Step Into the Light

Step out of the shadows and into the light. (c) 2013 Stephanie Raquel

Step out of the shadows and into the light.
(c) 2013 Stephanie Raquel

 

Hey there!  Steph Raquel here again.

Oh, sweet sisters, what a week we’ve had, as we tackled some very difficult issues through A Confident Heart.  Congrats to you who have persevered!  Today, we choose to keep #movingforward out of the shadows of doubt, and step into the light of truth.

First, you’ll be encouraged by author Renee Swope as she shares her thoughts.  Click HERE for the DVD excerpt to see what she has to say from Chapters 4 & 5 (scroll down on the page to view it) and you’ll also catch a glimpse of her ADORABLE little girl, Aster!  =)

Some of my favorite quotes from Renee included:

“When we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring His perspective into our pain, redemption comes.”

“God’s love is not only unfailing, it redeems and restores.  His truth cuts to the core of our struggles, bringing purpose to our pain, redemption from our past, and hope for our future.”

Isn’t that comforting?  As I remember from surgery recoveries, as well as giving birth, pain with a purpose is far more easy to endure!

Secondly, Renee addresses Jeremiah 29:11-14.  When I first heard this passage, I was in East Asia on a missions trip in college.  It completely resonated with my young soul.  My own kids have also loved that it’s a major verse in the movie, Soul Surfer.

In recent years, however, I’ve learned more about the context of this verse.  We have to step back and also examine verse 10.  These words weren’t originally written to an enthusiastic young woman whose whole life was ahead of her.  No, they were written to the remnant faithful of the entire nation of Israel, following 70 years of painful captivity — all caused by their ancestors’ brutal disobedience.

So for those of us who’ve “lived in exile” for years, or have endured consequences from the “sins of our fathers” in previous generations, be encouraged!  The enlightening truth is, God is still in the business of setting the captives free.  Thank you, Father God, for that!

Finally, we couldn’t do our discussion on Chapter 5 justice without talking about our friend, Gideon.  When we meet him in Judges 6:12 (p.88), he was an ordinary guy, performing an ordinary, mundane task.  But he was afraid of his enemies.  So afraid, in fact, that he was literally HIDING IN A WINEPRESS — staying indoors, for a menial outdoor task of threshing wheat.  But what happens?  An angel of the Lord showed up and said, “Hello, MIGHTY WARRIOR!”  To me, it’s pretty remarkable the angel didn’t show up saying, “Hello, Mr. Doubt?  Paging Mr. Insecurities!”  Because Gideon sure had them!

So after some serious bargaining, God then gives him the task or removing his father’s idols to the false god Baal and the Asherah pole.  And what does Gideon do?  He removed them, sure, but he did it at night  — in the shadows — because once again, he was afraid.

And then there’s this whole business with the dew and the fleece.  Gideon asked for some definite PROOF of God’s instructions before he went and fought a battle.  (Which, apparently is okay with God sometimes.  Who knew?!)  Indeed at that point, God took Gideon’s strength completely out of the picture.  Gideon’s lowly army went from battling with an intimidating ratio of 45 to 1, down to the impossible 450 to 1!  (Thank you, Priscilla Schirer, for that insight!)  And what happened?  God used “ordinary” Gideon to defeat the Midianites and bring peace to the land for 40 years.

Alright, so what does Gideon have to do with you and me?  As Renee writes on page 91:

“Gideon’s first steps out of the shadow of doubt would require he focus on God’s promise and power, not himself.  Eventually, with God’s help, Gideon defeated his enemies and his doubts.”

Every day, you and I each face our shares of doubts.  In Gideon’s story, we see an incredible example of how God uses the ordinary to extract the extraordinary.  How? When we step out of the shadows of doubt, and step into the light of truth.

STUDY ASSIGNMENT

  1. If you haven’t already, finish reading Chapters 4 and 5 of A Confident Heart and answer the questions on pp. 82-83 and 94-95.
  2. Bonus … Take out your Bible and read Judges chapter 6-8.  Ask God to give you fresh insights behind the story of Gideon.

YOUR TURN  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. What were your favorite quotes, or “aha” moments from Chapter 5?
  2. What stood out to you from the DVD excerpt by Renee Swope?
  3. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse of hope toward our future, despite a painful past.  How can you apply that in your own world today?
  4. How does Gideon’s story encourage you?  What battles are you facing with impossible odds?  What doubts do you sense God wants you to conquer with Him and depend on His strength to overcome?

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  1. Okay, so I only post maybe once a week when something really speaks to me. I’ve gotten good at just keeping things in and trying to handle with just me and God but sisters I need help. The few times I’ve posted I’ve asked for prayers in a failing marriage. This week we hit a major bump in the road….major fight that was very verbally abusive to my soul. I am crushed and don’t know how to deal with this. I can identify with the comment Renee made on our pasts, presents and future doubts. My mother left when I was nine. My dad raised me as a single father. I have a relationship with my mom but nothing like my relationship with my dad. He passed away suddenly 3.5 years ago. I thought I would not get through it but was so thankful for the strength and peace God gave me to deal with it. (Not to mention the people he put in my life to get through it) you see, my husband doesn’t have a relationship with either parent. He keeps everyone at arms length including our children. I have encouraged him to seek counseling for him so that we could return to marriage counseling for us. I think demons from his past and present are making it hard to see that he does not have healthy emotional connections with his family, me included. I have gone as far as to give him my rings back and move downstairs in our house two months ago. (After 6+ yrs of trying to make our marriage work what feels like By myself) we both agree we are at an impasse. I’m sorry for the long post but after this weekend the conversation he had with me…told me I was angry (which I admit I am at this point), bitter, that I’m not trying, that he made a commitment and that I was quitting, that I had major issues I needed to deal with (told him I knew I had issues which is why I had gone to individual counseling for 5+yrs), it goes on and on. He says counseling for him won’t work he’s tried before. Sisters….I’m tired, I’m worn and I truly feel God is directing me to separate from him. I’m scared. I have two children 15 and 11 who love him but cling to me b/c he has traveled for work most of there life. I worry about what we are teaching them about marriage. (Mind you I have one boy and girl) I have asked for me to be a priority in his life. He has time for work (first and foremost), scouts with my son (which is important), men’s ministry hike, etc you get the picture. I feel I have asked for some time for me and he just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand why I am so upset. I’m sorry for rambling….I am at my wits end. Working on my doubt and #movingforward, but hard when beat down emotionally.

    • Mary Gay (OBS Group Leader) says:

      Lori, you are in my prayers! I’ve requested prayer and guidance for you!

      Hugs!

      Mary

    • Lori, your situation is incredibly hard. And frustrating. I’m sorry. Asking our men to hear our hearts is something so many of us can identify with. Asking God to smooth out the rough places and then waiting while He does it in His timing? That is SO hard. Just know that so many of us are lifting you up in prayer.

      Dear God, please take Lori’s wounded heart and bind it up with the love that only You can provide. Father, she is hurting and needs your comfort. We pray for discernment as she seeks to honor you with her life and her decisions. We ask that you fortify her for the road ahead and that you not only provide the light she needs to make each new step, but keep her eyes open for it. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

    • Oh Lori,
      Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I’m so sorry to see how much difficulty you’ve faced in your life and your marriage. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? My husband & I have worked in marriage ministry for years and sadly, your story is one I hear often. I am so proud of you for doing individual counseling and working on your issues. You are worth it!!!

      My hope is that you can keep focusing on God and His strength. Now exactly what that looks like where you live, I don’t know. (Are you in a solid church? What kind of support do you have from friends or a small group? etc.) But please know we are praying for God to perform a miracle here, and for you to have courage and conviction to keep fighting the good fight. I am always somewhat reluctant to “just recommend books” when women are hurting, but one that comes to mind here is “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. The subtitle is: “What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy, More Than to Make Us Happy?” It might be a good resource for you personally, regardless of the circumstances with your husband, whom we know you can’t change. More on that, here: http://shop.familylife.com/p-1464-sacred-marriage-paperback.aspx

      Father God in Heaven, I pray for Lori today. I ask, Lord, that you would give here peace in these trying, difficult circumstances. I pray for a miracle in her marriage. In the meantime, Lord, I pray for Lori to find practical insights and wisdom and to be able to keep hanging on. Help her to become more in love with you, Jesus, than anybody else. Help her to keep talking to YOU, Lord, about her husband, than she talks with her husband about You. Guide her steps as a mama to her sweet adolescent children. Be with them and protect them as well. And Lord, we ask for Lori’s husband’s heart to turn toward You. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • Heavenly Father be with Lori and her family. Hear her cries for help Lord, help her to feel your presence in a very real way, so that she knows you see her, you hear her and you know her struggles. Help her Lord to see things in a new perspective, that she would spend time seeking you during this difficult time. I pray lord that you would be with her husband open his heart Lord as well as Lori’s that you might begin the healing process. We thank you Father, that even in this difficult season, you have your loving arms wrapped around them. In Jesus’ name we pray amen.

