Adopted to Adapt

People live out of hurt or healing

What a week we’ve had!  Tackling power-packed concepts of faith — learning that we are a MASTERPIECE in God’s hands and we — you and I — are His finest work.  And here today, we read we are ADOPTED as His children when we place our faith in Jesus. Amazing!!

A little easier said than done sometimes though, right?

In reading Chapter 4, there were two quotes that kept popping out at me.  This first one is this:

“People live out of either the hurt they feel or the healing Jesus provides. Your parents will never be perfect. And you will never be a perfect parent. But there is a perfect God who, over time, will bring healing to hurtful circumstances.”~Derwin L. Gray, “Limitless Life”

There is a PERFECT God. Who will bring healing! Does that bring you as much incredible comfort as it does me?

At the same time, I am fully aware that the ramifications of NOT choosing healing from our abandonment issues and “daddy wounds” are huge. Pastor Derwin talks about multiple areas where those who grow up in a fatherless home are struggling (pp. 75-76 of the paperback):

  • There’s a greater risk of abusing drugs and alcohol and an increase in behavioral disorders.
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of all youth in prisons grew up in fatherless homes.
  • Daughters of single parents are 2.1 times more likely to have children during their teenage years than are daughters from intact families.

Here’s the second quote from Chapter 4 that kept getting stuck in my brain (pp. 71-72 in the paperback):

“Through years of discipleship and mentoring others, I have learned that the people who manage to climb out of emotional quicksand are those who intentionally stop the cruel, destructive habit of revisiting in their minds the events or the people who have hurt them.  Instead, by an act of faith, they start the soul-healing habit of replaying in their minds the message that Jesus loves them, cares for them, was wounded for them, died to forgive them, and now makes His home in their hearts to live His beautiful life through them.”
~ Derwin L. Gray, “Limitless Life”

Did you catch that?  In order to thrive despite the pain of their past abandonment, by an act of faith they intentionally stop the destruction and instead, rebuild new habits that focus on Jesus. Jesus Christ is the master re-builder!

Perhaps you’re wondering how to do that? It starts by recognizing the issues are real — we can’t pretend these wounds aren’t there. Instead, it’s time for us to stitch another new label on our lives: “ADOPTED.” (For more specifics on how we are adopted into God’s family through our relationship with Jesus Christ, read 1 John 3:1; Galatians 4:5-6; Ephesians 1:5-6; John 1:12;  and Romans 8:14-17.)

As Pastor Derwin writes, the key to taking on the new label of of “Adopted” is in the love God pours over us as His children:

The Keys to the New Label, “Adopted”:
Key 1:
Embrace the Friendship of God
Key 2: Accept and Imitate the Forgiveness of God
Key 3: Accept the Adopting Love of God

Y’all, these are HUGE concepts of the faith. HUGE.

Each one of these keys deserves far, far more than one little blog post could have time to share. However, Pastor Derwin has given us some phenomenal fodder to stir our hearts — and I also want to give you the freedom to let these thoughts fully marinate in your hearts and minds during the next several months (if not years).

Additionally, I want to encourage you with the idea that sometimes, God can re-purpose what’s been abandoned and adapt it for future glory.

Recently, I had a chance to re-visit a rather unique urban park in New York City, called the High Line. It was a bustling railway one story above street level for decades and very active in the 1930s and 40s.  But as the trucking industry grew and expanded, there was less of a need for railroads and the track was abandoned in the 1960s.

However, everything changed in 1999 when a group of folks began to dream and envision what an abandoned park might look like if it could be re-purposed and re-built there.

I think you’ll be amazed at what it has become since 2009, in this video:

(Click here if you can’t see the video in your e-mail.)

What to do:
If you haven’t already, read Chapter 4 of Limitless Life.

If you haven’t already, take a look at the “Hands” section at the end of Ch. 4, where Pastor Derwin encourages us to reach out to people we need to forgive. Some possible suggestions include: write a letter, make a phone call, send a text or extend an invitation.

We want to hear from you:
Today, June 6, marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a major turning point in World War II in freeing all of Europe from enemy territory. What would it look like if you made today your personal “Operation Overlord” (the code word for the Allied invasion at Normandy) and let the Lord of the Universe take over, removing destructive habits, with constructive new thoughts about how much your Heavenly Papa loves you?

What’s one thing you could do today that might move you in that direction? We’d love to know!

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  1. christine says:

    Its easier to forgive the abandonment felt by the deeds of my earthly parents when I choose to remember that my true Father lives in heaven and is always with me.

  2. Millee Wrenn-Arnett says:

    Looking backwards is painful but necessary for restoration. Only by realizing that in my lowest valleys God has been there, can I come to forgive those who hurt me and be freed. Today I need to write two letters to my parents who are no longer living and forgive being physically and emotionally abandoned by them but adopted by God through His son Jesus.

    • It is absolutely necessary! I think the key is to not CAMP there. We have to revisit those old memories and painful moments in order to surrender them, but then we have to give them to God with our hands opened up–no grasping at the pain, trying to grab it back from Him. Once it is surrendered, it is no longer our problem to solve–it is God’s!
      I love your idea of writing a letter to your parents–even though they will not receive the letters–because this is how you claim this pain and then surrender it. May God grant you the peace of knowing that you are FOREVER His child–loved with a tenderness that no human parent could ever manage.

      • That’s a great reminder, Sandi! To go there … but not camp there. It’s so easy to blame others, and takes a very conscious choice not to fault our parents for taking us places as children when we haven’t left there as adults.

