I have been reading Ephesians chapter 6 about God's armor….that has been really helping me!

    Julie

    • Pray the mind of Christ over yourself…when those negative thoughts come, replace them with TRUTH…whatever is lovely, pure, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy!!

      And thank you for the sweet words of encouragement. I too love this safe community the Lord has created.

      Blessings,

      W

  16. I’ve been wondering if there is a mat that I’ve been sitting on, but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be one. However, I was on a mat last year. I had been silent about the sexual assaults/abuses that I had gone through when I was younger. Every once in a while I would tell someone, but I was always afraid that they would look at me differently or try to coddle me in someway. For years I dealt with the pain of my past silently…until last June.

    I took a small step off my mat…which honestly felt like a giant leap off the end of a cliff! I wrote my entire story and believe me it was LONG and I emailed it to my prayer group as an attachment. I gave them the choice of whether or not they would read my story and promised them that there was no guilt if they decided not to read my words. As frightening as it was to let them in like that, so completely, it was also very freeing, almost exhilarating…like taking a giant leap off a cliff :). It lead me to share my past hurts with my husband, whom up to that point had no idea.

    I am praying for each of you as you follow God’s prompting to take your own baby step off your mat, whatever that may look like in your life.

    <3 Heather

    • I remember receiving that letter. It was a HUGE step. I am so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Heather.

      Love you,

      Wendy

    • Heather,

      So blessed by your sharing of your story above. I had only shared my story of abuse at a woman’s retreat about 10 or so years ago when asked to share my testimory. And then for the second time on Melissa’s blog. I too was and am still fearful as to how others will perceive my story – especially my family as I have never told them. Thanks for the encouragement.
      Love ya, Donna

  17. First of all, thanks so much for sharing your journey, Veronica. I checked out your blogs as well. You have a gift of being open and transparent.

    Chapter 5 is a chapter I so needed to hear, Wendy. My “off the mat step” is to trust more in God’s process of molding me to be a more usable vessel of His glory. I have been thinking a lot of our Heavenly Potter this past week, and I wrote a blog post about it yesterday.

    Another “off the mat step” for me is to more actively choose to seek and believe what God says about me to replace the negative words I slash myself with.

    As I worked through the exercises, I was able to identify, write out, and address some fears I have in my life, and the verse I found for #6 that speaks to my specific issues is Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” These fears dismay me – break down my courage and dishearten me, but I will remember I have a God who is in control and promises to be with me always. He will uphold me with His pure and unswerving hand.

    Praying for each of you here that God will strengthen and help each of you!

    Thanks so much, Wendy, for getting off the mat to write this book and do this study.

    • Trudy, Isaiah 41:10 is a great “fear” verse!! And I pray you will continue to believe who you are in Christ. I have some free resources on my web site that address this very issue. If you click on the link “Free Resources” you should find them. I think they will really help you with this step off your mat. Let me know what you think.

      W

  18. Oh chp 5 is both encouraging & frustrating! Wendy when I read that you finally understood God & His sovereignty allowed your rape & didn’t cause it to happen but it was part of His plan…I guess this part I get frustrated. Thru my counseling this comes up as well & I see in my circumstances it is continual hurt & brokeness. I look back & think what was is no longer why is this apart of God’s plan for my life? I can’t seem to grasp this! I’m encouraged to hear how you understood & that gives me hope that I can get there too! There is so much in this chapter that I see in myself…that same question your pastor asked you “Wendy, do you want to get well” my dear husband asks me this of course I say YES but then it doesn’t take long for the mind to take over & start believing all the lies again! Thank you Wendy & Veronica for the encouragement this week…=)

    Lisa

    • Remember, Lisa, this took lots of time. I did not do it in one week or one month. It took years. Just keep seeking hard after freedom. God will be faithful!!! He will transform your heart and mind as you continue to fill it with His truth to replace the lies.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  19. well I am back home from the hospital, moving very slow. Trying to settle my stomach to accept food again. Tonight and this morning haven’t been successfull. But it hasn’t been the consistency to send me back. Just a lot of expelling gas. So I may be a week or so behind when I get back to our study. I seem to want to sleep a lot. Hehe.

  20. Appreciate so much all the heart sharing and encouragement by you ladies – especially taking those baby steps to trust Him.

    Wendy has helped me see the power of God’s word in transforming her mind on her fears, as she quoted scriptures often in her book. To step off the mat for me would be learning to trust God at His Word, rather than allowing circumstances, emotions and feelings of despair to grip me and lose His joy.

  21. MaggieMoo says:

    Veronica, Thank you so much for sharing your journey of going thru this book. It was super helpful to me as well. I appreciate your honesty and boldness to speak out.

    As for the Book, I know I’m late but I just caught up this morning. I just finished Chapter 5 yesterday and it was so inspiring.
    On page 69 when you are speaking about Karen…A VICTOR, not a victim! Seriously Easter morning god sent me that message and there it was again in your book! I’m so excited about the journey God has me on. I’m so not a victim anymore, my mat is rolled and I’ve got my walking shoes on to walk with Jesus and learn. “Focus on what God was doing in the midst of my circumstances”, just jumped at me too. So much of this book just jumps out at me. Ahhhhh I love this book and reading everyone’s journey as we go thru the study is so helpful. I super love Philippians 4:13, it was probably the second bible verse I have memorized in the past few years since God has started my healing journey. Reading page 72 & 73 really took a breath out of me. POWERFUL and such great learning tools. I’m so excited to read this book and get to the questions in the back. What an amazing blessing. Glory be to God for his words that poured out of Wendy’s heart and into this learning tool for us to share.

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