    • Lori ~
      I don’t get a chance to read many posts each day, and I comment myself very infrequently. Thank you for your courage today in sharing some of your struggles!! I can’t say that I’ve been ‘exactly’ where you are, but I’ve been in a similar place. As I read your post I felt my heart begin to ache for you, and your husband. And immediately a movie, and a book came to my mind so I figured it was time for me to get off my duff and share something that has really helped me when I start going towards that place where I feel disheartened or discouraged in my marriage. I recommend watching the movie “Fireproof”. If you’ve seen it before, watch it again! Pray before you start, and as you are watching, asking God to show you in that movie what it is that He wants you to see in your own life and for Him to guide you in handling it His way. I have found it very helpful to watch it with my husband, but there are times when I just need to watch it by myself too. There is a book that was written for the movie, “The Love Dare”. Just reading it can be helpful. Committing to spending the 40-days to actually live out the Dare can be life changing!
      Whatever you do Lori, DON’T GIVE UP! God has a plan for you and your husband, and for your marriage!! I pray that He will guide both of you to find your strength in Him and that He will fill you with the love that you so crave so that you can pour it out on each other. Hang in there girl!

    • Kim Parris says:

      Dear Precious, Sweet, Lori,

      May I say you are right where GOD wants you…at your wits end! It’s only here that HE can do HIS job! It’s when you are at your weakest that HE gets to show up and be HIS strongest!! This is the place where GOD gets the glory!! As long as our hands are in the pot trying to control and manipulate our lives to be what we want…we are tying HIS!
      Sweetheart…surrender! Cast (throw at HIM, hurl) all your cares on Jesus, for HE cares for you. Just tell HIM all about it and then rest and let HIM go to work. (this is the hard part…Be still…but then comes the and know that I am GOD!) I have been where you are and in those dark days when the walls felt like they were closing in and things would never change, GOD taught me to bring both my doubt and faith to HIM in one sentence…GOD, I’m not seeing anything good here so I can’t wait to see what YOU do with this situation. (fill in the blank). He promises to turn all things out for our good! Stand on it! This statement takes it our of my hands and puts it where it belongs…in HIS. Father, in the sweet name of JESUS, love on Lori as only you can! Fill all of her empty spaces so that she can love her husband the way you love her! We love her and lift her up to you!! Thank you that she is precious in YOUR sight!! AMEN!

      • Amen – cast all your hurt on Him – only He can take it and turn it into something beautiful. Do all you can to seek God and do what He says – be the wife that He says to be – honor your husband, pray for him and turn the whole situation over to God. The Lord Himself will take your pain, give you peace even in the midst of the roughest seas of emotions. I have been there – and felt His peace fill me when I knew I had done all I could. My husband ended up turning his back on God and walking away to be with another woman, but I know I did all I could to be the wife that God desires me to be. So the pain was still there – but wasn’t so suffocating. I felt God’s love and peace fill me. Now, almost 2 years later, I am so much more in love than I ever thought possible – with God. He fills all my desires and I don’t even question the fact that I am not interested in looking for a man to have in my life. Maybe some day, I won’t say never, but I am perfectly content as I am now. My daughter and son in law and granddaughter are where I spend my time. And will have a new grandson in about 2 weeks. God’s blessings are so awesome. Pray, pray , pray and stay in His Word for guidance and peace. I rebuke satan and his doubts and discouragement in the name of Jesus Christ and pray for peace and clarity for you. Many blessings to you. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Praying for you Lori.

    • Wendy (Prayer Warrior Team) says:

      Lori,
      Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Never apologize for a long post – that is what we are here for….to support each other and to pray with and for each other. You have some beautiful prayers posted here and my heart is also praying for you and your family.

    • Dear Lori – Keep praying for guidance from God, He will show you the way. Do not give up. I and obviously many others are also praying for you. Please do not give up. “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Love to you!

    • Robbyn R. French says:

      praying for you

  2. Mary Gay (OBS Group Leader) says:

    Great post Stephanie! Thanks for reminding us to look back into scripture and remember that even though our circumstances look…well, not so great now, that God promises to set us free! I’ll keep swimming, through the currents of these great big waves and storm I am in right now….all while I continue to hold on to the HOPE that His future plans are for my (and HIS) good, good, good!!!

  3. Jeremiah 29:11 helps me remember that God knows what He’s doing. He’s got this. I need to be obedient and listen to Him. He will see me through!

  4. Gillian Wenger says:

    I liked what Stephanie pointed out about the angel calling Gideon “Mighty Warrior”. God doesn’t see us in our weakness. He looks at us and calls us out into our destiny. The purpose he has planned for us. It doesn’t matter if we have doubts or struggles, he sees past it to the person he created us to be and that’s the name he gives us. We just need to take that name and step into our purpose! I’m going to listen closely for my name!

  5. “Gideon’s first steps out of the shadow of doubt would require he focus on God’s promise and power, not himself.”

  6. Steph – you had so many nuggets of wisdom and truth in this post! I am clinging to “God is still in the business of setting the captives free.” for both myself and loved ones. On page 93, Renee challenges us to “ask God to use our doubts to draw us into a deeper place of dependence on Him and His promises.” To that, I say AMEN!

    I pray that God uses the tough stuff that so many of us waded through this week to draw us right up into His loving embrace and that He holds us so close there. Oh, how I do.

    • Missy, I know for sure I couldn’t serve in ministry if I didn’t believe that truth at the core of my being. And yes, what a powerful prayer Renee has brought into our midst! Oh Lord, grow our dependence. That is scary, but amazing to think about what You might accomplish through us when we get outta the way!! =)

  7. From Les Brown today … reworded the sonyamacdesigns way …

    Through HIS strength and POWER we have the ability to rebuild, regroup, recover and revive!
    HE is the Breathe of life in our dreams.

    And, I just keep reminding myself that feelings are not facts
    and feeling do no thing for HIS mighty word & Truth.

  8. Jeremiah 29:11 has been a verse of mine for years now. Just recently have I been “seeing” verse 12-13 in a LOT, LOT of places (like this blog!!), so I feel God telling me to “take hold” of those as well!!! I try to pray verse 11 over friends and family.

  9. What an awesome glimpse the Lord provides for us into the human condition. Gideon is not much different from me. I his from my past in the dark, dank winepress of my depression. I allowed my self to merely exist instead of living in freedom where he wanted me to be. My present was not always so bright either and I simply could not, at times, live past the here and now. All of my efforts sometimes focused on getting my feet on the floor in the morning. I pray the Lord used Gideon’s story and Renee’s book in a mighty way. He relieves the doubts we have and leads us into his light, truth, and freedom.