        Millee, praying for you as you write those letters — that there be healing for you in releasing them.

  3. Today I need to begin to accept who I am. Who God made me to be. Not the mold I think I should be. But who I am right now. To see me as my heavenly Dad sees me. With all my past sorrow and disappointments perfecting my perseverence and full dependence on Him. The sincere empathy that develops through trial that leads me to encourage and pray for others. The putting to rest striving and comparing. To settle back into my dads arms and feel his approval and unconditional love for not anything I do. But for everything I am. Because I am His masterpiece. I do deserve it, but I have it. His love.

  4. “I choose to never wallow in self-pity but to soak in the sweetness of soul healing love”, Derwin Gray, Limitless Life! “SOAK IN THE SWEETNESS OF SOUL HEALING LOVE”! To really believe that I am a masterpiece and to leave all hurts (I am a very sensitive person and I get my feelings hurt easily), doubts of self worth etc behind and to soak in the sweetness of soul healing love just fills my heart to the brim and over flowing!

    • God made you sweet, Terri! Hold on to that sweetness!

    • We are like sponges–we can choose to soak in (Marinate) the ugly words of others or the affirming, loving, gentle words of our Savior. I’m glad you are focusing on the sweet soul-healing love that God wants to pour out to you. When you are full of that, you don’t have room to soak up the ugly lies that Satan tries to fill us with.

      • susan jefferson says:

        I’m with you, Terri. I too wear my heart on my sleeve and need to stop the pity party and start being soaked in the love of Jesus. I want to be healed and until you realize you are sick you can’t begin the healing process. I know that it is not going to happen over night but in time I can allow God’s love song to resonate in my heart.

  5. Sheila Watson says:

    “People live out of either the hurt they feel or the healing Jesus provides. Your parents will never be perfect. And you will never be a perfect parent. But there is a perfect God who, over time, will bring healing to hurtful circumstances.”~Derwin L.y Gray, “Limitless Life”
    This quote really brought me to tears. I’ve struggled my whole life with the issues of my parents. I can now let it go and know it’s in the past and to continue to relive the hurts only weaken me.

    • Kelly N says:

      Sheila, this was my favorite quote out of this chapter. Even though I said I forgave my parents for decisions they made I have been holding on to bitterness. This helped me to see them as the imperfect people we all are and that it’s time to let it go and quit revisiting the past. I am glad we are sharing these truths and learning from each other!

    • Shelia,
      I too had to let go of somethings involving parental upbringing. That turned me into a fearful parent myself because I didn’t want to screw up my kids. Trying to be perfect myself out of fear. Reading that quote in the book comforted me so much. Letting me know it is going to be ok, breath, relax because God is in control. I wasn’t raised in a Godly home but my kids are. They are covered under His wings and He is there shelter. He is in control. Ahh…takes the pressure away, so freeing!

    • I really loved this quote, too! I can’t afford to hold onto any anger and pain that my childhood generated. I have my own incredible kids, and I want my relationship with them to be rooted in unconditional love and encouragement, as they find their way in this world. It is SO motivating to realize that and to put it into practice. Thinking about my own kids has also reminded me that I’m not perfect and I need to forgive my parents for their mistakes, instead of dwelling on them.

  6. I need to forgive and start living out of God’s love because I’ve chosen resentment for so long. God IS working in me and is encouraging me.

    • Proud of you Loren!

      • Lynn Sokolowski says:

        Yes Loren! I will pray for you! I lived in resentment for most of my adult life. I don’t know where your resentment comes from but let me tell you I gave it to God and it has set me free. My resentment stems from my parents and some things that happened when I was a child and into my adult years. It’s a long story but through God’s grace and love not only am free from the hurt but I am able to accept that they loved me. No one is perfect. God already uses my experience for His glory and I am so grateful I am sometimes brought to tears. God bless you Loren! It can be hard work to let the resentment go especially if you have let it start to define who you are but the work is worth it!

  7. Today is an amazingly beautiful day. Today is the start of changing my thoughts and speaking my prayers instead of hoping in prayer. Don’t get me wrong hope is great and needed, but my words and thoughts are powerful. This D-Day is a new start for me and I am ecstatic for what God has been teaching me and I am grabbing hold of it!

  8. Karen Kramp says:

    My husband and I are learning about asking God to reveal what is inside of our hearts (Luke 6:45). It has been amazing what God is revealing, hurts, abandonment issues from childhood,and so much more. I realized something that I need never knew about how I viewed my mother. Because of that view, all of my relationships have struggled. I reached out to my mom and told her about this view and told her how much I am sorry for viewing her in this way.God is so faithful to us, that when He is asked to show us our hearts, He doesn’t do it by beating us up, but rather with love and grace.

    • Kelly N says:

      Love to hear that you and your husband are taking the journey and learning together. He will bless your marriage for it.

    • Reaching out in forgiveness is so incredibly freeing, isn’t it? Kudos on reaching out to your Mom and having such a positive conversation with her. God wants to fill all of your relationships with hope and you have taken such an important step 🙂

  9. Lynn Sokolowski says:

    AMEN! This is just what I needed to hear! So uplifting and inspiring! Right on!

  10. I feel something resonating today and that’s my fear of success and feeling indontdeserve it. But I am breaking free from this label today and I am adopted by God therefore a child of God, He is a limitless God, therefore, the possibilities are endless, this life is limitless!

