(Week 2) To Be Known Is to Be Loved

If you’re reading via email, please click title above (“Known”) so you can read it to my website. This post includes a powerful video and a FREE download that won’t come through via email.

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From Chapter 2, A Confident Heart

“Jesus knew Sam’s  (the Samaritan woman’s) story and He knows yours. The Greek word for “know” is yada. It means a deep emotional experience; a bonding between two people when one truly feels the emotions of the other. Jesus knows your pain, fears, doubts, and disappointments. He understands your dreams and desires.

Although some of us feel uncomfortable that God knows so much about us, it is good to be known, to be listened to and not judged. Jesus is the only One who can meet our deepest needs to be accepted and delighted in simply because of who we are. We can offer nothing but our presence, and He will desire us just the same…

Christianity is the only faith that offers a relationship with the living God. We don’t just know about our God; our God wants us to know Him. We were created for that kind of relationship. He wants us to find lasting soul-security in knowing we are valued and pursued by the One who knows and loves us—the One who created our inmost being and wove us together in our mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13). Have you let the gospel of God’s grace move from your head to your heart, so that you know without a doubt you are known intimately and loved completely by God?” (p. 40 printed copy)

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Our word this week is  “Known”

Our verse of the week is: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (NIV)

This week’s video message is one that shows us we are known and loved.  Please click the arrow below to watch this video – all the way through. You’ll be so glad you did.

(from video script)

I WANT TO BE KNOWN
I want someone to look at my face
And not just see two eyes, a nose,
a mouth and two ears
But to see all that I am, and could be
all my hopes, loves and fears…

And YOU know me
You actually know me
all of me and everything about me
Every thought inside and hair on top of my head
Every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread
My past and my future, all I am and could be
You tell me everything,
You tell me about ME
And that which is spoken by another would bring hate and condemnation
Coming from Youu brings love, grace, mercy, hope and salvation
I’ve heard of One to come
who could save a wretch like me
And here in my presence, You say
I AM HE
…   ( read full script here)

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Today’s Assignment:

  • Read this week’s memory verse (Jeremiah 1:5). Ask God to remind you all week that He knows the way you long to be known, pursued and loved!
  • Start or continue reading chapter 2. Remember, take your time and highlight or underline sentences that resonate in your heart.

Connect in Community:

What sentences in Chapter 2 are resonating most with you?

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. “Embrace your imperfections in the light of God’s perfect love” (p.44) This sentence led me to the wonderful realization that our imperfections are not tragedies but rather opportunities! In their weakness God can work his mighty strength. He can do nothing but good with imperfections confessed and entrusted to him, praise be to His Name!

    • Thank you Crisiana. Your words her so speak to my heart.

    • I do believe when we let our guards downs and allow ourselves to be vulnerable for one other that is where growth and healing take place. I struggle here and my prayer is that I can be the lady God created me, flaws and all be used for His glory. KNOWN…wow, God’s promise this week “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…I can’t begin to wrap my tiny mind around that understanding the dept of my Lord’s love for (me) us!

    • “Embrace your imperfections in the light of God’s perfect love” I used this statement in a Bible class that I teach and it generated a lot of discussion. It helped some to see that God is perfect and we are only striving to be like him. It also shows a process element to Christianity. Each day is one step closer if we choose to follow Jesus example.

      • Marsha Cobbs says:

        Thank you Barb, this has helped me to see that we can take it one day at a time and not always try to be perfect because His love is made perfect in our weakness. Jesus is our example, God Bless.

    • Wow, thank you for that insight. I underlined that very statement from Chapter 2. I’ve always viewed my imperfections as tragedies. You’ve given me something to chew on. An opportunity??? Could it be?

    • Crisanne,

      Thank you for your words. They helped me to heal a little bit more.

      Koni

  2. “To be known, is to be loved” I have a very hard time letting people get to know me. I want to be loved and I really wish I had some real friends who know and love me anyway. I was burned a couple of times, so now it is so hard to let people really get in, to really see me. I feel lonely in that way. I don’t seem to be able to talk to others and let them really know me. I know Jesus really loves me and He knows me. I have faith in that, but would love to have some real girl-friends to pray with, encourage and just talk together.

    • Keep looking, they are out there. She may be the most unlikely one! Look around at your church! She is probably looking too. Praying you find someone soon!

    • Michelle, I understand how you feel. I had been burned before too. By family & when I sought help from a church years ago they turned me away due to the fear of a threat by another announcing they would take negative actions on the church if I was helped. I felt it was totally hopeless. I did not trust anybody for years but God can & will heal. Just as he provided me a surrogate family as an adult no less- to guide, love, nurture & hold me accountable as well as trust he will do the same for you. Ask & you shall receive. If it is not anything of selfish nature – if its a basic need He will provide & I have confidence he will provide it to you too but dont shut down. trust God, ask God for wisdom with people . Get into a small group at church where it is more likely to have confidentially & true accountability with love that enables you to grow. But Michelle, I am here for you if you’d like to have a friend to talk to , no judgement. . feel free to contact me Michelle at my e-mail thallsblessed@yahoo.com. You are Loved by God – never forget it.

    • I so know what you are talking about. I can relate. I have been praying for years for a friend whom I can talk to without judgement. Who will accept me as I am, imperfect.

      • Lucy Strouse says:

        I also can relate. I was very isolated when i was married and when I was separated/divorced the lonliness was unbearable. I heard Joyce Meyer say “pray for a divine connection”. I started praying and through the years I had a beautiful christian woman come and walk along side me and has seen me through my divorce and into recovery. Matter of fact, I already knew her when I started praying, just not that well. It’s awesome to look back and see how God had it all planned out! Since then I’ve had other women, divine connections, join my journey. Godly women that I can cry with, laugh with, and be totally honest with. God is good!

        • Wow Lucy, thank you. I will definitely pray for a divine connection since I also wish I had a close friend or friends I can talk about God with. I know a lot of ppl at my church but I really don’t feel any connection w/ any of them. I feel that I have tried but they don’t seem to respond. It’s always been this kind of thing where you get together once or twice, talk about God/spiritual things and never see them again besides in passing. It’s sad and I’ve been surprised w/ their lack of interest in getting to know each other.

        • Lucy, thanks for the thoughts on praying for a divine connection and Michelle, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I often feel like I am a friend to many yet have no one to truly call a friend of my own. No one I can trust with my innermost thoughts. Last week as I was going through this study it hit me that what I want out of a “friendship” is that perfect relationship that only God can give me. I’ve been seeking him more this past week.

        • Lucy — I too experienced the redemptive power of Gods grace and mercy and DEEP love for me after my divorce. Never more condemned, forgotten, stranded, alone, despairing, God provided and still provides in ways I never thought were possible. For years, even while married, before I was married, it was a lonely path, a lie from Satan that I was never good enough, smart enough, funny enough, to be worthy of those friendships I saw flourishing around me, without me — feeling rejected. It was a lie that I chose to believe and nourished for many, many years. But God knows us — the deepest inmost parts of our hearts and I discovered that he never abandon me, never failed me, never forsaked me, but rescued me at time that allowed me to see Him for who HE really is — my ABBA daddy. I realized I was not alone, but permanently in relationship forever that had a love that I sought all along — truly the well spring of life HE is!!! I too found His love in a bible study group, found love in very unexpected places, with unexpected people. He is our only Hope and he does give life abundantly, He is there waiting and loving all of us right where we are –in our sin. No need to be perfect, not need to clean up — He takes us as we are and loves us just the same.

      • I can relate to all of you as well. So many times I have felt alone and scared. It wasnt until this past year when I became a christian and started getting involved with a bible study group that I was not alone. Even the ones that look complete on the outside, have fearful feelings. My group and I have been thru alot this past year and I am so glad that I am able to cry and laugh with them. They have made all the difference in my world and have helped me to grow in my christian faith. Just remember you are never alone, even when you thing that Jesus is not there, He is there right beside you or carrying you to peace.

      • Nina:
        I pray that you will find such a friend. Remember deep-down we are all imperfect.

        • It seems like there is really a need here for women to find another woman to connect with. It makes me wonder if that is part of the reason why we ended up here, we lack real connections with others and that in itself can lead us to lack confidence and multiply self-doubt??? I’m lucky and already found a new friend through this blog, but it would be nice if there was a forum or something that could match gals with another who has the same need. It really goes to show how we all hunger for deeper connections!

    • This has been a prayer of mine for so many years….for a friend as you describe.

    • Me too! I will pray for you Michele!

    • Hi Michelle…I really understand how u feel
      Because I want the same things. The loneliness
      Of not have close friends is hard ad thinking its
      Because we are unlovable makes it even
      Harder. Even though I don’t know you, I
      Consider you my friend and sister in Christ!
      Thank you for being so honest and real.
      You have encouraged me to seek God as
      My most reliable and true friend!!’

      • I know exactly how you feel and want desperately to have a close friend who is there not just when you are in need but just because they love you and want to be with you. I did not know that so many others share this problem Michelle I will be in prayer for you also thanks for sharing your heart

    • Michele I will pray that you will find a close friend to help you with your walk with God. I know he is all we need but that extra love from a friend is nice to have also. Sometimes as women we just need that physical touch from a friend to pray with us to make it better. Someone to have a cup of coffee with and just sit and share our feelings, to cry with, to pray with.. my closest friend isn’t a christian so I know how you feel.

      Blessing to you

      • I am truly overwhelmed by all the responses to my post. Thank you all for the prayers and comments. God Bless all of you!
        Michele

        • Ive been reading all the responses to your post, and I want to thank you
          again for being so real and honest. Sounds like alot of us all feel the same
          way and are lonely………Thank you Michele for bringing us all closer to God,
          We need to be praying for each other!!!
          Blessings

    • It seems like a similiar heart cry of so many to find those kinds of friendships. I recently moved to a new state, and it is hard to find people who are willing to open up themselves to NEW friendships. Also, as a preacher’s wife, it is hard to find a friend who doesn’t just think of you as the “preacher’s wife.” I wish there was a place where women could connect with other women in their area. You would think that with
      8000 people in this study, that there could be great potential friendships in their area. It is nice to know I am not alone in praying for an authenic unconditional friendship.

      • Anyone in the central Ohio area…or even just Ohio?

        • I live in the Akron/Canton Ohio area

        • Hi Amy,
          You are not alone in praying for that true authentic friendship. I live in the Cincinnati area and I know how it is to move to a new state and struggle to find a friend. Unfortunately, I have moved several times in my life and find it very difficult to find a friend; one you can count on when you just need a listening ear, and even more so to be that kind of friend FOR someone. I am actually surprised there are so many of us out there that can relate to this. You are right, you would think that there could be great potential friendships out there. I am so thankful for this bible study and our community of friends and sisters in Christ.

        • I live in Lima, Ohio.

          Karen C

        • I live in Lakeview, Ohio (very close to Lima). I would love to be a friend and prayer partner for my Ohio sisters. I have had the same struggle with friendship, having changed schools and moved many times as a child. What about meeting for coffee sometime for anyone in the area? Praying for you all this morning to be encouraged and surrounded by God’s love all throughout your day =) I’m so thankful for Renee and this study!

          • HEY Y’all have a JESUS GIRL praying group in OHIO

          • Greetings from Dayton, Ohio! It is just like God to bring along this study at just the right time… After two years of illness and a complete disconnect from life I feel like I am taking the first tentative peeks out of a cocoon. I lost my job, we lost our church and my own inclination to be a loner was only magnified by the need for constant bed rest. I have a lot of confidence to gain and have been hurt many times. The walls are thick around me, but I want so desperately to see them crumble and have girlfriends that I can just call up or who will just call me to see how I’m doing. I don’t want gossip girls in my life…I pray for real friends with a real passion for Jesus to walk with me as we go deeper. It’s hard to know where to start. But the Lord didn’t heal me so I would stay sequestered. I want to connect – need to connect – with Him on a more real level and then with some divine connections perhaps.

            I know we have a verse of the week, but here is my verse for the last three years…Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” http://bible.us/Matt19.26.NLT

            God bless you Renee and all of you beautiful wonderful ladies!

          • My heart goes out to you, Stacy. My dad has suffered from a chronic illness since before I was born and I’m also a nurse, so I understand how sickness can affect your life. I’ve experienced being deeply hurt by friends, a painful beginning to my marriage and lonely years as a stay-at-home mom.
            Now looking back, I can truly say that I’m actually thankful for the painful times, because I learned to depend completely on Jesus. I felt His love like I never would have without the hurt. He is the sweetest, dearest friend. He was always there for me and He is the lifter of my head. What Satan meant for my harm, God used for my good. He is SO good. Always. He put in my heart a desire to be an encouragement to other women. I believe that when we allow His love to fill us to the brim, then it can flow freely to those around us. And that’s how we express our gratitude to Him for loving us, by sharing His love with others, by being “Jesus with skin on” to someone who just needs a hug.
            Just want you to know that I hear your heart and I see your pain. I’m praying for you tonight- that God will use all you have been through to bring you closer and closer to Him, so you can feel the unfathomable, unending, all-encompassing love of Jesus.

      • I too have been looking for a friend(s) that would be able to listen and hear the real words that come from my heart. As i would luv to listen to theirs. I am so blessed to have found this site and start this study with so many amazing women. You are all friends no matter where we live. We are impacting each others lives right now, by opening up here. God will do amazing things for us all; and will pur the right people in our paths. I am down here in Texas. If anyone is from this area holler..would luv to make a new friend. You are all so very special in God’s eyes. To be known is to be Loved…..that is what we want with our Father in heaven, as He knows us and wants us to come to Him.

    • To truly to be known and loved for all my imperfections is what i yearn for. I have a hard time letting people into my life who aren’t family because of being burned in the past. This passage this week just reinternates that God knows me and loves me just the way I am. I feel truly blessed to have such love.