  10. Priscilla says:

    This is partially a response to Lori’s comment and request for prayer above… Lori, I so completely understand where your are at. I’ve been somewhat in the same boat with my own marriage. My husband can also be abusive at times, and withdraw himself from me and the kids when it suits him. And also like you said, my husband also has plenty of time for work; and our problems rest solely on my shoulders because I come from a “screwed up!” family. 🙂 can I just encourage both of us to just move in sooooo close, cling sooooo tightly to The Lord? It’s not easy. It’s brutal! I understand being verbally lacerated and taking days and even weeks to pick yourself up off the ground and try to move forward. Claim God’s promise for you that Lori, “we (Lori and Priscilla) know that all things work together for good to (Lori and Priscilla) who love God, to (Lori and Priscilla) who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
    I have found in my own life through reading and applying these 2 chapters from this week, that every time I’ve been deeply effected by my husband’s words and attitudes (my parents’s also!) it is when I’ve looking to them for fill me up and fulfill me. Placing my hope in men has done NOTHING but cause deep pain, regrets, disappointment. I see now that those where the tools God has been using in my heart to draw me to Himself. I wish, oh how I wish!, that it hadn’t taken SO much to break me, to realize my need for my Savior to make it through every hour of every day. But Lori, I CAN see that He HAS been there the whole time, just waiting for me to see, just waiting for me to come to Him, and know that He HAS worked it all together for my good. Praise Jesus! Blessings my sister, I’ll pray for you. (I’m starting to cry just knowing and feeling some of your hurts with you…)

    • Wendy (Prayer Warrior Team) says:

      Lori and Priscilla,
      You both touched my heart with your posts! I took away a great message from you, Priscilla – we need to draw closer to Him and find our fulfillment in Him!!! Amen!

  11. Debbie Herbst says:

    Hey Lori:
    Tears came to my eyes when reading your comments. You did not ramble. There is a host praying for you and your family, including me.

  12. I can relate to what Lori above is going through as I am in a similar situation. Thank you Lori for sharing your heart. This is my reason for doing this study. I am learning to put my confidence in God and not in man.

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you are going through something similar to Lori, but I’m glad that you are both here for this study. Praying that God can continue to speak directly to your heart, filling you with His #perfectlove so that you can put every last ounce of your confidence in Him knowing that He will carry you through as you’re #movingforward in your life with Christ!!

  13. So many a-ha moments for me in these 2 chapters. Like Renee, I have a daughter whom we adopted from China. She is almost 9 & has just come to understand her life story. It has been heartbreaking for her to come to terms with her abandonment. This study is helping me to help her & for that I couldn’t be more grateful! All along I have felt so inadequate in comforting her which led me to doubt myself big time. I have learned so much in these first 5 chapters. As I grow stronger & more confident, I will be able to model & instill that confidence in my daughter so that she can rely on Jesus for ultimate comfort. This has been a God-send for me!! Bless you, ladies!!

    • Patricia,
      What a gift you are giving your sweet child in learning and growing in how to comfort her! Oh, that we as moms could begin to take away all of the wounds our children face … Of course, that’s not possible, but we can definitely lean into Jesus and do our utmost to help our kiddos do the same. My heart aches for your sweet 9-year-old. I’m praying Genesis 50:17-20 over her right now!! http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2050:17-20&version=NIV

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      Oh Patricia, what a beautiful example your daughter has in you…her mama!! How encouraging to hear the confidence that you are gaining in Christ as you go through this study and that you are able to apply it when comforting you daughter! You are NOT inadequate as you have your Father right by your side helping you through this. I am sharing in your joy as you gain the confidence that Christ so desires you to have!! Blessings Patricia!

  14. Hi all! Thanks to all of you for such encouraging words. I’m sitting here with tears pouring down my face as I read them. Priscilla, you should know Romans 8:28 was my father’s favorite verse. I believe he spoke through you today. Again…thank you all it means so much.

    • Melissa Taylor says:

      Lori,
      We love you and truly care about you. Thank you for pouring out your heart to us and allowing us the honor and privilege to pray for you. Hang on to God’s promises…sometimes that’s all we have…and It Is Enough!
      Love you!
      Melissa

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      You are worth every prayer and encouraging word Lori…EVERY one!! I stand in awe of our Lord and how He speaks to us and who He uses. Our God is so good! Know that is is a blessing for us to be praying for you Lori and that you are loved!!

  15. Jeremiah 29:11 has long been my go-to verse whenever I felt discouraged about anything in life (especially the parts where I myself mis-stepped or messed up). It reminds me to hold on to the good things – remember those, celebrate those, and let the bad parts go. This verse reminds me that our loads are lighter when we stop carrying around the negative events or outcomes in our lives and keep only the good stuff with us. Learn from a mistake or negative event and move on. I have family members whose temptations and issues impacted my life along the way. I myself have taken wrong turns and been lost. Thankfully, God always found me and showed me the error of my ways. He always gave me something or someone good to focus on so I could stop focusing on myself and my failings and move away from the shadows. I choose and prefer to focus on the good parts if my life – past, present, and especially the future. Thanks be to God!

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      I love this verse too PJ. God doesn’t want us to live in the shadow of our sins, our mistakes, but to move forward into the light, into Him. He wants us to cast our cares upon Him, to let Him carry the load. I too have made my own mistakes, but I’m glad that doesn’t stop my Lord from pursuing me! Don’t focus on your failings, your mistakes, but don’t forget to be aware how God can use them for His glory. He’s a God that turns beauty from ashes!! Keep #movingforward PJ 🙂

  16. I have doubts of being a good mom- the one task God called me to do. I have 5 children (24-13) whom I homeschooled until I was bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease and 4 co-infections and couldn’t do it any more. I have struggled just to survive the past 13 yrs. now have a 24 y/o son that’s an alcoholic and another just kicked out of college for pot possession. One daughter is struggling to recover from a severe concussion and another was just diagnosed with Crohn’s. She, along with my oldest son, is mad at God. They struggle to see how a loving God could allow such sickness abd disease (their brother has Type 1 diabetes -dx at 4). And I feel as if I have failed them all. I have given them my 110%-which isn’t much compared to most- yet I often think that wasnt enough. 🙁 Thx 4 prayers for all of us!

    • Moriah, that is a HEAVY burden to bear. Sometimes the hardest person we can extend grace to is ourselves. Not that you’ve done anything intentional … because my goodness, this was out of your control. But I hope you can give grace to your soul.

      I am glad you are here, and I really hope you’ll stick with this study. Next week’s chapter will be extra special for any of us who have doubts if we are “good enough”.

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      My heart is heavy for you tonight Moriah!! I agree with Stephanie, this is out of your control. I just pray that you can find that grace that Christ so graciously gives to us, and extend that to yourself. What a perfect study for you at this time in your life. Praying for you as you continue through it and that you will find your confidence in God growing more and more everyday!! Love to you Moriah <3

  17. I am currently struggling with purpose. I feel like my job is just a way to bring in money for my household, not a calling. I’d love to be at home with my boys more, but that doesn’t seem financially possible. I don’t know what my calling is for ministry but I KNOW I am willing!!! I’m just praying that God will lead the way and guide me to something I can do that matters to HIM! Lord, please help me not project my frustrations on my loved ones while I wait for you. You promise that if we seek you first, then all these other things will be added. Lord, I am seeking in earnest. Please help me be patient while I wait for direction. Thank you for loving my imperfect, impatient self. I just can’t wait! And I don’t even know what it will be!

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      What a beautiful prayer Paige, it makes me smile!! You are so willing…beautiful <3 Just keep searching Him and His will for you and your life. He can use you where you are for His glory, and I know that you are willing and ready!! 🙂 Praying for you as you wait on the Lord!

  18. tammycovington says:

    I struggle with a lot of things, that I didn’t even realize was bothering me until I got into this study, just touching the surface… I have always asked myself if God really cared about our happiness, and even though I can put a smile on my face, but I struggle with happiness.. My marriage has been rocky for 26 yrs and forgiveness of him quitting job after job, and being verbal and mental abusive ( Putting me down, I had so many feelings that it was my fault.. I stayed in it because God Hates Divorce, and I have wrestled this for years… so yes, I understand the doubt, and insecurities because I lived it for years, but I also have found confident in knowing that no matter my failures God still loves me…

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      Tammy, we are lifting you up in prayer sweet sister!! God wants you to be filled with joy…joy that is found IN Him! Praying that you can find that joy that God wants you to have and experience, and that you can feel God’s love and presence with you. Praying that as you continue through this study, you continue to feel and gain that confidence in Him. And remember…God loves you Tammy!!

