(week 5) Light

Our word for the week: LIGHT (You can download it in a PDF or download in MSWord). Please print it and post it everywhere as you allow His word to light your path this week.

His WORD for us this week: “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12, NLT

Today’s Assignment: Start or continue reading chapter 5. This is a shorter chapter but oh so important!! Be sure to highlight or underline anything that resonates in your heart and journal what you sense God is showing you.

Connecting: What are one or two things you’ve read so far in Chapter 5 that you sense God’s bringing to “light” for you? Are there verses or sentences you’ve underlined or highlighted? Click “share your thoughts” just below this post and do just that.

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. As I read chapter 5 this morning. It jumped out at me that I can ask God to help me with one specific issue from my past at a time. And today I asked him to help me heal from being told I have no credibility with coworkers from a past supervisor because of differences in education levels. I asked God for a bible verse to help me know he is with me and will help me to know this person was wrong. The verses I came across in my reading this morning were from Isaiah 41: 9-13. It reminded me that God will help me and uphold me not matter what others may say about me or believe about me. I have value not because of anything I have done, but because I am his child who is dearly loved.

    Isaiah 41: 9-13
    I took you from the ends of the earth; from its farthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
    All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD, your GOD, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear I will help you.

    • Shanna, that was a very lovely testimony. Thank you for sharing.

    • Love this verse….and so needed it today! I particularly love the part that says that He has chosen me and not rejected me. Rejection has become a feeling that I had almost gotten used to…but I know that it is not God’s plan for me to live in those shackles.

      I just love how God finds little ways to speak to us when we need it most! Thanks for being a part of that for me today 🙂

    • Rebecca Greene says:

      When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. This is so true and I see so many parents modeling this self-centered ness for their children which creates young people who look to their own devices instead of the true source of light. I tell parents all the time ” you have to handle things so your kids can”. And the only way to handle doubts is to look toward the LIGHT.

    • Thank you for sharing that scripture. It helps to be reminded that God is there for us when it seems like no one else is.

    • Thank you Shanna for this verse. I was laid off of my job with circumstances that were not correct. I found this verse to be helpful. A good reminder that God is with us no matter what others think.

    • Really resonated with your testimony! Thank you for sharing it.

    • Loved the verses…it is so reassuring that our God is always on our side. He gives us the strength n power to face each day n each situation. i love the fact that i can hold on to his hand n he will fight fir me…seeing me through each challenge o trial w victory!!! Thanks fir the reminder and the encouragement!!!

    • peggybythesea says:

      I grabbed on to that verse a long time ago Shanna Thank you for reminding me to hold on to it! Words can come and go but they hurt and I have to consciously push them away and turn toward how god feels about me, the words that hurt stay much easier than turning…But God!!!

    • Thank you Ladies,

      I needed that today and just lately. So many times, I feel like I’m not good enough in past jobs and sometimes even in my new one. This Scripture comes close to me that God is always near, guiding me, walking with me, and sometimes carrying me in all of these things. Even when people hurt you and make you feel less or incapable of anything, God is always there. Wow that was wonderful! God is awesome!!!

    • Thank you for sharing – this is beautiful and such powerful promises from GOD – I work in the law field and right now – many challenges, stress, people angry – and I am plugging into GOD to glorify HIM in conflict – because folks on my job are just hurting people – this is a great reminder to me – to not defend my judgement calls and decisions – GOD is a protector and Defender. Just today, I came home with tears of gratitude because I did not ‘yell and attack” a co-worker who yelled and attacked me – I merely stated the legal issues in a calm manner and the results – matter resolved – NOW THAT is GOD – Praise GOD –

  2. How cool is it that we don’t have to BE the light, we only have to REFLECT the light, like a mirror. Mirrors are only effective if they reflect what we want to see… in this case, the Light of the World.

    • Doesn’t that take off so much pressure – that we don’t have to BE the LIGHT – He just calls us to point others to HIM?? And to reflect HIS love in us as we live in IT!

      Oh that I would remember to just keep my eyes on HIM and all that He is so that others would be drawn to Christ – the Light of the World – who lives in me!

      • My nephew has a shirt that says on the front, “Be the moon” on the back it says “reflect the SON” with a cross on it! I want to be the moon!
        Blessings,

    • I am facing a life decision right now that I have been praying and asking God to give me wisdom and discernment about. Reading Chapter 5 last night felt like it was speaking just to me. I was moved on Page 88 and 89 in the discussion about Gideon–“often God will call you beyond your limitations to do something that requires faith. It’s not so much about what He wants you to do as what He wants to do in you, as you depend on Him.”
      I felt like these words were speaking to what I am wrestling with and am thanking God as I make that turn that you speak of in the book, toward Him and away from the doubts that I may feel about my abilities.

      • Amen, I am praying for you Jennifer! Keep turning towards the truth. God knows just what you need and only HE could time it to speak to you the way He did on these pages this week. Love that you are seeking and hearing HIM!

      • I definitely feel called for something that I think is beyond me right now….going to just step out and do it in faith.