    • I too deal with this same struggle. It is hard to really open up and let people in, so that they may know you, the real you. Praying for you and all the women who have come together to deepen our relationship with God. I am glad that I am not alone in this journey….Take Care, God Bless, and Stay Beautiful 🙂

    • Megan Bruner says:

      I know how you feel Michele. I am only 22 and it is hard for me to have friends my own age that aren’t living life to the fullest without God. But I know God will answer your prayer for he has answered mine. I went from having friends at work to now attending 2 bible studies and having friends close to my age. God has just blessed me and he will bless you just keep praying and it will come when your least expecting it.

    • Hello Michelle; I can definatelyl relate to you. I have learned in the many friend-ship burns I have experienced that those lessons for me are exactly what I will not do to others. Personally the more I look up to the Father and learn to love myself correctly the more I see that these other women must be hurting inside too to be treating others the way they do. This was one of the lessons that GOD used to help me forgive my mother for leaving me at the age of two and never looking back. After many years of wondering why and wanting answers during a prayer writing time HE said you need to forgive your mom to be free…”seriously” I said, really I have to what??? But the more HE revealed to me the more I understood. GOD showed me how lonely and hurt she must have been to leave her only child with people that were not suitable to keep a 2 year old. Tears began to stream down my face as I started to visualize this happening and the healing started. I know it is not easy but with GOD all things are possible…
      I pray that you will be healed from the past hurts and that GOD will bring restoration to your heart and that you will have a meaningful, loving friendship. Don’t you think this community is a great start? Blessings to you!

    • Michele, Keep praying for God to bring special friends in your life. After my son was born and I started staying home I was so lonely. I only had one friend and I met her online through Weight Watchers. I realized later though looking back that God had me in that time so I could learn to trust Him and lean on Him more than people. It is eight years later and God has blessed me with the most amazing girlfriends I could ever ask for! I am closer to these women than I have ever been to any friends my whole life. Keep praying. Saying a prayer for you right now.

    • A book you might want to get and read: God, Grace & Girlfriends by Mary R. Snyder

      I’m reading it now – actually started it before this study and now I’m struggling to finish it because it is so hard for ME to juggle two different books at once! LOL

      Mary’s book is really good though and has some wonderful ideas =)

  3. “Nothing could keep Him from wanting to be with you”(pg 37). Praise Him!
    I was priviledged to spend Friday night with a group of women who are displaced from their homes. My church has partnered with a ministry in our town providing a shelter in the cold months for homeless women and children. We hosted 12 women and 2 children in our gym.
    I think I might have met an angel. She was a beautiful woman who, although she did not come out and say it, by her actions and the things she chose to say, KNEW JESUS and BELIEVED HE KNEW HER. She is a daughter of the KING!!!
    Sam at the well came to my mind many times during the evening, getting to know just a piece of the stories, their lives. . . .
    I came away heartbroken that we could not host them longer, I hadn’t learned all that I was supposed to from these women.
    I am so thankful for the blessing I am receiving reading this book. I have always thought of myself as confident, but am realizing the areas in my life I attempt to hide from God. (Like that’s possible!)
    I have a story to tell . . . the one about how my Jesus met me at my well, and he’ll meet you too!
    Just turn around . . .

  4. Page 36 “Jesus could have chosen to be anywhere else that day, but instead He was there pursuing Sam.”
    WOW!!!!

    • I agree Anita. This gives me goose bumps. To think about how Jesus came in scripture…to the weak, the hurt, the sick, the shamed. Of all of the places He could have been or the people He could have spent time with, He chose to pursue the broken. He does the same with us today…He meets us right where we are in our weakness and our struggle, in our joy and in our celebration. He loves us and wants to give us His best and for us to give our best to Him. That is relationship.
      I think to the times that I have truly put my trust and faith in Him and how I have supernaturally felt His power at work in my life and it brings tears to my eyes…..He has been right there every single time. Not that He isn’t just as much there all the other times because He is, but those times that I have turned to Him in pain, in sorrow, in thanksgiving and in praise, His presence is tangible and there is not doubt of the relational presence of our Father.

  5. “Jesus is the only One that can meet our deepest needs to be accepted and delighted in simply because of who we are. We can offer Him nothing but our presence, and He will desire us just the same.” I am such a people pleaser but this reminds me that I have don’t need to be because I am wholly and completely accepted as I am, faults and all.

  6. Kimberly Stiver says:

    There’s three that resonated with me. First although we tell people we are fine, what we really mean is that we are Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted! Being honest about who we are and how we are doing is especially risky when it comes to our insecurities. Second we put up walls and hide our struggles, even from God, hoping we’ll convince Him and everyone else that we’re fine. This is one that I highlighted and wrote a response to in my Kindle. I put we can’t high who we are from God. God knows what we are feeling ALL THE TIME! Even if we don’t want to admit it. Third was slowly we begin to believe we have to be perfect to be loved and accepted. For much of my life, i put expectations of perfection on myself because i thought if I let others see my weaknesses and insecurities they would think less of me–and eventually leave me. …I too wanted and needed my dad’s approval and to this day still do. My parents divorced when I was not quite three and because of things that I have shared last week, I am still trying to come to realize that my dad is who he is and even though I wish for a stronger relationship with him, he is my dad and he loves me. I no longer try to measure up and least I try not to and when I feel like I am doing that I pray for God to show me that I am not only to my dad, but to every relationship I have. This one I wrote a response to also. My note said: It’s like Renee wrote my story word for word! I feel God speaking to me the same thing over and over again consistently since this Fri. to now (I put the dates down) in this online class and Road to Recovery class I attend at church. IS HE TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING I SHOULD APPLY TO MY LIFE?! AM I STILL TRYING TO MEASURE UP TO OTHERS AND NOT TRUST GOD?! The answer to that question is yes. I finished the chapter just now and when you, Renee, said just talk to God from your heart. with honesty and sincerity I did. I started to cry out and say what I finally realized one of my situations that needed to go deep beyond the surface. It’s about my dialysis. Yes, I am trying to no longer feel doom and gloom about needing dialysis but I now know why I felt doom and gloom is because of some people I know and one of them is someone very close to me (I do not want to name this person) say that God is showing them that He wants to heal me of this kidney disease and restore my remaining kidney (I have just the right kidney now, had my left one taken out in April of last year) if I just believe that He is going to restore this kidney. When one of the persons told me this I told him that God was going to heal me by giving me the perfect kidney transplant at His perfect time and I am finally at peace with that. His response was that I was not believing in God just like his deceased wife (she died last Feb.) didn’t believe that God wouldn’t heal her of her brain cancer. I didn’t know what to say! So, I started to cry. I had to tell him I had to go and hung up the phone. So when I talked with the one who is very close to me about this his response was that he felt that I wasn’t ready and maybe never will be for the commitment requirements for to believe that God wants to restore this kidney. He then said that if I couldn’t God has a Plan B for me and that is to give me the perfect kidney transplant when God feels that I have accomplished what He has set out for me at the dialysis center I am at. So, I now realized that I am trying to measure up once again. How can I ever have a personal relationship with God the way He wants me to if I can’t believe and I doubt if He will ever restore this remaining kidney of mine?! Talk about insecurities I still have them!!! What do you suggest I do? Please help me! Sorry this is so long, but I felt I needed to be honest with what I am feeling right now. I posted this also to Facebook. Again thank you Renee for having this Bible class. You are a blessing to us all.

    • Kimberly,
      There is no way to know if God’s plan is to restore your kidney, give you a perfect transplant or allow you to remain on dialysis. God wants us to trust Him with our future! How do these friends KNOW what God has planned for you? I don’t believe there are “requirements” that we must meet to receive healing..otherwise no one could be saved. Please have faith that God knows what is best for you and while you are waiting on Him allow Him to work in your life to make you more like Christ.
      You are in my prayers!

      • Kimberly Stiver says:

        Thank you! I didn’t want to say this before, but feel i need to. One of the friends is my own husband. He says that God speaks things about me that I am not willing to listen to God on. I feel he thinks there are requirements or he wouldn’t be saying so. I like what you said about otherwise no one could be saved. Thank you again for your prayers.

  7. Powerful video – and I am overwhelmed that God loves me so much. I love the verse Jeremiah 1:5 – just to think that he formed me in my mother’s womb. He knows everything about me – every hurt, struggle, victory in my life; Wow!!! I am loving this book.

    • Elaine

      I totally agree with what you wrote. I get overwhelmed that God loves me so much. It makes me feel wonderful and special. I am loving this books and it speaks to me in so many ways. I feel like it was a book written for me. When I first saw the book I heard God say you need this book and when I saw this study I got so excited.

      Jenny

  8. One of the sentence that really hit me is: He (God) cares about every detail in our lives. But if we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experience the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offiers. I know that God knows everything there is to know about me but if I tell him the things that I am insecure about or doubting that it makes it real. If I don’t say them outloud somehow it doesn’t seem “real” or that I don’t have to face them. When I don’t talk with God about my issues then this hinders our relationship and then the devil is laughing because of my doubt that God or anyone else cares about me. I am so glad that I am reading this book and decided to join the study group. I felt Jesus leading me to this book and group. Having self doubt is tiresome and I want to break free from it and live my life with and for God!!

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I know that God knows everything there is to know about me but if I tell him the things that I am insecure about or doubting that it makes it real. If I don’t say them outloud somehow it doesn’t seem “real” or that I don’t have to face them.
      WOW! I like that!

  9. Wow.. that was a powerful video Renee! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I am so guilty of telling people that I am fine. It’s like my catch phrase. I answer I’m fine, because I’m afraid that if I answer honestly how I’m really doing that I’d crumble into a million pieces. Then I think about how often we ask “How are you?” just out of politeness.. but do we really want the answer? What would we do if someone opened up their hearts and told us how they really where. Something to think about next time we ask. This sample chapter that you gave us, was what hooked me into the book study. Thank you for making me take a hard look at how I am, and at the walls that I thought I had taken down years ago, but I can see so clear as day now. I have a lot of work ahead of me and you have given me the inspiration to start on the journey.

    • judy hoff says:

      this video was very good. its made me think on alot of things about myself and it is hard for people to really know how i feel, times when i am down or days that wish they werent what they are at times. i have had low-self esteen and i admit my confidence is not good either. just when i think things go right then something or someone comes along and then i am right back to where i was. i am trying so hard to be what god would want me to be, but then i know god will take me as i am. i am getting better at times. but its a journey,a process. i think as a woman gets older it doesget harder,there are sometimes alot of things to deal with,but then i take that to god as well. but these studies have been good of what i can get of them. i have some scriptures written down and have the word;BLESSED down and day 2 and day 6,so you can see i am not following along as well as the other ladies. but i try to get your studies via e-mail. but one day will get the book and study it myself. thankyou so much for sending some in through my e-mail its much appreciated. in christ judy hoff.

    • Me too…or I always say I am good, esp at my workplace. Same thing tho! It is very hard and even more difficult when people have made fun of you since you were in grade school. It is so hard to really say, “I am ok except for a few things going on right now….” And here at my workplace rumors spread like wildfire, so I keep my mouth shut. And it drives me absolutly crazy not knowing how to open up without being TOO vulnerable.

  10. “From a distance I look like I’m doing fine” really resonates with me. Going on to say: “…pretending to be fine when I’m not has led me into isolation and hiding”.(so much so that I really don’t know who I really am). I too have put expectations of perfection on myself because I thought that if I let others see who I really am, including my weaknesses and insecurities they wouldn’t like me or would think less of me. As a result I have come to realize I am very lonely. I don’t really know how to form a “close” friendship or relationship with other Women. I have spoken with God about this and I believe God has lead me to this study and study group to heal my insecurities and weaknesses and to begin to form those relationships.

    • Indrea Greer says:

      Truly powerful words. This chapter helped me see that I am not fine. I had only perfected the wearing of the mask. Reading your honesty and all of the other ladies here helps in my own journey towards becoming transparent.

  11. I try not to be known, I am not hiding because of being accepted or rejected. I just don’t care about being known or being associated with anything here on earth. The pertputal doom and gloom that God has allowed no matter what I do, obeying and serving him, just produce more hurt, suffering, and longing for Christ return. Watching this world spend out of control and involving me in this environment just brings chills to my mind and heart. I don’t care what people think of me, although I have respect for authority it is so corrupt especailly in our churches,locall officiers which more and more they are looking like cutls instead of Christ. I have leaned loneliness through adonement, from parents, siblings, friends,pastors, death of loved ones, and the only child that God lone me in this world. I have excepted illness even when I believe Jesus for healing as he said by his stripes I am healed, but also knowing that the illnesses where a thorn to buffet me. I have gone on and I don’t care what people think of me and how they reject me I know the FATHERS love for me is evident because of what Christ did for me by hang on the cross. I hold everything losey as if I hold on tight it is proudied out of my hands and it is a lost. Losing so much in life hear on earth is a constant battle. Never seemingly getting ahead. I force my heart and head to know the Lord through his word and gasping for breath in between it all. It doesn’t make sense here on earth, whereas the scripture states that the righteouness in us is choked daily. In answering the questions I reflected on a God that was on again off again, and I know better but I just have to ask why so much suffering and anguish in order to live in this world. I want be posting these things on F/B or twitter, as I am a college student, professional looking for work and I don’t need the world to know my deepest inner most thoughts. I journal anyway ACTS, Adoration, Cofession,Thanksgiving, and Supplication. I realize that my life could be worst, I must began to be thankful because my latter will be greater than my past!

    • Hi Lisa – you hang in there. Remember in this world there will be tribulation as the Scripture says but be of good cheer – God has overcome the world. The Scripture is John 16:33.

      You can make it – just continue to stand on the Word of God. We will cry sometimes and laugh sometimes but the Scripture also tells us that to everything there is a season.

      Ecclesiastes 3

      1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

      2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

      3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

      4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

      5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

      6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

      7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

      8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

      • Kimberly Stiver says:

        I needed this too! Thank you for taking the time to sharing these verses!

      • Me too – Thanks!

      • Thanks for sharing these verses!