  19. I think what the Lord is teaching me through chapter 5 is that I was indeed created for so much more than self preservation and self promotion, as Renee talks about. In some ways, I think doubt and uncertainty have been a hiding place for me, a place of self preservation and protection. I lived in such a state of chaos growing up and insecurity was a way of life. Sadly, it is comfortable – though it is REALLY NOT! But I am ready to turn from the past’s powerful influence over me and #move forward by turning. Turning away from self. Turning toward God. Turning away from doubt (it’s been a bad friend.) Turning toward truth. Turning away from darkness. Turning toward light. The Lord does not want mine and his relationship filled with doubt and insecurity. Pray for me that, first and foremost, my relationship with the Lord will be free from me doubting Him or feeling insecure in our connection and eternal salvation. I know He understands my fears and why turning to trust is hard for me, but pray I will continue #movingforward.
    God bless you OBS participants!

    • Lillian Natalzia says:

      Hey Amy, I can relate with you when it comes to self preservation. My whole life has been like this. Along with my mental and physical abuse. But God has bigger plans for you and I. Be blessed lady!

  20. Hi ladies , thank you for all of your encouragement on the testimony I shared. I can’t get to the full website for done reason to reply. But I wanted to say thank you!
    Also this verse stuck out for me
    Judges 6:16
    The L ord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
    I’m battling my divorce and social security disability trial all at the same time . This verse , It reminded me that God didn’t have my back in battle. he was fighting alongside with me. With him there who can loose?
    Have a blessed day ladies! Thank you leaders for all you do!

    • Amy Wall (Prayer/Blog Warrior Team) says:

      Ooooo, Jill, I love this!!! God didn’t have your back, He’s fighting this battle for you, right by your side!! I’m glad that you were encouraged and pray that you will continue to be. You are being prayed for Jill!! Blessings 🙂

  21. Laura Sawyer (Prayer Warrior Team) says:

    Lori,
    Now is the time to PUSH…
    Pray Until Something Happens
    All isn’t lost give this pain to God he has a plan for your family and for you and your husband! Praying for you and your family♥

  22. When I started this week’s study, I really didn’t think there was anything from my past that I needed to process. Not that there was not any pain from my past, but rather that I felt I was “up-to-date” on my processing with God over all of it … However, God, in His great mercy wanted to take me to another layer and depth of some of the pain that I was unaware of. So I have faithfully done the homework this week … I’ll confess, not getting much “new” out of the chapters and questions, but today, watching Renee’s video on Chap 4 and 5 where she talked about trying to make her husband “atone” for the pain her father had caused struck so “loudly” with me. I, too, have placed unfair expectations on my husband (now of 36 years) and my children (most grown now) to “be” … to behave … to live … to act in ways that would give me a life I missed growing up. I think it is so easy to muddle or get out of balance the principles of God in the process of trying to live a godly life in marriage and parenting …. certainly there are principles to follow, but when we put the principles before the Prince, we lose sight of this whole process belonging to Him …. The work in us, our spouses and our families is His alone …. not mine or ours. As a wife and mother I have too often taken matters into my own hands attempting to “fix” and control so that we would all “be godly” …. oh my, dear precious Lord, please forgive …. for only YOU can make each of us godly in your sight through your Son. It is YOUR work, not mine and this mother was reminded VERY powerfully that my pain has too often caused me to assume God’s work was MY work. Thank you, Renee and Proverbs 31 ministries for being used by God to remind me again it is HE who does the work and holds the plans for our good.

  23. Paige, I understand your struggle. I too am looking for my purpose, my calling, the will of GOD. I actually left a job that brought in the only money in the household because I felt that was what God was calling me to do. Although it has been tough emotionally, it has been the biggest blessing. My job provided for not only me, but my extended family when needed, but had left me completely drained and unfulfilled. This time away has given me a chance to renew. Do not be conformed by things of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I am learning to trust in God and pour myself out to him. Trust in The Lord with all you might, and lean not on your own understanding. Yes, I said “learning”. It is a daily thing. I still struggle with it and at times feel as if I am stuck! I’ve realized I have always been a performance based person, and I realize it started from an early age. I was just 4 when I was molested by a neighbor, and shortly after that my father left the family. For a long time, I blamed myself, I know now that wasn’t the case but add that to years of being told you need to get better grades, you need to lose weight on and on. I ended up pushing myself to do more, achieve more, be the responsible one, to a point of complete exhaustion. The strain of taking care of my step-father, working a job where you were just expected to do more and more because you would, left me completely empty. Now I’ve spent the time off digging deeper and deeper into my relationship with The Lord, but the career path that I loved, was good at and thought I would do for the rest of my life, well frankly scares me. As I am looking to get back to work, those jobs even the ones below what I am capable of frighten me. I think part of my fear is I accepted Christ when I was 8 or 9 but have strayed from my walk with him, and did what I wanted, what I thought was best, what everyone expected me to do, which lead me away from a true relationship with Him and for many years I got by. After losing my mother, my support system and I truly believe my prayer intercessor, things seemed to just keep closing in. It was during this time that I started working on my relationship again with my Heavenly Father. After 3 years of God carrying me through each struggle, each additional responsibility at work that was financially providing what I needed, it still wasn’t enough. I was in my car and the second time in the same night, I didn’t recall getting from point a to point b, I heard a voice in my head that said, “isn’t your life worth more than any job or any amount of money, I’ll take care of you, trust me”. I have to admit I still argued with God all night over it, but in the morning I finally made the decision to resign from my job. I still don’t know what God has in store for me, and it’s scary, especially as my own provisions are running out; But I want a life not about me, but what does my life reflect of the one who saved me. Like Gideon, I question that I am capable, at this point capable to do anything. I’ve never been a very patient person, but I am trying to remind myself that God is using this time to prepare me for the job ahead. Please pray that I will gain the confidence to not only put myself out there, but that it will be where God can use me. Sorry for the long post, guess there was just a lot to get out there.

  24. As I was pondering all that God has been showing me this week, this song came into my head. There is so much darkness in my past. Things I don’t remember, like seventh grade…really, I have no idea where I went to school that year…I’ve been struggling with choices I made in my past that I’m not proud of. Trying to figure out how to love myself for who I am in Christ so that I can believe that others could love me too. As I read chapter five, it was so freeing. The verses at the end that talk about coming out of darkness and walking in light. I don’t have to dwell on the darkness. Maybe God will reveal why it’s there, and maybe he won’t. I don’t have to dwell on my bad choices. God can use those, if I trust Him, to help lead others out of darkness. I am His. I am chosen. I am deeply loved. I am valuable and I have worth, because of Him. Maybe this will minister to some of you as well.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S7k_6nt6eUM

  25. One quote from the book was on page 92, where Renee lists many doubts, was an eye opening moment for me. I am SO hard on myself, all the time. Daily, I think these in my head. I prayed about them when I read them, and I plan on praying about them a lot more. One doubt that I struggle with, all the time is I am not good enough. I think this with my marriage, me being a mother, as a daycare provider, as a friend. The list goes on. I know I have good qualities, but I don’t think I am good enough. Thank for your prayers.

  26. Lori and Pricilla,
    I almost feel as we have led almost the same lives. I try to get on and post but my emotions swell up and tears flow and my post get so long and rambled that I can’t seem to get across my pain, my fears, my hurt and my broken and beaten (verbally) shell of a body that has given up. I have been brought to my knees walking through this as a whole. I knew I had deep issues but I never knew that stirring up all these memories and failures would feel like I was living through them again. This time I have a sense that He is standing beside me however I haven’t felt Him, heard Him yet. Those feelings of doubt are rushing back in waves, “sorrow upon sorrow”, and continue to remind me that I have just ripped of the bandaid and need to face this. I am so very happy to have all of these “sisters” that are braving this with me but even more that the two of you, Lori and Pricilla, I feel I have found my twin sisters. I just want to wrap my arms around you both and let our healing begin! Let God come into our hearts and be opened to hear and feel Him. Let Him surround us with His arms of protection and love so that we may begin to heal, even while on a daily basis we are dealing with blow ups, more put downs or criticisms. We need to muster up enough strength to believe in Him that we are going through this for a reason, that we can only make our lives, family and environment, we MUST MUST MUST stand together and include others who go through this humiliation and verbal abuse and neglect, stand together with our arms surrounding each other with His strength and His guidance and His love and acceptance to shield our broken hearts. To take our broken egos, self esteem, confidence and bodies and fill them with His overwhelming belief in US. HE WILL heal us, HE WILL, protect us, HE WILL nurture us, HE WILL provide for us…… But only if we believe. Sending love and prayers to all ACH sisters ❤️.
    ~Cristin~