  11. Suppose to say feeling I don’t deserve it*

  12. I loved the imagery of the broken down rail line being re-purposed and turned into a thing of beauty and incredible usefulness. Thanks Steph for the encouragement today!

  13. Elizabeth G. says:

    I’m going through some stuff right now that is so overwhelming. I’m trying so hard to stay focused on God and read His word.

    • Kelly N says:

      Praying for you this morning Elizabeth. I am praying that you will find encouragement and truth in his word. Nothing is too big for Him. Take it to him and know that you are not alone. God bless you!

  14. Today I am taking that step towards forgiveness and asking God the Papa to help me focus on how I have been done right by Jesus.

    • Karen,
      I am praying for you as you move forward in forgiveness & focusing on Jesus. Praising Him for your decision to turn your eyes on the good Jesus has done for you!’ Isn’t He amazing?!?!?
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

  15. Wow – I didn’t realize that today was the anniversary of D-Day. My dad fought in World War II, and we talked about D-Day often, although he was not part of the initial landing. I remember telling him that I was glad he was not part of the first wave because so many were killed. He told me, “I would not have been killed, even if I had been there.” When I asked why, he said, “Because I’m here – and that is proof that God had a plan for me after the war, and no matter where I served, He would have brought me through. Nothing could have prevented God’s plan for me, and when I fought, I had peace that I had given my service to God. If it was my time, He would take me; and if it was not my time, he would keep me from harm. When you belong to God, you know you are safe in His care no matter where you are or what you are doing. The important thing is to be sure that when it is your time to die, you know where you are going and that you know you will be safe in the arms of God either to be with Him in Heaven or to come through the battle.” My father was the most perfectly peaceful person I ever knew – he exuded God’s peace all the way through until he died in his 90’s. His last words to me were words of love and faith, “I love you – I’m not afraid.” I struggle with fear and worry, even though I had this amazing example and role model. This message of adoption by my Heavenly Father, brought back wonderful memories of my earthly father. I am thankful to God for giving me the home and parents I had, for their long lives, and for their total submission to God and trust in Him.

    • Wanda,
      Your words bring peace to so many others! I loved reading your daddy story! What a remarkable man he was! Praising God for him this morning, his service, and the legacy he left behind for you and future generations. Thank you for sharing his story. I’m praying you would rest in that same peace, letting go of fears and worries, trusting God has His hand on you no matter what life holds!
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

    • That’s such a beautiful story, Wanda! What a gift from your earthly father, sending you such wisdom about your Heavenly Father. THANK YOU for sharing that with us, today!

  16. I’m choosing to let go of the old hurts. Nothing has to be done in the natural to rectify my situations or validate my feelings – things happened, feelings are real, BUT GOD is mightier than all. His grace can overcome the actions of abandonment & rejection done by others. I finally get to rest and recover properly from my hip scope surgery back in February because I have the time this summer. By resting, my body can heal properly. So it is the same in my heart. By resting in God’s unlimited grace, old wounds can be healed and I can choose to allow the Holy Spirit’s therapy (just like physical therapy) to accomplish His work. I don’t just lie there and get healed, I work at it and rest. Same in the spirit – renew my thinking with the Word and rest. I am enjoying the washing my mind is getting through this book and study. Thanks you guys.

    • Jodi,
      I love your comparison to rest for the body & physical therapy to resting our hearts and spiritual therapy for healing past hurts and old wounds. I’m praying while your body tests and heals this summer, your heart and mind will too. Thank you for sharing. I love this!!
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

  17. Praying for you Elizabeth, lay your cares at His feet. Psalms 91:11. For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. He is a God of restoration. My life has not been easy by any means, and I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I am so grateful that God loves me so much that He paid the price for me so I could have eternal life through Him. He brought resolution last night to a relationship that still needed forgiveness. The timing of it with this chapter was incredible! I am so grateful for all He does that we can see, and the unseen that we don’t even know He is working on!

  18. Through this study and others I’ve done recently, I continue to move into the forgiveness stage from my past hurts…what a joy it is to triumph over the previous labels stuck to me like glue!! I was moved by the challenge to reach out to someone I need to forgive. What I struggle with yet is being able to remove the fear of not measuring up label. I know in my heart that in my obedience to God, He has my back and how my gesture is received is not mine to worry about! Could I get a clarifying perspective on how much of the past do I bring up of what I forgive this person for or is it a short and sweet, keep it simple kinda thing? Thank you~~Dawn

    • Dawn, how encouraging! I think you’re in for a real treat in what we’ll cover next week’s chapters as well! I’ve seen what Nicki has coming up for us and it’s so, soo good!

  19. I need to love myself as He loves me. I need to remember that He loves me as I am today and that there is nothing I have done or will do that can change that. My parents’ love for me may have been conditional but His is without condition. My parents may not have thought I was worth fighting for but He loved me so much He sent His Son to Die for me so I could be forgiven and free. I honour God when I too forgive myself and others.

    • Tiffany,
      I am praying that God would fill you with His unending love and that you may always feel the warmth and comfort of His arms when the love of others fails. His love never will. Praising Him for His everlasting love!
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

  20. I’m siting her over come with emotion, just as I did last night during Rev-it-up. God is stirring things inside me. I know that when God does this, the stirring, He is ready to heal more of my past. His timing is far better than mine, and I have learned to go with it as He brings things to light.