      • I just listened to a wonderful sermon this past Sunday on these very verses. The Pastor mentioned how life has a rhythm…a beat to it…that we are constantly going back and forth between these ‘seasons in our lives’. It was comforting to know that God is in control of these ‘seasons’ as well.
        I too feel the sting of loneliness…as if no one really knows me…atleast not anybody ‘with skin on’…and yes…I too can feel the shame that God ‘knows everything about me’…but that can also be a comfort.
        My past is not something I would share with people…until it drove me to attempting suicide…then I knew I had to deal with it. I have since learned just exactly how merciful God was/is! Things could have been soooooooo much worse for me…but my Lord spared me.
        There is still so much to learn about our great God…the King of kings and Lord of lords…and I’m thankful He continues to draw me closer to Him.
        I can also relate to not wanting to be here any more…even Paul didn’t want to be here…he was very clear in Scripture saying how he longed to be with the Lord but that God sees fit for him to continue his work here…so…even if we long to be with Jesus…God must still have work for us to be doing here, now…let us all keep walking on in the journey that God has already prepared for us.

  12. I started re-reading the second chapter on my way to school, when I came upon the sentence that really made me think about my life.You see, I am a high school student, and sometimes I feel that I am a shell when I am around people even with my friends, and every time, I d say “I’m Fine”, “I’m OK”, I was never convinced. “Sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to be fine. Or we hope that by saying we are fine, eventually we will be.” It made me realize that in order to be fine, to be OK I have to have GOD in my heart.

    • Janely,

      Wow I wish I would have had the encouragement and confidence you have to seek the Lord like you are at your age!! It is also great to see you being more than fine as Renee spoke of on p31. I see FINE as being the opposite of transparency that I have been learning about in our cell group at church. I pray that you have someone close by and continue to use this forum to drop the masks of ok and be free to be you and me as sisters in Christ! Keep that flame goin girl it may flicker but the embers will still glow and those who you see will see the LIght of Christ in you.

  13. Wow! What an amazing chapter and video. Several things stood out to me but I keep going back to two statements in the chapter. (1) If we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experience the intimacy we long for or the accecptance and security he offers. Jesus went beyond the surface with Sam but he did it every so tenderly drawing her to be able to trust him and thus relationship was created. Sam made a choice, she could have turned and walked away but she accepted his love and that leads to the second part of chapter 2 that hit me hard (2) We are worth his love because he chose to give it to us- We are his! Gods love is perfect thus we do not have to be. He is made perfect in our weakness. What a wonderful thing to know but we have to do more than acknowlege this we have to breath it in and let it become a daily part of our life…renewing of our mind! How wonderful it is to serve a God that can meet us wherever we are. A God that that we do not have to be perfect for…”because his love is perfect, I don’t have to be” how freeing is that? Amen!!!

    • Hallelujah Stacy!!
      Like the song “I am free to dance Iam free to sing …. I am free to live for You I am free!! And yes the acceptance part of being known, if one is truly transparent you can’t keep being known hidden. The love of Christ will be seen by others, and then their choice of acceptance.

      • Kimberly Stiver says:

        Another song comes to mind that I listened to today: Remind Me Who I Am to You by Jason Gray. The video is on http://youtu.be/QSIVjjY8Ou8
        Check out this video. It is exactly what God has shown me this week through this chapter. I pray that all of us will know that we are loved by God and that He is showing all of us that we are to be ourselves to Him and know that He wants to meet us where we are. God bless all of you. Your sister in Christ, Kimberly Stiver

  14. Marsha Cobbs says:

    What a powerful video, Renee the section that talks about (Below the surface) The only way He could satisfy the thirst of her soul was to help her see it. He could offer her living water, but first she had to want it, ask for it, and then receive it. then Jesus took her conversation below the surface, thats how I began my journey with Him. My life was so much like Sam’s and God began to heal my broken heart and show me how much He loves me and sometimes I still struggle with trying to please others and have a problem saying no when I should, thank God he is not finished with me yet. we are all being transformed by the renewing of our minds.

    • Merrie Ickes says:

      Thanks Marsha,
      I used to say I am the lady at the well! But like you, God showed me His love for me. I have come a long way – but I am so glad He wants to finish me.
      Merrie

  15. Having grown up in an alcoholic home with an absentee father. He was present in the home but absent emotionaly. I have spent the better part of my life running and searcing for something that was missing in my heart. Looking to find my security in other men who always disappointed me. Sabotaging my life over and over again. Causing a lot of pain in others lives as well.
    And not until recently d…id I find if I place my security in my heavenly Father that I have found the peace and love I have so desperately craved all my life. I love where you stated He left Himself as a love letter nailed to the cross of Calvary declaring the depth of his perfect love. It is wonderful to pray in the prayer the part about when I feel insecure, insignificant, or unloved, remind me of Your perfect love that has the power to cast out my fear.To place all my trust in Jesus that will never fail me!!

  16. The part that really resonated with me in ch. 2 was the line that said ‘today can be the day the gospel of grace moves from your head to your heart’. I’ve always said I’ve had a figuratively blocked artery because my brain could ‘think it’ but my heart just couldn’t make it real. I hope I am moving ever closer to healing without major surgery 😉

  17. He is there waiting for us when we’re going through the motions, aware of what needs to be done, but unaware of how to do it.

    This one line spoke volumes to me because I know what it is to be going through the motions….knowing there needs to be change…but unaware of just exactly how and what to do. It’s never dawned on me to just look up…to Him. Because He’s there, waiting.

  18. I have secrets that no living person on this earth knows but me. Things I will never confess outloud, however I know Jesus knows. I pray every night that I have been forgiven (I know I have) but can’t get rid of the guilt. I also pray that the guilt will be lifted from my heart. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

    • Praying for you , Janet!

    • Hi Janiece – hand it over to God. I am praying for you. Please meditate on the following Scriptures, they will help you.

      Romans 3:23
      1 John 1:9
      John 3:17

    • Hi Janet – hand it over to God. I am praying for you. Please meditate on the following Scriptures, they will help you.

      Romans 3:23
      1 John 1:9
      John 3:17

    • God can take it from you and remove the guilt from your life. I had to be forgiven of a very painful decision I made in my life. I sought out christian counseling and through much study of the scriptures and the help of a very compassionate, and loving woman….i have left it all behind. God is in the healing business, mind, body, and spirit. Prayers going up for you Janet.

    • Janet,

      I too continue to ask god to forgive me for many things I am not proud of in my life. I struggle with forgiving myself. I believe I need to seek out counseling like sherrie. Thank you ladies for sharing your stories. I am learning so much from this book and from you wonderful women.

    • I too, Janet, have guilt that weighs heavily on my mind and in my heart. I have found myself sabotaging relationships and positive thoughts because I do not feel worthy. I pray that He will guide me through a more peaceful journey and help me to understand that I am worthy and that my imperfections do no negate His love for me, that is difficult for me to absorb. If I have sinned and feel guilty, I have a hard time understanding why He would continue to love and not judge. I am working on understanding and accepting His love with my whole being.

    • Hi, Janet

      I have been in a similar situation and found Psalms 32:5 comforting:

      “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.”

      …..the GUILT of my sin……………

  19. The sentence that resonated with me was …. “Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior facade and look into the secret places of my heart”. I knew that the Lord was wanting to get to know me and wanted me to get to know him … believe him along with believing in him … but for two years I was stubborn, too busy, too embarrased to ask for his forgiveness and help. there were times when I felt so lonely and desparate for someone to just ask me I was a Christian and not to be condemning about it but to lovingly help me get my relationship straightened out and back on track. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to be brutally honest about my innermost thoughts and fears… but it brings so much healing and freedom to know that in spite of all we do and lack, the Lord loves us all the same … and we want to be known by him and he wants to know us!

  20. Stephanie says:

    Jeremiah 1:5…wow, God first showed me this verse when I was a child. I was born with a birth defect which made me have a hard time understanding why God would allow this to happen. When I opened my bible to this verse, my question was answered. Thank you for sharing this with us. I pray for each of us P31 women that we will all discover God’s love in each of us!

  21. I have been having a hard time since last summer with negative feelings. It seems when I start the negativity everything just spirals down. I came into this new year asking for God to help me be more positive. A few weeks later I found that you were going to do a study on this book. I believe that the Lord led me to read and study this book. Although we are only on the second chapter, I can already tell that it is going to be a blessing and help in my life. Most of my life I have thought (as you stated in Chapter 2) that I have to be perfect to be loved and accepted. I know in my head this is not true, but I’ve had a hard time convicing my heart of that fact. I am looking forward to reading more. I love the title of this chapter – “Because God’s love is perfect, I don’t have to b!e”. Praise God!

  22. Sharon S, says:

    That was a powerful video. “To be known is to be loved” touched my heart in a special way. God does know us from the crown of our heads to the souls of our feet. He loves us with all our stuff, imperfections, etc. But He wants us to know ourselves to look deeply within ourselves so that we can be healed from all those human conditions that bind us. We must love ourselves enough to be real which will heal us and free us to be real with ourselves as well as others. We hide because we don’t want anyone to know the truth which makes us a liar to ourselves, other and God. I know because I have been guilty of that. As I have gotten older and my relationship with God has grown I want to be known and loved but I want those who love me to love the real me – and those that know me to know the real me because I have found in my life that the reason I was not known and loved the way I wanted was because I was not being real with my self or others. But God loves me unconditionally as I am and those that really love us will also because if we put on with them one day we will be found out and that is where the hurt and pain comes from because we say those we love hurt us – but did we really know them or did they really know us???

    The Samaritan woman was in a lot of pain and it probabily pained her even more when Jesus told her everything about herself that she was hiding. But once it was all revealed – she wanted everyone to know, she felt free, her burden was removed because the truth was revealed. She was now known and loved by a man that was supposed to dislike her. God is so amazing.

  23. The sentence that really made me go WOW, that is exactly how I feel was, “Although we tell people we’re fine, what we really mean is that we are Frazzled, Irritated,Neurotic, and Exhausted”. I feel this way about alot of things in my life right now. I am struggling really bad right now at my job, I have never been so FINE in all my life!!! I feel like I am in prison and the only thing good happening is every two weeks I get a little reward for putting up with it. I am always FINE at home because it seems I never take time for me. However, I have to admit, this study is completely for me and I am doing something that my heart has desired for a long time, to build a solid relationship with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I have longed to truly know who Jesus is and that time has arrived. I am very excited for every lady that has joined this study, your comments are incouragement to me.

    • Kriste~
      Thanks for your comments about work and home, It made me smile and laugh because I’m so there with ya sista!! It is the Lord workin on me that I would be up @ 4:30 am doing this study now. My husband is up pacing around woundering what is going on now!!

      • Lou, you just made me laugh, my husband came out of the bedroom last night and looked at me like I was crazy and said “why are you up”? Ya gotta love it. I have put so much time and energy into everyone else that it just freaks them out for me to withdraw and do for ME… not that they don’t want me too, it’s just out of the norm. I am so looking forward to what this is all gonna do for me too. I am using it as therapy and medication. Not to mention that I also joined Weight Watchers. Thinking I need an over all tune up, inside and out. You gotta be excited about it cause only good things can happen. Hang in there Lou, and let God work. Have a great day. Kristie

        • doin Curves myself and energy to go help out in my son’s class this am. I work night shift so it is not unusal for me to be up at that hour just not at home. Thanks Kristie

  24. Wow!!! The video was awesome! It seems Chapter 2 was writing for me. So many times I feel like “Sam”…I am divorced, my youngest was born out of wedlock, but no one is interested in why…I am a struggling single mom. Many Christian women cannot relate to me and don’t even try. I want to have a close relationship with a Christian woman who can help me be accountable and help guide me. Since I don’t have that, I turn to God because I know He is always there for me ready to listen and speak to me (if only I would listen more). Renee, thank you for doing this Bible Study. I need this!

    • Nina, I will be praying that the Lord will put a strong Christian woman in your path that would be able to encourage you in the faith and love you along the path. I understand the importance of having someone with whom you can share your heart, never needing fear whether you will still be accepted and loved.

    • Nina, I found a dear praying friend on a website one day when I was doing research for a medical problem which we both have in common. She and I have never met, we live on opposite sides of the United States, yet she had become a very dear girlfriend in Christ. I am 62yrs. young and my husband and I are raising three grandchildren. My children had drug problems and could not care for the children. We took them in and they have been a real blessing to us. I know some of what you are going through now. I would be more than pleased if you want an internet prayer friend and we could keep in contact that way. Just let me know and then we can share email addresses and get to know each other. God can and will work in your life if you will open the door for him to enter. My son just got released from prison, got a job and a place to live the first week he was out and now his parole officer is taking it all away from him because of what some other parolee has done. I need to watch God work in his life soon as the weather is too freezing for him to be homeless. Because of his crime he cannot live with us. It is two of his children that we are raising. I said all that to let you know God does care. I will be a friend to you if you will let me in.

    • Thank you both so much! Jeanne, I would love an internet prayer partner. Thank you!

  25. Let’s not look back and wish we’sd done things differently. Let’s go beneath the surface with Jesus so He can show us places in our hearts that need His repair!! I love knowing that Jesus notices and cares enough to tell us that our hearts need repair.Then finishing up with, “being confident of this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Phil 1:6.

    He knows, notices and cares that we hurt and need help in our hearts then tells us that we can be confident that He will continue the good work He began in us until it is completed……

    So we can all know that if we allow Jesus to work His miracles…we can be confident and know that He will repair our hurts and we can live free of them. Awesome!!

  26. “God wants me to go below the surface by asking Him to show me why I want what I want. Then I can ask Him if what I want is really what I need.” I have struggled for years with not feeling “good enough” around my neighbors and friends and this is based on my comparison of myself to what they have (material things) that I don’t have. I’ve made some really bad financial choices most of my life struggling to get out of debt and most of this debt was due to trying to measure up to what others have. Now that I’m no longer going down that road and working towards getting out of debt, I resent what others can still get that I can’t have. It makes me feel not as good as them, therefore, I tend to cut myself off from them and have abandoned some friendships. End result has been doubt and insecurity within myself. I want so much for God to take me below the surface and understand why I want what I want. I want to want things that are important and I know those important things are not the things of this world!

