July 14, 2009

Hidden Joy – Chapter Five

As we continue together on this journey, I do not claim to be counselor, a psychologist, or an expert on healing and wholeness. I am simply a woman just like you that God has given a story to share. As I read your stories and comments each week, it is so clear why the Lord has knit our lives together in this bloggy world. Your words of encouragement show me in very real ways how God is answering the prayers I prayed so many years ago as I penned each page.

Each week we have comments from about 20-30 of the 300+ women participating. I would love to hear from more of you. Please leave comments this week and share how God is working in your life through this study. We miss you and want to hear from you!

In this chapter I share with you the very first time God’s Word came alive to me…the first time I heard God speak specifically and directly to my circumstances. Years had passed since my rape, yet I still lived in my prison of fear. Fear continued to control my every move and consume my every thought. It was truly exhausting. I knew something had to give.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says

demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Satan wants to keep us bound up in places of fear, bitterness, anger, shame, guilt, and/or unforgiveness and accomplishes this by filling our thoughts with doubts, worries, irrational fears, and accusations. BUT GOD has other plans. He desires to give us peace and to fill our minds with Truth, assurance, wisdom, encouragement, and hope. However, it is a choice…our choice.

God will use any and all means to speak to us. For me, it was a meeting with a pastor, a man I barely knew. In a one hour “God appointment” God taught me another powerful Truth from His Word. What seemed a simple Bible story came alive that day.

Scripture says that God sent His Word to guide, teach, rebuke, and discipline. That day, I received God’s rebuke. It was a hard truth to hear, but it was time for me to choose. Would I listen and obey? Would I get up from my mat of despair, take God’s hand, and walk with Him?
Hidden Joy, p. 76.

God used the story of the man on the mat in John Chapter 5. Pastor Craig told me that I was like the invalid on the mat. I lived in a prison of fear that I had created. How I wanted to run out of his office and never come back. Who did he think he was? He did not even know me! Yet, as I sat there and allowed his words to sink in, I realized that I had lived in my place of pain, sorrow, unforgiveness and fear for years. In fact, I had settled in those emotions and become comfortable there.

Friends, God has incredible plans for your life. An abundant and full life, one where He desires to use you to draw others to Him. You will not know that plan if you remain on your mat. These words are hard to write, but I want to challenge you…

Are you on a mat today? Do you justify staying on your mat because you have been wronged or are the victim of unfortunate circumstances? Were you abused as a child? Are you abused by your boyfriend or husband? Do you suffer from a chronic sickness? Have you lost a loved one? Do you suffer from an addiction? Have you done something for which you cannot forgive yourself? As you read these questions, what comes to mind? Capture that thought right now! Know that Satan has that thought in his mind as well. He has been using that thought to control you…your thoughts, your actions, and your heart.

YOU have the opportunity to make a choice today! What keeps you from making the choice? Are you afraid it means you might have to forgive someone you don’t want to forgive? Are you afraid it means you have to face memories you don’t want to face? Are you afraid it means accepting circumstances you don’t want to accept? Are you afraid it means trusting God with where you are and you don’t want to be there?

Psalm 56:3 says,

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Friends, I know what it is like to not want to take that first step, but if you take it I promise it will CHANGE your life!!!! God will be there to take your hand and walk you every step of the way.

Isaiah 50:10b

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on His God.

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

The choice is yours. Like the invalid in God’s story, you can choose to remain paralyzed. Or you can respond to the call of Christ, get up off your mat, and walk. I encourage you to say, “Yes, Lord, I want to get well”, and allow Him to take your fears and anxieties and replace them with His peace…the peace that passes all understanding. He is waiting, ready to hold your hand and walk with you. Trust Him to take that first step. Hidden Joy, p. 77.