  3. Blessings everyone,

    This is MY WORD for 2012 and my verse! Each SONday I share paintings from Thomas Kinkade from his book “Passages of Light” with a Scripture! I’m so looking forward to reflecting MORE of His Light and what Chapter 5 holds for each of us!

    I’m so blessed by this!

    • With LIGHT as my 2012 WORD, God led me to this beautiful song today with LIGHT as its main theme Heavenly Worship with Heidi Baker As I’m reading Chapter 5, soaking in this Light and song, makes a wonderful time and I just had to share. So much of Chapter 4 sounds like Renee is writing my story. I always wondered why I identified with “Sam” whenever I read her story before or heard someone speak upon the Samaritan woman… and it’s not because I had 5 husbands… never has any book so clearly spoke truth into my past, my brokenness, my stuffed pains and touched me so deeply. Thanks Renee for going deep and showing us how to reflect the Light and move out of the shadow or darkness, to better understand. Thank you and thank You,sweet Jesus!

      I hope someone listens to this song and is blessed or touched and that it ministers to you like it blessed me.

  4. Years ago, when my son was just diagnosed with autism, I walked into a conversation with my sister-in-law saying that there was really nothing wrong with my son, that I just wanted attention. My sister told me that she had wondered why I couldn’t control his behavior. It hurts to be judged by others, especially when you are doing the best you can. I kept telling myself that God knows my heart and he alone is my judge. I appreciate being able to be a part of this book and Bible study to arm myself with the God’s truths, by memorizing scriptures that I can call to mind in times of need. Thank you, Renee, for helping me to be a more confident Mom.

    • I can so relate. That was really rude of her to say that to you. Things that people say like that, do they really know how hurtful they are to hear? I’ve been around people like that and just nod my head in wonder.
      I will be praying for you as I know you must have alot on your plate right now. I think you are special in God’s eyes and He will protect you and comfort you where people can’t do that. I have learned that lesson the hard way with my own family.

    • Im so sorry Amy. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. People are so quick to judge but until we’ve walked in someone else’s shoes we really have no idea what they are going through. I pray that God has surrounded you with support and love of those who understand and appreciate all you’re doing for your son.

      We just found out our daughter Aster has Apraxia which is a severe expressive language disorder caused by a break down in her neurological motor planning. She’s three and only able to say a few words and they are not clear. It’s all very new since she was just diagnosed recently. It’s been so hard and heart-breaking to walk through such an unexpected and unknown path. But the most important thing has been talking to other moms who understand,. who affirm my feelings, share resources and ideas, and offer encouragement or prayer. I pray God brings you that too!

      So glad you are in our group and reading through this book too. I pray He increases your confidence each day as a mom!

    • I completely understand, Amy. My daughter has Asperger’s, which is a high functioning autism. She is so high functioning that she was 14 before she was officially diagnosed. I had parents and friends say hurtful things when she would have one of her melt downs and it made me feel like a bad mom for not being able to help her any better. I know that because of my background in social work and psychology I was able to help her become so high functioning without knowing what was going on with her, but there were some behaviors that I just didn’t know what to do with.I had her diagnosed when things hit a peak while my husband was deployed to Iraq. I was struggling with my own set of issues with him being gone and I also have a son younger than her and I run my own business. Things just got to be too much for me. She has been a very difficult child to raise, but with God’s guidance she is now 17, driving her own car, working a part time job, involved in band, debate, and one act play. These are all things I was never sure she would be able to do completely independently. I thank God daily for what He has given me with her and the lessons I have learned from having a child with Asperger’s. The journey has not been an easy one, but I see that God can work in each and every situation. Hang in there and I’ll be praying for you.

  5. Hi friends~
    My given name is Lucinda which means”light”. I was born on my paternal grandmothers birthday and given her first name and my maternal grandmothers middle name of Kay. I have had to learn to like my name and have been able to live more fully with it after renewing my life with Christ.( Being a tom boy Lucinda doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue when I was up to bat!- hence Lou) My grandmother was very much a light/leader in the family and in her church. I was blessed with receiving her Bible that had a bookmark in Psalms.. now I will have to go back and see if it is referenced to light.

    Anyway I’m looking forward to studying this chapter in that was what captured my attention for this book, was Renee’s experince of turning toward the light and with the shadows. Will update later this week,
    Smiles and hugs
    Lou AKA Lucinda

    • Thats Awesome Lou! its so nice to have a special meaning behind ur name esp for someone special like ur grandmother and who she was n person n how she lived…you are a reflection of her!!! i have a good friend whose name is Ida La Luz ….and her last name means “the Light” she is a strong believer loves the Lord!

    • Thank you for sharing the meaning behind your name and how you’ve come to like it and you’ve come to love HIM! I see His light shining in you here as you encourage and love on so many others. I’m thankful for the work He’s doing in your life. It’s shines brightly!!

  6. Hi Renee,
    I don’t have the book to study along with, but just watching the video’s and reading your Blog has touched my heart and brought me closer to GOD. GOD ROCKS and so do you. I loved what Shanna said about having value not because of anything I have done, but because I am his child who is dearly loved. Inspiration is all around us, we just have to know where to look. Thanks for giving me the directions.