    • Amy,
      Praying for you as God moves in your life and stirs your heart. I’m praising God that you are sensitive to His nudges and recognize His touch and presence in your life. I pray that as He moves and directs your steps, you’ll be courageous and follow. (And don’t you just looooove Rev It Up?!?!? Woot! Woot!)
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

  21. Laura M. says:

    After a season of hurt and desolation, I feel that God has really been doing a work of renewal in my life, not the least of which has been influenced by this study.

    So often people do or say things either without thinking or in a manner intentionally calculated to bring hurt. And when we hurt, what do we do? We turn inwards and we “marinate” on those words. The labels stick, because there’s always just a spot of truth with them and that’s what we tend to dwell on, isn’t it? But that turning inward, indulging in the “playground of the mind” as Suzie Eller calls it in “The Mended Heart” or getting stuck in what Derwin Gray calls “emotional quicksand” puts us right where the enemy wants us. Stuck. Limited. Living in lack.

    When I read these words this week, I simply wanted to cheer….

    “I have learned that the people who manage to climb out of emotional quicksand are those who intentionally stop the cruel, destructive habit of revisiting in their minds the events or the people who have hurt them.”

    It never once occurred to me that I was actually being cruel to myself by indulging in this behavior. Quite the opposite, I thought I was protecting myself. Thinking of what I should say. Or how I might best respond next time. Oh, and there’s the other thing. Making a change doesn’t happen by some happy accident. It’s a choice. Yes, ma’am. A choice.

    I have a choice.

    I have a choice in which voice I will allow to influence my life. Do I have to give hurtful words spoken out of anger and hurt feelings the right to reign over me? To destroy? No, no, I do not. Who deserves to speak His influence into my life? Jesus. Just Jesus. His are the life-giving words which I need.

    And what message do we ALL need to hear? Well, I like the way Derwin phrased it because it’s totally true and utterly necessary to get it deep down in the very depths of our hearts.

    “Jesus loves [ME], cares for [ME], was wounded for [ME], died to forgive [ME], and now makes His home in [MY] heart to live His beautiful life through [ME].”

    Marinate on THAT. Because that’s all the truth we need.

    • Laura,
      Girl!!!! I am cheering for you!!! WOW you have a way with words! Thank you so much for sharing how God is working in your life.
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

    • Marlisa says:

      Laura, I feel ya girl! 🙂

      Instead of being angry and closed off toward those who speak negativity, I will strive to be forgiving instead! Being angry gives those negative words power, and that’s not of our Heavenly Father.

      I will stop revisiting those conversations, stop wondering what I did to cause the negativity and stop second-guessing every word and expression.

      I will start forgiving, start trying to see myself through His eyes, and start remembering satan is the real enemy here.

      No more emotional quicksand for THIS daughter of the King! He is strong enough to extend His arm and pull me out of that deadly gunk. No more looking back and dissecting every syllable. Instead I will remember to gaze into the eyes of my Savior!

  22. Deborah Herbst says:

    Love the video and the thoughts. that message of ‘restoration in progess” is what the world needs from the body of Christ.
    I want to see that park!

  23. This is such a great study. The book is great, such an easy read, but so meaningful and on target. I had two great parents growing up. However, I was given up for adoption as an infant. As an adult, I realized how fortunate I was that my parents adopted me. So, I do understand a little about being adopted. Being adopted into God’s family is the best thing to ever happen to me and my parents would agree. I am loving being a part of this study.

    • Maurissa says:

      Gale, praise God! What a blessing to be adopted twice!! I love how God used your experience to give you an understanding of what it means to be adopted by him.

  24. Lee Kathleen says:

    Today I am counting on God to fight the battles in my mind with His Word. When I intentionally focus on God’s truths instead of the lies that creep in my mind gets renewed (Romans 12:2) and emotional healing occurs. A wise Pastor counselled me years ago to find and meditate on verses that speak to me about God’s love for me…And I started believing it! God is so good!!! To God be the glory!

    • Lee Kathleen,
      Praying for you as you fight the battle in your mind. May God fill your mind with His truths everyday and may you always focus on what His word says about you. You are chosen. You are loved. You are priceless.
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

  25. As a family our years have brought us some huge trials, heartaches and disappointments. As I look at my children and our family I am reminded of the goodness God has blessed us with and to focus on His love and the blessings we have. Through our trials we grow deeper in love, faith and relationship with God. This is what I want to share with my children.. that tho this world is full of pain and suffering we are are able to grow in a deeper love, appreciation and awe of God as we look at the blessings that come through our trials. If we want to share in the joys, we are too not lose faith when the trials are upon us. If we stay faithful God will bless us beyond our human capacity of thinking! This world is not what God intended for us but the glory and joys to come later. If I can model this for my children my prayer is that they too can experience in an amazing life with Christ in the center surrounding them with His love. Thank you, thank you for this study!
    I love these verses Romans 8:14-17
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[a] of God.
    15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[b] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[c] 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

  26. By surrendering all that I am (body & mind &) to my HEAVENLY FATHER!

  27. I am a very visual learner. What helped me the most in this chapter was the picture “People live out of either the hurt THEY FEEL or the healing Jesus provides.” I had just prior to opening this email asked God to help me UNDERSTAND some people in my life. This was an answer to that prayer. My daughter is definitely living out of the healing Jesus provides but my son-in-law and a neighbor are living out the hurt THEY FEEL. I like to copy and post the pictures into my book. Thanks for providing pictures.