  27. I dont even know where to start. I’m overwhelmed by Gods timing. I am facing one of my biggest fears today and the timing of this study, everything about it is so unbelievably perfect. I know its because of my past that I have such a fear of speaking to a group of people. When i was in 5th grade my math teacher, who knew i was failing math made me stand in front of the class to work out a problem. I had no idea how to do it and stood there struggling. He belittled me telling me me I was stupid and whats wrong with me……he attacked me and shamed and embarrassed me in front of the whole class. He finally told me to go to my seat, i sat in my seat w/ my head on my desk crying. I was so humilliated. Later when i was 15 years old my new brother and sister in law told me that i was stupid and would never amount to anything. It still hurts me so much when i remember being in those places, i have to hold back tears. Anyway, i have come along way in so many ways but in some i get fearfull and scared. Like speaking in a group!! It is one of the biggest mountains i have to face and i’m facing it tonite. I am a Thirty-One Consultant (if you dont know what it is we sell Bags, Totes etc) I had a gal sign up under me so i am training her. She is having her 31 Launch Party tonite and I have to speak to her group of ladies telling about the company and products!! I’m terrified!! I have been in positions where i had to speak to a group and beforehand I start claiming scripture, making positive comments, trying to build myself up in the Lord. But when it came down to it i stumbled i got so nervous and shakey……I’m so afraid that it going to happen to me tonite. I need alot of prayer. Everyone reading this can you please pray for me. I’m in Ca. it will be 7 oclock my time, east coast 4 oclock some places maybe 5 oclock. anyway i’m pleading for prayer and any words of wisdom and encouragement would be greatly appreciated!! thank you so much

    • Maria, God wants you to succeed…He is your biggest supporter. Imagine Him holding your hand while you’re speaking! Think of Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” I had a math teacher who did the same to me when I was a senior in high school. You know what? He was so wrong in his approach to teaching. I know because I became a teacher. Your brother and sister in law were also wrong and you deserved better treatment. But move into the light and find Jesus. He will help you tonight! I’ll be praying for you! You can do it!

  28. Debbie Tapparo says:

    I’ve read so many of your stories and can relate and feel for you. I pray that you can feel God’s presence and love, hear his voice and know that He is the way, the truth and the light. I pray this pray for you as I pray it for me. I fight through doubts and resentments every day when I should be giving them to God and letting go. I do ask him to be with me when I get into a moment when I want to be defensive and hurtful. This is one of my hardest areas to battle. I pray for all of you and ask that you pray for me as well. I’m so new to studying God’s word and living as God would have me live (which isn’t easy either), but I’m getting better. #MovingForward.

    • Praying for you! Thank you for praying for me. I can relate to you. I’ve seen through this study how quickly I become defensive too! It is a hard area to battle. I think that desire to be defensive and hurtful comes from what Renee talks about in chapter 5, where she says we were created for so much more than self preservation and self promotion. That hit home with this week in another way, but you’re comment made me also realize that when I get defensive I’m trying really involved in self preservation and self promotion. Wow – doubting ourselves can lead to so much, can’t it?
      I’m so glad you are new to studying God’s Word and living as God would have you live. It’ll be such an exciting adventure! That’s for sure. It’s not easy, and I glad to have found that God says He has given to us all things that pertain unto life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) so we now have it in us (Him) to have the victory. 🙂

  29. It’s amazing what hidden thoughts have come to the surface here! They all seem to be little breakthoughs for me. Now I’m starting to see just a glimps of some of the thing and a diffrent way to see them.

    I’ve been taking them to my quiet time with God and thinking now what to do with each of them, I’ve praying for guidance to know what steps that I need to take so God can take charge to use them for his plan. It stuck me today on pg 89, “It’s not so much WHAT HE WANTS ME TO DO “WITH THEM “but what HE WANT’S TO DO IN ME. ” Wow aha moment!

    • Yes – what an eye opener! What powerful truth. He wants to do a great work in us! I’m seeing that more and more through this study. God bless you!

  30. Brenda C. says:

    Thank you for this study, the hope it and God gives for getting through life better is great.

  31. I really liked what Renee said in her video about having to process our hurts and fears. Jeremiah 29:11 is my favorite bible verse and I have been struggling since this summer and lately to try and figure out what my purpose is so it was very comforting to see this and the other comments.

  32. Karina Escalante says:

    love love Jeremiah 29:11!!! It is my promise from God that no matter what the season the Lord has a plan for me. I just need to stop being impatient.

  33. My thoughts & prayers go out to everyone that is struggling. Jeremiah 29:11 is the verse that opened my eyes up knowing my life WOULD & WILL be better. I know it’s easier said then done to people that are going through hard hard times but GOD is there for you & keep talking to him & have FAITH b/c things will get better. God’s blessings to ALL

  34. Jeremiah 29:13 really spoke to me this week. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. I feel that with all of our doubting and despair that many of us are going through, we still seek the Lord with our whole hearts. And that is what he wants!!! We will find him and he will be there no matter what. But we have to SEEK HIM first…and no matter what, he will be waiting in the wings, waiting for us to call out to him and he will listen. I think that is very important to all the ladies going through trying times. Call onto the Lord and he will listen, even when no one else does.

    I appreciate all you ladies for sharing your stories, it can be very difficult to us women to ask for help because we think we are strong and can do it alone. That is incorrect, we are stronger when we are in fellowship with each other and the Lord. Keep up the prayers! The more we pray the more God listens!!!

    • Denise Kamppi (OBS Prayer Team Warrior) says:

      AMEN… AMEN… Thank you Sandra I agree that the more we seek Him above all the more peace comes to heart and He will comfort you. I know it is a learning and thought process for some when the troubles are so confining and consuming, we can offten forget to trust the one person who is unfailing.,
      God Bless. <3

  35. I am my own worse limitation. First, I had a career for over 15 years, for the past 8 years as an executive making great money but deep down was so unhappy as didn’t have enough time to spend with my young children, couldn’t volunteer at church as there was just no way I had any left over time between work and family and other “negative doubts” that I used as per page 92. Then all of a sudden, I was unemployed and no longer had the yoke of a 50+ hour a week job. Well, guess what? Yeap, I began finding a new set of doubts with this new “freedom” of being a stay at home mom, we don’t have enough money, I can’t serve with my daughter only gone 3 hours a day to preschool, I don’t have what it takes for the volunteer position, the list goes one…… No matter which situation I was in, professional or a stay at home mom, I’m finding that the Shadow of Darkness is always hovering trying to blot out the light. You always think the grass is greener for someone else, but it’s not, we all have similar doubts and now I realize that and also that they are coming from the Evil One. I do want to Turn toward the Light and not have those doubts any longer! I want to Honor and Glorify my King and get out there and Serve and be Like Jesus. I’m tired of this darkness. Now I just need to continue to keep up the good fight and let Jesus take the reigns. God you have my Heart, mind, soul and being. Please use me, mold me, and take away the doubts that limit your ability to use me to the fullest!

  36. My ah-hah moment from ch.5 was on pg. 87 where Renee wrote: “when we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what He is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’s opinions.”
    I hadn’t ever thought of my doubts in this way – that I’ve been giving away God’s place to what others and myself thinks! In this context, it really opens my eyes as to how outrageous it is to keep allowing these doubts to dominate my thoughts. But no more! They are pushed aside so God can have his rightful place back in my heart and mind! #movingforward

  37. My fave impactful quote from chapter five reminds me that “our family of origin does not define our true identity…our hearts will only find lasting confidence when we find our identity as children of God. p.90. I need to be reminded that I am a daughter of Christ, first and foremost! My family is a place I have sought validation and acceptance from for years. Just like in the video for chapter 3, I filled my jar with family and other things, hoping they would fill and fulfill me, only to find gaps and places in my heart that continued to hurt. God is showing me that my confidence, my trust, my hope all rely on Him!