  7. I was helped to see the section about other triggers of doubt especially how criticism can overshadow positive compliments and cause us to compare ourselves to others and I stay stuck in the conflict and the criticism seems to overtake my every thought. Then as you said, we take our eyes off God’s strength and instead stay focused on our weaknesses. Philippians 4:13 ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Is a verse I thank the Lord for and that it has become burned in my heart and mind. It has been a tremendous help to me in the past and I will trust God’s power and strength for the rest of my life, for I am very weak and I acknowledge my great need for Him. Please pray for my health as I have been struggling for about 3 years and there is one challenge after another. Yet, I know who is in control and I am still standing as, I hope, a beacon of light for Him and pray that others will see Him and not me as I move on and out of the shadows.

  8. Amy, I hope you get to read this. My oldest daughter is Aspergers, with sensory disorders. I still have people tell me (family too) that I just spoiled her. Looking at the world through a child that has a special view of the world is a blessing. I have finally got to a point that I feel it an honor that God gave me each of my children with their own special needs. Even the most “normal” one is special in His sight. My youngest daughter is taking Psychology classes that are trying to say that there is no such thing as “high functioning Autism”. You can change the name, but I know this girl is special and God made her that way. She is a diesel mechanic, because God gave her a different way of looking at the world she is one of the best.
    So, I just wanted to say, I am finally at a place where I am thankful for each of my children, even the “normal” one. They are blessings for the Lord, and I look to the day they will rise of and call me blessed.

    • Hi Deena,
      I share with Amy that we just found out our daughter Aster has Apraxia which is a severe expressive language disorder caused by a break down in her neurological motor planning.!Before her diagnosis some people who are very close to us said Aster didn’t talk b/c we didn’t make her, and she didn’t have to learn b/c we just guessed at what she wanted and gave it to her.

      It has been hard but as you shared it is also such a blessing to see the world through the eyes and needs of a special needs child. God is teaching me so much about His love for me and my need for HIM through this. She is HIS gift to me each day!! Blessings to you and all your wonderful children!

  9. Today I got stuck I think in the timeline. I was recently divorced and the issues surrounding it are rippling into now. I realized today that I have not dealt with the sadness and pain as much as now. I must have been on adrenaline to just get through it. I prayed and God was with me. I felt so much better in January and then in February now, I feel like it’s happening all over again. I get emotional alot and my docs think that is normal but my family and someone I love thinks something is wrong with me and nobody would have me because of it. It’s taking me longer to go through the book because I can so relate to it and the need to listen to it and I don’t want to miss anything. I realized that I”m probably not made normal. When I feel sad, I really feel sad, when I’m excited, I really get excited. I’m very sensitive and this is not working in my favor when dealing with past traumas. I went by my church and sat after work and prayed that God show me the truth as I am confused on things. I sat there and the story of the Samaritan woman came to me and that story means so much to me now. I’ve been divorced twice by abusive men. My father, also abusive. I want to break that cycle. I met a very good Christian man and I asked God in church today to fill me with living water because I wanted to be a whole person. I know I’m different but I’ve never felt to alone in my life. I’ve prayed for my adult children for 2 years with no response as if I never existed and I don’t know why. I think now I know why, it’s because of my emotions. I don’t know if Satan is putting doubt in my mind about a situation that I thought I was sure on. I told God, I needed some sign to show me as I’m so confused now. Seems when I feel ok to trust someone, then something happens to break that. I enjoy reading and being a part of this class. I’m admitting though I need prayer as I really dealing with all this alone and no family at all. I’m going to sit tonight and read more to catch up. My timeline is so depressing. I think it is a good thing to do but at the same time, I don’t want to remember all that stuff. I only hope and pray that my future is not going to be a repeat of the past.

    • Jennifer, I understand. I have been divorced over 3 years and I am just now able to think about it without breaking down. My highs are highs and my lows are lows too. Don’t rush the healing, especially just because your loved ones think you should be farther along in the process. You are right where you need to be.

      • Amen, I wholeheartedly agree with Bev. Don’t rush this process. I grew up with someone I loved very much telling me I was “too sensitive” because my highs were hi and my lows were really low. I do everything “deeply” and I used to hate that. But then I realized it’s equipped me for what God has called me to do – to love women and listen and understand. Most of the time those people who say we “feel” too much say it b’c they want us to hurry up and feel better b/c they dont’ want us to feel sad – sometimes b/c its’ just hard for them, other times it’s because it’s inconvenient for them.

        I encourage you to take your time with Jesus and soak it all in. There is no hurry. Your wholeness and healing with HIM are what matters most. He loves you and we valued you so much!! Thank you for sharing your hearts with us!