Heavenly Father, I am so weary, so tired of sitting in this place of sorrow and despair. Lord, I have no idea why you have me here. It seems so unfair. I call out to You, and I hear nothing. I faithfully pray and see no answers to my prayer. Why do You leave me in this place? Why do bad things continue to happen? Lord, I want to trust You with my circumstances. I want to believe You are here in my midst, but I feel so alone. Help me with my unbelief, Father. SPEAK TO ME!! SHOW ME!! MAKE YOURSELF REAL TO ME FATHER!! I promise to incline my ear to hear Your voice…just speak to me, LORD!!! Show me the way, and I will walk in it. And, LORD, through the power of Your Holy Spirit enable me to take the first step off my mat…wherever it leads…even if only a baby step away from where I am now. Help me to accept where I am and TRUST You with the next step!! Father, thank You that You promise You will NEVER leave me; You will never forget me. Remind me of this every time my thoughts go to returning to my mat. Thank You that in Your I will have victory. I ask all this in the powerful Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord. AMEN

Your Participation: If you took the challenge in Q. 4 and gave something over to the Lord this week, claiming His Word over your situation, share how you saw the Lord work. If you answered Q. 5, share what you answered for 5a, b, and/or c. Did this help with taking your thoughts captive? If you took the challenge in Q. 6, share how the Lord worked in your situation.

This Week’s Assignment: Read Chapter 6, Learning Forgiveness, and complete the corresponding questions in the study guide located in the back of the book. Be prepared to share your answers. See you on July 22nd!!


  1. Whew, I don't even know what to say. How is it possible that each chapter just keeps getting better? Wendy, you amaze me! I praise God for you, sister!

    'Anxiety divides our mind and distracts us from our relationship with God.'
    'Anxiety occurs when worry becomes the domination factor in our lives.'[pg. 69]
    'You and I are responsible for choosing obedience, for casting out all negative thoughts, and for dwelling on the positive.'[pg 73]
    'We strip the thought of its power over us as we put it up against Scripture.'[pg74]

    Yikes! All of these spoke to me. I will be honest and say that months back God gave me Phil 4:8 because of some things going on and I didn't truly heed His word. I tried, but it was with my own strength… it wasn't in Him. And obviously, I failed.

    Reading this chapter and then doing the Q part, it brought it all back to me again. I had to repent for not listening when the Father spoke.

    My mind is a constant battle ground. And just when I think I've allowed God to shift the battle in His favor, I get in the way again. Wicked flesh!!!

    For Q6, God brought me to Colossians 3:2-3 Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

    Oh, amen! That Danielle would die to her flesh and be hidden in Christ. That my mind would be on things above!

    There's just one other thing I want to mention… on pg 188, in your prayer, when you stated that, 'thanking You in advance that You will work out every detail, trusting that none of these things come to me before they have passed through Your loving hands.'

    I needed that fresh reminder! All mountains and valleys are surveyed by God first. He knows every fresh spring and every rocky mountain slide. Oh, how He knows, and with love He gets me through it all.

    Praise You God!

  2. Jessica B From NYC (Notoriouscutie22@yahoo.com) says

    I have been struggling with a Finance who had a drug and alcohol addiction. Recently he overdosed on pills and by the GRACE of GOD he was found by a medical team. He was missing from home for several days and it just made me to make up my mind to no longer continue to deal with this continous cycle of heartache and pain. We have small children and despite his love and commitment to his children he has not gotten away from the substance addiction he has. He was recently diagnosed with Bi-polar and deep depression and has been hospitalized. He reached out to me since he was admitted and both times he reached out I truly responded from a place of hurt, confussion, and fear of how things would work with taking on the bills, children, and working on my own. I feel like I am in between wanting to reach out and be suportive but yet at the same time feeling so angry, hurt and afraid of getting caught up in another set of lies. This post and this paticular chapter spoke to me especially the way in which my mind continues to go back to the negative aspect and causes me to want to avoid getting off of my mat and be forgiving and staying in God's wisdom to truly forgive and be supportive especially since he apologized (but its not the first apology) At any rate I don't know I just felt compelled to share my on going battle with trusting God and Stepping out on his mercies, extending myself to be a support and be merciful in the way GOD continues to do for me and my short comings. But Wendy this On-Line Bible study has been very insightful and has caused me to have to dig up, open up and dust off old and past emotions that continues to find a way to limit my walk with God I have some summer cleaning to do…Will see you next week

  3. Wendy, I'm not part of your study right now, but just wanted to say that I ordered your book last week. I'm so thankful that I'll be able to scroll back and glean from these posts after my book arrives.