    • I hope this book will be the answer that helps take you below the surface so that you and God can have honest conversations and healing can begin. Your story reminds me much of “Sam” — she carried resentment of the other women with her to that wall, (after all, they had husbands and status and each other as friends, while she was ostracized) but after encountering Christ, she shed that old life of pain and worry, freed to love Jesus and want what He wanted for her.

  27. Cherie Clayton says:

    In 2012, I wanted God to give me a word for the year. At first when I was pondering and looking…I thought my word was going to be love. However, I kept hearing confidence. Then, I “stumbled” so graciously through the holy spirit unto your book A Confident Heart. I knew then what my word this year would be…”Confidence”. I just bought the book today and I am very excited as to what God is going to do in my life this year as I draw closer to Him and He builds my confidence in Him as well as myself.

  28. I have an intense fear of opening up to the Lord because growth is painful…and opening to the Lord means GROWTH…and I feel like I am opening my soul up to pain by growing in Christ. How twisted is that logic?! It’s been easier to sit in fear than willingly be the gold that is tested in fire. I’ve felt some of that fire…through the growth that panic attacks, anxiety, and depression have forced me through. Through friends and family walking away from me. Through church leaders letting me down. Through medical professionals letting me down. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone. I feel like I’ve been through enough pain to know how ignorant I am and how far I have to GROW/GO….and I’m terrified. I don’t trust people…not at all. Never enough to get to know me.

    I don’t feel that my struggles are more than anyone elses. I’m only being open about my personal fear. I’ve developed a very lonely, isolated cocoon that I have allowed myself to become miserably comfortable in.

    But I sat at my kitchen table tonight, by myself….I’ve moved often over the years (military wife) and have no friends where I am, so no one to do this study with….and told the Lord that I give up. I have to put that trust, hope and confidence into action. I have to give it wings to let the Lord take me…to lead me…to teach me. My way does not work. So if the Lord knows me….KNOWS ME….like this week’s verse tells me….then he has a purpose…then he has started a good work in me and he will see it through to completion.

    He did intend this verse for all of us….but he intended it for ME. He knows ME. Watching the dramatic reading on the website….I am humbled and touched to my soul. He included ME, right? I am not just a bit player in life….this is actually talking to me…I am actually set apart and known.

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      I am doing this study by myself also. If you want, you can email me and we can be friends learning to GROW/GO together in this study. My email address is grayceraye@gmail.com
      God bless you on this new journey.

    • After reading your post I feel that I can relate to some of your struggles. I have come to the realization that people are all imperfect and will let us down. Sometimes they let us down through our own unreal expectations or through their own weaknesses. Either way we are hurt. I will pray for you and if you feel led you can contact me at valerie_c63@yahoo.com. Life can be full of struggles, but we can always count on God to never leave us.

    • K
      I was a military wife for 23 years, and I know the feeling of nobody really knowing me. True friendships take time, and we were never in one place long enough to make real connections….. So I told myself. Isn’t it encouraging to know that God truly knows us? I am still learning to let people in even with a mountain of self doubt.

      • Teresa…if you feel open to this, my email is me.too117 We’ve walked in very similar shoes…as I was a military wife for 23 years as well. Real connections? It became so much harder as time went on. Oh, that’s a yahoo.com address.

        I have allowed myself to feel so insignificant that it’s a struggle to accept that God is actually talking to me in these verses. I have them on my bedroom wall…the first thing I see when my feet touch the floor.

  29. I love the sentence that says “He is waiting for you to stop, come up close and turn your heart to listen to His. You don’t have to pretend things are fine when they aren’t. He knows what is going on in your thoughts. Nothing could keep Him from wanting to be with you.” The thought that the God of creation wants to be with ME is amazing. He knows me from the inside out and knows all my weaknesses and insecurities. Yet He still wants a relationship with me. I want that relationship with Him!

    • Hi Linda! After I copmpleted my post I have looked back over other posts and I discovered that we chose the same sentence from the chpter this week. I am amazed by the thought that God knows all about me and still wants to have a relationship with me. What a wonderful truth to take in and think over….

  30. I am a recovering alcoholic, 11 years sober. I got sober at the age of 22, so I have actually been in recovery longer than I drank. I still have such a hard time feeling like anyone knows the real me, that I can tell friends the real feelings and thoughts I have. I live with guilt and shame on a constant basis. I am a Christian, I believe Jesus gave me a second chance. Why is it that my feelings about myself are stil negative? Why am I still insecure? I really want to feel these things and I want people to know the real me. But I am not sure if I know the real me.

    • Christy,

      Sounds like False
      Evidence
      Appearing
      Real
      Hopefully this study will help you gain confidence to drop the masks of FINE and FEAR, are you still going to meetings? Thanks for the reminder it has been a while since I have been to one. Remember we have all been given a gift today.. the present. Thank God! and Jesus for forgiveness and today is what we got.
      I have to do a gratitude list today.. how about you. breathelou@yahoo.com

      • I do go to meeting but I go to Celebrate Recovery now, not AA. I got sober in AA though. I am really enjoying this book and study, I feel like my mind is being read.

        I actually am seeing a Christian Counselor too, I really want to get there, to quit wearing the masks. I seem at a loss on how to do this.

        BUT I am working hard at it…..hopeful the counselor and study will get me there!

        Glad to have met a fellow friend here!

  31. My favorite passage from Chapter 2 is a short paragraph on page 37…”He invites you to come to Him to receive the perfect love He offers-love that cast out fear, love that is patient,and kind, love that keeps NO RECORD OF WRONGS. That is what He offered Sam, and that is what He offers you and me.” How many times does a frend or family member remind you of your past failures, or even take credit for bringing you out of that time in your life??? God doesnt keep a record….He is there when we are ready to give it all to Him, and He comforts, and teaches us with an unconditional love!!! I find that Amazing…..that he wants to love me, even when i slip up He is there to catch me, and correct me in His own special way. I want to stop doubting and being insecure. I am so glad that I decided to do this bible study, thank you Renee. I am praying for all the ladies in this study….

    • Kimberly Stiver says:

      This is the second time today that I either was told by my group leader in my other class at church and reading your response about He is there when we are ready to give it all to Him, and He comforts, and teaches us with an unconditional love! Another truth I need to grab a hold of.
      Now I realize it is getting really late, am yawning, and it’s time I go to bed. Goodnight and may all of you have a peaceful night.

    • Sherrie,

      I liked that quote too. Isn’t His perfect love amazing?

      Karen C

  32. “In the same way, He is there waiting for us in the midst of our imperfect lives, when our pain and failures confirm our self-doubts. He is there waiting for us when we’re going through the motions, aware of what needs to be done but unaware of how we’re going to do it. ” This is a reminder for me that I don’t have to work to earn God’s approval, the way I work for it to earn acceptance and approval from others. Sometimes I spend a lot of energy telling God about what is difficult for me, but He already knows. Instead of using that energy saying the same things over and over I can simply go to him and let him speak to me.

  33. The video was great in that it brought to me how the stories of old are very real and prevelant now. It was not all that long ago that I was feeling very lost and disconnected with God. But renewing and becoming born again through Christ I know that my past is just that past and that I am known today and tomorrow as a Child of God and that I have been released from the pains and chains of the past. Thank you.

  34. I love this Bible study and can identify with many of the comments. One is getting it from my head to my heart. I truly want to believe all that God has for me no matter what. I let life take over and go from there. I don’t always take the time to go deeper with God and I really need to. I deal with the surface things ok, but not any further. Sometimes I don’t know how to go deeper – maybe it’s fear to find out what is there – I’m not sure.

  35. Page 43
    The only way we’ll have a confident heart is if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on HIm–to depending on His Word with our whole heart, mind, and soul.

    Page 45
    We are not worthy of His love and we can never do anything to deserve it–but we are worth His love becasue He chose to give it to us.

    God’s love is perfect, we don’t have to be!

  36. Good News! Jesus loves ME!

  37. This chapter is full of beautiful truths. I had to read some it twice to make it personal. So often in my Christian journey I have read the scriptures and listened to messages from my pastor without making it personal. I figured the love and acceptance was for other people and not me. I beleve every word I read, but I have not made Jesus’s love real for me. I grew up hearing that I would never amount to anything and that I was worthless. I still fight those thoughts. This whole chapter spoke to my heart, but if I had to pick one sentence that jumped out at me it would have to be , “He is waiting for you to stop, come up close, and turn your heart to listen to His.” (p. 37) It amazez me that He pursues me. The video was amazing too.Thank you Renee and all the prayer warriors who are praying for this study.

  38. That was an awesome video. I felt God’s love while listening to the words…what a truth to know that God loves us even when he knows who we are.

  39. Kathy Sturgis says:

    “God’s love is perfect so minde doesn’t have to be perfect. OH THANK YOU GOD! Help me live this out every moment. It is not what my heard or heart believes right now but I will believe this Truth. Thank everyone for the good posts. This is an amzing truthful chapter. Thank you Renee, for saying what we are all thinking. Ps. 139 also has new meaning to me because of this. If He loves me as the mess I am His “Thoughts toward me are VERY PRECIOUSE to me”!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the definition of Eternal life also!!!!

  40. Hello Ladies!

    There were 2 statements or thoughts that really resonated with me in chapter 2. The first is that Christ invites us to receive of His perfect love. That is so encouraging to go to a place where there is a love that never disappoints. I will make His love my safe haven. The other statement was really life changing for me. It states: “As chidren of God we were designed to find our identity, our significance, and our confidence in Him” That put it all into perspective for me. I know now where to place my expectations. The word “designed” caused me to see that I was made to find those things only in Christ. Not in people, places or things. Not in people AND God – but ONLY in God. I know now that I am never to look for my value in anything under the sun. In that way, I will always be secure.

    God bless.
    Karen C.

    • “I will make his love my safe haven”. How glad I am to have not missed those words you wrote among all these many, many other wonderful thoughts! How silly am I to continue to chase the love of this world and be scarred by disappointment when it lets me down…the perfect love of my Abba Father will never fail. That love will be my safe haven…thanks for sharing!

  41. To the second post at the top, Michele, and all the responses – apparently this must be a very common problem, especially in churches! I have prayed years for a true/real/non-judgemental friend(s). So far, have not found any. When someone comes along that “seems” like it might be the answer to the prayer, it disappoints, and at times there has been real betrayal of trust. It does make one retreat from even trying or hope that it would exist for yourself and not just something for others. Even though I have been in church for 30 years, I have not found that lasting friendship I also long for. The prayers of those of you here mean so much…

    • My prayers are with you Jean. But I have found it to be true too that there doesn’t seem to be many people out there that want a real true friendship…..I guess that people are so caught up in things of this world that they don’t have time for friendship like that. I have 2 women that are true friends, but they both live a little distance from me, but when we do finally get together or talk on the phone..it is like we have never been apart. BUT, my true, ever present friendship, that has been with me all my life is God. When i really need a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to bend…God presence is here with me. The only one who is there always……Cry out to Jesus

      • Thank you, Sherri – it means a lot to know someone else out there feels the same. Yes, my trust is in Jesus — It hurts at times and feels like you’ve been forgotten, but I know God is there…….

    • Jean – I so agree. I’ve been burned more by “friendships” in the church than out of it. How messed up is that? I’m 38 and outside of my high school years, have never had a good, solid, friendship. One that stays throughs the “downs” of life and not just the “ups” in life. I think for me the reason I say I’m “fine” is because the minute I stop being “fine”, the minute I’m no longer the fun party girl that makes people laugh and have a good time, the minute I become the friend with a problem, that’s the minute everyone who has been my “friend” disappears. Suddenly, “friends” are busy, “friends” distance themselves, “friends” can’t take the time for lunch or coffee. So I learned that if I’m not “fine”, no one wants to be around me. I try so hard never to “burden” people with problems and to always be the optimist because I’ve learned that if you talk about a problem, people just don’t like to be around that. I really am an optimist by nature, but even optimists have down days but people look to me to lift them up – and don’t like it to be the other way around. I stopped going to a small church because so many times I just didn’t have the strength to paint on the “happy face” that everyone expected and would disappear if the “happy face” didn’t show up. What message does that send?

    • I agree with Jean and find it amazing that there are so many of us who share this loneliness. I know God calls us to community but I have been burned so many times by painful church situations that right now I am not attending anywhere on a regular basis. I know churches are made of sinners(all of us) and we have to forgive and move on. I just think it is so sad that the body of Christ so often loses its focus on what truly matters.

  42. I think that because God is a relational God and wants relationship with us, it is easy to look for relationship in people…our heart is always searching for intimacy and the only one that will never disappoint is the Father…learning to expect the best from the bride while still knowing that she is not perfect is a big lesson because it is not about the betrayals and disappointments that seem to always show up on the scene….I am learning that it is about me learning to never allow my heart to be offended but always choosing love…..and I can only walk that out if I know that I am loved……..
    That to me is the Confident Heart, the heart that knows the love and security of being a daughter of the King, not an orphan…..that is a huge lesson that takes so much unraveling of our doubts, fears and self hatred from
    life……we are learning to make him our best friend and confidant, the one we run to…..really believing that His word is for me, not just for others……..women are a courageous bunch because we will get up and keep running after the truth……I am so thankful that He made us to be seekers, fighters, lovers…….I am learning to love the body of Christ again, to see her beauty and give her space to be human and make mistakes…….I hear that in so many of you! we have a desperation to be relational and intimate….we are leaning into more!