        • Thank you Renee because I in my heart feel that even though I am sensitive, that is what may make me better as a nurse practitioner. I’ve been in this career for 20 years and I can detach from it when I need to but mostly I do feel I an understand and I’ve heard from other patients they like me because I listen to them longer. I think being really sensitive can be a blessing and a curse sometimes at the same time. I’m almost at the point of accepting that by age 48 that is me and how God made me and why would I want to change his works? He loves me and I know that for sure and that is my grounding. Your book has been so helpful at a point in my life that I so needed to read, it’s really a blessing to me. I just want you to know that. For many years I too thought of God the Father as an image of my father and I couldn’t believe He would always love me but I’m very certain in the past couple of years especially that He listens to us but His time is different than our own and He knows what we can take and what we can’t. I just talk to Him in my quiet place every day and let go.

    • Jennifer
      We greive over many sad things in our lives, it is a natural process. We are all made differently and we will process at the speed we have been designed. Some days will be good, others seem like we are a square one again. You are so loved by your heavenly Father, He sees you and hears your every word.
      Continue reading, praying and search out what He would have you do. Praying and beleiving in you and your journey.

      • Thank you Judy. I will certainly be doing that. I remember somewhere somebody said that God is not the author of confusion and that comes to mind alot to me lately when things get really confusing.

  10. The statement that rang so true for me was “If I can’t maintain healthy relationships at all times in all areas, how could I help others?” With the situation I have been dealing with the past 6 months, this statement has been what I have been living. I have left all ministry leadership after becoming sick. This thought Renee wrote has crossed my mind many times.

    I am waiting for God to show me what He has for me now. The study has been good for me.

    • That confuses me. My career is in a helping profession yet I can’t even get my own life healthy. I wish I had the money to stop working and take a leave to just get it together but I can’t. I keep giving and giving and feel like a sponge by the end of the day all wrung out.

      • That sentence is actually a quote about my doubt – how I doubted God could use me to help others if my life wasn’t all together. That is not true – God uses us as long as we’re available for HIM to work through us. His power is perfected in our weaknesses not in our strengths.

        But I am praying for you to have a balance in the pouring out you do and the time you have for HIM to pour into your heart and your life. Few of us can just leave our jobs to take care of ourselves but He does want us to let Him pour the living water of His word and His spirit into us so that our “sponge” or our heart isn’t all wrung out. Praying for just even 10 mins each day for you to soak up His love for yoU!

      • Oh Jennifer. I pray that your sponge may filled with God’s living water.

        • yesterday after work, I went by an old church I love and the doors are always open. I prayed there and asked God to fill me with water like the Samaritan lady at the well and that I knew if he loved her for her background, He would still love me too. I thanked him so much for blessings in my life. I know I don’t have to go to church to do that but I felt led to do that after work and it did help my evening have a better peace.

      • Jennifer,

        You are right that you don’t have to go to church to pray but when you follow His leading like that it is such a blessing. I am glad that you had that special moment with God.

    • I did not leave my full-time business or part-time job but did leave my ministry leadership positions at my church after becoming ill.

    • I have found that it is in those areas of my life, perhaps in the midst of the pain or the healing that God has used me and those hurtful times to encourage someone else. I was more helpful at those times, because of my raw emotion and compassion that it seemed like God just led others to me, so He could work through my pain, my weakness rather than a “put together” Peggy… God used the pieces, my vulnerability, and even my unhealthy choices or relationships to speak to others. Yet I held back (even still do) because of feeling my own inadequacies of not having healthy relationships or being a shining example of God from ministry or getting involved and wonder often how can I help others when I’m still in the process of healing. It’s when I know it’s God and not me. I’m finding so much strength and healing from this study.
      Restoring the confidence to allow God to work good or complete what He has started
      in me, in my journey, and especially His will for what He desires me to do!

      Thanks for pointing out this quote. I did not realize it was DOUBT whispering this to me.
      I have so many highlighted. I’m so thankful “God is not limited by my limitations”.So hoping that I’m able to “Turn away”and “turn towards God…”. I love how Renee tells us to look to His strengths instead of focus on our weaknesses!! AMEN!

  11. There were two statements that really spoke to me in ch.5. The first is ” …Our family of origin does not define our true identity. Once we become daughters of the King, we have a royal inheritance that determines who we are.” Wow! I think that is exciting! The other statement reads “…When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what He is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’s opinions. We become overly concerned about what others think of us instead of what God thinks about us.” I want to make sure I always leave room in my thoughts to hear what God thinks about me.

    Karen C

    • I agree with your sentiments. My own Confirmation Pastor told me I was too sensitive. It was only when I when through counseling that my therapist told me that my senstitivity was part of my personality and can be used for God’s Glory. Being sensitive helps me to identify with other’s pain. I can work on my issues that came from my family of orgin ,but I doesn’t haven’t to be ashamed of me.

      • I have learned instead of fighting and trying to change my personality into what the world thinks is “normal”, I am me. I was made to be this way for a reason. I can remember when I was little my dad would beat me with a belt and I would cry so much and he told me that if I cried he would keep on and I couldn’t stop as it hurt bad so he would keep on and then I would pee all over the floor and then he said that was reason to do it again and he would keep on and on. It took me years to straighten out the image of God the Father from my biological father. I have forgiven my father and he is older now. But it took me a long time to do that.