    Thanks for your faithfulness in doing this. Your sharing will continue to speak to others long after this initial study is completed.


  4. Sharon@JoyInTheTruth says

    Wendy….the "on the mat" really spoke to me. Thank you so much! I am going to be brief today. I am looking forward to coming back and reading comments from new commenters! 🙂

    Thank you for this study and for your transparency. Love you!

  5. Hi Wendy, Happy Wednesday! God is truly speaking to me through this book and study. I am thankful that I found it at this time in my life. I have been married for 27 years and I have always had issues with self esteem. I would always do what I thought others wanted me to do. In my marriage, my husband is a controlling perfectionist, put that together with a wimpy woman and I ended up with a low, low opinion of who I was. within the last 6 months God has been working on me! with the help of this book and some others I have read I have been seeing who I am in Christ. He is bringing me to a place that I am not afraid to share my opinions and desires. He is allowing me to take care of me, after many years of putting me last after my husband and children. In Q,6 the verse he gave me is Matthew 10:31 -so do not be afraid; for you are worth more than many sparrows.
    Thank you Wendy for sharing your story, thank you for praying for me, even though you didn't know you were. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for seeking God.
    Have a Blessed week.

  6. Wow, this study is ripping down walls I didn't even know I had! Wendy I thank God for your faithfulness & getting off the mat. You have blessed me & shown me to get off my mat. Not easy when the mat has been surrounded by a wall that protected me emotionally. God gave me this scripture this morning in another devotion.(He is good isn't He?!) Psalms 56:3-4, 'But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in You. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?' Blessings & Peace Mary

  7. Anonymous says

    God spoke to me this week through the challenge in question 6. Circumstances this week along with this Bible study convicted me that I have been on the mat with my food addiction. The verses God gave to me are 2Cor. 10:5 and 2Tim.1:7. I have been allowing fear and complacency to keep me from claiming the power that God gives us as Christians to overcome addiction and sin. I am going to memorize these 2 verses and continue to pray them because victory over sin will strengthen my Christian witness. Thanks to everyone for the study and your insights. Terri

  8. Runner Mom says

    Hey, Sweet Friend!

    This chapter spoke volumes to me as well. To let go and let God is easier said than done. It requires constant prayer–"pray without ceasing" on our part. But don't you know that He delights in our prayers and obedience?

    Thank you again for leading this online study. Like Sharon,I'll be back later to red more comments and to pray.

    Love ya!

  9. Anonymous says

    Hello Wendy this chapter of the book gave me a lot to think about. I'm one of those people who seem to have mutiple things going on in my life. At times in my life I think that all seems to be going well then boom here comes all kind of things. Wendy I could write a book myself. But through reading God word I learn something new daily that helps me. What occupies my thoghts most of the time is doing for others I find myself praying alot of the time. Wendy I have begin to see what alot of my problem is now and we must confess the truth Because John 14v6 says Jesus saith unto him I am the way the truth and the life no man cometh to the Father but by me. I have a problem I beat myself up a lot we are so busy with our day to day life it like we put the word under the Mat and we dont apply it when we need it. I was in Bible study a few weeks back explainin to a mimister what I felt like was going on in my life, Because Evertime someone said something to upet me, or I got angry myself I got quiet I would run into a corner of the house but not before grabing the bible to read it . I did not realize that was the Spirit leading me to the word. He prayed at the end of our study I did not know at the time but in the middle of prayer he prayed for me, Of course at the time I dID nOT realize it the HOLY sPIRIT reveal it to me the next day. We need to remember that God word says the flesh fights against the spirit and we have to learn that the spirit will always draw us to the word. We need to keep our mind on God and not on our problems and we must be in constant prayer that we stay in the will of God. Wendy once again thank you for being an obedient servant To God be the glory

  10. Anonymous says

    The Bible Study done from your book is nothing short of a God-Send. Tears streamed from my eyes as I read words that rang so true for me. I couldn't believe that someone other than me could describe feelings so close to my own. God is truly using you in a mighty way. I look forward to reading more of your posts and I hope that I'll be able to purchase your book and follow along with your study. May God continue to bless and guide your Bible Study Ministry! Thank God and you for what it has meant to me on this day.