  43. I thought of Sam at that well, and the lengths that Jesus had gone to, to make sure that he met with her that day, and I began to see that well as a symbol of my own life. When I think of a well, I think of a dark and lonely place – a place that echoes my own words back at me – and the deeper the well…the darker and scarier it is! I think I see now that I have dug a very deep well for myself! Every hurt that I have lived through or every time I buy into the lie that I am not good enough, or every time I back down from doing something that I feel I should because of my fear of failure, I have managed to dig my well a little bit deeper. But here is the thing that I saw today – no matter how deep that well is – there is still water at the bottom. That “water” is the real me- not the one who wears the “everything is fine” mask. It is the “me” that I don’t share with the world for now, because it is safer that way. That water holds my hopes and dreams, my God-given talents and my worn-out, somewhat tattered belief that I am worthy. But the deeper I dig my well, the harder it is for people to draw from it, and, because of the effort involved, the less inclined they are to try – and to be honest -that suited me just fine. But, reading the story again today…I saw something new. Jesus asked Sam for a drink of water!! He didn’t mind how “deep” her well was or what the circumstances were that caused her to “dig it” in the first place…he cared about getting her to dip into the well and share her water with Him. He doesn’t care how deep my well is…actually he already knows every inch of it by heart because he watched me digging it. But did you notice that Sam was the one who drew the water from the well? She had to be willing to do what He asked. She could have chosen to stay “safe” and walk away, but he asked her to take the first step. Even if I only take baby steps for now, I know that He is asking me to trust Him. I know it is going to take some effort for me to break old habits of self doubt and to overcome the image I have created of myself, but I believe that Jesus is going to sit patiently at the top of that well and encourage me, until I am no longer a well, but rather “a spring of water welling up”!

    • I loved your words and felt such a connection. I felt as if I could have written them myself. This was just the encouragement I needed today to stop digging and let the water begin to well up.

    • Thanks Monique your story of the well is a great description of where I have been, but another thought also came to mind about looking up from the well we face the Light, and no shadows of doubt as Renee talked about in chapter one. As the water wells up the closer we get to the light, and the shadows get smaller.

    • An interesting way of looking at it Monique. Thanks for sharing.

    • I love what you see in Jesus and in yourself that you have shared here. So beautiful. He is there patiently waiting and wooing and cheering for you!! And for each of us…

  44. “The Greek word for “know” is yada. It means a deep emotional experience; a bonding between two people when one truly feels the emotions of the other. Jesus knows your pain, fears, doubts, and disappointments. He understands your dreams and desires.”

    Thank you Lord for speaking these words through Renee…I don’t think I will ever forget them…

  45. I too want to be known and loved for who I am. I have always felt as if I had to be perfect to be loved. I know that God loved me even though I wasn’t perfect, but I always felt as if I were letting Him and others down. Then I would feel guilty and feel so ashamed. I have don’t have many friends in my life. The few that I feel are the closest are very special to me. I still find myself playing a role for them on occasion. I fear that doing things for myself is being selfish – taking time away from everyone else that I need to do for. Then I find after I’m so FINE with everything, I am angry and dejected because no one has gone out of their way to make something easy for me. Sounds like a turnado turning round and round tearing everything up in its path. I find that I get like this most with my family and my job. Both areas of my life that are important to me and that I feel the less adept to deal with when I’m FINE. I’m afraid to tell everyone that I’m at the end of my rope because I think they will think less of me.

    We are not perfect. But we will die trying… That really hit me. I try so hard to be perfect for everyone. But I am killing myself. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am…really. I came home from work a few Fridays ago. I had worked late and felt so tired. My daughter was complaining about something. My husband was zoned out in front of the TV, not handling anything going on right in front of him. My youngest was vying for everyone’s attention. It was chaos! I’m hit with this as soon as a walk through the door. So, instead of saying anything negative to them all, I calmly go to my room. But when I got there, I just sat and cried. I felt so lonely and unloved. My husband finally came into our room and asked what was wrong. I told him that I wanted to not have to be so perfect for everyone. I guess he just didn’t understand that feeling. I love them all so much. I don’t think they are pushing me to feel this way; I think it is all me. I don’t really know where it all comes from, but I’d love to have some idea.

    Please pray for me. I just need to delve deeper into myself to learn where these feelings come from. Thank you God for loving me no matter what my faults.

    • Kyndle, your post also really spoke to me. (We all share so much more than we ever know.) I feel the same pressure to be perfect for my family and that taking time for myself to spend with God is selfish – as if I only have worth if I am DOING something. I know that’s a lie when I remember the story of Mary and Martha and Jesus praising Mary for spending time with Him. I pray that we can all learn how to find balance and remember that God’s approval is the only one that really matters.

      • Thank you, Sandee. I too have thought of myself as Martha. I appreciate your thoughts and hope we all can find our way out of these cycles of insecurities. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

    • I feel the same way! The opening quote of Chapter 2 totally described this feeling. I don’t feel loved for who I am, but what I can do for everyone else. I feel like if I stopped doing things for everyone, I could fall off the face of the Earth and no one would care.

      I will pray for you!

      • Thank you, Pam. That is what I have seemed to feel my whole life. Thanks for praying for me and I will do the same for you.

  46. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Jesus came to that particular well at that particular time of day. He knew that Sam would be there. Isn’t that just like our Lord? He is right there, at the right time, everytime! I loved the story that Renee used about the homeowners note about needing to fix up there house. I go along with my daily routine, and I think that I am doing “fine” but all along I am ignoring what’s right in front of me. I can be so critical of those around me and their issues but have blinders on when it comes to my issues. So…as I said that it was no coincidence that Sam was at the well with Jesus, it is no coincidence that Renee is leading this online Bible study for me. I am not confident in myself but I want to be. Thank you Renee for doing this online study!

  47. Wow I have listen to this video three times. I know Jesus knowns me about what the people that dont take the time to know me. That just look at walk by thinking the know me.. Last night my oldest son had a music program at school. I didnt get to see it because my youngest son wanted to act out when the program was half way started. You see am I single mom raising two boys alone in a new school. I have god help to keep me from going crazy and giving me strength. I could feeel people looking at me like why cant she control her kid? Why did she leave him at home? Yes I did here someone say that out loud. They dont know me and they dont why I could just leave my youngest at home alone.Because not one of them have taken the time to know me. But they want to judge me. My youngest is only three and I know something is not right with him but his doctors wont do anything for him till he is four. I pray that more people would take the time to know someone before judge them because the real beauty is in the inside of a person not the outside. Thank you for this video really says alot about how I feel on this inside.

  48. The sentence that resonates most with me is, “he is perfect so you don’t have to be”. That is so refreshing. I mean as Christians, we know that we sin and we know that we are broken, but we also feel guilty about that brokeness that causes us to sin. We need to be reminded daily that we may not be perfect, but a perfect God loves us with His perfect Love, and in His perfection our brokeness can be healed. What a wonderful God we serve.

  49. Since last Fri I’ve not had much chance to even think much about this study or to even read any of the book.My fourth grandchild was born Fri afternoon and there were some minor complications that could have been alot worse but with God’s blessings the baby may be going home today. He does he hear our prayers and sends some of the sweetest reassurances to us; little things that I know were from Him.

  50. “as a Child of God I am created in His Image…”. created to be me…not of this world, but of His Holy Kingdom.
    Judgments placed on me by this world is overwhelming at times… I constantly have to remind myself that I am a foreigner in this world.

  51. Janice Sonia says:

    For me these are the workds on Pg 43 “The only way we’ll have a confident heart is if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on Him- to depending on His Word with our whole heart, mind and soul.” I need this I need to be reminded that we ahallnot live by bread alone but by every word the comes out of God’s mouth.

    The Lord is allowing me to be at a stage of my life at the age of 54 where I feel I have lost my status and influence and importance, professionally and socially. I recently gave up a very influential professional job to make a major geographical move, primarily to save my family from disintegration and destruction may be. But I believe it is what God wanted me to do . Now I am adjusting and rebuilding. I have depended on God’s promises all my life but this time its as though I cannot even contribute to helping Him make things happen. So I have to absolutely trust Him to bring us through. I believe that there are lessons He wants me to learn and that He is building a reat testimony for me to share some time later in my life. I am relearning that my relevance is wrapped up in Him not in what I accomplish nor depending on my gifts and talents. So this story of the woman at the well reminds me that I am important to Him and that my relevance is wrapped up in Him and His divine plan for my life.

  52. I started watching the video, but then I had to pause it. Now it says access denied. Does anyone know how to fix it? I tried to refresh my screen and I also re-opened the screen again. I also tried to find it on godtube.com and couldn’t. Thanks.

  53. TO BE KNOWN IS TO BE LOVED~ How awesome the idea is, but how sad so many don’t feel it or experience it.
    This part of the poem is what stands out the most:

    “A woman unclean, ashamed, Used and abused
    An outcast a failure a disappointment, a sinner.”

    The words resound in my head as I have been addressed like this in the past. I have wanted to get close to people and reveal who I am but have been fearful if they knew the truths of my heart they would reject me in the end.
    My past is a long and dramamtic story it began with a baby girl being abandoned by her mother that grew up abused and used with details I care not to explain. If you saw my heart would you love me, accept me for who I am, or would it be a surface act that I have grown accustom to daily without end.

    BUT then I saw the face of TRUE LOVE and HE invited me in and knew about the tears of my heart before I even began. I love this man that I call FATHER for HE knows me and does not run. HE sees all of my scars loves them just the way they are, HE is healing me within and teaching me to love myself correctly as I begin. I begin to take HIS hand as HE leads me HIS way and TRUST HIM no matter where we may end.

    This is a new step that I take, a leap of FAITH of sharing of WHO I REALLY AM!~ I am a CHILD OF GOD that HE is restoring from within, I will not listen to the lies that have been told and the past of shame, guilt and doubt is no longer allowed in.

    Renee thank you so much for sharing your heart and being transparent it is truly inspiring and appreciated.
    This study and community is not only revealing and renewing the women within but it is helping me be a better wife and mama too.
    Thank you so much again.

  54. Loved the video and the whole chapter!. It would take up too much space to tell you all I received from it so far. I got a lot out of the quote at the beginning of the chapter by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis. I need to get that book too! 🙂

    I am leading a group of ladies from my church starting this Friday in this study. I’ve got to say that I’m learning how to step out of my doubts and into confidence in what I can do with the Lord equipping me and trusting Him and the Holy Spirit to lead me. This will be a real time of growing for me! Wow!! What was I thinking? And yet I know it’s an area where I see so many of us ladies struggle in, including me. We doubt ourselves so much in so many areas of our lives, look to others to fulfill the emptiness within and want to be known and loved for who we are. So I’m thankful for the opportunity to go on this journey with these ladies and look forward to the transformation in all our lives through this study that the Lord will bring, and to all of you too!

    My hearts cry? To be known and loved for me! Not for the person I think others will accept or the person I think I should be. Not for the things I do for others or for the Lord to gain that acceptance. To know that I am loved just for me? That the Lord knows me intimately, the good, the bad and the ugly and all the in between and loves me unconditionally! How amazing is that? As the psalmist said in Psalm 139:6, “this knowledge is too wonderful for me to understand”. He loves me unconditionally, without any conditions. He wants me to have that intimate relationship with Him and as I get to know Him more, I will know freedom and healing. I believe all of us will!

  55. p. 43 “The only way we’ll have a confident heart is if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on Him — to depending on His Word with our whole heart, mind, and soul.” I haven’t always felt His promises were for me. I would want to accept a promise for me, and then I would be reminded of someone else in the Bible that didn’t receive that same promise. I think I’m learning that it’s a choice to accept those promises as true for you because His Word says it is, and the reason others don’t receive is because they didn’t believe. So I choose to believe that His promises are for me. And if anyone can receive them, then it can be me because I believe 🙂

  56. Page 32: Someone asks how we’re doing and we lie though our teeth: “I’m fine!” – That sentence struck me because I recently heard a definition of fine as:

    Failure to
    Identify
    Numerous
    Emotions

    That has REALLY stuck with me and reminds me to STOP and IDENTIFY what I truly am feeling at the moment and why, which helps me to go to God and ask for His help if it is something that is bringing me down.

    This is only ONE of the MANY sentences that I have highlighted in this chapter, though! LOL Another was the one about wanting to be loved for “who I was” and not what someone else wanted me to be.

  57. Yada. Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10

    It was if God said, “You don’t realize WHO it is you askfor help from on a daily basis. IF YOU did you’d have more confidence in MY ability rather than your own!” I felt it lovingly and powerfully. It is also convicting.

  58. Tonya Ellison says:

    “A personal relationship with God sets us free to be all we were created to be. As children of God we were designed to find our identity, our significance and our confidence in Him.”

    I love this sentence, society has designed us to find our identity, significance, and confidence in our successes, possessions and others opinions of us. As mom’s society has designed us to find these things in the way our children act in public, and if they can get out of the house without toothpaste on their shirts. As wives we are taught to find these things in our appearance, our ability to keep a home clean for longer than 1 hour, and the pressure to prove our equality with our husbands.

    This passage reminds me that there is one person I need to base anything in, including my identity, my significance and my confidence in and that is God.

    It seems that I am always trying to find who I am and what I’m doing here but I don’t need to keep searching and searching; all I need to do is open my bible and read.

    • Good word, Tonya!

    • Tonya,

      That was the very statement that really impacted me also. God truly is the ONLY one I need to base anything in. God bless.

      Karen C.

      • Tonya Ellison says:

        Thanks Karen and Suzanne, as easy as the concept may seem it takes daily reminders (speaking for myself of course) to remember that God is the only one who can say who I am and what my value is. 🙂

  59. Michelle Thompson says:

    It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that God, knows EVERYTHING about you but He will still love you no matter what. I need this truth so often, I have never been very confident or secure in anything I did, but I have been learning more on the Power of God’s love everyday and the truth that all of His words speak. Thank you God for everything!!!

    • Tonya Ellison says:

      The fact that God loves me no matter what is something that I have to remind myself of regularly. Ch. 2 spoke about how we tend to remind ourselves of our past wrongs, and reminding myself that he still loves me despite these wrongs and has forgiven me of them is the hope that I need some days.

  60. The only way we’ll have a confident heart is if we move beyond knowing about God TO knowing and relying on Him–to depend on His Word with our whole heart, mind and soul.