        • Oh Jennifer I am so so so sad and heart broken for your abuse. I’m so thankful and moved by how you’ve allowed God to heal your brokenness and how you have forgiven your father. What a picture of redemption and grace you are.

          You are PRECIOUS and HONORED in HIS sight and HE loves you!! Is 43

    • Thanks so much for reminding me to listen to what God has to say about me. I actually read before I went to sleep last night and this morning I was still thinking about it. I to do not always leave room to listen to God and what He has to say but I too am going to try to do better with this also.

  12. Jennifer be encouraged
    For a lifetime church going person, many choices on my timeline does not bring God glory. But TODAY, my choice is to praise Him. He has stood beside me and loved me always. Unbelief has been broken, I KNOW that HE loves me or He would have had many opportunites to forsake me. HE is FAITHFUL.
    Just focus on bringing Him glory with each decision. He is the Healer and no “mess” in our life can surprize Him. He knew us when HE choose us. I am so Thankful. Keep seeking His Wisdom with me as we learn and lean on Him.

    • yes, I am so comforted to know the verse, can’t remember exactly now, but that says he formed us in the womb intricately. He made us who we are and as long as we praise Him and remember that HE is not a punative God, but a loving Father, then I think it’s important. I will definitely focus on bringing Him glory when I make decisions. I had not done that in the past and I learned a hard lesson from it.

  13. I find it interesting that as I’ve been reading this book along with another book the word ‘light’ keeps appearing…such as in our verse for this week! AND…
    Psalm 18:28 reads…’For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.’
    Psalm 119:105 reads…’Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’

    Due to circumstances that happened in my past I’ve always lived in ‘this dark world’…yet I’m just learning now, thank God, that HE, the King of kings and Lord of lords is my light!
    To God give glory for opening my eyes and lighting my world!

    • Amen Marcia! As you continue to turn toward him his light will over power the shadow of the negative of your past and bring to light how he can turn your past it into something postive! I pray he will continue to lead you by the lamp of his word. Thank you for sharing I relate to living in the shadow of my past as well…but the unconditional love of Jesus washes all that away and shines the light of his grace and mercy and they are new every morning!

  14. I just loved reading about Gideon today and that “God is not Limited by Our Limitations.” That often God will call you beyond your limitations to do somethings that requires faith and its not about what He wants us to do but what He wants to do in us. I know so many times because of my fear of who I am and forgetting whose I am in Christ I too get focused on the shadow and not the light. So I am learning to stand on the promises of God and turn to the light and trust that God is working all things out for good and He has a plan for my life to prosper and to be filled with hope. Through all of this He is drawing me deeper and deeper into Him. There have also been some real trials along with this and there have been times I have not completely turned to the light but I am growing in my walk with Him and I am so thankful for that.

  15. It all seemed to resonate with me, On the list of doubts that assail us, I could check them all off. I see that I need to quit focusing on my failures and doubts that I can never change and start thinking on God and His promises.
    I’m afraid to try some things again, because I failed so badly, but if God calls me to do it, then I must focus on Him and His strength just like Gideon did. I like how you said to “ask God to use our doubts to draw us into a deeper dependence on Him and His promises.” I’m ready to start turning!
    Blessings,

  16. Kristin Smith says:

    On page 87, it says, “…when we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God.” Songs really help me to connect with Biblical principals, and as soon as I finished reading this chapter, the hymn by Helen Lemmel called “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” came to my mind. The refrain is as follows:

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory and grace.

    That will be my prayer this week, that I will turn my eyes upon Jesus, so that my focus will be on Him rather than the things of this world.

  17. Wow..this chapter hit me right in the core of my heart. I too am like Gideon letting my thoughts get the best of me. God has been speaking to my heart lately that I have to lay down negative thoughts and claim the positive words that he has spoken over me no mattter what the circumstances may appear to be. The Lord has promised he will never leave us nor forsake us and just as he answered Gideon he will be with us and striking down our enemies…even the enemy of doubt! I just love what God is doing; it is not about us it is about him but he makes it all about us. Even in the midst of our doubts he patiently and lovingly waits. What a gentleman he is! This entire book so far has opened my heart to the unconditional love that God has for me I feel like I am falling in love all over again with the most incredible person ever…..my sweet Jesus! Someone I can turn to that will not turn away from me…. even when I am not the most pleasant nor the perfect person…he takes all that and turns it into beautiful because that is just who is and what he does…no other reason but to be the light that will cast out all the darkness in our lives! Amen what an encouraging chapter!

  18. Hi friends,
    For me, what I am calling “the three C’s” on page 91 hit home….comparison, conflict and criticism….which cause me to take my eyes off God’s strength and focus on my own weaknesses. I don’t know a woman out there who isn’t vulnerable to the three C’s!!