  11. Hello Friends!

    Another great chapter…another eye-opning chapter for me.

    Everything I worry about is beyond my control. My worrying does nothing to solve it or make it better. In fact, it makes it twenty times worse. I am a "what if" thinker. "what if this happens" "What if that happens?" I know that I have no control of the future however, I have so much anxiety of what might happen down the road.

    One thing that the Lord has been impressing on my heart during this study is that I need to replace my fears of the future with His Truth. I must replace them as soon as I recognize them-then they will have no hold whatsoever on me.

    2 Timothy 1:7 has been a verse that I keep going back to over and over again. It helps me get myself in the right frame of mind.

    I just love that He is using this study to keep leading me deeper and deeper into His word. And I love that there are so many beautiful people who are also on this journey-so that we can grow together.

  12. ising4him says

    As I read last week's chapter, I went away from it with a feeling of 'impending doom.' There was a part of me that felt that the Lord is preparing me for something major in the near future and that I need to put my whole trust in Him and Him alone. Unfortunately, then I couldn't help but almost go into a state of panic. "Is something going to happen to me?" "Is my health going to suffer in any way?" "Is anything going to happen to my father, who helps me a great deal as I live my life as a quadriplegic?" Those were the questions going through my mind. But over the past week, as I resolved to continue on in this study and to keep reading the Word, I knew, that I knew, that I knew, the Lord wants me to have peace. His peace. I can't keep dwelling on those questions. I can't continue on in my fears. The Lord wants to free me from them so He can carry out His will in my life.

    In answer to question 6a, the Scriptures I found which spoke to me most are Is. 26:3 and Phil. 4:6-7. It's still a bit of a struggle. But when I start to pray and begin to ask for whatever I think it is I need, I turn my thoughts to the Lord and how moch He has blessed me with. I'm counting my blessings, big and small, reminding myself of everything the Lord has brought me through and how He will continue to do so.

    I would like to take this opportunity to ask for prayer as I haven't been feeling well (hence the panic I mentioned). But I know that regardless of what's going on in my body, the Lord is in full control and His plan is not to harm me, but to give me a future full of hope.

    Thanks, Wendy, for sharing your story. The Lord is using you in a mighty way. And for that, I am grateful!


  13. Wendy Blight says


    When we do not feel well, Satan takes that opportunity to lead us down a path of what if's. I have been there…know that is FEAR. I encourage you to take Scriptures on fear and speak them back to God. When I suffered my panic attacks, I would breathe in and out and speak the verses God gave to me. They brought me back down to a peacefeul place. His Presence rested heavily in the room as I prayed, breathed, and spoke His Word. Don't let Satan get a foothold here and make you worried and anxious for your health. You are so right…the Lord will be with you WHATEVER is the matter. It is highly likely that anxiety is worsening what, if anything, is physically ailing you.

    I am praying right now for each of you and am so thankful for you,

    I am leaving with my daughter and some friends for the beach, so I may not be as accessible, but I will check when I can and will be praying.

    Blessings and Joy,


  14. ising4him says

    Thanks for your encouragement, Wendy. I will look up and learn verses on fear and speak them to God.

    You are so right about my fear. You see, my mom died of colon cancer 29 years ago this month and it has been on the back of my mind for the past several months. Add to that the fact that I'd recently been in sin. And though I've confessed my sin and turned away from it, there's a part of me that feels as though God is out to get me. Part of this is from my legalistic upbringing.

    But, Wendy, I know these thoughts are from the enemy. I know God loves me with an everlasting love and with unfailing love He has drawn me to Himself. And what He has planned for my life is for my best. It may not be what I think is best, but I know that's where my trust in Him comes in.

    Thanks again, Wendy.


    PS Enjoy the beach! 🙂

  15. Anonymous says

    Thanks for another awesome chapter, Wendy. And thanks for all the comments, ladies.

    God has used each chapter to speak to me. At times I feel as though my life has been exposed. I read, cry, and pray. At times I have to stop and try to process the feelings that have erupted from the reading. Each day I learn and little more about God and myself.

