{Week 5} Turning Toward the 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.

Giveaway Winners:

The winners of my May 9th giveaway are: Kristen B, Tara, Audrey, Mary M. and Carolyn K
You will each receive a copy of A Confident Heart and my testimony/teaching message Letting God Fill My Empty Places

The winners of last Wednesday’s May 16th giveaway are: Kristi Stirler, Amy Martin & Kim S.
You will each receive a copy of A Confident Heart, my “Rest Assured” message on CD and a Starbucks gift card.

The winners of Rachel’s Ebook, The Scent of Prayer are: Roberta D, Tatia, Laura Y, Belinda & Debbie.
You will receive a free Ebook download.

*We have all of your emails so we’ll be in touch with details about your gifts this week.

 

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. I am currently facing the doubts of of my marriage. My husband is emotionally seperated from me and is choosing to NOT discuss anything that is affecting him with me. He is also closing himself off from allowing me to discuss things that are affecting me. He has reduced our conversations to the logistics of who needs to be where when, weather & sports. He is choosing to discuss these issues with others (specifically another woman). In turn, this has left me with no one to discuss my recovery from disordered eating with. I feel very alone. The woman he has been talking to lives out of state and they have not seen each other in 20+ years, and now all of a sudden he has taken it upon himself to track her down & call & text her – A LOT. He briefly mentioned to me that he had called her & she had told him that she had recently recovered from an eating disorder. I am very hurt that he discussed her disorder with her (and perhaps whatever is bothering him) but he won’t discuss these things with me. It makes me feel even more alone. It makes me feel like I’m not important enough or special enough to talk to. The loneliness is choking me. I really need someone to talk to. But, I sense God wants to conquer this loneliness with me and give me the strength to rely on Him. I will have to constantly remind myself that God loves me. I’m important to Him – I’m beautiful to Him – I’m of great value to Him.

    • Oh, Anna, I am so sorry for your pain. My sister-in-law gave me a wonderful book that I am reading alongside with A Confident Heart. It is called Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. They may have a version that is specifically for marriages. This book has really helped me to see how to function in relationships in a healthy way. Maybe it could ease some doubt and give you some practical advice? It is from a Christian perspective. Please know that, despite feeling lonely, you are NOT alone! God loves you,and He wants you to rely on Him, but He also wants you to be in relationship with others who can support you. Is there a good friend, church group, or counselor who can help hold you up? I will pray for God to bring someone into your life to help. And, some words I cling to are from MercyMe’s song “Beautiful”: Before you ever took a breath, long before the world began, of all the wonders He possessed, there was one more precious. Of all the earth and skies above, you’re the one He madly loves enough to die!”

    • Marilyn says:

      Anna, I’m kinda going to rock the boat here. You and your husband are in serious need of marriage counseling. If he won’t go with you then you go alone. His behavior is not acceptable and if you don’t set the boundary now, it will get worse. I have found that many people believe that as long as there is no sexual relations involved in a relationship that it isn’t really cheating. It is. When a spouse takes his/her problems to a member of the opposite sex that is not a professional counselor, it is opening the door. Close it and close it now.

      This book helped me tremendously. It’s out of print now but it can be found in public libraries or through an online sale. “The Prodigal Spouse How to Survive Infidelity” by Dr. Les Carter. I read it once and found all of my husband’s faults and promptly set about telling God how to fix him. I read it a second time and found myself there and God promptly set about changing me. (grumble & moan) That’s how God works it.

      I say this with confidence because I have lived it. My husband chose not to save his marriage to me but God gave me my greatest blessing in spite of it, because I chose to remain faithful to God’s faithfulness to make it right.

      The blessing: I can say with a confident heart that I am absolutely truly joyous and happy with who God has helped me to become. I no longer need the affirmation of others to value myself. It has taken me 12 long years to get there, the lonliness was overwhelming at times. I surrounded myself with the my child, my grandchildren, my hobbies, the groups I joined to enable my hobbies, the women’s group at church, the women I met through those groups. I learned that I am talented, smart and funny. The women in these groups help to affirm that to me. I no longer obssess about my weight, my hair, my skin. Negative people are every where you go, surround yourself with those who will lift you up. 100 women against 1 cheating man was a hands down winner for me. You go, girlfriend. I’m praying for you. As Chris Tomlin sings “I lift my hands to believe again. ….. let faith arise.” And every single day I pray my life verses over my new life. Isiah 41:10-13. We all understand about fear but it was those middle verses that made me realize God was for me… He upheld me because I chose to seek after righteousness, he made my enemies as nothing at all.

