{week 4} Hope

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“In the security of our relationship with Christ, God wants us to ask questions and look for answers that usher us into the depths of His redeeming love. He wants to give us the courage to live in the promise that He offers hope for our future despite the pain of our past.
from Chapter 4, A Confident Heart

___________________________

Our Word for the week: HOPE
(Download in a PDF or download in MSWord). Please print it and post it everywhere this week.

HIS Word for us this week:
“May the God of hope fill [me] with all joy and peace as [I] trust in him, so that [I] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13, NIV

Today’s Assignment:
Read the prayer at the end of Chapter 4 to begin your day. Then start or continue reading chapter 4. Remember to take your time and highlight or underline sentences that resonate in your heart.

Connecting in Community:
As we read chapter4 this week, let’s share here – answers to the questions, sentences we’re highlighting, thoughts we’re thinking, feelings and fears we’re experiencing. This can be a hard chapter for some because it addresses our past and our pain. Let’s pray for each other each day and commit to memorize this week’s verse together! If you are in, leave a comment by clicking on “share your thoughts” and tell us how you plan to memorize it. I’m writing it on a ceramic plate in my kitchen. I’ll be praying it for you every time I see it.

 

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. August Rose says:

    Renee,
    Good morning! I read your book at the gym on the treadmill. I go at 5am so its quiet. I am so blessed that God bought us together for such a time as this. I have to be honest I struggled with Chapter 3. I have read Chapter 4 and am going back over it again. We have been through so many similar things and my thoughts were so similar to yours that I sometimes am just blown away! The scriptures that God has led me to that are personal and special to me were in both chapters of your book! Confirmation that I am in the right place is just seen over and over the more I read your book. Thank you for being who God created you to be! I pray that I will just let go and trust God completely. I have to admit I do struggle with my past. I want to just let God satisfy me in every area but I think back on my past and I get stuck thinking how could He allow so me to experience so much pain? and how do I let that go and not think about it? Thanks for being there for me and the rest of your book crew! We need you! Stay encouraged and know that you are a blessing to the body of Christ!

    • HI Renee and all of you,
      My name is Sheila and I live in Colorado. I am 65 years old and for about 63 of them I have lived in fear. I was just wondering if there was some way to write Renee and e-mail to her. Also, I wanted to know if you would all pray for me this week and next. My father in law died on April 22nd and on the 19th will be his celebration of life in California.
      I am so anxious and nervous about traveling and the whole thing. My stomach is hurting and my BP is up and the dr. had to put me on some medicine for it. I don’t know why I am so afraid because I have dealt with my fears and anxieties for many years, but this time I am having a very hard time and would so appreciate your prayers. I am going to read Chapter 4 prayer and Chapter 4 and take the book with me to CA. Maybe it is time for me to be completely delivered from all of these mental and emotional issues. Oh thank you so much.
      Sheila in Colorado

      • Jennifer says:

        Dearest Sheila,
        I commit to pray for you, that God’s peace and love woud shower over you and the entire situation you walk into. I encourage you to take these feelings before your heavenly Father and ask that He would help you to understand and heal from all that troubles you now. Know that you are never alone!
        Your sister in Christ,
        Jennifer

        • Sheila P. from Colorado says:

          Thank you so much Jennifer! I am planning on doing this. Your sister in Christ, Sheila

      • Lynda H. says:

        Dear Sheila,
        I just wanted to let you know that I just prayed for you, praying that God will give you courage, strength but most of all peace. Just give it up to Him. Sometimes what helps me is I look at what I’m feeling like a dandelion that has gone to seed and my prayer as the breath that sends those worries, anxieties, angers – whatever the feelings are – straight up to heaven for God to take care of. I know it may sound simplistic but it works every time! Plus remember that all of our prayers are blowing those fears and anxieties away as well!

        Praying!
        Lynda

      • I just wanted to let you know that I understand and you are in my prayers. I went by myself to Colorado last Wed. for my nephew’s graduation. I am 64 years old and I didn’t share with anyone how I was feeling but I was so nervous about the flight, traveling alone in the airport, etc. I made it to Denver safely and returned home to Michigan safely on Saturday evening. I will pray that your travel experience, and your time in California, go well and will definitely remember you in my prayers.

        • Sheila P. from Colorado says:

          I am proud of you Kathy! That was a very hard thing to do by yourself but God was faithful to take you there and back. He loves us so much and wants the very best for us and never leaves us. I know that in my heart and soul but it is my physical body that reacts and causes so many problems. I just need to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD!
          Your new friend, Sheila

      • Hi Sheila,
        I am praying for you as well. I too have suffered from intense fear. One thing that is helping me lately is choosing not to be bullied by it. I talk down to it, I even get mad at it and tell it to go away, that it has no place in my life and then I choose to put my trust in God (despite my feelings). This can be really tough, especially when the fear appears overpowering. However, when I do this I am realizing that it takes me out of the “victim” role and puts God in charge. (I don’t know if this helps. If not, please ignore!) Either way, just letting you know you’re in my prayers.
        Grace

      • Sheila P. from Colorado says:

        Oh ladies! I just decided to check in on the blog and I cannot believe what wonderful things you wrote to me and how supportive of me you are. Thank you so much for the prayers. In fact, today I felt more peaceful than the past days and I told someone, somebody is praying for me. IT IS YOU LADIES! Thank you and thank you.
        I just got done packing the big suitcase and then took a shower so I am feeling better. My chest feels a little tight, like I am nervous but I am going to get done here and then try to relax tonight. I live in the middle of the mts. in Colorado and my husband and I will drive to Denver tomorrow, spend the night and leave for Phoenix at 8am and then on to Santa Barbara, CA. Then we return the same way next Tues. so please pray for God’s peace for my nerves and body and for both my husband and I too both being feeling well.
        Words cannot express what your posts meant to me. Thank you again.
        Your new friend in Colorado, Sheila

  2. It’s hard for me to keep up with everything in this busy spring season of ball games(5 out of 7 family members are on some sort of team), so I haven’t been taking advantage of the comments, but I just want to thank you, Renee, for writing this book, for leading this study, and for your prayers. God has been bringing similar verses, teachings, etc. my way over the past few days and it’s been awesome to know He’s communicating to me through them! Demonstrating His love for me! <3

  3. I have loved every moment of this study. Hope has always been the word in my heart. I know there is hope. I lived with shame and guilt over my past for many years. Divorced and held captive in a drug/alcohol addiction, with 2 children, I know shame. 2 Abortions. I know shame. Raped. I know shame. That was my past. 5 years ago, I began my journey to where I am today. God showed me I am not useless. I have a purpose. He has a plan for my life. He restored my marriage after 9 years of divorce. He has shown me I can forgive myself for horrible decisions I have made. I am the Ladies Chemical Dependency Leader at our local Celebrate Recovery and I have learned that the only story I need to share is my own. God has blessed my husband and I with another child 2 years ago and we are expecting another child in July. He has taken every hurt and healed it. I am thrilled to tell as many people as possible about my past. Even my pain has a purpose. And I know there is hope for my anger and control issues. He’s still working in me. There is always HOPE!

    • Tina, as I read your post, I was compelled to just tell you I think you are wonderful and I love you! You are an inspiration. You are Jesus to so many.

    • Tina, I too have found MUCH healing & sanity in CR and am a leader in the Hurts, Habits & Hangups group, as well as a co-leader in the Step Study program. Although I have been a believer for decades, I hadn’t found healing from past abuse until CR and another study (similar) called ‘Wounded Heart’. I have also found that I now – find JOY in ‘sharing’ my pain! and am literally seeing ..’what satan meant for my evil, God intended for my good – to save MANY people alive ‘this’ day” (Gen. 50:20)…so I can SO relate to your statement that ‘even your pain has purpose’! I too am loving this ‘Confident Heart’ study and this weeks memory verse- Hope – has been what’s led me to CR and this online study! I too know, our God- IS The God of HOPE & restoration!!! Nice to meet you on here:)

    • Oh Tina i am so inspired by you! You remind me of one of my favorite songs from long ago in my high school years – Something Beautiul. The chorus goes… Something beautiful, Something good. All my confusions He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokeness and strife, But He made (Is making) something Beautiful of my life. I can relate so much to that song and i thank you for sharing your story and being the inspiration God wants you to be to others. You go girl!!!

  4. Paula Lloyd says:

    Renee, Chapter 4 is already hard for me. I must admit I do not like to look back on my past and see all my sin before me. I was wild, I drank every single day, sometimes all day. I am ashamed to admit some nights I have no idea how I even made it home in one peace, I now know that it was God protecting me. I woke up one Easter Sunday and thought to myself…this is NOT how I need to be living my life, I stopped that very day. The mind is a very powerful thing when it is made up. I went from literally consuming straight tequila, bourbon, whiskey with no qualms to barely being able to drink a glass of wine! How amazing is our God? I am proud to say that I can’t remember the last time I actually had any kind of alcoholic beverage. I plan on changing my background to this weeks Bible verse, putting it on my fridge, mirrors and on the steering wheel of my car, no matter where I go, the verse will be there for me to see and read.