    Satan works overtime to ruin any progress I make. I feel more confident that God IS in control and I can trust Him and His perfect plan. That He DOES have a plan for my life and He will reveal in His time. That though I do not see or feel it, He IS working behind the scenes to set things in place; even the smallest details are already taken care of. THEN…satan hijacks my 'love' boat and I find myself wallowing a sea of despair once more. Focused on my problems and poor pitful me and shouting out 'Where are you God? Please help me!!'

    Honestly, I am so worn down from my constant ups and downs that I hate going to bed at night because I don't want to get up in the morning. When I wake I ask God to help me and I read my devotions and pray and I feel better. Before I know it, satan has jumped on my back and I am feilled with fear again. I am trying to follow through with question 6 instructions. I have written scriptures and carrying them with me. I want to take captive every thought that satan throws at me and replace it with scripture. So far I am finding that this is the attempt to form a new habit so it takes a lot of work at first. I tend to wallow in my misery a while and become desperate before I think to take out my card, read it, and give my anxiety and fears back to God.

    I WILL keep working on this!!
    Thanks for your prayers Wendy and others!

  16. Anonymous says

    Hey Wendy,

    Hope you are enjoying your time at the beach i just got back from cape breton visiting my folks and the beautiful beach:) What blessings Our Wonderful Lord gives us:) i am in awe more and more these days as i mature in Christ.

    I can very much relate to the anxiety issues i had suffered with that for many years and although im not as bad as i was before. At one time i used to worry about everything even little insignificant things. Now the times i worry and have anxiety usually its because of something huge that has happened and i get overwhelmed.

    I ask if you can keep me in prayers for this as i know that the best and only way is to repeat scrripture like you said on the Promises God gives us in Hes words about Fear and Handling it with Him in Charge. I am still very much working on that, i tend to not take the time to focus and do this instead i go from zero to sixty in my mind in a matter of minutes. I know it will be so much easier to handle what comes if i will learn more to meditate on Hes word.

    Thanks again Wendy for this study it is Amazing how God is using you. You are a real blessing and inspiration to me.

    Love from your sister in Christ

    Nova Scotia

  17. Anonymous says

    Hi Donna:)

    So Happy for you that you are getting into Gods truths more and that you are feeling Hes relief in your time of such Hard times. I just want to encourage you and tell you, i dont know you but i feel you are a very strong woman and that through all this hurt and pain you will come through it to a closer and deeper relationshp with Jesus a relationship that you could never have imagined existed.

    I have a relationship now with the Lord that i could never have imagined having and never thought was possible but through alot of hurt and pain he allowed in my life to grow me closer to Him cause he loves me so much and he wants me to enjoy my life despite the circumstances that come into it.

    It helps me to remember that He always works things out for our Good, no matter how things look its a challange to look at it that way but, we just have to reach out and Hes right there always and there can never be another person in our lives that can ever say that and mean it cause we are human and we all die at some point but even in death we always have Him.

    Keeping you and your family in prayers and rejoicing in what he will do to show Himself real to you at this time.

    Love you in Christ sister

    Nova Scotia

  18. Anonymous says

    Hello again Donna:)

    i forgot to mention something one thing i find that helps me as well is to put christian positive music on all times at my home, i go on the internet and type in this site http://www.thefishatlanta.com/
    you can than listen to this music online like having the radio on in your home its a good station and it has alot of positive and Godly music.

    All the other sisters in Christ might like the radio station as well, please shsre the link:)

    God bless
    Nova Scotia

  19. Anonymous says

    This was a powerful chapter. Wendy, page 69, second paragraph, really spoke to me about anxiety. After reading this chapter, I am now learning to replace anxious thoughts with prayer. It is not always easy to do as my flesh seems to want to stay in anxiety mode!
    The scriptures I was led to answering question 6 werePsalm 34:4 and 94:19 and Proverbs 12:25.
    So much of what you wrote in this chapter, Wendy, encouraged me. Thank you and Praise God!
    To Wendy and fellow Bible study friends, have a nice weekend.