    Another thing that stood out was on page 92. I wrote in my margin: Doubt is a CHOICE. This was a new insight I gained as you shared “the shadow of doubt had been cast over my thoughts and emotions because I had stopped living in the security of God’s promises.” I am definitely becoming more aware of my “doubt cycle”. When I’m involved in a Bible study, and regularly in God’s Word, I am more confident, even despite my circumstances. However, I easily forget to acknowledge where this confidence came from, and then things like the three C’s or lack of self-discipline can quickly result in me switching my focus back onto myself and the lies of self-doubt and despair.

    God revealed to me today that my spirit is stubborn, and at times I definitely want to hold onto SELF, even though I know it is destructive. I often protect and defend SELF, rather than yielding and receiving what God has FOR me and what he wants to do IN me. I definitely connected with your prayer, Renee,…..that a mind fixed on flesh (SELF) is death, but the mind fixed on the SPIRIT is life and peace. It will definitely help me to TURN more quickly when I think of my choices that way. I know it will forever be a daily process of dying to self, (taking up my cross), until God has finished his transforming work in my life.

    • Thanks Lisa! These are really great insights and such TRUTH! Helped me see the weakness in me… stubbornness and self. May we both die to the lie… and be transformed as we turn toward the transformation process in us daily.

  19. I love to read about Gideon….what an encouragement to see how God uses little things and little people, little strength when we are committed to HIM. My verses are posted in front of my stationary bike so as I pedal I read and pray and try to let God’s word flow into my life. Light and Truth are words that God is bringing into my mind these days as I read chap 4.

  20. As I was reading Chapter Five, the statement on page 89 about it being important for us to realize that damaged emotions and insecurities from our past really do determine how we see ourselves today, really was just what I needed to see and hear…deep within my being. The effects of Chapter Four are still surfacing as Jesus walks this path of hurts with me, speaking healing. It is so important for me to remember that those insecurities I developed because of past hurts can still have influence over me if I don’t keep my focus where it needs to be. SO grateful for this study…and for online prayer warriors.

    • peggybythesea says:

      I just read your post Dianna after what I posted below. I so know how you feel, it is where I am also…God be with you my sweet friend…I am praying for us…!!

  21. peggybythesea says:

    Good Morning my sisters in Christ! One thing that I kept feeling after reading this chapter was on page 89.”Sometimes the hurt little girl has too much to say in my heart. If I listen to her, powerful yet immature emotions from my past rise to the surface. But, they are not truth in my life! The insecurities from my past are not the truth in Peggy’s life today either. ”

    I struggle with this!!! They will try to keep me from living confidently in my present and my future!! It is so there that I don’t even realize it….That is where learning to “turn to God and how He feels about me”, and getting out of the place that brings me to be down and discouraged or depressed gets difficult. It is not habit yet to just feel good, just remember God loves me. To receive is hard for me!!! I am struggling big with that now. I have given of myself so much!!!

    People, places and things cannot be the only thing that makes Peggy feel whole. it has always been how I feel good about myself. It is an oxymoron right? That is what God has us do!!! Get out of yourself and be that which Jesus would be for others and feel better about me. In doing that I cannot make that who I am….I have to receive God’s love from what I do without making it who I am….Am I making any sense??? Help me Lord!!!

    • peggybythesea says:

      I am so struggling with myself….I have such problems with addiction. When i read all about the confidence I should have in Christ I go back to when i fall like yesterday. I went back and took something i have worked so hard to stay away from. I beat myself up horrible and wonder how God can ever use me because given the opportunity I give in the the flesh. Then i just beat myself up and have to start all over again. It is the devils biggest weapon, Addiction, i so believe it is. So, in answer to question 2???? How could he ever use me when I fail, when I can’t trust myself, when I don’t look to Him instead of the thing that takes my confidence away. Every time I think I am over it, I am tempted and give in…Help me Lord! I am so far from where i want to be, I was doing so well and all it takes is one slip and….I am on my knees…asking forgiveness and having a hard time receiving it….

    • I wish I could give you a hug and let you know you are loved and not alone.

      • peggybythesea says:

        Thank you Peg…I feel the same. As much as I loove this study and others I have done Online, sometimes i just wish we were all together sharing our hearts. my struggle is not like many of the busy women, I have been there but now am in a place where my kids are grown, they don’t live close…I miss them and my grandchildren…I am trying to rebuild a 30 yr marriage as it has been so broken over the years but I am home alone most of the time. I am a people person and with the economy jobs just are not there for a 50 something with no college…just the University of Life! I sit and try to do things that will occupy my mind but I am a doer and not a crafty one either. I walk through the house and am not good inside my own head. I sometimes have things to keep me busy but spend much to much time alone.I am grateful we have a business and my husband makes the money we need, I just don’t have a feeling of self worth. It is what i am trying to find with help from this study, getting my confidence in Christ, but i wish I could be around women and share and give and yes receive also….Thank you Peg for your encouragement…Hugs

  22. To receive is hard for me too! It’s easier to believe for someone else than me. I struggle with this a lot. I want to draw closer to Jesus and this Bible study has been helping me so much. I want to believe for myself that I am worth loving as much as others are.

    I think the little girl in me hasn’t quite grown up yet and am struggling with that. Sometimes it is confusing to me.

    I do need to believe God’s love for me is for me – to get it from my head to my heart!