    • paula, praising God for His awesome lovingkindness, mercy & grace towards you! He is SO good! <3

  5. Kyrie Eléison says:

    I plan on putting my verse everywhere I can think of to memorize it. I think that will be the best way for me. I have a lot of trouble with memorizing things. I can remember the general idea, but never word for word 🙁 I really want to do this though, so I am going to pray about it, and put it everywhere! 🙂

  6. Kyrie Eléison says:

    Renee, I know this is off topic, sorry, but I just had to ask. Do you have a book like this for pre-teens/teens? I would so love for my daughter to learn all I am learning, and read a book like this. I don’t want her to have to wait the many, many years I did to have this kind of close relationship with God. I know I can share this with her, and I will, but you know how it is at this age. Often what mom says is “corny” or it just goes in one ear and out the other. She is a sweet girl, but just at this age I wonder if hearing it from a book wouldn’t be better. Perhaps you need to write a book like this for teens (hint, hint :). If you don’t have one, is there another book like yours, for her age group you would recommend? Thank you in advance for any help!

    • oh, do not ever discount the effect your living your life for God has on your daughter! my own sweet girl (now 31) tells me this all the time; and shares examples of things/events and how she–and her friends–observed what God was doing through and in my life…and how it spoke to her (them). keep letting your little light shine! <3

      • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

        Thanks Colleen 🙂 I truly believe in trying to put the Lord into all we do. When we are driving we pray for accidents. When she is afraid at a doctors or dentist’s appointment, we pray together. I try and read the Bible to her nightly. I also tell her about the things I would have done differently, had I known the Lord earlier in life, and when I backslid as well. I have sin in my life, and mess up (I guess we all do though, right?), and my self-esteem has always been poor, and I fear that also is being transferred to her. I am working on my sin, it’s not a lifestyle of sin, but they are some things I have to work on, and be more aware of. I know I can’t be perfect (I have to break myself of that trying to be perfect syndrome), but I always worry what I do isn’t enough, and those at church, or in the ministry will do a far better job than I will, due to my sin. I guess since we all have sin, no one could minister if a sin free life were the criteria. Only Christ is sin free! Thank you though for reminding me of that. How important it is to remember the example she is getting at home, and what she sees me do. It’s wonderful how your life in Christ was an example to your daughter! 🙂

    • Yes, I’ve had a quite a few caring moms like you ask me if I have another book for teens or one for 20 somethings. This is my only one {and Im not sure of future plans yet for another version for another age group} but for now I have two resources I’d recommend for younger girls –

      His Revolutionary Love by Lynn Cowell
      http://www.lynncowell.com/books/
      http://www.lynncowell.com/

      Made to Crave for Young Women by Lysa TerKeurst and Shaunti Feldhan
      http://www.proverbs31.org/store/product/made-to-crave-for-young-women-satisfying-your-deepest-desires-with-god/

      • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

        Thanks Renee! And really consider writing a book like this for young women please! You have so much insight, and your book comes across as being from the heart so much (as I believe it is) that I think young girls would really respond to it. It never seems “preachy”, as so many books for young people are, but rather as one girlfriend speaking to another. I think that is why I am enjoying it, and getting so much from your book, it is genuine, and humble. Thanks for the great ideas for other books however as well. I will definitely look into them for my daughter! 🙂

  7. Donna Cole says:

    Yet in the security of our relationship with Christ, God wants us to ask hard questions and look for answers that usher us into the depths of His redeeming love. (p. 66).

    There was a time when I thought it sinful to doubt, to question God. I am coming out of a time of depression and finding my way back to the joy of the savior’s love as I transition into “senior-hood”…and lots of “why me” and “what next”. I have so much to be thankful for including a loving Jesus who has, like me, visited the depths and was resurrected to new and greater love of our Father, Praise the Lord!

  8. Peggy Kennedy says:

    I am finding that posting the weeks verse on my computer has been the best way for me to memorize it. I have just read the prayer at the end of chapter 4 and I know this will be a difficult chapter for me. Not only because of the sins of my past but because of a painful childhood. Thank you for your prayer and showing me Christ wants to give me a hope and a future so I may forgive and be forgiven.

  9. Shannon says:

    When I was trying to sleep last night. I was crying due to the fear that I might have to go back to my parents home. I really don’t want and working harder and harder so I can get a job. It is tough to keep on persevering but as it says in Jeremiah 29:11-14 (The Message) I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not to abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call one me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come finding me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure your won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you…You can count on it.

    It seems everytime, I feel week or discouraged that verse comes up. It gives me the strength to keep on going.

  10. Shannon says:

    I’m scared that I’m not going to have enough money to pay my utitlies this month I know I have my parents but I really don’t want to go back to them. I love them so much but I’m hoping this week will be the end of my job hunting if it is God’s will. I know He is with me but sometimes you just want to see the evidence that it will happen. However, I try to look at the things I do have such as my health, Zumba, positive attitude, and I’ve heard I have a great personality.

    The major struggle for me is that I hate to ask for help. I’m still learning to be humble seeking help but it is so hard for me to do. I think because I don’t want to become a burden to someone else because they have their own storm their going through. However, on the otherside I said sometimes when I go through this when I help someone else it makes me feel like I did something good and it helps me overcome the obstacles in my way. Just wondering does anyone have trouble asking for help too? This is my major obstacle for me.

    • omg, this is exactly how I feel. I think it’s because all my life I have felt undermined. Growing up I felt I had to fend for myself. My mom was a fighter and took care of my dad who became disabled. It does take humility and healing on our part. Let’s continue to go to our Lord and overcome this obstacle. Thank you for sharing!

      • Shannon Steckel says:

        You are welcome, I will be praying for you and all of you in this study. I know with this Bible Study I have been more open to strangers and friends. I will keep you in my prayers so God can use us for His Will. God Bless

  11. Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

    Hi Everyone, I have decided to change my name one here. You see the name I chose means “Lord, have mercy”, but when just Kyrie is used, it is one of the Lord’s names. I hadn’t considered, as is most easy, people shorten it. I just wanted to use something that would bring attention to the Lord, and I gave it’s meaning too when I first came, but we get so many new people each day, and it’s so long, that I am changing it. I would use my real name, but I am just scared to reveal so much when you never know who from your community, or church could be on here. I will now be known as Esther Smith. Esther is someone whose story will all know from the Bible, and I aspire to be more like, and Smith is just a last name that many have, so it doesn’t give anything of who I am away. Sorry, I just wanted to post this so people would know it’s still me (and I will put that by my new name for a bit) and why. I am sorry to be so timid with a fake name. I just feel much more at ease telling you my story this way. I have been hurt so many times, by so many who professed I could trust them (I’m not saying anyone on here is like that. I am just overly protective now).

    • hello, esther!!! you are so brave! <3

      • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

        I’m trying, fake name or not, what I say here is from my real heart. God knows who I am, and as long as we help each other with our stories told in truth and love, and do what is comfortable to allow us to tell those stories, a name doesn’t really matter, right? 🙂 Thank you for saying I am brave when I feel so much less than brave so much of the time. That is a nice compliment 🙂 I will pray your week in this chapter goes well for you, and for all of us. I know it will be a hard one, but with Christ all things are possible. I just keep reminding myself of that. (((HUGS)))

  12. renee, i love how you inserted the “me” and “i” into our scripture for this week! such a powerful tool for planting the truth of the scripture into our hearts! <3

  13. Renee, thank you so much for leading this Bible study. I love the beautiful artwork you featured on your blog. first I thought I will memorize today’s verse by repeating it to myself. later, I decided I should organize my desk so I decided to make new art for my office space. I cut out a heart shape from scrap book paper and I wrote “today I choose hope” and the entire bible verse on the heart. I am making another heart shape featuring the word “dreams” coz what do we hope for if we don’t know our own dreams and finally the last heart from scrapbook paper will feature the word “beauty” coz I want my God of hope to give me a future filled with beauty. Thanks and God bless,
    Anna

  14. Karen in Canada says:

    Hello Renee and all my fellow sisters in Christ
    This study/book is so timely!
    I am and do struggle with doubt. Over lunch today, my (atheist) husband and I had a discussion about my faith again which he loves to debate and argue. It leaves me exhausted and I usually end up in tears, feeling defeated. After he left for work I re-read chapter 4 and among the many things I identify with, the follow struck me:

    ” We find the One who can lead us to freedom from the captivity of our doubts and insecurities. I know this without a doubt because I have walked it, wrestled with it, resisted it, and finally surrendered to it.”