  20. Anonymous says

    Wendy and everyone,
    This is an awesome study and book, although I am a bit behind in reading and answering the questions, I have read each of the posts from you, Wendy, and many of the fellow Bible study friends. I am 45, a "bluesuit Mom" of 3 girls at home, 3 step children grown, 4 grandchildren, and married to an awesome man of God – he is truly one of God's blessings in my life. I could write much, but I at least wanted you to know that this study and reading the posts and seeing how God is working in everyone's lives – brings me hope – and reminds me that God will restore to you anything that was taken and that He has such awesome, unique plans for each one of us. My life verse has been Isaiah 43:18-19. Thank You, Lord.
    All because of Him,

  21. rvrosebk says

    Hi Everyone.
    It's amazing how God walks before you and paves the way. Back in Dec. God gave me Isaiah 61:1-4 and I knew he wanted me to memorize them. Then from Jan on I have leaned on those verses more than once.I've had fears and anxiety all my life. I loved the way you gave me insight in the definition of anxiety. I really can see how I have let this consume my life over the years, and then you lose your focus. A few years ago God gave me a word. "He said to not look to the left or the right but raise my eyes to Jesus. I will always have problems in my life, but when I look off to the side I take my eyes off of him." I never noticed in the verse that Paul chose his thoughts, and I have that same choice. Thank you for reminding me of this.

  22. Anonymous says

    been away for vacation but the post on using the Word when we are afraid spoke to my heart i tend to be a fearful person about so many things but i know God is using this study to show me to use His Word to combat my fears I want to be a woman of the Word not of my circumstance I was speaking to a friend about this very matter this morning God has been showing me what a stronghold fear has been in my life and also in my son I want to have my heart and mind focused in His Word Ruthie

  23. Wendy,
    I have missed being here the past couple of weeks. Luckily, I got the book read before we started, but checking back in and doing each weeks assignment has proved to be challenging. I hope to get caught up and participate again soon.

  24. Wendy,
    I have not written on the blog, but I have been doing the study, and God is so faithful! He is working miracles in my life.. of healing. Chapters 5 and 6 have been HUGE for me. This morning, He delivered me from unforgiveness. Reading your words about how long it took you to get to the place where you finally forgave. 10 years from when your Grandmother spoke to you about forgiveness. When the tears were flowing and you could barely breath you were sobbing so hard. Now, I too have come to that place. I have been delivered!! I feel so entirely different – like a weight has been lifted, and my eyes are seeing differently, and my ears…I believe I heard heavenly realms this morning…a sound I have never heard before..for several minutes in fact. He never lets go of us, He never lets go. He waits patiently until we come to that heart decision that will set us free. He has set me free! Praise God! I am overwhelmed. Thank you Wendy for your transparency. He is speaking to me, through your experience and His word. My ears have been opened, and I have been praying for a long time for Him to open my ears that I might hear Him. He set aside the time so perfectly today! I am overflowing with praise I can hardly write!
    He is mighty to save, He is singing over me, He never lets go of us, He is our Healer, our Redeemer, our Savior, our God! He will not abandon His children. Amen, Thank you Lord!

  25. Hi Wendy,
    Sorry I am so late in posting; we have been battling the flu here in my family. I kept picking up my book all week and rereading the portions I had highlighted to keep me focused on Him. Thank you for reminding me that I have a choice, a choice to remain paralyzed or a choice to get off my mat of despair and choose to trust God and the timing of His healing. Thank you so much for that word picture. It spoke deeply into my heart.
    I have been trying to turn my thoughts back to God whenever my mind starts dwelling on the painful situation in my life, to replace it with the truth that God is all I need, that I am complete in Him, that He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 23:1, Col 2:9-10, Ps 73:23-26)

    With God's grace and His pursual of me, I know those truths are being sown in my heart everytime I speak them to my fears, sown by a God who loves each of us and wants us to experience His Peace.
    Thak you Wendy and all the ladies who shared. I am so encouraged by the work He is doing here in this online study. I can't wait to read tomorrow's post on Chpt 6, another deeply impacting chapter for me as well.
    Learning how to get off my mat and walk,

  26. Danielle says

    Carol, I am rejoicing with you, sister! Thank you for coming and sharing that. God is so amazing!

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