  38. Renee’s dvd hit home…I thought I had dealt with many things of my past…and parts of me still feels I have, but I can see now that some of it may have crept into my todays….When i think about all that i am experiencing and worrying about, the feelings and thoughts make me really queasy. Renee’s dvd opened my eyes, my ears, although it seems i keep thinking I can handle it all…I have to …for my family…for all those who know me, for myself…yet i just want to cry, to scream why? and make sense of it all…and maybe I am making more out of this than it is. I will say i am getting closer to revealing all my troubles., because it feels great to receive encouragement from this OBS and it feels healthy to speak up, even if I have been writing snippets. I do feel like Gideon.. but I am staying inside of myself, where no can hear, see or know the pain and fear I hold. I know God wants me to let Him take care of it all…but doing so means I must share about it, reveal it, and its hard to let someone into my private world.

  39. Denise Kamppi ( Prayer Warrior Team) says:

    Wow so many of the issues Im facing I have been trying to deal with for a very long time, I am the person everyone runs to when they need something or have problems. And some would call me Martha. I can get so worked up if I cant get to someone who needs me.
    If Im working on everyone else problems, I don’t have the time so see my own needs, hurts, fears, ect… and when my own needs build up to boiling points find my self on my knees praying for Gods help.
    I am learning that I cant do it all, Im not super woman, and need time outs to spend time with God and trust him. then I can go for awhile in stillness but when trouble enters my heart I shut down again.
    I can wait to see what the next few chapter have for me and my heart, It can only be great and healing.

  40. Ginger Graham says:

    A Big Ah-Ha moment for me was when Renee stated that she discovered one day that she had not been following Jesus – not completely. She said if she had she would have been thinking about what the women at the conference, in which she was speaking, would be thinking of Jesus instead of what they would be thinking of her. That really hit home for me as I teach a teen girls class on Wed. Nights at church. The Holy Spirit has laid some things in my heart to do that left me thinking, these girls are gonna think Im nuts. Instead I should step out of the shawdow of my doubt and Trust God to do what He wants done. I should be concerned with following Him completely so that He can accomplish what ever it is He wants done and not worried about what they think of me. I am thankful for this Bible Study because it is helping me to recognize things I need to work on.
    One other Ah-Ha moment for me in this chapter was when she said she had to turn her thoughts completely to God by thinking about His strengths instead of her weaknesses. I often feel inaduate and unqualified, so much so that I will give up before I ever get started. I talk myself out of doing things that I know the Holy Spirit has told me to do because I feel to weak or insercure to do them. I love the reminder that I need to focus on His strength instead of my weakness. I need to remember God’s promises. One of them being My strength will be made perfect in your weakness. Therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest on me. The thought of Christ Power resting on me is so encourageing and exciting.

    I had several more things in Chapter 5 highlighted but I wont share it all. I am so very thankful for this study. It is helping me so much.

  41. Melchorita Fahey says:

    We all have different struggles in life and, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romance 8:28)
    God has a purpose for every season of our life. He does this because He wants us to experience Him in a way we’ve never experienced Him before. He wants us to see the connection between our act of faith and His deliverance. God wants to be more than just a cosmic Santa Claus with a pocketful of miracles to throw down. God wants an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to see Him up close and personal, so He puts us in situations where He is the only solution to our problem. Hebrews 10:36 tells us, “We need to persevere so that when we have done the Will of God, we will receive what He has promised.”
    The Book of Ecclesiastes 7:8 reminds us, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
    In Christ alone I found my hope, peace, joy and love! Without Jesus Christ my life is empty!
    Thank You Heavenly Father for giving me a new eyes, a new heart, and a new way of experiencing and living out the purpose You want to unfold for me. I Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen! I am #MovingForward!

  42. There were many quotes in Chapter 5 that stood out to me this week, but these are the ones that seemed to really grab my attention:

    “We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us” (p.86).

    “It’s important for us to realize that damaged emotions and insecurities from our past have a powerful influence over how we see ourselves today” (p.89).

    “When doubt washes over me, often it is because something has happened to trigger my old emotions and create thoughts in my mind that are similar to those I had as a child. Sometimes that hurt little girl still has too much say in my heart” (p.89).

    For me, Chapter 4 was a very emotional chapter. I realized that there were many things that I had never actually dealt with in my past. Things that had me stuck, things that would not allow me to #moveforward.

    I spent several hours with the Lord making my own timeline of my life. I wrote down specific events, generalities, and the feelings that were associated with each. As I began to write all the things down that the Lord brought to my mind, I knew it was not going to be covered in one session. I know it’s going to be a continuing process, but I feel as if a great work has been started. I have often prayed, “Lord, show me my heart, as much as I’m able to bear.” And that’s what He did. Any more would have been unbearable.

    Moving into Chapter 5 was a breath of fresh air. Now that I had really started dealing with the past, there was great insight and hope offered for how to “live beyond the shadow of my doubts.” I feel more positive than I ever have that change is truly possible. I no longer have to let that hurt little girl continue to have control over my heart and emotions. As I continue to process each event with the Lord, I know that I now have grabbed onto the tools to “moveforward in hope.

  43. I can’t tell you all how amazing God is without telling what happened to me yesterday! So first about one month ago my friend asked me to go to her military spouses ball. This is something they have for spouses who have deployedhusbands or wives. I should be there getting ready for that but in the meantime another friend told me to come to a conference with her. I felt torn. I didn’t want to go to the ball but had promised. A week ago I asked my friend if she bought the tickets and she said she missed her chance and so we couldn’t go! Isn’t that crazy! So here I am at the conference even though I nearly didn’t come because even after I got signed up I got sick yesterday. I came anyway. Now I never have too many in your face moments with God. Where he is completely getting my attention. But she enough in the awesome flow of things being said by the amazing ladies of Advocare one said we had to keep moving forward! Not only did she say that but many discussed fear and self doubt. This isn’t a bible conference it is for my health and wellness products I sell. But all these women sounded like me! I nearly missed it because I was afraid to leave my home but luckily I pressed forward. even though I am pretty sure my Tonsils are giant today I am so thankful God got in my face.

  44. Renee’s statement “unfulfilled hope leads to bitter expectation” really resonated with me today. The realization that if our hope is based on or in someone or something other than Christ, we will be disappointed and eventually that will lead to bitterness because we will tend to expect only disappointment. I am praying that the Lord will help me continually redirect my hope to Him so that I will not be disappointed.

  45. I loved how Renee used the story about her daughter to compare with our relationship with God. God can feel like such a far away person that it’s hard to talk to him sometimes and know that he really hears. But it’s so comforting to remember that He knows my heart and my needs more than I know my own children’s. He knows my past and my future and He so badly wants to be a part of my every single day! I need to try much harder to make him more of a priority each day.

  46. “Turning toward the light of God’s promises for us in every area of our lives-as women, a mom, a wife, a friend, a leader, a follower of Jesus- so our lives can be about living, loving, and leading others to the light of God’s truth as we walk it out in our everyday lives.”
    Love this from chapter 5. I have been struggleing since the begining of the study with things from my past. I too have been sexually abused, liberaly punished both physicaly and verbaly from my parents. I have been dealing with forgiveness of the people that have abused me. My father appologized several years back, at the time I really did not think much about it. I was not following God at the time, so I just accepted it a kind of blew it off. Thinking back though, I have really forgiven him too, God is so good! It is my mom and the other men that I struggle with.
    But what has really had me on my knees was my facing the person I had become, and was, as a result of the abuse…I had become a bully as a kid. I was the kid parents told their kids to stay away from. I had no friends and friendships are still hard for me. I cannot look into someones eyes for very long from the shame of who I thought I was, trash. I realized last night that was what I had used as my lable: TRASH.
    I am so looking forward to moving on! This has been a really hard place, but God is so good and he has met my needs. I still struggle with letting him be my all in all, but I remind my self I NEED to TURN to HIM!
    Thank you to all the Ladies who have shared thier story, I have read many of them and please know I am praying for you!
    Martha

  47. I love the sentence on pg. 88-89 ” God will call you beyond your limitations to do something that requires faith. It’s not so much about what He wants you to do as what He wants to do in you, as you depend on Him.” That is definitely something I am trying to remember every day. I sometimes hate getting out of my comfort zone but I know that God sometimes calls me to do that so I can fully have faith in Him

  48. A few years ago when my ex husband moved out I began the work of healing with a book that is used at Saddleback Church. It was very revealing and I forgave myself and others for my past. So, this week wasn’t difficult for me because of my past, it was difficult because of my present. It was very hard work, I was confused, defeated, full of doubts, and emotionally yanked in and out of survival mode but the whole time I felt like God was sitting right next to me talking to me and holding me and giving me hope and peace and loving me like I have never “felt” before. My present is hard because I have no job, no local friends, no local church (I drive out of town), and no companionship, thus my lack of confidence. Actually, I believe that my lack of confidence is why I’m without all that. All that aside, which is just “life”, I am a “missionary” to a man for his salvation. I’m the only Christian he allows in his life and that is on a limited basis but God has called me to be his light. It is quite a “behind the scenes” battle and I feel like Gideon at times because I’m not sure I have what it takes. But God has sent me into this man’s life and I go in God’s strength, as I’m learning all the time to lean on that. I have never had God do so much intense work on me at one time, it is the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. I thank God for His amazing, unfailing and perfect love and for sending this OBS to me at just the right time!! May the Lord bless all you who are running the study and I pray everyone is receiving the blessing as much as I am.