  23. God spoke to me today through you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  24. Thank you once again for another great, but challenging chapter. God’s really using your words to begin my transformation to becoming the woman of God that He had intended me to be. Even though I still have a ways to go, It feels so freeing to let go of the things of the past that have been keeping me from moving on. Thank you, Renee!

  25. Renee, I am really enjoying your Bible Study. I often take my eyes off from God’s strength and focus on my weaknesses (p.91). I often think this book was written about me. That is how closely my struggles and lack of confidence relate to what you have shared in your book. I praise the Lord for the victory He gave you, and I hope and pray one day I will share that same victory. You are such an encouragement to me and to others. May God richly bless you and your ministry.

  26. Rebecca Greene says:

    On page 87 you say “we leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what He is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’ s opinions. ” This is so true. Often I am not a good steward of my confident heart because I give it away to others. Your statement places the responsibility squarely on my shoulders or should I say heart to be intentional about listening to Him in order to prevent “heart disease”

  27. The first thing that I realized is that like Gideon my doubt comes from my perception of myself based on my past. I have tried mst if my adult life to separate myself from the way I was raised, but I always have that voice telling me I will never amount to anything because of what and where I came from. I want to be able to recognize the negative emotions from my past keep me from living confidently in my present and future.
    The second thing this chapter helped me realize is that when doubt sets in it is because I stop living in the security of God’s promises. This is so true of my life. I get so busy with life that this darkness just creeps in and I don’t even know it until I’m so frustrated and disappointed with myself for everything going on around me. My prayer is that through this realization I will be better able to recognize this happening before it even starts, at the first lie I tell myself I will be able to use God’s promises to walk in his marvelous light.

  28. peggybythesea says:

    Question 2…asks when I doubt myself? Addiction is very strong, I believe it is one of the Evil one’s biggest weapons today. I have been doing so well and have been feeling much better about me and working hard not to go back and to stay the course…As I have been doing this study i day by day am feeling stronger. All it takes is something near me, one thing and I go back. I have not had that opportunity nor have I wanted to. But…all it takes is one temptation and I give in. I promise God I don’t want to and that i won’t but yesterday i did give in and I am so believing today that this is why God can’t and shouldn’t use me. Self doubt and oh just this once, i wont have access again…And I give in and mess up…Forgive me Lord, i am so not worthy of your love….My insecurities have come flooding back…Help me Lord!

    • Peggy, I lift you up in prayer today, may God give you strength for just today, help you to overcome the voice that whispers you are not good enough and that you can not do it.. God loves you so much. I pray that you would feel His loving arms holding you up and you can find strength and comfort in Him.

      • peggybythesea says:

        Thank you Peg…I am so depressed today…I am in the study and trying to get out of this place…Thank you for your prayers…

  29. I do let my thoughts get the best of me, not good enough, no talent.. not smart enough, I need to trust that God has a plan for me and He has given me what I need to move forward in that plan, I feel so called to do something in Women’s ministry but have no training no theological background, just a love to do His will and such a sense of calling in this area. I continue to pray and seek His guidance and try, try, try not to talk myself out of doing this from fear and self doubt. I am so thankful for this book and study. I really need this to help me see His great love for me and to hear and OBEY His voice.. blessings for all the women who are in this study. May God show you all how wonderful and talented you are and reveal to you, what you can do to honor Him.

  30. I finished reading Ch5 late last night and it was what i needed to hear. It is awesome that God ass the answers we seek if we call on him and sound time searching the word n listening to hear his voice for direction.
    one thing that spoke out to ne n gave me understanding was on pg. 86…”When we find ourselves n the shadow of doubt many times its bcuz our thoughts r misty about ourselves: how we perform n what others r thinking about us.” And Gods answer is…when we lose focus on hm we leave no rm n our thoughts to listen to what HE thinks about us. Rom. 8:6 the mind set on flesh is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life n peace”This just brought ne to another verse that talks about setting our hearts n minds on things above.
    i also lived the Gideon story n how God want to use our limitations to do something great that requires faith…he wants to use us n shape us as we depend on him.

  31. Wow Renee, this chapter really mirrored my childhood! My parents divorced when I was a little girl. I was raised by mom living in apartments while my dad lived in his fancy house. I remember how my sister and I were embarrassed by our mom’s car, that we dubbed ‘the tank.’ Thank you for showing me how God’s light can be reflected even when don’t start out with the brightest of circumstances!

  32. “When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what he is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people’s opinion.” This part of chapter 5 was meaningful to me. I grew up with a lot of teasing about the way I look and not fitting in. Even after all of these years, those negative things that I heard others say to and about me still find a place in my thoughts. It has been very difficult to be confident in who God made me to be.

    This chapter reminded me that I need to constantly choose the focus of my thoughts and reflect on God’s thoughts about me rather than the hurtful ones.