    This is what stuck out at me and what I long for 🙂

  61. “So it is with Jesus. He notices and cares enough to tell us that our hearts need repair.” This is one of the many lines I highlighted. My story in a way reminds me of yours, Renee. As teens, my husband and I went to Church..I didn’t grow up knowing God’s love, but my husband and his family did. I went because he invited me (he was my boyfriend at the time). And I figured I could spend more time with him. I never truly listened to what was being said, and I always felt very uncomfortable. in the last 3 years, we have gone to Church maybe 5 times up until 3 months ago. We have been going steadily, and we both actually LISTEN, and I know God is speaking to me. He knows that I haven’t been living completely for Him and trusting his Word. He is telling me that my heart needs repair. I believe I was meant to own this book. I believe it was part of your plan to write this book to help people like me really HEAR what he is trying to say to us. I know now what he’s speaking to me and I’m so happy that I now hear him. “Through His death and resurrection, we are offered the gift of new life through the Holy Spirit and lasting security through our relationship with Christ.” Praise the Lord!

  62. The video is fixed now. Sorry about that – not sure why it stopped working. Be blessed today! You are known!!

  63. Tammy Monroe says:

    These are the sentences that are resonating with me:

    Jesus met Sam in one of the loneliest parts of her day

    He was there waiting for us when we’re going through the motions, aware of what needs to be done but unaware of how we’re going to do it.

    He is there.

    When we come home to a husband who ignores us, Jesus is there.

    But if we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experiene the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offers.

    He took her below the surface and showed her what was really going on in her heart.

    My prayer is just that, Jesus take me below the surface cause I’m ready to see what’s really going on in my heart.— Amen

  64. Amanda, just go again to Rennee web and try it. It wasn´t work for my either in my email.

    I hope you´ll be able to see it.

    Thanks a lot to everyone for sharing tour thoughts, I´m enjoing myself .

  65. Loved the video, thank you Renee!

  66. Caroline McGinnis says:

    After reading chapter 2 I felt like it was written about me bacause it described my past life. But thanks to the grace of GOD my life and unhealthy patterns with the opposite gender have really changed. Jesus helped me to see my own pattern just like He did for Sam . I have been married now for 18 years, they haven’t been all sunshine and roses but we are still together just the same. Thank you Jesus for all you did for us over the years. Had I not seen the pattern and excepted Jesus’ help there is a good chance we might not still be together. I can also say that I am fine when I am really not, this is something I have been working on for a while now. As for walls in my life well they were there but thanks to the grace of GOD they have come down at least many of them did, if ther are more I am sure GOD will point them out to me.

    The video was awesome, and quite eye opening. Thanks for sharing it Renee

    BECAUSE GOD’S LOVE IS PERFECT, I DON’T HAVE TO BE AND NEITHER DO YOU!

  67. This chapter really challenged me but I absolutely enjoyed it. In my life, saying “I’m fine” had become my default simply because I didn’t want people to think otherwise. I thank God He has put certain people in my life that I feel I can be real with but now I am challenged to not pretend at all. The reality is, everyone has something going on in their life and who knows, by me being honest, God could use me to speak life into someone else’s life. Depite being in my early twenties, this year has been quite challenging but it’s been awesome growing closer to God. I completely relates with Sam, desiring for God to make my life easier. But a challenge that came to mind as I read page 38 is that getting up close and personal with God requires work; living with a superficial relationship with God is far easier. But ultimately there is no satisfaction and we end up back where we were. Going through struggles and trials are not fun, but I don’t regret getting closer to God in the past year and Him divinely leading me to do this study. Lastly, Phil. 1:6 really resonated in me. I once again was encouraged with the promise that God has a plan and purpose for my life that He WILL see to completion. I no longer want to know or keep God at a distance; getting up close is definitely worth it.

  68. Great chapter! In reading this chapter, I realize that I have been pretending that things are just “fine” when they are not. Like many of the posts above, I struggle with really letting people know me. On p. 33, I resonated with the line “I was haunted by thoughts of never being good enough. I felt like I could never do enough to measure up.” That is because I am either told this in some way (or perceive I am told this) or compare myself with someone who seems to have it all. And as I read that, I think that perhaps everyone in some point of their life thinks this. Things on earth, whether it be some material possession or even acceptance from someone else, will never satisfy. I guess that is why I am participating in this study and reading this book. 🙂 Praying that all of you will be reminded that as Jesus says in John 4, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” and as Renee said on p. 43, “As children of God we were designed to find out identity, our significance, and our confidence in Him. Praying that we will all take those steps in claiming our true identity in Him and as He designed us. 🙂

  69. I like following the story of Sam. I never really gave much thought to the woman behind the story but it is pretty amazing. Pretty much most of chapter 2 spoke to me in quite a few levels of my life. On page 55, paragraph 3, it says that “Jesus helped Sam to see that no person or position, such as being someone’s wife, could fill the empty places in her heart.” Jesus is showing us all that He is enough! We need nothing else to fill our empty places and find our significance. I, like Sam, have looked for love in all the wrong places only to find that it doesn’t work. It doesn’t take away the loneliness or pain. I thank God that He showed me what I was doing and brought me out of that destructive way of life. I praise God as well for the healing that only He can bring if we allow it. I love this book! Some of the memories are painful but I give them to the Lord as they come up and let the healing begin! I also want to praise God for setting me on His path and giving me a wonderfully supportive husband and three beautiful, healthy kids. Anything is possible with God!

  70. I love the verse John 4:4 “He had to go through Samaria.” Jesus purposefully went through Samaria (when most Jews wouldn’t) so that he could meet with Sam. There was a specific plan to meet with her. I believe Jesus seeks us just as purposefully, too!

  71. p.32 “Slowly we begin to believe we have to be perfect to be loved and accepted.”

    This sentence is so true for me. After an unwanted divorce after 18 years together, I, too ,told people I was “fine”. I started believing that I would never be loved or accepted again because my life wasn’t perfect. I stayed away from church because it was too hard to go alone. I gained weight because eating was my comfort and I figured no one cared about me anymore anyway so why not eat all day. I was left with three children, no house, no car, and no money so my life was far from perfect. Slowly, I began to believe in myself again with the help of good friends and my family who encouraged me and my church family who welcomed me back when I was ready. I know that God loves me despite my imperfections and nothing I do or don’t do can change that fact.

  72. I haven’t finished the chapter yet but here is a sentence that jumped out at me:

    “It can be hard to let people know how we are really doing. We don’t want to be high maintenance, right?” (page 31)

    That is why I say I’m fine. It is not that I’m worried that people won’t accept me, it’s that I don’t want to burden them. A sad way of thinking!

    • Abbie Wells says:

      Isn’t that so true. And, another thing that I have found when talking to people, is that most of them are full of “earthly” advice.

  73. I can relate to Sam’s life. I’ve been married more times that I want to admit. The video and the story of the Samaritian woman let me know that it is no mistake that I am in this bible study.

  74. Abbie Wells says:

    I have to say…this chapter is full of so much! I think that I said that about last chapter too, but then I read this chapter and there’s more!! There were defiantly more than two sentences that stuck out to me, but since I am picking two they would be…..”He is there waiting for us in the midst of our imperfect lives, when our pain and failures confirm our self doubts. He is there waiting for us when we’re going through the motions, aware of what needs to be done but unaware of how we’re going to do it.” WOW…WOW…WOW!! So much truth in these two sentences!

  75. I believe many times I am aware of what needs to be done, but unaware of how I am going to do it. Life can be full of challenges. I know that I can over depend upon others, my friends, my husband, or relatives to meet my needs, but that is not a good expectation. I cannot always depend upon other people to meet my deepest needs. I can seek God and allow Jesus to help meet my deepest needs. Jesus knows me better then anyone here on Earth, so I need to try to reach out to Him and allow myself to receive the Bread of Life, the living water that only Jesus can give. I am in my 50’s so I find I rely upon Jesus more to meet my needs, although I do love my lunches and coffees and time with friends. I celebrate time with friends but I rely upon Jesus to fill my soul. Are there any Canadians in this Bible Study ? I live in Alberta, Canada.

    • Fran Bruno says:

      ..I do not in Canada, yet, I so appreciated your sharing…no other can “fill our souls”…as He.
      (are you familiar with the singer/song writer Steve Bell…lives in Winnipeg?)

    • I’m in Toronto, Dianne, and I wish we all could meet up for lunch! Renee actually presented her book (before it was published) at a retreat where over 20 women from our church listened…more than 10 bought the book…but none of them wanted to do this study with me/us. It makes me sad because I would have loved to be able to sit & talk some of this out…and get the huggggs I need (as I’m single & have no one around).

      So Dianne, let’s support each other rather than being dependant, as I have learned that is no way to live life!

      Take care!

  76. Much in this chapter resonated with me- This year I am pursuing God- focused on going below the surface- your comments here served as confirmation as where I need to be-digging deeper and deeper that i may know God. My Scripture verse for this year is Hosea 6:3 Oh that (I) might know the Lord, Let (me) presson to know Him. He will respond as surley as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. See why God brought me to this book- He knows me, my thoughts, desires, hopes, dreams. I can’t help but O what a mighty God we serve. What came closes to my heart in chapter 2 I don’t have to be perfect because He is- this met me where I was. God bless you Renee and all the ladies in this study.

  77. My thoughts have conjured up the hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. It has been running through my head since I finished our assignment tonight. Maybe some of you can relate, but I find the refrain to be completely appropriate to this study. I plan to write out the refrain and hopefully some of the verses to remind me of what my focus needs to be!

  78. One thing that has come to mind when reading ” Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” is that I feel like Jesus was saying that bc of him we would have this forever resevoir inside us whenever we needed it…a spring of water welling up that is constantly available when needed. And this goes well and makes sense w/ everything else he said ….”come to me all you who are tired, take my yoke which is easy…..” That he’s there in us and we’ll find him whenever we need him…this constant spring of water resevoir.

  79. Fran Bruno says:

    Hello all my sisters in Jesus!
    How I agree this chapter, the video and music given by Renee was so super…touched me so deeply.
    How stirred my spirit felt after reading of so many lives, with the same hearts cry!….loneliness.
    Let us try to see Jesus…lonely, as he left the throne of heaven to give himself for us, people found him, different…saying strange things, having people around him…not understanding him….oh, how he must of thought about heaven…yet, he was willing, obedient to show the Fathers love to every person he encountered.
    Jesus understands us, more then we will ever know…PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!!!
    I cried for you all who shared so openly of your need for friends….and those of you who gave those, loving words of encouragement and hope!……we all desire to be loved…known, and that is why we have been given this moment of time ..to be here…with Renee…..we are blessed women, indeed!!

  80. Page 38…..Renee says..”But if we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experience the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offers. Instead of just making our lives easier, God wants us to come up close and experience Him and all that He has for us! He knows that our problems wont be solved and our confidence won’t be found through simply getting more stuff done!!” I don’t know about all of you, but I’m sure guilty and good at getting stuff done…….but not taking the time to be intimate with God!!!
    Time to get intimate!!!!!
    I long for this from God……….thank you Renee for your words for encouragement 😉

  81. Wow. These words strike a chord tonight as I struggle to understand why God has placed me in a (extended) family with so many hardships. I feel like I’m on an island. I don’t ask my parents for help hardly ever, but when i do I’m constantly let down. It hurts so much. Couple that with changes in our church membership & the close-knit Bible Study group I had been a part of not meeting anymore, and I really struggle. I feel alone, but it’s comforting to know God is there no matter what. Still, that doesn’t always make the tears sting any less.

    • Changes are so tough for all of us but we need to remember that changes come for a reason. Old things end and new things begin. Look at the whole new family we have been given right here with all of us girls. It could be that God is wanting to work in your life right now so I will be praying that your heart will be open and sensitive to His leading. Linda

  82. THIS SENTENCE SCREAMS AT ME!!!

    “your heart needs to be set free from pretending and perfectionism.”(Swope, 2011)

    I have been so worried about everything being so perfect and wanting to be accepted I have been attempting to pretend to be something that I am not. I have failed miserably in this area and only want to continue to learn and grow in Christ so that I will be set free from my own standards but most importantly set free from what I think other peoples standards are. Notice I said what I think because many times my standards are way above theirs.
    I am a work in progress and taking the time to enjoy the journey as I go so I can share with others what I am learning.
    Blessings!

    Swope, Renee (2011-08-01). Confident Heart, A (Kindle Location 497). Revell. Kindle Edition.

  83. What resonated with me was the sentence “As children of God we were designed to find our identity, our significance, and our confidence in Him.” Oh how we miss this because we let others define our identity. I fall into this trap so much. I’m letting God help me work on this but it is hard. I’m trying to get to the point that I just don’t care what others think and that I only need to please God. I thank Him daily that I know He will never give up on me. He will help me change and be the confident woman He wants me to be.

    • I’m in the same boat Linda. Really trying to get to that point too of not caring what others think and just focus on what God thinks of me. I’m trying to find this balance and not care what others think but not to the point where that can negatively affect relationships. And yes it is so hard, especially because you have to apply it everyday and multiple times per day. Sometimes you get tired of fighting that battle. But I encourage everyone dealing w/ this bc the more we do it, the easier it will be to do and the benefits of doing it are immense! Thanks for sharing and encouraging. It’s really something to know of others struggling the same ways. How blessed we are to have each other on this blog. It shows me how so many of us are hurting, have the same struggles but there’s a beautiful sense of support even though we’re all strangers and some on other sides of the country or in different countries.

  84. I truly loved that poem …..who can really love me like that here on Earth…in this world…No One!!! and i am ever so thankful for the God in our Glorious Heaven who sent his only Son to die for me…gthst is yrs love…an amazing love i o no one can truly comprehend! I am do thankful that my God loves me Sooo unconditionally and how he can truly understand and know me and love me for who i am. he will always be there for me like no one else can…i am never alone cuz he promises to always b w me and he promises that he will never leave me o forsake me. i am humbled that he loves me regardless of my past o of the mistakes I’ve made o my decisions….i am loved and accepted by him…i smiley so thankful!!!! there are days when i just don’t understand life o why things happen but i know that he has a plan for me and that he wants the best gore me…that all things happen forsure those who love him who have been called according to his glorious love…i will hold on to him…knowing that he has a plan…the best plan for me…

  85. Thank you Renee for the list, Knowing God by Name. I like to thank the Lord for each of those names and characteristics so I pray and thank Him for one each day of the month. In order to have 30 names or qualities I have added some. These include the 7 “I AM’s – The Way, the Truth and theLife; the Light of the World; the Good Shepherd; the Door;; the Resurrection and the Life; the Bread of Life and The Vine. Here are a few more – Jehovah – Eternal, Everloving One; Adonai – The Lord, My Master; Jehovah M’Kaddesh – the Lord Who Sanctifies and Jehovah Tsidkeenu – The Lord our Righteousness. (Our Bible Study did a study on the names you gave plus these). I needed one more to make 30 so I added Wonderful Counselor. Hope this is an encouragement!!!