  49. Woohooo, what a trying week. Satan tried his best to break me this week. So many distraction and stumbling blocks but……I kept #movingforward. WOW what a whirlwind in chapters 4 & 5. NO joke I highlighted nearly the whole two chapters. Many emotions, memories, fears, in securities in these chapters. What grace, mercy, and love I remember as God got me through those rough patches, while I had allowed those shadows of doubt in, that still keep me insecure. I love what Renee said about “Turning” away from the shadow and back to the light. I am so excited God has led me to this study, along with the others. #YestoGod, yes to #movingforward, and yes to #Priceless!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Jacqueline Scifres says:

    My most memorable stand out quote in chapter 5 was, “We were not designed to block the light or be the light. We were created to live in such a way that our life stories tell about the light and our confidence in Christ draws others to the light.”
    I also wrote down, “When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God!”

  51. Well, I messed up my first comment, trying again 🙂 This study has been so applicable to the journey of the past two years for me – lots of family struggles and pain, and God taking me deeper in relationship and dependence than ever before. In the past year He has given me the scriptures Isaiah 43:18-19; two weeks ago Isaiah 61:1-4, 4 being a new one I hadn’t really paid attention to in the past – both of which were confirmed in this week’s Bible study, which lead me to continue to meditate on them, trusting that God is doing a new thing, rebuilding the ruins -even at a time when things don’t seem to be changing. God is so faithful to remind us again and again – it so encourages my heart and gets me excited to see what He is going to do. I was also encouraged by Nathalie Grant’s story, her struggle with depression, which has been part of my husband’s journey these past two years, the doubts and hopelessness, it has given me hope hearing of her journey, that he is not alone in his struggle and to hear someone else’s story and healing. The scripture that Nathalie shared in Matthew 14 regarding Jesus meeting the disciples in the boat in the storm, that he purposely sent them on ahead knowing what they would face and that he met them there in the midst of their fear was again a reminder to me that He is very present in the midst of my life – a friend had called me six weeks ago, when our family was at a particularly hard place and said he had been praying for our family and that God kept impressing upon him, “storm” and had given him the above scripture and so he was calling to encourage us in our storm. I am so thankful that God is such a personal God, and that He is patient and continues to confirm and encourage me that He is at work in all of the circumstances of life and that He is in Control, and I am not, and I can trust Him with that. Feeling blessed and excited, hopeful about the future in Him!

    • I so agree with your statement about God being personal and patient, and always working for our good! I need to remind myself of this daily, as I struggle with doubt and anxiety. So glad you are being blessed by this study and finding hope!

  52. 1. Page 86: “We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing or what others are thinking about us.” That totally hit home with me! I am always comparing myself to other women, worrying if people like me, hoping I’m measuring up to others’ expectations of me. And all these things are selfish thoughts, thoughts about myself, not the One who made me!
    2. Renee’s note on the premise in Jer. 29:12-13. It is a comfort to know that I can call on God and seek Him and He will hear me and answer my cries for help when I need it.
    3. No matter my insecurities and doubts, worries and failures, God has a plan for me and my life. I need not fear the future, because He has it covered!
    4. Gideon’s story is great because he questions God and many times we can feel like it’s wrong or sinful to do that, but I think everyone does at some point in their lives. God is patient with him and answers him, so it’s comforting to know that He will also answer our questions and show us grace and patience. My battle with my insecurity and anxiety feels kinda hopeless sometimes, like I’ll always have problems and never have true peace, but I think with God’s strength (and patience!) I will someday overcome my issues.

  53. Janet Daniel says:

    It is true these two weeks have been the hardest for me I love the story of Gideon. And how God showed him over and over again that if he put all his trust in God even though Gideon thought he was the lowest or the meekest or the most insecure of all his family God would and could help him win over his enemies. He wanted him to continue trusting in Him by having fewer men than what Gideon probably thought he needed. By doing this God was showing Gideon that he didn’t need all those people to win over his fears just faith in God. I’m glad I read this because I have been fighting all the lies Satan had feed me, and I have thought I was so little, less than the rest of people in my work, not big enough, not smart enough or strong enough to fight off my fears that I can succeed at anything in my life. I can’t remember the good memories or times I did succeed because they have been blocked out. I have developed a lack of trust in God and in turn lack of trust in anyone including myself. I’m even afraid to talk sometimes because I think every thing I say is wrong. I have thought that many people were out to get me. i thought that being dishonest sometime would be alright as long as no one knew. so that I
    could fit in. I couldn’t accept myself as an adult so I have hidden behind that little girl full of insecurities and feeling too bad to have friends or succeed at anything. I have been like the child who hides so God couldn’t ask anything big of me because to succeed at anything really scares me. This also relates to a verse in Ch. 5; “Pardon me Lord,” ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in the family.” (Judge 6: 12-15) I do feel like the weakest in my family, my friends, my business my marriage. Anger still find its way back in my daily life and it reflects how I treat others. I have nightly nightmares and wake up not able to sleep. I blame it on the meds I’m on now but maybe it’s something else. Please pray that they stop! Sorry, responded a day late.
    What I’m trying to say is I’m ready to #move forward. And accept God’s love, mercy and I’m thanking God for leading me to OBS to walk in the path of God’s great plans for me. Thank you for listening to me!
    LOL Janet

  54. Rosemary Stevens says:

    I had a big AHA moment today, when I was answering the question at the end of chapter 5. My father dying a month after my 13 birthday, and then my dog that I had from the time I was six getting hit by a car and my mom making the decision to have him “put to sleep” The fear of death is what kept me back most of my life. It made me overprotect the people and pets I love and hold on to them too tightly,for fear of losing them and for some of those poor pets, they probably suffered because I couldn’t let go. . Which of course I lost every animal, because that is a part of life, and although I am very close to my children they moved far away, in order I think to grow. and, then I lost Bruce. Only this time I see things so differently. I know that death is not really an end, it is a beginning. It is also in my life God showing me finally that it’s ok to mourn but not to stay stagnant. Not to let that fear of losing hold me back or make me weak. I guess I’m a slow learner, but…….AHA