  33. Romans 8:6 … the mind set on flesh is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. We are called to live in the light to turn away from darkness and God has been shining a light on those places in my heart that i thought were healed. I had been so focused on “why me” for so long, that I morphed into “poor me”, which then led to “why not me”…..me, me, me. With all that it’s no wonder I didn’t think twice about how my “me business” was making me full of busyness SO then how in the world was I supposed to have time to hear God when all I wanted to hear was me? I was having quiet time but going through the motions not being still knowing God, knowing He was there with me, knowing His thoughts and plans for me are what matter, not the acceptance, not the opinions, or not the love of others. God never fails and I am thankful for his never stopping, never giving up, always and forever love.

  34. On page 87, you stated “When we follow our natural inclination to preserve and promote ourselves or perform for others, we eventually end up in a place of darkness and doubt. It’s just too much pressure. Even if we achieve success or have a few good days, eventually it won’t be enough, because we can’t maintain it.”

    That is so true!! It is way too much pressure! And boy, that shadow of doubt loves to creep in at this time reminding me of how others have full time jobs and their house is clean and they make dinner and they have time to bake cookies, ha! It’s funny how things look to us in our perspective when the shadow of doubt is in control. We have the capability to do all those things too at our own pace and in our own time. And more than likely, the same goes for those too in who we compare ourselves to. I am not at their house EVERY MOMENT to see if it really is always clean or if they really do have dinner on the table. That shadow of doubt loves to bring us down and make us compare ourselves to everyone else’s BEST moments.I know I have my good moments too!

    Thank God for His reminder of where my focus needs to be – on Him!!

  35. “Often God will call you beyond your limitations to do something that requires faith. It’s not so much about what He wants you to do as what He wants to do in you, as you depend on Him.” This goes along with another quote I heard this week in another Bible study and that is “God won’t protect you from what He can perfect you through.” This is where I am right now and trying so hard to just let go of the struggle and let Him perfect me through what’s going on right now. This study is helping me to have the confidence I need to let go and step out in faith and to go beyond what I see as my limitations and let God guide me to a place He wants me to be. I’m looking to the Light and staying focused on letting Him shine through my struggle as He perfects me.

    May God Bless you all as you grow in confidence in Him this week!!

  36. Wow! Chapter 5 spoke to me so clearly too. I too have a daughter with sensory issues, low level autism and anxiety issues. I so relate to all the comments here about having special need children and feeling less than because of comments from family, friends and sometimes strangers. Chapter 5 reminded me that I need to let go of my doubts about my parenting ability and STOP listening to others comments that make me focus on my insecurity and instead focus on God and his love for me and remember that he choose me to be her mother. I was told I couldnt have children but I was blessed with 2 beautiful girls. They were a gift to my husband and I from God and he will lead me down the right path for parenting both of them. I just have to stop focusing on MY thoughts and refocus on God’s promises and love for my life and trust his plan for us all.

    Im still working on my timeline events. That has been difficult for me but I know in the end it will be worth it to process all those painful places with God. Ive already realized most of my hurtful places cente around feeling abandoned in so many different ways. Now to let God in to that hurtful place. Thank you Renee this book is such a phenomenal gift to my life. Thank you for the many blessings it’s already brought to me.

  37. i am just now starting to read chpt 5 and its interesting how this chapter goes, because i can sort of relate to gideon. because he asked the if the lord is with us,why do these things happen? because i find myself doubting and wondering too as well. but when i stop to think i do realize that with gods strength and grace we can get through doubts and fears or anything that may come our way in everyday life. this book you have no idea how its been challenging but yet rewarding to know that we have an awesome god that is with us even when hurting or fearful or whatever we go through. its been such a blessing. thankyou.

  38. Online Sisters! First off, I am continuing to pray as many of us continue to work on our timelines…what a challenge it was for me to start mine! I was afraid and didn’t want to scratch the scabs off of my wounds AGAIN! Through a few days of prayer, I finally faced my fear…and it’s been so worth it. I can’t explain to you the feeling I had after I just wrote one thing down…and then another…and another… Talk about a HAPPY DANCE!

    On to Chapter 5… Had you ever thought about how WE create shadows of doubt by blocking out Jesus, The Light, and His truth? I don’t know about you, but I have tried to blame many of my doubts on others. It’s crazy how easy it is to focus on us and others’ thoughts/opinions instead of what God thinks about us. Let’s turn our thoughts completely toward Him by thinking about His strengths instead of our own weaknesses. (Sounds like we are up for another challenge!) Let’s find our identity as children of His so that our hearts can find lasting confidence. (We can do this!)

    Sisters, it’s amazing to me how many of our stories are similar. Yes, I was the only one out of my closest buddies who grew up in a single parent household, too. And, had a dad who wouldn’t pay child support making me feel “not worth it.” And the stories continue… But hey, let’s process our past pain WITH Him so that He can heal us from those hurts and give us hope to move forward. Easier said than done, but with time, I am confident we’ll get to where we are turning towards God, toward His truth, and toward the light. Let’s ask Him to use our doubts to draw us into a deeper place of dependence on Him and His promises.

    It’s comforting to know we are all on this Confident Heart journey together! It’s awesome to read stories about how God is working in our lives along the way. Big group Online Sisters Hug!

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