    Can you please help me understand how you REALLY WERE ABLE TO SURRENDER? I read and hear about surrending so much and I feel as though I have done this, but I wonder what I AM NOT DOING? Just like with my FAITH, sometimes because I don’t feel or experience God’s supernatural power/gifts : I believe that I am doing something incorrectly.
    Do you understand what I am trying to express? It sounds ridiculous when I re-read what I have typed.
    Blessings
    Karen

    • Karen,
      The way to surrender is found in chapter 5 of 1 Peter verses 6 and 7. Usually the focus is on verse 7
      “Cast all your cares upon him for he cares for you. However in the King James version verse 7 is not separate from verse 6 but a continuation and tells us how to put verse 7 into practice.
      Verse 6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, casting (note the word is casting not cast) all your care upon him: for he careth for you.
      Casting is a continuous action and should not be interpreted as tossing aside but “casting” is throwing with great force. We take our worries, concerns, doubts, fears, emotional baggage and physical pain and throw it at the foot of the cross. Have you ever tossed something and have it roll bag at you? When you throw it, it’s gone for good. But you need to throw things away daily because daily negative thoughts creep into our minds, so we need to cleanse them daily.

      • Connie J. says:

        That is wonderful Karen. I never thought of it this way. This is something I need to start doing. I have lived my entire life based on fear and this is something I really need to start doing. Doing this will have the potential to change my life and my relationships with others. Thank you for sharing this.

      • Donna B says:

        For me to grasp the surrender thing I had to simplify the act of surrendering down to my choices – my every day choices. You see, we all have choices to make every day, just like the choice to believe. I used to think that believing was all about my point of conversion or the day, the exact minute that I said “yes” to Jesus years ago as kid at summer camp. But now through several conversations and lots of others teaching me, I have come to realize that me believing in Jesus is a 24 hour 7 days a week choice and journey. Every day, I am faced in my daily life with the choice to believe that God is who He says He is, that Jesus is His son, that Jesus died on the cross for me, that Jesus will one day come back for me. Every day I can make the choice to surrender my will to His. Every day I can make the choice to believe that He chose me, that He redeemed me through His death on the cross. Every day, I wake up with the choice to believe that He loves me like crazy. Every day I have the choice to pick faith over fear, His truth over my doubts, His love over my insecurities, etc. So for me surrender is my choice to let go and let God do what God does best. And yep, there are days when my choices aren’t the best … I choice to pick back up something that I had thought I had already surrendered to Him, but for some reason, usually pride or me thinking that I know better than God causes me to pick it back up. The key in picking “stuff” back up is how long you don’t hold on to it again the second time and the quicker release time in letting it go again. I call it rebound time…and we all want shorter rebound time.
        Hope that helps and hope that it didn’t confuse anyone.

  15. christine lowe says:

    I’m afraid to look at some of the things in my past. I’m afraid I will fail. Yes I know that is one of the feelings that was thrown away but it seems I dug it out again. Renee you sound so strong. I was doing well with the first three chapters and now I want to give up.

    • Christine, I just recorded a video message for you and anyone else that feels like you do. I just posted it above. Here is a link:

      http://reneeswope.com/2012/05/dont-throw-awayyour-book/

      Asking Jesus to give you the courage to do what you sense HE is leading you to do. He knows what you need. You don’t need to dig up your past, but identifying the cause of our pain and then asking Jesus to heal that pain is an important part of our journey. Looking back only so that we can move forward. Just taking it a day at a a time. We’re going to be doing a lot of talking on the blog about all of this – this week and next.

      Praying for you!
      Renee

      • christine lowe says:

        Thank you Renee for your video. I tried earlier in the day to pick the book back up but couldn’t. I’m so glad I got back on the website and heard you speak about chapter 4. I’ll try again tomorrow. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to bring up some of the things that I’d worked through and obviously found out there is still more work to do. I appreciate your love for God and for your readers. Thank you for caring so much. I will not throw away my confidence or book.

        • Donna B says:

          God, please fill Christine up with your strength and encouragement. Fill her with your courage to pick the book back up and continue reading the pages one by one. Not only fill her with your courage to read, but fill her with your courage to face her past and to put her trust totally in you. Go before Christine, hold her hand as see moves forward with the book. Protect her heart. Guard her thoughts and fill her with understanding. Cause her to lean into you and your truths. Fill her with your promises that Renee has laid out in Chapter 12. Do what you do best, draw her closer to you and your truths. Replace her shadows of doubt with your promises. Replace her fear with your faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

          Christine, I was there. I lived there for about 40 years. I let my past with my Dad rule my life along with the fact that I was molested as a child dictate my life until last summer and fall when I went through A Confident Heart for the first time. I am so blessed and so thankful for Chapter 4 and how God used Renee’s book and her story to change my heart and my life. Yes, it was painful at the time and I didn’t want to face it all – but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Take Jeremiah 29:11 as your very own promise from God. He is your future. He is Christine’s HOPE. He wants to prosper Christine. He wants to lavish you with His amazing love as you move closer and closer to His heart. I was once challenged about a year ago to read Psalm 139 every day for 30 days. I would like to challenge you to do the same. It gave me great understanding of who I was in Him and who He is in me. I finally made the choice to accept my past because I knew I couldn’t change it. I also made the decision to accept my Dad, cause I couldn’t change him. My one job was and is to pray for my Dad. And so now, my choices are to believe that God loves me like crazy, so much that He sent His son to die for me. And the choice to believe that God will use my pain for His purposes. And He has. He has used my pain to bring others healing. What a privilege to be used by our God for His kingdom purposes. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good!!

  16. Katherine says:

    Good Morning. I am taking the verse and writing in on a dry erase board on my fridge, desktop wallpaper, facebook, etc.

    Thank you, Renee, for staying committed to serving God by encouraging women such as myself. I pray that my faith will grow and I can get to the place where God wants me to be used for his purpose. I still struggle with doubt and don’t want to tell the world my story. Maybe I just need a place to start and don’t know where to begin. I’ll continue to put my trust in Him. Am I ready? I don’t know.

  17. This is a hard chapter, but me very timely. The verse of the week about hope was shared with me earlier today and then in here and in the book. Forgiveness is HARD work. Life is hard. I had a daughter who left her daughter here for us to raise for 16 years then 4 years ago came and they both left our lives. Lots of forgiveness and always more and deeper. Dealing with other hard issues also in my life right now. For me there is comfort in the chapter because I know from other times, that God does not reveal what he is not ready to heal. Do I want to go through this? Not really and at the same time yes. Some things/situations in my life seen so hopeless and so I loved this reminder: “May the God of hope fill [me] with all joy and peace as [I] trust in him, so that [I] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
    Romans 15:13, NIV And that will be my prayer.

  18. Dallena Hess says:

    Coleen,

    I love how you are such an encourager! I’ve been blessed reading all your encouraging words. I’ll be praying that God always gives you just the right words. I’m an encourager also and i have a pretty positive attitude and great smile!

  19. Sarah T says:

    When I read through Chapter 4 it brought up so many things from my past! Emotions I had suppressed for years were like wounds torn open. Even after days of tears I still am struggling to leave the past behind and let God heal me completely. The timeline made me remember things I wanted hidden and forgotten- that was the most difficult. Letting them go. But, God has started bringing a healing only He can and a hope that He can redeem the time I think has been wasted. Thanks for the encouragement to not throw the book and give up! It would be so easy to do. Push everything back inside and seal it up, but it needs to all come out and God has placed us together to encourage each other the best is yet to come. Keep hanging in there!

  20. Dea Sipes says:

    I have never liked to read. I really am not a reader. Except for my Bible, no other book has encouraged and spoke to me more than A Confident Heart. I will be 61 in October and for most of my life I have tried to live up to God, my family, my employer, and my friends. It has been thru your book that God is teaching me to simply allow Him to love me. I know now that He accepts me, faults and all. God knew what He was getting when He picked me to be on His team! I know I have failed often in the past. I am determined to put that behind me. I know I will fail again, but I am learning to fail “forward” as you have suggested in the book. I have been so encouraged and so spoken to from God thru your book, I am going thru it the second time now! For me, that’s unheard of.

    Today you encouraged us to post the word HOPE all over! Several years ago God gave me a different way to look at the word HOPE:
    H—-His
    O—-Operational
    P—-Promises
    E—-Energize

    Truly His promises are operational….they work! If that thought alone does not energize us for His kingdom, then I don’t know what will.