    • Susan,
      I am praying for your son-in-law and neighbor. I pray God will open the eyes of their hearts to His healing power & restoration.
      P31 OBS Ministry Team

  28. This quote stood out to me from Chapter 4:
    “Did you realize that whatever we magnify, we worship? And whatever we worship, we resemble? If we wallow in self-pity, we will become more pitiful and limit our lives. If we stay in Jesus and meditate on what He’s accomplished on our behalf, we magnify His great work, and as we do this, we worship Him. The result is that daily we are transformed into His image, releasing His limitless life through us.”

    My biggest desire is to magnify Jesus, meditating on what He’s accomplished on my behalf, and as a result be transformed into His image.

    • Amen!!!

    • Beth Neumann says:


      That quote stuck out to me as well when I read it. I highlighted it even. I looked up magnify (to make (something) greater, to make something seem greater of more important then it is, to make something appear larger). Each definition starts with to make and I realized that I often make things bigger greater or appear larger then they need to be (those worries about money, my job, the way others view me) when I should be making God bigger in my life, make God’s work in my life greater and make God appear larger to others.

      My Limitless Life (transformation) depends on magnifying God; how much time I spend with Him, how much I reflect and give God credit for how He works in my life and how much I share God’s greatness and love with others.

      • Maurissa says:

        Amen Barbara! I find that when I focus on God, everything else diminishes in size. I know that I need to make Him more of a priority in my life. So, thank you for the reminder about magnifying God!!

    • Wow what a truth. Simply give God the glory for what goes right. Anything we magnify is worship. I need to let go and trust the Lord every minute. He will keep testing me ’til I get it right. He knows what’s best and I need to let Him take care of everything. I hope He can use me. Focus on God, Make Him a priority, Tell people about His love for them. Don’t worry about anything. Have faith or you won’t please Him.

  29. To forgive those who have hurt me. To stop looking at the last and living in the hurt but instead seeing what God has done and is doing in my life. To surrender EVERYTHING, every thought, action, sin, pain, shame, guilt, insecurities, resentment, anger, bitterness, and brokenness down at His feet!

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t read chapter 4 yet, haven’t had much time to just sit and read. But I’ve been stewing over the other 3 chapters, spending sleepless nights with God asking questions and just talking to Him. Confessing many things, my fears, worries, insecurities, and my sins. One thing was brought back to mind last night, something that I’d heard a couple years ago at a Revival…”Hurt people…hurt people.” In other words, people who have been hurt carry that hurt, hurting others in an attempt to protect themselves. The cycle just continues until someone chooses to stop the cycle. I’ve been very guilty of causing a lot of hurt in an attempt to keep from being hurt anymore. What I’ve done is relive every day, my past, holding myself in a prison. I’ve gone through the forgiveness process a few times, but I continue holding onto the hurts, never really letting them go. It’s time to relocate my heart and my mind, to where my Abba wants me to be. I am the cherished daughter of the one True King! Loved, holy, forgiven, adopted, courageous, no longer defeated child of a God!!!

  31. Heather says:

    I love the imagery of the old, broken down railroad tracks, overgrown and leading to nowhere. God can clean up all the weeds in our lives, and make it a place of something beautiful and purposeful. I also love the imagery of troops rushing in to claim freedom and victory. We are the troops that go in to do battle with our negative thoughts, emotions, and habits that keep us in captivity. Today I want to tear down all the strongholds in my life that keep me from experiencing God the way He longs to fill my life. I need to conquer the pressure to be perfect, eating out of tiredness or anxiety, and trying to do it all. These are not easy battles to fight but the good news is that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved (and always will love) us.” Romans 8:37

  32. Brittany says:

    I am going to start renewing my mind in God’s Word instead of judging things based on my past. I didn’t realize how I was holding on to so many things until I encountered situations that I responded to based on what happened before. I love how in Matthew 5:30 Jesus says, “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Someone in my missional community told a story of a man who was on a mountain and his arm got stuck. He couldn’t move it so he took a knife with the other hand to cut his arm off so that he could be free from what his other arm was stuck under. This has encouraged me to cut off my thoughts from under my past so that I can run free in God’s Will. I hope this encourages someone! Lastly, I am going to call up an old friend today and reconcile! Praying that is goes well! Love ya’ll <3

    • Praying for your phonecall and reconciliation. I think I need to cut off my mind to get the negative thoughts out. Just kidding. Anyway I can’t see how God is going to make a masterpiece out of my mess. At least He’s getting me off my addiction to food. Need prayers again today. Maybe I can reconcile to a friend too. If the Lord answers big prayers.

      • My friend was so glad to hear from me, Praise God, He is truly merciful. What it says today about Jesus healing us is what I need, badly. I didn’t realize how much I need it. Asking you Lord to heal me and forgive me. I can get judgemental too. And bitter. I seem to grieve the Spirit regularly. Will be rereading the So that Book for these issues. Thank you for this Bible Study Lord. In Jesus’ name

        • Glad the phone call went well! And Wendy Blight will be soo pleased to know Living So That book has had special meaning for you!! =)

          • Brittany says:

            The phone call with my friend went well too! It was a good conversation and I understand why God wants us to forgive others. It truly reflects who He is to us and how He loves us.

    • I love when you said “This has encouraged me to cut off my thoughts from under my past so that I can run free in God’s Will.” I am guilty of letting my mind run wild with negative thoughts from the past. Instead I need to do the same thing!

      • Brittany says:

        It is an everyday mind renewal! It pushes us to not be passive in our prayer life and in reading God’s Word!