  86. I was unable to watch the video that was posted yesterday…just watched it now…I had printed out the words but hearing the woman speaking the words REALLY had an impact on me.
    The jail I have lived in…the pain I’ve carried all these years…too ashamed to give to God…even though He already knows…the unbelief that God could actually love a sinner like me…constantly looking to others for approval when all I need to do is look to God.
    It sounds so easy…but at times it is so difficult.

    • And oh how He loves you! He just wants you to simply trust Him and tell Him all about your troubles and for you to know that He is working everything out for your good because He knows what is best for you. I am praying for you. Your friend in Christ, Linda

  87. I just watched the video for a second time and it was a bit easier this time around. To hear the words spoken had such an impact. It made me a bit sad to think that I’ve been hiding and worrying all these years – worry about not measuring up, not fitting in, not being good enough – and I don’t have to worry about that at all because I am loved no matter what. Unconditionally by God. Very humbling and thought provoking.

  88. Dear Megan,

    I can relate to feeling like an “island” among others who face hardships and when I seek assistance there appears to be none left for me. I can imagine the loss of your Bible Study group as well and I always find changes in a church membership confusing since there is only one God but so it is. Although I have been in constant conversation with God all of my life, it is now as my children leave the nest and my husband continues to learn from me as he did not have a relationship with God, and my closest confidant, my mother, has drifted into severe dementia, that I am learning that when there is no one else to lean on or to just listen to me (because I can also relate to all the others who have been praying for close girlfriends), God is always, always there. And I have pointed out (more like complained) that sometimes He is a little too quiet……He is still listening and will still be there for as long as I need to talk and most likely He is waiting patiently for me to finally be quiet enough to hear what His response might be. 🙂 Keep turning to Him Megan and I pray that His peace and love will envelope you and hopefully wipe your tears away.
    Sending God’s Love,
    Nancy

  89. Our verse this week, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart….
    It makes me smile to hear this verse. It was on of my grandmother’s favorites. She had such an influence in my walk with Christ. But it saddens my heart to hear so many of us in this study that are longing for a true christian friend. I too have been praying that the Lord would send me someone that I could share my struggles and victories with. I have aquaintances, but I really can’t think of one person(this meaning someone other than my husband) that I can ask to pray with me about things. I say this with the exception of my mother. I can always count on her to be the best and most faithful prayer partner and for this I am so thankful. But I long for someone my age, going through the same struggles as a wife and a parent. I know that the Lord has wonderful things in store for all of us through this study. I will be praying that the Lord will send all of us a friend that we can fellowship with.

  90. This chapter is both painful and beautiful. I also grew up never feeling loved or approved of by my father. I only felt “love” when I did something to earn it. Then my parents divorced and my dad was gone. I quickly found that if I traded sex, I could find that temporary feeling of “love.” It always left me feeling worse, so I would end the relationship by replacing it with another. Finally, after numerous marriages (Sam) and always avoiding Wal-Mart after 3 pm and on Saturdays (Sam’s neighbors). I was introduced and accepted Jesus’ invitation to true love. Like in chapter 2, I meat a gentle, kind, humble Man who accepted me for me.

    However, some of the doubts and insecurities remained. I listened to them and remarried a man from my new church. I wasn’t attracted to him at all, but I thought to myself that I was lucky any Christian man would want to be with me. I didn’t trust him and I had a bad feeling, but others told me that it was because of my past that I was afraid to trust this guy. I married him and found out after 3 weeks that he was a total fraud in every sense of the word. He was wallowing in almost every sin you can think of. People told me you have to stay with him, it’s your duty. You don’t want to repeat your past. I tried to, but I couldn’t. He wouldn’t stop the behaviors and I couldn’t bear to have him touch me again. So, I went back to being talked about. I avoided all the stores in my small city. I ended up with a husband who ignored me instead of trying to turn his life over to Christ and a teenage son who belittles me to this day, just like in chapter 2.

    I am so thankful for this study. God is using it to bring me back to Him. When I was saved, I was completely on fire. I felt confident and loved until I met that man from my church.

    Today I am a part of a body filled with people who care about me. I teach 1st/2nd grade Sunday School and am involved with missions, but the nagging doubts and insecurities are still there haunting me and my son still wants nothing to do with me after a year.

    • Marie:
      I’m so glad that it sounds like you are in a better place now – in a community that cares. May God fill you with confidence that out weighs your doubts!

    • I just wanted you to know that I appreciate you sharing and being so open and honest with your hurts and life. I too have had an unfaithful christian husband and felt I should stay with him. I was judged, and was not able to open up and share our live intimately with women in church, I do believe that this is where it starts. But in the church family, especially if the church is big, I have found it actually harder to speak with christian women than non-christian women outside the church. The enemy has certainly kept a division among women, isolated and distant even in bible studies. It shouldn’t be this way. It is very hard to make christian women friends. As Michelle commented on her lonliness on the 23rd, this is very sad to me. And to read so many comments after hers of how many women out there are really looking for a christian friend to pray with and have support. We all need it and I hope that maybe some how we who are on here will help each of us to learn how to be the christian friend God wants us to be. To be open and honest and lift one another up here. I’m glad to be apart of this study and find you all here. Lots of love and hugs.

  91. Reading through some of these comments is such a blessing and such an eye opener. I wish I could read through each and every one. It it amazing to see how much of us have this very same longing in our hearts for a good friend who loves and knows God. That was my prayer for a few months last year, I think it is a request I need to pick up again. I doubted and discouraged myself and released the request, but now that I can see that it was just doubt driving me, I feel I should pray again.

    “We can offer nothing but our presence, and He will desire us just the same.”

    This sentence literally brought tears to my eyes. Ive always felt, I still often feel that I am not enough. To know that I dont have to lose 50 pounds for God to love and desire me just the same, to know that I dont have to have the nicest clothes, I dont have to have the most beautiful spouse – I dont have to pretend to be anyone but who I am is amazing to me. For years – I mean years – I pretended to be someone I was not, just to be loved and accepted and even after all that (some of you can attest to this) it still might not be enough – what if the people you want to be accepted you change their minds…then what? (cursed are those who put their trust in man)
    Thank You Jesus, thank you so much for knowing me and loving me. Knowing that right here in this moment you cannot love me any more – nor can you love me any less, makes me feel so valuable. Thank You Lord.

  92. I really love pg. 38. “If we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experience the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offers.” Which goes one to say instead of making our lives easier, God wants us to come up close and experience Him and all that He has for us.

    He knows all about us and what we need and aren’t we so glad of that! This little Bible study has been such a blessing to me and it has only just begun. I am being drawn deeper and deeper into the heart of God and by spending more time with Him I am finding that I am trusting Him more and more for everything in my life. I have also had to take a good look at myself and where all those doubts come from and why. I am not sure I have the all the answers yet and maybe I don’t need them right now. I do need to stand on His word and just simply believe God is working in my life right this very moment and because he knows all about what is going on so I don’t have to worry or pretend. God loves me just as I am and He loves you just as you are.

  93. I think about how many times I have told people I am FINE and actually felt exactly how you said it Renee. Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic and Exhausted! i don’t have to pretend things are fine when they are not. God always enters at the perfect time. He shows up and never lets me down. I always know that He is there to listen, to comfort, to hang out whatever I need at that particular moment.

  94. What stands out to me is on page 37, “He invites you to come to Him to receive the perfect love He offers–love that casts out fear, love that is patient and kind, love that keeps no record of wrongs. That is what He offered Sam, and it’s what He offers you and me.” I have struggled all my life with fear, and it encourages me to know that Jesus can cast out my fears as I learn to rely upon Him. I have also begun implementing praying using Scriptures (from Chapter 1) and it has been very helpful. I find that when my mind is filled with fear, anxiety, and worry, by praying using Scriptures it is helping to calm my mind and the negative thoughts are leaving. I’m very thankful to be part of this on-line study and learn from what others have shared in their comments also.

  95. I love the sentence on p. 38 – “But if we only live on the surface with God, we’ll never experience the intimacy we long for or the acceptance and security He offers.” It is so clearly evident that it is our choice as to whether we live on the surface or dive deep into the heart of God. I want so desperately to be changed by Him, I am sick of surface-living and long to feel so filled and entwined with Him. I know it is possible if I am willing to stop wasting time and take the time to sit in His Presence, soak in His Word and listen to the Teacher of my soul. So easy to write, so hard to do…amazing how we were created to have communion with Him and know it and want it but not enough to do what it takes. I think in the past I have tried to do too much, promise too much and then set myself up for failure. This time, I want to stay faithful in the morning to my pledge to spend time with Him and if it is less one day than the next, not to get disheartened and throw in the towel, to keep memorizing Scripture and to just keep keeping on, being faithful.

  96. To start: Thanks for helping me feel comfortable to post comments here for all to see. : )

    One of the first things that popped into my mind (and as I continued to read this chapter) was “Jesus Loves Me.” Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
    (And it goes on…) How often do we just sing songs but not really take the words to heart and truly believe them?

    I had MANY highlights as I read. How awesome is it that He knows us; He loves us (even with our flaws and “mess ups”); Wherever we are, He wants to meet us there; He wants a relationship with us! What An Awesome God!

    I pray that I, along with all of you, let the gospel of God’s grace move from my/our heads to my/our hearts.

    If I/you were sitting with Jesus today, what do you think He’d want to talk about??? Definitely made me stop and think.

  97. I have a few markings and marked the phrase about “being fine.” I noticed this has already been posted, but it just seems to describe me. I can be fine, in every since of the word, on the outside, but the inside is all jumbled. Part of me is wondering if part of the reason my husband says I have changed is because I do not have the confidence as a wife and mom that I had when I was single and dating him? Hmm. What do you think?

  98. Renee, you are such a blessing to us! I don’t know how you can reach inside and read my mind & heart. I find it very difficult to believe you ever struggled with confidence as you make it all sound so clearly possible. To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known…and the woman at the well story is one of the best! To suddenly be told that the secret lie you hide in your being is actually irrelevant if you ask for forgiveness for it…and then just let it go and move on and be loved. I need to be loved, for real, and knowing that there are others out there who are “fine” just like I was “peachy” means there’s a lot of need for love out there. I know God wants me love everyone just as he loves me…but I really need to start loving myself first. This is going a long way toward that acceptance and confidence.

    Thank you again!!

    • Oh girl, if you only knew. I had a cancerous disease of self-doubt. Paralyzing and deadly to the soul. You’ll see in the chapters to come more of what it looked like. And I”m not saying it’s easy – but I am saying it’s possible to break free from the chains of insecurity and the prison of pretend.

      So, so, so blessed to be on this journey with all of you. YOU are strong and courageous and God is with us – if we are willing to stay w/ Him, HE WILL SEE US THROUGH to the other side!!

  99. Wow, we are all such strong women! We are acknowledging that we have insecurities and are wanting and ARE turning to God for His perfect Love! Yet, after reading all the comments, this is so easy for me to see the strength in YOU, but very hard for me to see the strength in myself. Not sure why, but I want to go ‘go beneath the surface with Jesus so He can show us places in our hearts that need His repair!!’ (Page 40) To live in the security of God’s word, II want a personal relationship with God and a confident heart!

    • Shannon, I will pray for you! I, too, do not see this strength in myself. But I am trusting and believing that, as we ask Him to work in us, He will do it! Do not lose heart and continue to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. I will pray the same. 🙂

  100. “Ask God to remind you all week that He knows the way you long to be known, pursued and loved!”

    This statement comes at such an opportune time…I can be honest here, right?? I’m 37-years-old and just went on my first “real” date 2 weeks ago. To make a long story short(er)….I discovered that he is not yet officially divorced (!!!), is broken over his wife leaving him, is a Christian AND a minister (knew this ahead of time), and….wanted to start a relationship with me. He mentioned after the fact how God must have a sense of humor for my first date in a while to be with a man who wasn’t ready for a relationship. Ummm…..no. I found NO humor in it. 🙁

    I am sharing all of this because….I WANT TO BE PURSUED. And, for a moment, I thought this man was going to–actually he did at least begin to. He was very complimentary and, with a weaker heart, I could have stepped right in to “save” the day and pull him through his mess. But….the Holy Spirit prompted me to say no….and, really, that’s what I wanted to say. I don’t want to be his fixer. I’m just so disappointed and really wondering what God was/is thinking. I saw myself, even in this one date, begin to literally “lap up” the attention.

    I’m really wondering why God isn’t enough for me?? Why don’t I sense that He is pursuing me?? Am I not listening?? Am I not looking?? My heart aches to be loved….cherished….known. I know that Jesus can/will fill that ache….I just haven’t experienced it.

    • Martha,

      When you act as if God is enough(by faith) He becomes enough. Talk to Him as if He is the Lover of your Soul. Confide in Him. Tell Him your jokes. Tell Him your fears. When you act on His word that “He will satisfy your longing soul and fill your hungry soul with goodness” Psalm 107:9, He WILL make it a reality in your experience. Meditate on the scriptures that state how God feels about you. Don’t just read them. Meditate on them constantly and you will begin to feel loved and cherished.
      Some of my favorite scriptures are:

      Isaiah 43:4
      Psalm 139:17,18
      Song of Soloman 7:6,7
      Psalm 45:11

      God bless,
      Karen C.