    You are amazing….I thank you for your encouragement and for being willing to be on the front lines. I’m sure our enemy is not happy and in many ways attacks you and your family. I will continue in much prayer for you, your ministry, and your family.

    Blessings and hugs……….Dea

    • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

      I like that Dea, and I am going to save it to my computer! What a great way to think of this week’s word, especially in light of us learning to trust in His promises 🙂 Thanks for sharing it!

    • Love that acronym for HOPE!! Thanks for sharing it!!

  21. Martha ParfaitFelix says:

    Happy Monday! Whoa…”but please, please, please don’t make me share my (shameful) story.” That’s exactly where I am. I am very ashamed of my past as I did the wrong thing, made the wrong choice chasing after my “happily-ever-after”. “Something had changed.” – one can’t truly encounter Jesus & not be changed, transformed. “He knew my failures & my shame, & He loved me completely” (still, anyway).

  22. Melinda says:

    I thank God for being apart of this online bible study community. It is very encouraging and uplifting. I look forward to the online messages, they give me much comfort and hope that I can make it through. I plan to memorize this week’s verse by placing it many places in my home 🙂 Everyone have a wonderful week!

    ~ Blessings

  23. Susan M. says:

    I always print out the word and verse for the week and my computer is in the living room of our little Cape Cod home so I see it all day long and when I am by the computer it is there with me to read and memorize. I did a study with Dee Brestin called a Woman of Moderation and we had verses each week there also so I bought an index card spiral and have learned to write my favorite verses in there and keep them in one place so I can find them at hand when I needed them, so I am adding these to that index spiral and it works good for me to know where I can go to find my verses. The spirals are also easy to take with you and stuff in your purse so you can read them when you sit waiting for an apt. or whatever.

  24. January says:

    Wow Renee. I am just bursting with joy after reading chapter 4. Now that may seem like a strange response to be joyful after reflecting on past pain. However, there is hope. He is my hope. I have a pain filled story just as many do, and this chapter helped me revisit the past and heal it! I am also now feeling led by the Spirit to open up more about my past and hopefully help others who are going thru the same thing and let them know that He is our hope!!

  25. ok. So i had to take a deep breath when I read this chapter. The forgiving part and the timeline part. Wow. As i have been leading this study with 12 other women I think it has been ministering to me the most. I don’t have to pretend anymore. It has taken me awhile to go deeper in my timeline with God. The other night I woke up or should I say the Lord woke me up, at 4am and that’s when I started going through my timeline…slowly and deeper. I cried and felt the Lord heal me in some areas I needed to forgive and allow Him to heal. He uncovered some areas of deceit and got a couple scriptures to counteract with some truths. I felt lighter, free-er. Wow, I pray that my sisters who read this can ask the Lord for courage and allow the Lord to touch those areas in our heart where we haven’t let Him in yet. Love and Prayers.

  26. Machelle says:

    Thanks for your video post.I was just thinking, and I haven’t even finished all of chapter 4,”do I really want to go through this?” I realize after listening and rating some of the other comments on her that this is a process.That is ok”He who began a good work in me will see out to completion” I will pick the book back up this evening and face my demons.I have placed my verse in my phone as the background, and on a card right above the kitchen sink

  27. Just watched your video, Renee. I went through this study last time, a couple of months ago, and it was so powerful for me! I am following along again. To all those going through this fabulous study for the first time…just wait for chapters six and seven!!! Can’t thank you enough, Renee. Glory to God, and love, peace, and thanks to you for all you do.

  28. Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

    I’m in!!!! Thank you for preparing some of us ladies before diving in to chapter 4, This chapter will affect all of us differently-some deep pain and past hurts, but it’s good to get it out of us, learning to let go and let God, has always been hard for me to do!!! Thank you Renee for the video at least I can open my my mind and heart to this next chapter…and get the tissue out because I know I’ll be crying a bit…

    I have been printing out the word of the week that has the verse of the week on it and putting it on my fridge, my bathroom mirror- and before I go to sleep at night I write it out (along w/ the past ones so I don’t forget them too) and say it out loud.

    Aloha from Hawaii xoxoxoxoxox

    • HI DONNA,
      I had to take out the tissue paper out after I got the courage to go through this timeline and go through
      some painful memories. Thank God we don’t have to stay there but god wants us to have Hope. He is our hope and our healer and our savior. I praise God for his healing word. I will continue to pray for you.
      God bless You!

  29. Bonani( South Africa) says:

    Thank you God for Renee. This is a new journey for me. Thank you to all my sisters in christ for sharing your story you have shown what a wonderful God we serve and that we can Trust him. i love this week verse and i know the word of God will never return void.

  30. Christine says:

    Just reading the title of chapter 4 gave me a deep challenge and it felt like I was standing literally on the threshold of a doorway where my soul would find new freedom in dealing with past pain. God promises hope and I want to trust in that real HOPE. A lot of the pain has been and is woven into family life, some layers have already been workked through with forgiveness but old wounds resuface now and again if triggered by other things. Years ago the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in a difficult family time to help me recognise that I had ‘ A Wounded Mother Heart’ and that wounds can and do heal. I am remembering this now as I read this timely and God given chapter. Thankyou

  31. Memorizing this week’s verse…..I have a large collection of pretty (all kinds of designs on them) sticky notes. Each day I will write the verse on at least two of those sticky notes (which will reinforce my memorization of the verse), and then, while commuting each day, “stick” each note somewhere (on a wall, the back of a train/bus seat, etc…) with a prayer that someone who really needs an uplifting will see it.

  32. I am so glad Renee did the video to go with this chapter. I admit, I struggled with the timeline, as well! I skipped over it the first time I read it, and then, even when I read the book for a second time to do the study here on the blog, I skipped it AGAIN! But the Lord gently nudged my heart to trust Him…to trust Him to sit down WITH Him and face my past. He loves us so much, He wants the healing to be complete.

    I checked with Renee and got the okay to give you a link to the actual post I wrote from when I finally went back and did the timeline. I want to encourage you to trust Him….His love for you, His plans for you…when you do sit down to go through those things with Him. And I love that Renee says you don’t have to do it all at once.

    http://plantingofthelord.blogspot.com/2012/02/facing-my-past.html

    Thanking Him for the tenderness, the completeness of His love. May we trust Him with our deepest hurts.

  33. I’ve had an a epiphany as a result of reading chapter 4, this morning….I am living my life based on current circumstances, as well as hurts and pains of the past, and I need to stop!

    This way of living is impeding my progress, growth, and development, both personally, and spiritually. I realize, however, that I cannot reverse this destructive course by my own will, but that I will have to pray earnestly, and diligently for my turnaround.

    Please pray for me.

    • Lord Jesus, I pray for my sister, Colora. She is asking for change and You are the ultimate Changer. I pray that You would give her the strength to make the right decision of thought life each time destructive thoughts tempt her. Thank you for Your love for her!

  34. Linda Bordeaux says:

    Thank you, Renee, for your very encouraging comments Monday morning. I appreciate your book, but I appreciate even more how genuine you are and how the Lord has given you such a generous love for women.

  35. Thank you Renee for your video because I too skipped over the timeline, but last night around midnight I wrote out a timeline and found that my lack of confidence began in 4th grade and I continued to see a pattern right through this past Sunday, Mother’s Day the same pattern culminating in a lack of worth,
    stemming from abandonment in relationships and emotional bullying, that began all those years ago abd now resides in my own family those nearest and dearest to me. They don’t realize how they treat me, but the important realization for me is that I let it continue. It’s better to just remain quiet has been my motto. It’s even surfaced at work during faculty meetings, no one would be interested in what I would have to share or they would immediately shoot down my ideas.
    Renee, you’ve encouraged us to write down our story and share it with others. This is very timely for me because I have a dusty manuscript on the shelf from my college years, remembering the peer pressure, popularity or lack of and yes, there was emotional bullying too. And I felt called recently to write a book about end of life since my mother passed away this year and my father four years ago and with them went my emotional support system. But nothing was inspiring me to complete these projects. Now I realize that’s because I was not starting at the beginning. So, with God’s help, I’m going to start at the beginning. It wasn’t easy crying all those tears last evening but it was cleansing.
    Thank you!

  36. A great chapter for a difficult week, a couple we knew from church, her husband was suddenly sick, and passed away in a day or two after being diagnosed. Very sad, and my heart is very heavy for her and their 3 young children, as I think of their unbearable pain in this moment, What stood out from chapter 4 was “Have you ever asked, “if God loves me, why….?”. I have asked why, many, many times. I love how it goes on to say, “in the security of our relationship with Christ, God wants us to ask the hard questions and look for answers that usher us into the depths of His redeeming love. He wants us to live in the promise that He offers hope for our future despite the pain of our past. He knows our past and our pain can actually lead us to His plans and hope for our future.”. (jer.29:11). I have learned to see God more in the midst of challenges – it is easier to want the good times, but, I find that tough times really lead me to the heart of God. It is here, I dig down deep to spend time with Him, searching for His Presence and Help, and guidance, It is here he fills my heart with His peace that transcends all understanding (Phil. 4:7). And He directs my heart forward into the hope and plans that He has for my future.