  33. Its amazing to see how God talks to you. I had just finished ch. 4 this morning. Then I emailed my step-mom, sending her pictures of my 11 month old. But then I sent another email. Just recently my father had a stroke. She called me in the morning and said not to get overly emotional, that my father was ok but that in the early mornings he had to be rushed to the hospital, and that the Doctors ruled it as a minor stroke. She then proceeded to tell my not to let my sisters know because my father told her to tell me this. I at first said ok. But then I get a picture message from my sister, of my nieces and nephews that same day lol. I felt a prompting that I needed to let my sister know…I mean this was her father too. What if, just what if something deeper happened to our father? so I related what was just related to me that day to her, and said very calmly that it was just a minor stroke. Well she called dad, and by what she said, he got upset that I told her. Well…getting back to this email I sent out this morning, I asked for forgiveness from my dad. See at age 3 he left our home, and I saw very little of him growing up. So for me extending to him forgiveness, I’m hoping he says Im forgiven.
    I see my earthly father differently now. I see him the way the Lord sees him. The Lord loves him, he died for him.

    • Kelly Wiggins OBS small group member says:

      Hi Angela,
      I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for your situation today. I have been in a similar situation and it’s a tough place to be put in. I’m praying that your dad will forgive you as you hope. But isn’t it encouraging to know that our “Papa” “Daddy” loves us so much that His love is all that matters!
      Lifting you up to our Papa!

      • Angela, praying for God to bless you in this situation as you are choosing the high road and forgiveness. Kelly, thanks for sharing your heart.

        I was reminded years ago that sometimes, honoring our parents means honoring the Father who made them. That isn’t always easy, but God’s judgement matters more than a mom’s or dad’s in the end.

  34. Count your blessings, one by one!

  35. Amanda Shipton (Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team) says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog for today! Thank you Stephanie for sharing your insights and encouragement with us! I enjoy re-purposing old furniture and I love the video of sharing the re-purposed garden. I love the picture it paints in my mind of what Jesus can take with our messy, stained, cracked, worn-out hearts! I love looking at an old piece of furniture that looks like it has seen its last days and is ready to be thrown out in the trash and with a little work, some of it painful as you sand and buff out the imperfections, and then with the gentle touch of paint and care of the finishing touches it becomes a beautiful, unique piece that appears to be brand new. Even more beautiful is that it isn’t brand new! It weathered some storms and has a story to tell! We can’t linger in our pain, but we can grow from it. Jesus can work on our hearts and at times it may hurt, but then with His gentle touch and care we become beautiful, unique servants of His, ready to do His work and encourage others with the storms we have weathered and the story we have to tell!

  36. I read chapter 4 while I was outside watching my 7 and 9 year old boys play. It was a moment of clarity and sadness for me. My husband is a wonderful father to our boys like his Dad was to him. I on the other hand had a very different experience. Reading the reconcilation that Derwin had with his own father was bittersweet. It has been 20 years this August since my father died. We never had a chance to talk about things that had happened between us when I was growing up. He didn’t get to meet the man I married or our children. But through the precious work of my Savior I did forgive him for the things that he wasn’t and was able to learn to love my Heavenly Father as ABBA! The first time that I was able to pray to my Heavenly Father as Abba was awesome! I would like to encourage others who might be struggling with that to not give up…

  37. rosalyn says:

    I am so blessed to say today there is no forgiveness going on in my life. The grace that allows me to let things go has been part of my life for awhile now and is part of the freedom l enjoy these days. THANK YOU GOD! I a m living as a child of the most high king and his grace and mercy allow me to work on doing the good things he planned for me long ago.HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH. BLESS THE LORD OH MY SOUL! AND ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME!

  38. Wow, I never thought about writing a letter to someone who has died. My father died before I could reconcile with him so I’ve done the emotional and heart forgiveness but I think writing a letter would be an excellent idea for me. Another tool to use in my/our quest to live free from the old labels and old and sometimes still so painful hurts. I intend to do this today. Thanks for the idea ladies and of course Pastor Derwin Gray. God Bless.

  39. Mary Ellen says:

    I was blessed with a loving father. He was my rock. When he died in 1982-my world shifted-like the earth had turned suddenly the other way. I was in the middle of a painful divorce, and truly needed my father. I was favored and blessed by God to find a sweet loving second husband, who came to know Jesus as Savior, and loved God, me and my then 8 year old daughter as if she had been his to start with. God gave us a gift of His love. When George passed away suddenly in 2006, my faith was shaken and the world again reacted-nearly stopped. But my Father proved Himself faithful in more ways than I can count, and adopted me and Jenny. Praise my ABBA Father forever!

  40. I got sober 22 years ago. Part of my AA program is to reach out and heal the destruction of our past. I worked my steps and made my amends to people on my list. I identified my destructive behaviors and work daily to ensure they stay changed to helping instead of hurting others. If I do hurt someone, as I am not perfect, I make amends immediately. I still have one person on my list that I have not been able to make amends to and that saddens me. I pray daily for God to heal the other person so that some day they will be willing to hear my amends. Right now, they choose not to. So my card that has my amends on it for her, has written on it, “In God’s Time.” And that is how I live my life – what is meant to happen with happen In God’s Time.

  41. I finally caught up. Yea. I have been just blown away by this study. I have realized that I am harboring anger that stems from my past and what I was raised in. I had a talk with God this morning and asked Him to take all the past and present anger, past issues and in turn fill it up with Him. I also asked with all this anger am I capable of love? A genuine love? So I asked God for that too. James, Paul and many others in the Bible show me I can ask God and talk to Him and if I am truly asking with a faith filled heart, He will help me. so that’s what I did today….