  55. 1. I was having a VERY difficult day at work and came home quite upset. After wallowing in a bit of self-pity/fear/doubt/confusion/anger/worry 🙂 I picked up my book to finish chapter 5. I was on page 90. It immediately brought a smile to my face. It was exactly what I needed to be reading. I really struggle with doubt and I spend way too much time focused on myself…comparing myself to others, worrying what others think, blaming myself, tearing myself apart. That night I realized that I have told myself every single example on page 92. Much too often I let others (and my own lies) define me. I can see progress in this struggle, but I am certainly still fully capable of sending myself into a downspiral.
    What stood out to you from the DVD excerpt by Renee Swope?
    2) I have often been controlling in relationships and had expectations that were as high as the Alps. I also wanted to create my own fairytale and eliminate any behavior or situation that may bring up past hurt. I have grown leaps and bounds over the years, but still struggle with insecurity. One fear is being replaceable. I was listening to KLOVE yesterday and they brought up Jeremiah 29:11. They talked about being controlling and worrying ourselves with being replaced by others. The final message was that, while others may replace us, God has a place for us. I just need to keep my eyes focused on God. It gets easier all the time, but is certainly a process.
    3) Jeremiah 29:11 has always been one of my favorite verses. I wear a ring with this verse on it every day. It is my tangible reminder that, through every situation, God has a plan for me. That God will protect me and use all thing for good. Through the tough times I can grow and through the worry I can find comfort.
    4) As I mentioned previously, I had a very difficult day at work this week. I have a coworker that is aggressive towards me and condescending. I try to gently communicate so we can work together, but it seems to blow up every time. I know I get frustrated, but I always try to handle him with calm words. His aggression concerns me and he often takes these situations back to our coworkers. While I’m sure I could’ve done something better, I don’t feel at fault for the issue. Sometimes I feel like he is purposely working against me. I feel like I can’t win, no matter how kind and gracious I act/react. I try to speak clearly and repeat for clarification, but it seems like miscommunications continue. I feel like this situation has impossible odds. After he is aggressive towards me, he will text me later to apologize or bring a baked good the next day. It is so odd to me. I often worry myself with what my coworkers think of me, based on what he is saying. I want others to see what he is really doing, but I don’t want to be a gossip. I don’t want to go to my boss, because I don’t want her to think I am a problem child. I tell myself that others will see his true colors in due time. I find scripture to give me peace, but when I think about the whole thing later I start to worry what others think again. I truly don’t believe his anger is a result of my behavior, but I see him trying to paint that picture to others. I often hide from my “enemies,” because I am scared. I don’t want to be hurt, I don’t want people to dislike me, and I don’t want to fail. Gideon’s story encourages me, because it reminds me that God is my strength and He will certainly protect me. God will use these situations for good (even if I can’t see how that could ever be possible 🙂 ). I know that God wants me to conquer my fear. I know that He wants to me conquer my obsession with “people pleasing” and worrying about others’ opinions. I have seen progress over the years, but there are times where I certainly wish it could be zapped away! 🙂

  56. My biggest aha moment when reading Chapter 5 was on page 86. “We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us.” These thoughts often consume me. I overwhelm myself wondering what people think about how I live my life, what I have accomplished or haven’t, what kind of wife or housekeeper I am, if my life seems worthwhile, my appearance, if everyone likes me and the list goes on and on. It makes me think about who I’m really living for. I waste so much time trying to live up to society’s expectations, but what I need to be concerned about is how He sees me and if my life is pleasing to Him. I see how my doubts and insecurities are really holding me back and how much I need to move forward focusing on living for an audience of One.

  57. Jasmine Brown says:

    Today my pastor preached on the topic I’m going to the next level. It was based on the text 1 Samuel 10:21-27 on how Saul was in hiding when he was appointed king. This email about Gideon is just confirmation that I need to come out of hiding and do what God has called me to do.

  58. I think what I have overcome is what I call ugly or discouraging music. Most of my life, I ran to music for help. In good times, I sang and danced, even before I met Jesus. Ten years ago I said yes to Jesus. I was so excited. It wasn’t until I heard a pastor preach about idols. Music was my idol. I used it to make me feel good, feel sexy, and just build my confidence. Before I lost thirty or so pounds, music made me feel pretty. I was chubby back then, but music was my comfort. After I heard the pastor’s message, after five or six years of following Jesus, I realized the music I was listening to was sexual, very seductive, had lots of cussing, negative thinking, and it wasn’t biblical. Once I realized this, I got rid of my 50 Cent, Rihanna, Metallica, and even my favorite 80s groups. Some of the ugly music was even country. I started listening to only radio stations that played songs about Jesus. They only had shows about Jesus and the word of God. I started filling my soul and ears with this good and beautiful kind of music. I still dance and sing, but I sing and dance to worship Jesus. Jesus is the reason for singing and enjoying music. He is the answer, not my music. Toby Mac, Mandisa, Brandon Heath, and many other artists are wonderful to listen to, but God has to be the one I go to. He is the one with the answers.
    Gideon’s Story:
    I love this story because it shows us that no matter what God can use anyone. He doesn’t look at the exterior; he looks at the heart. He knew that Gideon could do it. Many times, I find myself like Gideon. Can I really do this God? You sure you don’t need this type of person or this specific thing to make it work? I trust you God, but you really want me? Do you know what I can do or say that will mess this up? God didn’t care about Gideon’s fears. God cared about what he could use Gideon to do, to gain glory. See everything is always about giving God glory. We look it as menial tasks or annoying bumps in the roads, but God doesn’t. He knows what will happen and he doesn’t care about our past. He can use us no matter where we are or where we came from. All God wants to know about us is this: Are we willing to follow him?

  59. Jennifer B says:

    I was blessed to have her mention Gideon as I am also doing Shirer’s Gideon Bible Study on line. A powerful Word!!!! I think the biggest thing for me were the concepts of our focus as well as who we are in Christ (versus who WE say we are). I think as I begin to adopt this concepts daily, I will make for a much better mom, wife, employee, friend, community member. Instead of focusing on what I can’t do or what I don’t have, I will focus on HIM, what He says about me, what He says about my circumstances, and what HE says about HIS WILL for my life. Powerful life changing stuff. TURNING! MOVING FORWARD!

  60. I loved the story and fantastic explanation of Gidion! I’m working to change the lives of adults affected by autism and it’s a daunting task! It’s easy to become overwhelmed. But I know where to turn when my doubts and insecurities creep in!

  61. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse of hope toward our future, despite a painful past. How can you apply that in your own world today?
    Most of the time I feel worried and hopeless about the future, not only for my own future, but of the world and my kids. I don’t even have kids yet, but my students are like my kids. I teach swimming and coach. I just already see how difficult it is to be a kid, a teen. My sisters are struggling with so much pressure to be well rounded for colleges while maintaining ‘perfect’ grades. I just get nervous that everyone will crack under the pressure of expectations, worry, and fear for safety. I ponder on this verse when the anxiety begins to be overwhelming. I hold on to the hope and love that God promises. In church this Sunday we learned, that God’s promises are kept and He will bring about love and peace through them. I love that the other part of the verse in the section v. 13 and 14, also reads that when we seek Him, He will find us and bring us back from captivity. God loves us and He will give us a bright future, we just need to seek and ask. 🙂
    Love ya ladies,
    Kp

  62. What stood out to me from Renee’s comments was the idea that if I am going to truly move forward, it is only going to be possible with God. I guess I was thinking that I would use God’s strength and will to face my demons and resolve some painful issues, and then be able to move on fully. This tells me that yes, God will be with me to face the demons and to resolve the pain, but then will still be with me, must be with me, as I move forward into my “new” life. I am trying so hard to allow this, and not get in my own way right now. I am trying so hard to live through uncomfortable hours and days instead of reaching for the same old “pain killers” which never brought true happiness to my life. I’m scared. No doubt. But I am trying. Everyday.

  63. Amanda Mata says:

    Praise the Lord that he has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light! What really spoke to me is when Renee talks about TURNING away from the darkness and toward the light. It’s a choice and a huge step in faith to turn toward God 100% in every way and to truly cast all cares onto Him. Yet, I think it’s one of the most important lessons to learn as a true believer in Christ. I know I have struggled with this “trust issue” with God for over 3 years now. I only became a Christian 6 yrs ago (I am 32), yet I have gone through more trials now than I ever have before, including some pretty horrible depression. And it seems the closer I walk with God the harder things get at times (although I realize this is part of the purification process)! But, it’s not my place to figure stuff out, that’s God’s job. It’s my place to trust Him. Joyce Meyer often says in God’s economy, faith comes first. And it’s the hardest part, but oh the peace we have to experience once we finally do that has to be unmatched. I believe that it is. I yearn to experience that peace that only Christ can provide, and I know God is inching me towards it. And that I need to process past hurts with God- I think Renee was spot on about that! It really is a day by day, moment by moment process.

    To all my ACH sisters- my heart aches for your trials and pains and please know that I am lifting you up in prayer. Jesus said where 2 or more are in prayer there He is. He is with us- we need to stand back and watch the Lord rescue us from our trials and BELIEVE that he can and will do it. He IS mighty to save. Praise Jesus Christ, Son of the LIVING GOD. There is power in His name, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The name to which every knee will one day bow and every tongue confess that He, in fact, is God Almighty!

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