    I have seen my best friend go through the loss of her eldest child due to suicide, and see her heart battle thru those hard questions – daily- and battle to stay close to God, trusting His plans for her, I have seen Him help her and protect her and bless her in the years that have followed. I have seen Him work in friends lives, and I am also praying he will lift up my very sad, heartbroken friend Jill and her children at this time as well.

    Thanks Renee for the encouragement, and the reminder to let God use our pain – that we don’t feel like we have to run fri. It, but instead, run to Him, who will help us!

    • Thank you for sharing Jackie, I too seem to seek God more in difficult times. I too have seen Gods handy work in the lives of family and friends after difficult times, when they could have and some have had given up on God, lost their hope, but in time with prayers and friends and Gods hands each situation turned out okay according to Gods plans and the blessing He provided in those later years. We all just have to continue to have faith, love and hope no matter what comes our way. And yest it too touched my heart to know that God uses our pain to what is best for us and that God does not want us to run from it but to run to Him for encouragement, love, comfort and strength. God Bless, lifting up prayers for your family and friends during these difficult times.

  37. Renee…as I continue reading your book for the 2nd time as I follow along with the online study, I find myself incredibly thankful for you and how God it utilizing you to bring encouragement to other woman.
    Chapter 4 is a hard one…but, such a powerful message. I skipped over the timeline the first time though but began working on it the past couple days. I find myself with much to say, but unable to find the right words.
    So, I will leave you with Thank You again!
    God Bless you!!

  38. Dear Ladies of the Confident Heart, For those of you who know my handle, you know I am usually at Starbucks. No surprise there. Except today I am really tired. I have been fighting an infection for a month, and now I got a super case of “Cottonwood-itus”. The town I live in is called Cottonwood for a reason and i seem to have a lowered immune system, so I feel the allergy symptoms in overload.
    My hope is in the Lord.
    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)
    I appreciate your prayers.

  39. Renee,
    I normally would never post anything on websites like this, but I have to tell you that when I read your book, it is almost as though you have written these words for my heart. Last night I wept as I was reading chapter 4. I have always had a difficult relationship with men that originated with my own father. I know now that I can grieve for what will never be and let God come into those really hurtful and dark places. I have always just pushed the pain farther and farther down so I don’t have to feel or deal with that pain. When you talked about getting easily angered it was like seeing my own reflection. I have unrealistic expectations and when they aren’t realized I am disappointed and retreat into myself so I won’t be hurt again. Thanks for your book, it is helping me see things clearer as I didn’t realize why I feel or respond the way I do.

  40. Connie J. says:

    This was a hard chapter for me. You see, I hate to look back at the hurts of my past. When I dare to admit that my life has been very painful, I feel guilty because I look around at others and see that their lives have been more painful than mine. I was the “good” girl growing up. I never drank, partied or used drugs. I didn’t do any of the things “bad” girls do. I hate conflict, so in order to avoid it, I became a perfectionist. I put on my mask that says nothing is wrong. But deep down, I’ve always known it wasn’t true. I know my past has affected me because now my life is lived based on fear. I’m afraid to let anyone see that I’m anything less than perfect. I know this is not the way God wants me to live my life, so I am going to work on surrendering all that pain and perfectionistic tendencies to Him.

    • Connie,
      My circumstances are very similar to yours, good girl, never did the bad stuff, life is pretty good but oh the pain of the past that I haven’t addressed, living with functional but alcohol abusing parents, emotion abuse, never good enough and usually invisible. I’m glad chapter 4 made me address these issues which have brought fear into my life and I can’t wait to get further into the book to see how to address these hurts.
      I know God is my constant source of strength but I want to stop this repeating pattern in my life.

  41. Barbara Milburn aka Sunshine says:

    I am re-reading chapter 4 for the 2nd time. I am just so grateful to be a part of this group, a part of the healing, apart of the new beginning that is waiting for me at the end. I’ve never, ever read a book that made me cry every time I pick it up but yet I keep picking it up and keep reading. As the tears fall I feel release and healing and freedom. I have shared things here in this group that I have never shared before; some things I had even forgotten or had not thought about for many, many years but the words on these pages and the stories that have been shared by other ladies have be so gloriously wonderful and have truly ministered to my soul. I never even considered some of the hurt and pain and disappointments had been experienced by other women, especially other women of God. I am fortunate in that where I work there is a chapel here and I have regularly for the past couple of years gone there mid day to refresh and talk to God. I am now bringing my book back and forth to work and use that time in the chapel to read for as long as I can before my break time is over and I have to go back to work. Today I found even a greater since of peace, of serenity of restfulness as I continued to read with tears still rolling down my cheek but yet still wanting to take in all that was there to take. I am expecting a great move of God, chapter after chapter, after chapter and am looking forward to the new and different Barbara at the end.

    • WOW – that is about all I can say. What a beautiful thing God is doing in you. Thank you for letting me (us) see inside that secret place of where you are with Him right now. It truly touched my heart.

  42. Thanks for the video post on Monday about pushing past this chapter. To answer a question from chapter 4…

    Has the pain of your past ever made it hard for you to believe God’s promises and plan for your future? What do you sense He wants to change in your perspective?

    Yes a pain from my past makes it hard to believe in God’s promise for my future, especially in my marriage. I use to always think that my husband would cheat on me because that’s what my dad did to my mom when I was in her womb. As a little girl knowing that he did this, it became a warped fantasy that I would be cheated on when I got married – almost hoping it would happen so that I understood my mom’s pain. I know God wants me to change my perspective and see that my husband is not my dad; that I need to see my husband as a totally separate person. My husband has NEVER given me a hint of suspecting any behavior like that… I know God is asking me to open my eyes and see that I need to be confident in Him, that this history is not going to repeat itself, otherwise I will always doubt the love that my husband has for me.

  43. Barbara thank you for sharing, I too am experiencing some to the same things: tears, release and comfort, especially in knowing the God knows me, God knows my heart, and God knows where I am to be for His plan is the best for me. I pray that you have continued blessing in each chapter and that your relationship with God grows as He would have it. God Bless with Love

  44. This too is a HARD chapter for me. Not only do I not want to remember parts of my past due to the hurt and the disappointment it brings, but I know that God knows all. I do believe that God has a plan for me and that every lesson, every blessing, and every difficult or troubling time is part of the road to VICTORY with a loving personal relationship with Jesus. Do I understand why at times things happen, no, but I just continue to tell myself, all things are possible with my Lord, and that at no time am I alone. With living in Florida and being close enough to visit the beach for walks, I remind my self of HIS footprints that even though I do not see them in the sand, He is there with me everyday. I know there is hope for the Lord has brought my husband and I through several difficult events that could have been devastating for not only us but for our family too. So each day is a new day and for that I am thankful, I continue to pray that what I do, say, share and show in my daily life is a blessing in Gods eyes and that I to may be able to share an event/story from my life to help others see Gods love and forgiveness.
    For our verse this week, I will text my friends again for help (which by the way helped so much last week and I will write the verse 2 times a day as a bonus.
    I ask for prayers : for my husbands health (diabetic complications) and for the release of built up anger and disappointments in myself and that in some way I can share this lesson with my daughter, to whom I know deep in my heart could benefit from these words that have been given to us in our bible study. I sit here in tears knowing others as well that I have offered this study too and yet they continue to reject it. I just continue to share what I can and lift them each in prayers.
    May the Lord continue to bless my sisters in Christ, to be with each of you during your journey, and that His words fill your hearts each day. God Bless with Love

    • May the Lord bless you, dear Pam!

    • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

      PamZ, a few years back I wouldn’t have been able to do this chapter. However, I have had to revisit my past through therapy, and believe me it made me sick, I cried, I was angry, and I wouldn’t forgive others from my past. For a long time I even lived in the anger of those past events, and even some recent hurts. It wasn’t until I started reading this book that I found out what a release letting go of all of it was! I wrote e-mails asking others to forgive me, people that I had wronged. I prayed to the Lord telling Him I forgave those in my past, and am working hard not to think about them, or what happened. Each time I think of those past hurts, and the people who hurt me I try and pray for the Lord to fill me up in those angry spots, and like Renee says in this chapter to cover those hurts with His blood, to heal my heart, and I ask again that he help me forgive this person. I often have to forgive people from the past daily, as my heart or mind, seems to get stuck in a mode of anger or feeling they owe me, and I shouldn’t apologize to them. However I learned that I am not getting anything from my anger, or feeling wronged. It wont bring me the justice I feel I am owed, it wont take the anger away, or stop me from hurting. It just seems to make everything worse 🙁 Also had blocked my communication, and my feeling of closeness with the Lord. I thought I could have it all, ignoring my pain, anger, and past, and getting the best relationship with Christ possible. I even thought I had it. It wasn’t until I started giving it up, all of that junk in my past, forgiving, and letting go (I have to do it daily sometimes, as I said) that I felt the freedom of it! I felt so free, so close to the Lord. His word even started to fill my heart more easily. I had always felt I wasn’t getting these wonderful feelings that others were when I worshiped. I wondered why, and it made me upset. I wondered what was going on that I didn’t feel that. It was all of this junk! Although I had dealt with it in therapy, I hadn’t dealt with it with God. I hadn’t forgiven those who had hurt me, I had held on tightly to wanting justice for what was taken from me, and my pain. Now that I have faced the past in therapy (I would advise a Christian therapist, I didn’t have one, and they allowed me to hold on to things I feel now I shouldn’t have), and have learned through this book how to let go of the past, I am feeling much better. I have noticed my depression getting better (although I am on medication too, and again everyone, please no debate on the issue of medication for depression, etc., thanks! :), and even with the medication before it wasn’t getting better, not the way it is now. I also feel my interactions with people on a daily basis are better, as I am not carrying around so much sorrow and anger. So while I would never presume to tell you what to do, and I don’t know your story. I do encourage you to, with a Christian therapist, face the past, and when you can, forgive. You sound like a woman who loves the Lord with all your heart, and is working hard on her life, and trying to be a light to others, praise the Lord! 🙂 That is wonderful! Just from my own experience though (which we all have different ones) I am telling you what worked for me, and might possibly work for you. I will be praying for you and for your health, and for your daughter as well. (((HUGS)))

      • Ester,
        God Bless you for sharing this with me, you have touched my heart. Thank you, much love sister in Christ

        • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

          You are welcome my sister in Christ. Each time I share it helps me too. Much love to you also! (((HUGS)))

    • Just wanted to share: today while driving home, our Christian radio station, Z88.3, played I’m Yours, and after all the times I have heard this song, today: this part of the song popped out at me: I rest my HOPE in you, I’m Yours.. , it is amazing how we hear songs on a daily basis, and then when doing a bible study a lyric will pop out at you, thank you Lord for speaking to my heart today through the lyrics of this song, that brings my JOY….

  45. Jacqueline says:

    Good evening,

    I am blessed by all the comments I read and they give me hope that I, a new believer after 55 years, have been the recipient of God’s mercy and grace all these years. But I am struggling. I am overwhelmed by all that I don’t know but need and want to know and learn. I hunger for it. I desparately want to be a true follower of Christ. Right now my biggest doubt is perhaps I don’t have what it takes to follow the Lord. The more I struggle the more I doubt. But keep going and struggle each day to find my way. I have many regrets and many disappointments and thoughts of some of them shake my core and bring me to my knees to prayer. And I am silent as I don’t know what to say. I am just there on my knees. Hurt and ashamed that I don’t know how to talk to God. So I talk in plain, simple sentences like I am talking to a friend. Then I listen and all I hear is silence. I don’t hear God and I wonder what does it mean? I wonder am I doing something wrong. Renee, you say many times in the chapter four that ‘God showed you.’ How does He show you? On page 76 you ask, “What story is God wanting to write in your life? Will you let him?” I want to let him, but how do I when I don’t know what he wants to write. How do I know God’s plan for me??

    Karen in Canada, Thank You for your honesty. It gave me the courage to share my thoughts. I know God is blessing us right now!

    • coleen hayden says:

      jacqueline, that is exactly where you should be “on my knees…” sister, (’cause that is who you are now that you are a follower of our Lord!) the walk of a christian is a day-by-day thing. we each daily need the grace and mercy that our Father so abundantly provides for each and all of His children. and daily we can grow and change so that our lives emulate that of our Lord Jesus. having the fervent desire that you have to be “true follower of Christ” is a desire that God will fulfill. He wants your (all of our) heart…and it sounds to me like you are seeking Him with yours. keep at it, jacqueline. i am praying for you as i know that so many others here are, too. <3

    • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

      Jacqueline, I relate so much to what you are saying! I have often wondered, “OK, what now Lord? Where are you? What do you want me to do?”. I think I was expecting answers right then, or some small voice telling me what to do, or even a nice audible voice as some have claimed to have heard. I too heard nothing, only silence. However, you know that feeling when you have prayed about something, and you have a decision to make, and you just know in your heart which decision is right. I really believe if it is Biblical, it is God telling you his answer. However sometimes he doesn’t answer right away, or even in a time frame that makes sense. His time is so different from our time, and there is no way to judge it, or measure it. I think that is one of the hardest parts about the Christian walk for me. We live in a fast food society. Everything is instant, and there is not much of a wait for anything anymore. So to wait a long time to hear a response from God, or to see it in our lives (Sometimes you just see the response too. Something, or someone comes along that is an answer to a prayer), is really hard! I am also a girl who likes to be able to hear, see, and touch everything, and with faith and God, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes we can really feel his presence, and sometimes although He is there (He always is) we just can’t feel Him for whatever reason. Never doubt He is there though! Trust in His promises that He always is!

      You talk about past regrets and disappointments. Have you asked God for forgiveness? If you have He has released you from anything you have regrets about. You don’t have to think about them a moment longer. God doesn’t want you to either. He wants you to let it go, and let him fill the place in your heart that is hurting from that past regret. We all have disappointments in our lives as well. Believe me, I do! I lived in the shadow of them for a long time, hating myself, and having very poor self-esteem for it as well. God however has started to show me that by forgiving myself, and others from my past, I can release it to him as well. He will cover the wound in my heart too! There is nothing his blood can’t cover, and no place in your hurting heart He can’t fill. It isn’t something you will feel overnight either. I have to pray daily for Him to fill whatever is hurting that day, to be the friend that I miss, the affection I missed from my childhood, oh, so many things. However I am discovering the more I do it, the more I fill, filled, and the hurt is very slowly slipping away. I am also being released from the burden of my past and all my regrets. So please know that just because you don’t feel it now, doesn’t mean His forgiveness, love, and filling up of your heart isn’t there, or isn’t happening. It will just take a while for you to accept it. Sometimes it is hard to accept it is that easy for God to do those things, but it is! The cross made it that simple. The hard part is letting go of it in our minds, to allow ourselves to accept the gifts He gives us. Believe all of the wonderful promises God is giving you. After you are finished with this book, find another good devotional that you feel you can relate to, and stay in God’s word (It is sometimes easier to be guided through His word until we feel stronger. I know it has been for me. I am going to read The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Jacqueline, I relate so much to what you are saying! I have often wondered, “OK, what now Lord? Where are you? What do you want me to do?”. I think I was expecting answers right then, or some small voice telling me what to do, or even a nice audible voice as some have claimed to have heard. I too heard nothing, only silence. However, you know that feeling when you have prayed about something, and you have a decision to make, and you just know in your heart which decision is right. I really believe if it is Biblical, it is God telling you his answer. However sometimes he doesn’t answer right away, or even in a time frame that makes sense. His time is so different from our time, and there is no way to judge it, or measure it. I think that is one of the hardest parts about the Christian walk for me. We live in a fast food society. Everything is instant, and there is not much of a wait for anything anymore. So to wait a long time to hear a response from God, or to see it in our lives (Sometimes you just see the response too. Something, or someone comes along that is an answer to a prayer), is really hard! I am also a girl who likes to be able to hear, see, and touch everything, and with faith and God, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes we can really feel his presence, and sometimes although He is there (He always is) we just can’t feel Him for whatever reason. Never doubt He is there though! Trust in His promises that He always is!

      You talk about past regrets and disappointments. Have you asked God for forgiveness? If you have He has released you from anything you have regrets about. You don’t have to think about them a moment longer. God doesn’t want you to either. He wants you to let it go, and let him fill the place in your heart that is hurting from that past regret. We all have disappointments in our lives as well. Believe me, I do! I lived in the shadow of them for a long time, hating myself, and having very poor self-esteem for it as well. God however has started to show me that by forgiving myself, and others from my past, I can release it to him as well. He will cover the wound in my heart too! There is nothing his blood can’t cover, and no place in your hurting heart He can’t fill. It isn’t something you will feel overnight either. I have to pray daily for Him to fill whatever is hurting that day, to be the friend that I miss, the affection I missed from my childhood, oh, so many things. However I am discovering the more I do it, the more I fill, filled, and the hurt is very slowly slipping away. I am also being released from the burden of my past and all my regrets. So please know that just because you don’t feel it now, doesn’t mean His forgiveness, love, and filling up of your heart isn’t there, or isn’t happening. It will just take a while for you to accept it. Sometimes it is hard to accept it is that easy for God to do those things, but it is! The cross made it that simple. The hard part is letting go of it in our minds, to allow ourselves to accept the gifts He gives us. Believe all of the wonderful promises God is giving you. After you are finished with this book, find another good devotional that you feel you can relate to, and stay in God’s word (It is sometimes easier to be guided through His word until we feel stronger. I know it has been for me. I am going to read The Power of Praying Through the Bible by Stormie Ormartian after this one. I think it will really help me on my path of continuing to believe in and pray with God’s promises :).