  42. I’m with you Amy in asking God for genuine love. And for wisdom to follow Him.

  43. I feel like I am slipping back into my old habits. The ones I had overcome but these past two weeks it ‘s been one problem after another where I am emotionally & physically exhausted. Then I watched your video Stephanie & read some of these blog posts. It has so inspiring for me to pick myself back up, dust my pants off & say OK Lord. Help me declutter my mind & thoughts so I can hear, see & feel your promptings versus letting my feelings take control. God Bless all who read this! AMEN!

    • Hi Terri. Thanks for opening up about your struggles and I’m so glad to hear that God is already helping to turn some things around for you. We are always going to have those “slipping back” times on occasion, but you did the right thing by recognizing it and then turning to God and looking for help and inspiration to turn it back around again – good for you!!

  44. I really don’t feel comfortable with this challenge but I am so thankful for the nudge to offer forgiveness that is looong overdue. I recently told my story about my relationship with my dad on my blog, maybe some of you have read it from the blog hop. While I feel like I have forgiven him a while ago I have never actually extended that forgiveness. I’ve decided this father’s day I am going to give my dad an I forgive you letter. It won’t be a letter saying that everything that happened is ok but it will extend forgiveness.
    Link to my story:

  45. Terri Satterwhite says:

    I believe by working on step 1. This is still a big issue for me to get my head around.

  46. Pam Whitmore says:

    Several years ago now, after a horrific separation, I was informed by my mom that I no longer had a mother. That “they”, my parents, we’re no longer be a part of my life. They had their reasons and while I understood them (sort of) it hurt tremendously. Once again, I felt rejected and alone. Even though I knew in my head that God would never reject me this way I was “alone” all over again, physically. No husband, no parents and only 1of 4 kids still with me. After all we’d been thru together I certainly didn’t believe I deserved to be rejected by those closest to me, but here I was. God got me through! He is ever faithful and sends a new family to love on His children when they ask. He wasn’t done though, because as I drew close to Him, He revealed Himself as my Father, Husband and constant companion. He moved the head knowledge to my heart. Then almost 7 years later He restored most of what the “locusts” had eaten. Praise God He’s not done yet. Isa. 61:3 promises beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. I have claimed those verses many times over and know He is not done yet.

  47. Latasha says:

    My mom and dad are resentful to me. And don’t admit it. But their actions and words and no encouragement shows it. I believe because walking with God as I was told before wasn’t the right thing to do in their eyes. They believed my aunt that my dad was cursed by his mom brother. Generational curses. And by even me acknowledging God all hell would break loose in the family. On my certain days I say “oh my god” what did I touch. These circumstances. I opened a can of worms oh hell. Because I felt like if I would of never touched God or believed and his word. All these troubles wouldn’t have came to pass. As pastor derwin talks about his dad and not seeing him then he showed up at his games. My family relationship is coming about differently than before. I pray for the world and obs hoping and praying for that golden masterpiece to be known and found. Remember we walk with Jesus. We are forced to be recogned with. Things rises up because who you are. The high places must come down to the low. And bow down to God. ♡♥♡♥ hugs and wishes. Your (obs) sister.

  48. Yuly Mateus says:

    Hello, I have a question. I found this Bible study on pinterest and I really liked it, I bought the book and I would like to join this email group and read along with you guys the book but I see you all are way ahead on the book. How can I sign up for a group where we all can start at the same part in the book? Please email me Thank you! God bless.

    • Hi Yuly. Glad you found us! The great thing about this book is that each chapter can really stand on it’s own. The chapters don’t really build on one another so they don’t necessarily have to be read in order. My suggestion for you if you’d like to join us would be to go ahead and start with us on Monday in Ch.5. Then, as you have extra time. you can go back and do the first 4 chapters along with the first 2 weeks of blog posts. The posts archive, so they are always there for you to go back and work your way through. Hope that helps!

  49. wow. my very own “operation overlord”. hmmm. I’m working really hard right now on not having a pity party for myself every time something goes wrong…. so the one thing I can do today; well, there are 2 actually. 1 is to keep working on this no pity parties allowed thing & 2 is to start learning how to overcome my fear of failure. fear of failure is even what keeps me from really truly having a relationship with God. I’m SCARED of Him & what He can do in my life!

  50. I had a huge awakening yesterday! I sat here and spoke to God and vowed to start really living. It doesn’t mean it will be easy but I no longer have to live as I’ve been. I do have worth and am loved and have everything I’d dream of – well almost but he has his hand on us….I think he was waitingfor me to open my eyes and truly see him.

  51. Kris Jacobson says:

    Choosing to give myself to God in all things; not just the alcohol addiction. What a huge relief. Actually smiling again 🙂

  52. Jennifer says:

    I am going to stop saying how stressed I am and start saying how blessed I am.

  53. Elizabeth says:

    My husband is in the process of moving out, and I’m feeling the pressures of labels again. Trying to see myself the way God does, but it’s hard when I have shame for ruining my marriage and letting God down by not changing sooner when I knew I needed to..