    • Hi Martha,
      I too have not allowed God to be enough for me when it comes to the need for love from a man. I accepted Jesus in my heart 6 yrs. ago after a painful 3rd divorce. I am again in a serious relationship with a man who fullfills my need for love. I compromised living close to my family, my career, and left my home and life to travel and work with him just to be with him. It has been challenging in many ways and I have questioned many times my need for a man’s love verses God’s love. I have always put the men in my life first and even after being saved I feel I am doing that still. I know I am not giving God a chance by putting Him first. I find it hard to be the Christian I desire to be because I let myself be influenced by my boyfriends lifestyle in order to please him. My boyfriend is very good to me and I know he loves me but I still question if being with him is God’s plan or mine? Am I still desperate for a man’s love? I have prayed about it many times….but am I afraid of being without a man and not having faith Jesus will fullfill me? I would welcome any thoughts on this.

  101. I am the woman at the well and almost 25 years ago, I married the youth pastor of a local church. Since then God has blessed me with four wonderful children and life has never been easy, but I know who holds my hand. I spent a lot of my day meditating on the passage and the verses that Renee gave us this week. The biggest thing for me is not living with a “spirit of fear”. I have confidence that God will provide, He already has in His Son Jesus the Messiah. No matter what happens, His grace is sufficient for me.

    • That is so true…we just need to stay focused on our Lord and that will help us resist the temptation to live in fear. 🙂

  102. I can’t access Chapter 2 of the Confident heart, kindly assist. Glory be to God. Thanks.

  103. Lakecia Harris says:

    “I was made to know him and be known by him~and so are you..

  104. barb rugani-kyser says:

    Having grown up in a family that knew God and Jesus Christ only as words used to express themselves (if you get what I’m saying) my life prior to coming to know the Lord was straight up the woman at the well. To be 100% transparent the first few years of my walk with Jesus I was in an addiction which I was in denial of I told myself I could stop anytime. One day I woke up, looked in the mirror and didn’t know who I was I had lost myself in the addiction, the hurt, the pain, the masks. I had come to the end of me… I couldn’t feel anymore. I dropped to my knees and cried out to Jesus, who was standing right there to scoop me up and held me tightly for the next 14 hours while I wept and wept. I cried out to Him confessing my disobedience my selfishness, the hurts I knew I had caused others, the pain I felt inside, the justifying I had done for the past few years, and so on… He gently sat holding me listening to it all, as he allowed me to cry myself out. Then, in a very low gentle voice I heard Him say, ‘So you’ve tried living life on your understanding, are you ready to lean on me mine now?’ I said Yes, and I also asked Him to take away the desire to drink alcohol and smoke. I told Jesus I am ready to serious learn to walk in His truth, and His way and if He’d have me to be used my Him as a Kingdom builder. As I got stronger in my walk and in my faith, ‘He said right then – your faith is what has brought me here to you.’ You have great Faith, it’s your finest gift. Since that day I’ve endured many painful days; to include my 14 year old daughter divorcing me, taking my entire blood family with her. Several years later my step daughter does the same thing only without the paperwork, she simply told her Dad I’ve decided I don’t want to come over anymore and stopped coming. Two years later, it was revealed that my husband was struggling with sex addiction… Talking about wanting to be loved and wanting to feel known – I’m praising God for my strong foundational relationship with Jesus Christ and my Accountability Partners, Sponsor and Celebrate Recovery Family from church who know me. I had to know me and love first to allow Jesus Christ in to do His miracle in my life so I could be used by Him to be a vessel. By allowing Jesus through the Holy Spirit to love me through the difficult times with the help His word, and the tools it provides along with mature Godly counsel and Godly Support I wouldn’t have made it through. Looking only to Jesus Christ for approval and love not looking to man, not going on feelings but holding on to the truth – Gods Word! I’ve been clean and sober for over 8 years Praise God. It’s due to His Grace in my life I’ve been coaching and sponsoring woman now for 8 years and it’s joy and an honor to be used by God in this manner to walk along a sister and to help her see her beauty and worth, and to know that she is loved beyond what the spoken word can express. Do I still struggle of course I’m human, however I know who I am and who’s I am. I have a great support, we meet regularly and I talk/pray with my Lord and Savior Jesus throughout the day keeping Him abreast of what’s up with me. I’m doing my best to stay keep my focus on Him, not me. Thanks for letting me share.

  105. Wow – Being adopted, I have always held on to the verse that he knit me together in my mother’s womb and knew me……but am unable to grasp the concept that His love unconditional…..I have longed and ached for someone to really know me and love me, done a lot of stupid stuff trying to fill up that space in my heart as did Sam…I have been hiding the real me for so long, I don’t think I even know me….There is so gunk in my past and even present, I don’t want anyone to know fofr fear of rejection. Have been praying for a couple years for God to send me a true friend. I am worse about letting women into my life, because of past experience. I have always been able to be friends with men, but there is only so deep that can go. I just know I am lonely and no one in my life even knows that. I want to be known and loved, God work in me please!

    • I confess that I don’t understand the purpose of loneliness. I’ve always struggled with loneliness.
      But as for love . . .
      You are SO loved!
      By a woman who loved you enough to carry you rather than abort.
      By a woman willing to raise you as a daughter.
      By a God who provided you with both.
      God bless you!

  106. My daily devotional this morning was discussing the same verse as are verse of the week is; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” She mentioned that we need to BELIEVE and EMBRACE this. I found these words encouraging to me. I tend to find myself doubting that God has plans for me. It is time for us to believe that God does have great plans for us all.

  107. God spoke to me today with His still small voice that He does not want anything of me except for me to give Him my time and heart. God just wants my committment to Him. It is truly amazing how God knows everything about me (good, bad, and ugly) and yet still still loves and craves for me to be drawn near to Him. I have displeased Him; yet He is still there. It reminds me of one of my favorite Christian songs by Point of Grace entitled Jesus Will Still Be There. As the song says, “When the going gets tough, when the ride’s too rough, when you’re just not sure enough, Jesus will still be there.”

    That is beautiful:)

  108. “The only way we’ll have a confident heart is if we move beyond knowing about God to knowing and relying on him — to depending on His Word with our whole heart, mind, and soul” pg 43.

    In the margins of my book I wrote, “I believe He can do anything He wants, but why do it for ME?” which has been my mindset for 35 years. I have also read Ps 139:13, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.”

    I guess I always likened this passage to mixing up a cake and throwing in the oven to bake…….not giving it much after-thought. But after this chapter, the words, “formed” and “wove” took new meaning. Forming and weaving take time, a vision, and a purpose for the creation. THIS is why HE wants ME, because I am not an after-thought. His eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in His book were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.

  109. I just began reading John 4 again and verse 6 stood out to me. “…Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey…” We are all on a journey as we delve deeper into the heart of Jesus and seek His promises for our lives. I read in the comments above about so many of us being wearied on this journey by our doubts, relationships, struggles, sin, addictions, life and it is OK. I love that it is OK to NOT BE FINE! I have a friend in my life where it is OK to not be fine with her and it makes all the difference in my life. I see this place as a safe place for so many to not be fine, to admit that today they are weary and I LOVE THAT because Jesus was weary on His journey too. BUT one of the most powerful stories of transformation was when he was weary. Sam was transformed. The comments I read from one weary women to another to encourage, pray and lift up one another is transforming. Our weariness must not stop us from reaching out and touching lives and being Jesus in the flesh to someone else. I am so blessed from reading these comments and seeing that happen through this study.

  110. I do not have a problem saying “I am not fine” when I need to – the problem is really finding someone who cares enough to want to know if you are REALLY fine or not. You have to have someone you know will respond before you can say you are not ‘fine”. I don’t believe I have masks with God – but a lot of times He is silent and I find that difficult.

  111. I think, as in the first chapter, chapter 2 is chock full of richness.. I have a couple favorites, but I think this one sums it up for me:

    A personal relationship with God sets us free to be all we were created to be. As children of God we were designed to find our identity, our significance, and our confidence in Him. We establish a personal relationship with our Creator, the One who knows us and accepts us fully, but who also desires our transformation so we can become all He created us to be. (p. 43)

    I have gotten tangled up in some relationships where I was relying on the person to carry me, and became depressed, and eventually was angry toward this person because they could not hold me together and could not fill me and that person ended our mentoring relationship. I had to take a good long look at myself and what i was doing both to her and to myself — I have found through prayer and God’s love and truth that our true spirit does not want to be mean or evil or rude, for those things are not of God. In going with our word of the week, we were known before we were formed.. we were set apart simply so God can enjoy us and so that we can praise and worship Him. Our TRUE selves are who God made us to be. Loving, holy in Him, called for higher purposes. For me, the quoted section above from our book means that slowly God is transforming me into who I need to be in order to do the most possible good for Him and for His unending Kingdom. My focus has been wrong for so long and though each of us have our own mess to work through, I find great hope in that He is with us as we take each step.

    One other thing that Renee said that I think goes along with this is that “Nothing could keep Him from wanting to be with you” – I am humbled and amazed by this kind of love. Isn’t that the kind of love that we all look for in all the wrong places? Wow. We are to just come as we are, mess and all and He will help us figure out how to fix it. It’s amazing to think about.

  112. Thank you Renee for your willingness to share your struggle of insecurity with us in your book..I truly have found this book so helpful and encouraging.

    All my life I have had a desire to use a talent that God gave me not just in my own church but other ways as well. Because I was always doubting and comparing my abilities to others around me it kept me from pursuing other areas that I could have used my talent. Today I stepped out of my comfort zone and no sooner did I do that the thoughts of self doubt began to creep in. Immediately I thought, I am so tired of allowing my past failures and self doubt to to define my future, I want to be the woman God designed me to be and not hide my abilities because “I” think I’m not good enough. Instead of dwelling on the negative thoughts, I began to remember something I underlined in the book that says “A woman with a confident heart chooses to believe that God wants to make an impact through her life, and she looks for ways to let him”. Today I looked for ways to let him and I am going to choose to believe that he will provide me opportunities to share with others his gift of salvation.

  113. I had a busy week at work and although, I have spent time with the Lord each day, I am behind on posting. So much resonated with me this week – the need for approval, acceptance, and love. This paragraph really stuck out – “I tried to earn my worth through a performance-based value system, convinced that if I did the right things, said the right things, wore the right things, and looked the right way, then I’d be worth staying for. My life was far from perfect, but I didn’t want anyone to know. On the outside everything looked “fine,” yet on the inside I was haunted by thoughts of never being good enough. I felt like I could never do enough to measure up.”(*)

    Swope, Renee (2011-08-01). Confident Heart, A (Kindle Locations 382-386). Revell. Kindle Edition.

    “I felt like I could never do enough to measure up” – – the perfection thing in me, the looking for worth and identity in achievements. When I left an abusive husband of 23 years, thats how I felt – I could never do enough to measure up to whatever it was he wanted, nothing was good enough. I wont get into specifics, but God is healing my heart and showing me that my identity is in him and my worth is in Him & He loves me, Sherry – extravagantly.

    So much of the chapter is highlighted on my kindle that it is just uncanny. Sam is going to stick with me for a while!

  114. Thank you. Still trying to process this…I missed last week because of overwhelming situations….but will continue on with next week. I am thinking that I would like to do a Bible study with a couple of young ladies I know…both young believers…

  115. So my church had an assistant pastor preach this past Sunday, and they let my husband and I participate in the music for the service! He ended up preaching about the Samaritan woman in John 4 and even showed the “I Want to Be Known” video posted in this blog! And, to top it all off, I really felt like God was speaking to me this week, telling me that I needed to say something in the service Sunday. Usually, I’m not even willing to read a Bible verse from the stage, but will sing all day! (Don’t ask me how that works.) This was Wednesday as I was reading through Chapter 3. I didn’t know how it would work out – seemed like an odd thing for God to tell me – so I all but dismissed it. Then on Saturday, when we were practicing, the pastor asked our worship leader to introduce the song “How He Loves” (by John Mark McMillan) and I immediately felt like God was telling me that this was my chance. It was like Renee said in a devotional about listening to God’s voice last week – I knew it was God because it wasn’t something I’d EVER want to do myself. So I offered to speak, scared to death. I was nervous the rest of Saturday, and all of Sunday morning until the time came for me to speak. I was playing the piano and singing, and had a few solos, but I was only nervous about speaking.
    We did two services, and I spoke in both of them, and it was pretty amazing! My sister was there for the second service, and she said what I said brought tears to her eyes, knowing where I’ve come from. I even had someone tell me they could see my heart for God. That took me aback more than anything else. I’ve never had anyone tell me that before, except my husband, who is the only person I’ve let see that side of me. It was just so astounding and humbling that God could use me like that!
    And another amazing thing….I’ve never prayed aloud in front of anyone but my husband – not even my family – but the worship leader asked me to pray for the band before the service. Again, I was terrified, but did it anyway. And it, too, was amazing! God is really using this Bible study to turn me into the person He wants me to be.

  116. AS I read chapter 2 , It’s wonderful to really see the words “God knows me intimately”. Thenin Jer 1:5 it says ” I (God) knew you before you were born.” Then in Psalms139:13. it says ” you made all the delicate inner parts of my body … ”
    How wonderful and awe inspiring to know the one who knows me intimately is the one who created me in the first place. Wow. I dont have to wear a mask or be someone I’m not, because He knows who I really am and is ok with it. All I can say is Thank you Jesus!

  117. Wow, I do want to be known also. Really known. I know Jesus knows me – but I needed this reminder because lately I have felt “unloved”, “taken for granted”, and other “pity pot moments”. How I thank God every day that Jesus loves me and KNOWS ME, and ACCEPTS ME!!! Thank you!

  118. Domanicka says:

    To be known is to be loved…I think if I could really believe in my heart and not just in my head that even though God knows all of me that He still loves me, I could live more confident and secure and without fear of intimacy with God and with others. I am holding on for dear life that “because God’s love is perfect, I don’t have to be”. He is not keeping record of my wrongs. He accepts me and loves me no matter what. Wow! That is truly amazing.

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