      You don’t have to wonder what is the right way to do anything in the Christian life. It is all in His promises and His word, and as long as you hold on to those things, you need not worry about doing things “the right way”. I think that hurt my relationship with God for a long time. I always felt I had to do everything just so to receive God’s blessings, or to hear Him. it got to the point where I was so worried about doing everything right, that I lost my faith to some degree. I felt defeated. I felt as if I wasn’t dedicated enough. I felt I had to have a special devotion time, pray in a certain place, pray a certain way, read just the right verses. It was exhausting! I finally learned that anywhere I am I can pray, the shower, the car, while I am doing chores, anywhere! I also don’t have to use the right, or fancy words either. How I speak to a friend is exactly how I can speak to Jesus! I can even just say, “Lord, I don’t have the words, but you know my pain. Help!” Even one sentence can be a prayer. As far as being in His word there are a million ways to do it too. You can read a few sentences from any chapter, and write down how it spoke to you. You can meditate, just think on one verse, and talk to the Lord about what it meant to you. Put yourself in any verse you can too (like Renee has been doing use I, and me, after all the Bible is written for you. A love note to you!) it really helps. Get the message Bible in addition to your current Bible. Sometimes it helps to have it put in modern day English, and in a way that speaks to us culturally right now (a dear friend recommended that to me). So as you can see there is no wrong way as long as you are getting in His word daily, and talking to Him.

      Also, I don’t know God’s plan for me as far as my whole life goes. That was a hard question for me too, so don’t feel bad. I am still praying for an answer to that one. However I have found that it helps not to think too far ahead, like it is a life long plan. I think just talking and thinking about His plan for you in the next day, or moment is fine (Is it Renee? :). For me I think right now God’s plan for me is to just learn to feel him and truly believe in His promises. I am going to take that question and apply it to smaller portions of my walk with Him, and where I think I need work in it.

      I hope some of this helped. I am struggling too, and don’t have all the answers, but we both know who does, and I will be praying for you. (((HUGS)))

      • Dallena Hess says:

        Esther S,

        God Bless you! He is really doing a work in your heart from the first time you posted. I’m always encouraged and blessed by your honesty. and your willingness to share. I’ll continue to pray for you and others

        Dallena

        • Esther Smith (formerly Kyrie Eléison) says:

          Hi Dallena! Good to hear from you again 🙂 Thank you so much for all of your encouragement. That is another part of all of the great stuff I am getting from this Bible study, the support on this board from people like you. All of it is being used by God to change my life. I have my trials still, but I am feeling better day by day, as I pray my way through it all. Thank you so much for your prayers! I will be praying for you, and all of the other ladies on the board as well!

  46. Hello Everyone,
    I am new to the study and looking forward to reading this book even though I am quite sure old memories will surface. It is time to face my past and allow G~d to heal.

  47. I posted the verse on my wall at work, still in the begining of chapter 4…tonight Lordwilling will be able to dive a little deeper. I can’t wait….:)

  48. Nancy Welch says:

    Loving the “realness” of this study. This is my first on-line study and I must say it is the best one that I have done. Everyone is so willing to share and open up about things that sometimes are not shared in a group setting face to face. I so appreciate that.
    It is hard to think about the past for me as well. I have tried to bury deep the things that I have done. I know that I am forgiven but I also know that some of the painful things from my past effect my current behavior. I do believe that the Great Physician will heal these broken places as I trust Him too.

  49. I’m so amazed how like others have stated… this is definetely an on-time book for me in this season of my life. I am 24 yrs old, and am currently going through a season in my life where God has come to clean me up from past sins and wounds. Wounds and hurts that I thought I had forgiven, and got over… but God has showed me that in order to heal from those wounds of our sins, we must first be almost “vulnerable” with God. God is definetely one person we can be vulnerable with, because he already knows all already.
    He’s showed me through this study already, things I thought I had forgiven people over; but I had buried that hurt so deep I forgot that it was there. In highschool I got made fun for my outer apperance, and I would cry everyday. Later when God saved me, and I got closer to him and talking to him more daily… I thought I had forgiven them. I had forgiven them in my mind, but not in my heart. God revealed that to me, and he’s also showing me about a guy I dated for 5 years. Just like Renee, he was my first love, my first everything. We done things together, and after we broke up I went straight into another relationship, and didn’t allow myself the “time” to heal from those wounds and hurts, from that relationship.
    I’m so thankful for this study, and for this chapter, and for Renee and all of you. I’m learning its okay to be vulnerable around God. He only wants his best for us, and I need him to clean me up spiritually. I need him to cleanse me with his blood, so I can begin to move forward and not be weighed down by past mistakes, and failures. God is good! It’s amazing what God can and will do if we just let him in our hearts. Can’t wait to see what God is going to reveal to me throughout the rest of this study!!! It’s amazing!

  50. deborah fultner says:

    I didn’t go to God with my pain for over 20 years. Even after I did I still held it tight so that no one would ever know about it. Does this mean I didn’t accepted God’s forgiveness? There have been no circumstances where revealing my pass would benefit anyone. I am still ashamed of some of it- not that which involved relationships, but the stance I took with God. I know I am forgiven, but I don’t believe it’s wrong not to share it.
    Because I was in my 40s I never thought about God having any plans for me. I was in graduate school and working full time so I had no desire to make any changes. I was a nurse and I felt I was serving God through caring for the sick. Within the last 9 years I have felt God was trying to reach me. I now seek God’s will for everything. God had to get my attention and now that he has it, I thank Him for every day for what He has done for me. This book is so encouraging and hope is what I’m feeling now.

  51. Chapter 4 has been such an eye-opener for me. I have never thought those things in my life that have caused pain and shame could ever be used to “tell my story” and ultimately bring glory to the Lord, but I am realizing this truth as I read through chpt 4! I always assumed holding on to the pain, stuffing it away, was my consequence for the choices I made in the past. I am experiencing such freedom in asking God to bring that shame and pain I have been trying to hide from everyone, to the surface, and FILL THE EMPTY PLACES with His love and peace. I find strength in knowing God desires me to face my pain and shame of the past and move on toward a more productive and beautiful life in Him.
    Thank you, Renee, for writing this important chapter, and this book. I, too, experienced a season of anger in my life and was confused as to why it was happening. I sought professional help, prayed, read books, but nothing seemed to help, but time. God has been showing me the unrealalistic expectations I put on my life…the Happily Ever After. I have been, by His grace, slowly letting that skewed ideal of life go, and God is replacing it with real love, grace and His perspective.

  52. Chapter 4 was definitely the hardest chapter, so far, in the book for me to read. I think as often as we try and run from our past, it will always catch up at some point. My past entered my marriage and literally poisoned it at one point. I had such bitterness from my past and formed unrealistic expectations on my husband to help escape the past that it just led to bitterness and resentment in our own marriage. We went to counseling and discovered we both entered our marriage with ghosts from our past. I think once we moved past that it only made our relationship stronger.

    Moving past events in the past has always been hard for me, and I think it’s why I struggled so much with this chapter. This chapter helped more than you will ever know, and it is my hope that I can keep moving forward and listening more to what God wants me to do now.

  53. thank you Renee. I had so much shame for so many years from all my imorality. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. If I dont have someone to love me I am going to die. It haunted me for many years. Now I am 63 and I no longer live in fear of someone finding out about my past. God brought to my mind of different times long time ago and we walked through it together and I have peace now. I am realizing that I am a child of the King and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. As you were talking about Sam in chapter 4 and her 5 husbands it made me think I had a whole lot more than 5. Love in Christ, mary

  54. Tenisha says:

    I just re-read this chapter, and I must admit this was a hard pill to swallow. I have always regarded myself as the strong person, and it wasn’t until now that I realized I used this facade as a defense mechanism for the pain that was in my heart. I read the devotional this morning and broke into a million pieces. I simply didn’t realize how much I carried, or expected others to carry.

    This chapter has started the process for me of truly looking at past events in light of how God used them.