  54. Lisa McDonald ~ Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team says:

    Can I just be honest here? After all, it’s real hope for real life, right?
    Can I just throw it out there that it’s not always “daddy” abandonment issues. I’m guilty of causing “mommy” abandonment issues to my kids. I’ve struggled for years over this and by the grace of God, lived through two suicide attempts and have regained my children’s love.
    I just want to give some credit out there to the Dads who have stepped up in the place of the mom who has left.
    Mommy’s make mistakes too 🙁

    • susan jefferson says:

      Lisa, Jesus delights over you with singing. His grace is sufficient and His blood covers all our sins. Jesus came to heal the sick and to do the Father’s will. His love towards us is perfect; there is nothing lacking. Know that you are deeply loved.

  55. I have the tendency to over eat I mean to really over do it when I have a food like chocolate, chips (you get the picture) when I have them. I will eat them until I feel sick. I need to replace this activity with the thoughts that God wants me to feel good to take care of my body for it is a temple he has made, and so I can show his love to others more effectively. Because when I over eat like I do, I do not feel good physically and mentally. Not good for much but self loathing and feeling sorry for myself. I am special to God I need to remember that!

  56. Every time an old “newsreel” of mine tries to replay in my mind, I’m going to STOP, SEEK, and SINK – STOP those thoughts, go and SEEK scripture that speaks God’s truth and love into that memory, and then journal about what God speaks to my heart through that truth to help it all SINK in.

  57. God gave me a secret weapon to use when satan tries to get me to look backward. It is like a secret handshake between God and I but I have to share! It is a sweet little prayer that I say to Him in those moments when I feel like satan is trying to get me to walk into the “emotional quicksand” – I just say “God, please erase it and replace it!”

    Your question here prompted me to write a post about it on my site but I wasn’t sure if I am allowed to post a link but just wanted you to know that even just these small little questions you all ask can prompt SO MUCH healing!!!

    Thank you for all you do.

    And to my fellow sisters in Christ – when you feel that sneaky satan trying to get you to look back and replay the hurts just close your eyes and ask God to help you “Replace it and erase it!!!”

    Love to you all!!!

  58. Rebecca says:

    “…we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

    I wrote that down because it is a reminder that our suffering can be an offering for the promises of greatness that God has in store for us. Reliving the pain or indulging in self pity only prolongs the suffering and puts off the blessings (or at least makes them harder to see).

    I have had the worst year of my work life this year. For someone who prides herself on dedication and hard work, this has engulfed my life, my mind, my family. Instead of leaving it behind at the end of the day, I take it home with me and relive it in my mind. I am frustrated and angry & my family bears the brunt of that sometimes. And through it all, I’ve felt sorry for myself and missed out on a whole lot of the joy in my life and sucked it out of the lives of my children and husband at times. I’m choosing today to stop that pattern, recognizing that self pity is self destructive.

    Please pray for me that I can forgive (others and myself) and be forgiven so that I can let go of what is painful and hurtful and cherish what is truly important in my life instead.

  59. Elizabeth Evans says:

    Hello! I want to give God all of my fears. He loves me and wants me to trust Him with my life.

  60. Shantell says:

    As an adult my walk with God has been similar to a swivel door lots of back and forth. Every time I would get to a point where I just did not believe whether it be because of tough times or in the tasks that I was being asked to do.
    In taking this study I realized the one thing that I have now that I did not have then which is a clearer perspective of who God is an how He works in our lives. Honestly before I truly believed God to be the majician and we were His subjects. I just couldn’t get a true fix on God or my role with Him. I just knew and know that I had and have a part/role just like we all do.
    As I read the bible in the books of Isaiah and Romans. I am seeing so much consistency – which is love from our God. Another consistent point is sin and why we have to experience it for ourselves so when we run to Him for forgiveness we are ready to begin our true walk and begin living the lives that we were meant live. The scripture Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans that I have for you. Plans not to harn you but to give you hope and a future.” Is resonating with me so much so that it brings a smile to my face. Something else that the books of Isaiah and Romans reinforce is that God has known us since we were being conceived. He knows and what we need to walk with Him. The more I read the more I understand how and why he used the horrible experiences in my life as he knew what I needed to go through to bring me home to Him.
    What is huge for me now is having a friendship with God and giving Him complete control to mold me.
    I am so thankful that God lead me to this study and that I was in the space to truly accept Gods love in my heart. I must also admit that I am terrified that I might not be ready. Please keep me in your prayers to stay the course.

  61. Wow I got chills as I watched the video! What a beautiful connection! Also I am a history teacher so it made my heart soar to see you mention D-Day and make the historical connections. I really need to forgive my adopted father for his abandonment..I did so years ago but the wounds are always there and forgiveness is a continual process!

  62. One thing I want to try to do is to stop my negative thoughts about myself in their tracks and set my thoughts straight by reciting scripture. I want to start a list, using my Bible index so I have a list of specific scriptures to recite when those negative thoughts come at me. One thing I’m always doing is when someone says or does something to hurt me, I think well I probably deserve that or how could so and so care for me ect. Followed up by all the negative things I “know” about myself. But what I really need to do is replace what I think I know about who I am with what God says I am.

  63. Karyl Randall says:

    I was in a relationship about 20 years ago that was very destructive to myself and my son. I never knew how this relationship had affected my son until earlier this year this man became a part if my life again and once again caused me to be hurt, I do forgive him as I allowed him into my life again and found out all the anger my son held for him. Even though he brought me hurt twice I do for give him because it always takes two to make a relationship and to break it. In forgiving him I had to take responsibility for my own actions in that relationship and I now think we can be cordial to each other. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to do but Gid has forgiven me for all my mistakes so others deserve my forgiveness.

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