  55. Tenisha says:

    I have a question for the group…what are you currently doing to get past your past so to speak? Oftentimes, we think that our flaws and past are the worst possible thing. While reading Chapter 4 was gut wrenching for me, it also gave me hope that I could move past this point. I know it is easier said than done, but I had a good cry, prayed, and am working out the processes of forgiveness in my life. I uncover new things, and deal with them accordingly.

  56. I believe rejection has been big in my life…My mom left my dad when I was six years old along with four other siblings..when I ask god to show me the broken places, I was surprised that there needed to be more healing in that area..I thought I,d gotton threw that…I thankfull to God for showing me that….I also have been in a lot of unhealthy relationship…sooo thankful to God that he is helping through this. when you talked about 10 year ago when god spoke to you about Isaih 61 I to remember that scripture he gave me sometime ago….I got fired from my job and went back to school to get my ged…guess where I work today? In a prison as a correctional officer …God is awsome ..guest what I love it….my prayer life has gotten better…lol..I ask god to let me see these inmate the way he see them .. be careful what you ask for…god show me this guy in there one day… his Brokeness . broke my heart…I had to fight the tears back. thanks for your book study its doing some awsome things.talk again later. Brenda

  57. Dawn Gisclair says:

    I have not read your book yet, but I have felt God leading me to your book as I read your daily posts. I actually got on amazon one day to purchase it, but had problems logging in to my account and ended up giving up. This seems to be a theme in my life. As much as I have wanted to change, the worse I get. I really enjoyed your video, but what stuck out to me and really grabbed my attention was the part about figuring out where my “doubts” came from. That was like an ah ha moment for me. I am a married, 33 year old mother of 2. I am truly truly blessed by the wonderful gifts God gave to me of being a wife and a mother. Although I have fully embraced and am completely confident in those roles, I have no idea WHO I AM or whammy place is in this world. I was raised in a Christian home, strayed, and have been led back to a Godly path. But, I have struggled for quite some time with just trying to find my place. This has caused me such grief in starting things and giving up. I start out with such fire but fizzle out very quickly. I went to college after becoming a mother. Started out in nursing school and quit with only 3 semesters left because I didn’t like it. Decided to switch my major to General Studies just to graduate so I could get my teaching certification. With only 12 hours left had to put those plans to the side to find some sort of means of income to help support our family when we were thrown into a horrible financial crisis. Now I am struggle each and every day A’s a working mom at some job that has no purpose. This is just one example. I just pray that one day I will not wonder who I am and what my purpose is. And I will find true inner happiness! So thank you from the bottom of my heart for the little bit of inspiration I have received from your video message today! God Bless!!!

  58. WOW!!!! I wanted to after Chapter 2…….. In fact I set it down for 2 weeks and finally picked it back up determined to do this… THANK YOU!!!!! My pain is so real and I have felt I have noone that wants to hear or cares…. God Bless you!

  59. So I’m still stuck on the timeline. I finally was able to watch the prior videos and yesterday’s blog post/video.

    Before this study I read Suzie Eller’s book “The Mom I Want to Be” and was/am still working on my past. I loved the book. It was a very difficult read and I had to put it down many times to process.

    Now I’m at Chapter 4 in this book and have to write down the timeline and I’m stuck. So obviously I have not completely healed as I thought I was after reading the Suzie Eller book.

    I’ll be honest, I know exactly what the events are in my past that have painful memories and/or feelings. My fear is that if I write these events down, I will be affirming the negativity associated with them. Basically, the events all point to the fact that I’ve failed in whatever capacity that was afforded to me.

    To be fair, my mind tells me that my thinking is flawed and that my value does not come from work, or education, or even what other people tell me. My mind tells me that my value comes from God. My mind tells me that I of course need to accept responsibility for my part of the various events in my past. But my heart takes it one step further and tells me to accept responsibility for everything, which again, my mind tells me is flawed.

    I cannot reconcile what my mind believes to be true with what my heart and what that critical voice is telling me. To write down the events on paper is almost like I’m presenting evidence to my mind to believe the lies.

    And so I am having difficulty writing it down. If I write down the pain then I feel like it becomes true. Do I have to write the events down to be able to move forward? What alternatives are available for me to move past so that I can continue this study?

    Here is another disclaimer: Getting everything in writing is such a foundation of my career, so that may also be adding to my thinking.

    Thank you.

    • The only reason to look at the past is for it to help us in our future. That is biblical, we are to be reflective and help others from our past diffulties. Believe me, the ways we were sinned against in the past effect us today. I would recommend a book/study called The Journey. If you need the author let me know and i’ll find.

  60. Crystal says:

    Thank you, Renee, for doing this study again! This time I am memorizing the scriptures!!! As I take my dog for her 10-minute walk every morning, I say the verse over and over in my head. The first day I may only get through the first line or so, but I also meditate on what it means. And by the third or fourth day, I know it, not just head knowledge but in my spirit : ) Thank you for all your work!

  61. I just had to share this and it is my first time ever sharing here. I read the post today on Proverbs31 Woman about texting your kids a bible verse. Well, it spoke to me so I texted my 2 married children and their spouses one of my fav verses, Rom 15:13. I just hopped on this blog and what is the key verse for the week!! God speaks to me all the time, I need to be more aware of it!!

  62. Kathy Hakes says:

    I am so glad that we have a God of HOPE who heals our broken hearts. He has healed my broken heart.

  63. A dear Christian sister helped me through some of the issues w/the timeline in chpt 4. Something we did that was helpful-wrote a letter to the people that hurt us(not to send) just to deal with it and forgive. Something real important too I learned is we are responsible for our own (sin) reactions that develop as a result. Our past effects our response to things today and we really don’t even realize it….

  64. Renee,
    Wow!! I am one of those ladies who wanted to quit!! So much so that just today, Holy Spirit had me come back to chapter 4 emails before (trying to) move forward. I am so blessed to know it is a common feeling to want to give up here.
    I think my biggest struggle is trusting God with the pain. Especially the pain of being disappointed in my walk with Him. I wrote in my journal…”I don’t trust God with my pain. It is mine. I own it. It defines me. It regulates my thoughts and emotions. It is a deep seeded pain, it’s roots are strong.”
    I too felt overwhelmed by the timeline…too much to process at one time…and I am very analytical. It just palin hurts my head when I try too hard to figure it all out!! LOL!
    At any rate, I decided to move forward and reading Ch 5 was much easier…so back to this week!

  65. I agree that our past effects our automatic responses to things in our present and looking at it with the Lord is very freeing. I was the victim of “mean girls” incidents when I was in Jr High that escalated to the point where I ended up in the emergency room with a concussion. I have been learning how this effects my friendships.

    With the Lords help maybe I can be His hands and feet and when other women gossip and judge others I can remember to share how Jesus’ heart for Sam.

  66. i

  67. Just finished chapter four and cried all the way through it. This chapter has opened every wound I believe I had hidden for yrs. I am a women who struggled through almost every possible senerio you can imagine and have had to protect my children from Domestic Abuse from my ex-husband. I have moved to several locations many times and when My current Husband willing followed and knew the situation but still married me and well I am learning after reading this book I never once appreciated him for his sacrifice or thanked him for up and moving were ever it may have been at that time. I wanted the same things Renee that prince charming someone to love me and I had it he always told me I love you for who you are and all that you are and my response would be even when I get fat and old and ugly not thank you. As you may remember My husband recently left or abandoned what ever it is in a email from afganistan saying he doesn’t love me or the step kids anymore and we are to disfunctinal and that he would like me to file for a divorce becouse hes overseas and cannot and that he never wants to see or hear from us ever again and he made that very clear in his email that he did not want to ever see me again period. My heart burst and broke and at that very moment my world stopped i stopped and i stumbled across your page and watched your video and here I am today. I also see that I have absolutely zero friends becouse of the isolation and not wanting to be found I made zero friends I stay in my home unless i have a doctors appointment. Or the kids have a event The biggest one I have to get ready for is my daughters graduation I am already finding reasons not to go and the only reason is I’m not ready for her to leave me. See in my head she is leaving me like everyone else in my life ohhh I need seriouse prayers from anyone and everyone I feel good cause I know God loves me and I need to seek him, but I am not going to lie I am hurting and hitting a pole doesn’t seem so bad. I just need prayer to help me figure out were to start to heal this wounded flesh of mine.

  68. Aly, like you I just read chapter 4 and was in tears all the way through it. I read your post and it also brought me to tears! I don’t have any words for you as I am new at this too, but TRUST HIM. HE will guide you through everything you are experiencing and feeling. HE knows your heart and has a purpose for your pain. Although it make not make sense now, HE WILL turn you mess into a message. I will be praying for you in His name, Amen.

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