    • Vanessa Wynn says:

      Keep repeating God’s truths to yourself. Nothing else really matters. YOU are a child of the KING! You are who HE says you are. You are beautiful. You are cherished. You are an overcomer. You are strong. You are peaceful. You are comforted. THESE, beautiful friend, are God’s truths. He loves you – He adores you! I have these truths taped all the way around my mirror in the bathroom. I read them while I wash my hands or dry my hair. Put HIS words in and that is what comes out. You’ll be in my prayers. Remember Jeremiah 29:11, too – …plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future!

    • Heather says:

      I agree with the counseling comment. I’m so sorry to say this, but your husband is having an affair. Whether or not they are seeing each other physically, it’s an emotional affair and that leads to worse. The way he is shutting you out is classic of someone having an affair. Does he travel for business? If he does, then there is a chance he is seeing her in person when he travels.

      Please do get some counseling and figure out how you are going to confront him and set a boundary. What he is doing is wrong. You need to pray, but God also wants us to take action in our lives. If we pray for a job, we can’t sit around waiting for someone to knock on our door and offer it. We apply for jobs and get out there to look for it. If we pray for our marriage, the same thing applies, we must take action, get counseling, talk with our spouse and do things to make it better. I’m so sorry you are facing this. Get counseling help so you aren’t facing this alone.

    • Anna, your story breaks my heart. I am praying for you as we speak. Lord Jesus, please be with your daughter. Help her know that she is so dearly loved by you. You care for her in a way that no one else can. Jesus, please heal Anna’s marriage. You are a God of redemption and a God of miracles. You won’t stop at anything less. Jesus help Anna to feel you close.

      Anna, I agree with the marriage counseling comment. What your husband is engaging in is not healthy and is extremely dishonoring to you. He needs to be held accountable for his actions. Be strong and courageous friend and seek out help. God will be with you throughout this journey!

      A verse that has helped me so much is Psalm 45:11
      For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

      Jesus is your husband first and foremost and will never leave you.

      Praying for you!

    • Anna, first let me say that I am deeply sorry that you are having to go through this, but I do know that God will never give us more than we can handle. Reading your comment, I really felt that I could identify with your pain on so many levels. Up until this past January, I had been living a life of pain, loneliness, doubt, fear and anger. My husband was letting alcohol and drugs (both prescription and street) run his life and destroy our home. He had also told me that he no longer was in love with me and that he was thinking of having an affair, that he was fantasizing constantly about other women. My family was falling apart… my son began having problems in school and my daughter was cutting herself to try to escape her pain. On January 8th of this year, everything just hit me and I realized that I had been trying to “fix” things on my own for far to long. I thought if I was a better wife, a better mother or more successful, I could change things… change my husband… maybe make him love me again. I realized that I was in desperate need of God’s help and I cried out to him and asked him to relieve me…to give me a way out. Up to that point, I was so afraid of asking my husband to leave. I thought I would be dishonoring God and I was also afraid to be alone. I didn’t know how I would make it financially… it was horrifying. But God had his plan and knew what was ahead and so that day in my deepest sorrow, I put my trust in Him and boy did He deliver. Long story short, the next day, I asked my husband to leave and told him that he could come back home if and when he could make the right choices and be the father and husband God wanted him to be. After a little over a week, he began a recovery program and we started counseling. He also started going to church with me and has since accepted Christ into his life. In two weeks, our entire family will be getting baptized and my husband has expressed interest in joining our church. During the time my husband was gone, a dear friend paid my rent, my niece bought our groceries, friends bought me dinner at work… it goes on and on. Let me tell you , this is NOT a fairytale. This is God’s mighty handiwork. It hasn’t been an easy road but then neither is the road to heaven. He will give you the strength to get through it. I hope that my story will give you hope, my friend. You will be in my prayers.

      • coleen hayden says:

        julie, thank you-thank you for sharing with us what God has been graciously doing in your life…and in your family. it is good to praise the Lord…and you have given us yet ANOTHER reason to do so. He is SO good! <3

    • Kristen Barkdull says:

      I am so very sorry to hear this! I can understand why you are feeling the way that you are. I will be praying for you. If you need a friend to talk too feel free to e-mail me at kristen_lee_68@yahoo.com. If there is anyhting I can do, please let me know. Until then I will pray that God will speak to you and help you through this!

    • Anna, there is some really wise counsel being shared here from others. I wholeheartedly agree with all of them. Boundaries need to be set and action needs to be taken. I’m so thankful you are sharing here, taking par of this study and God is rallying sisters in Christ to speak truth to your heart. I believe He’s answering your prayers for wisdom. You are not alone!! Im praying for you to walk in the truth and for you to be surrounded by the Body of Christ there where you live, too.

    • coleen hayden says:

      anna, i am echoing the prayers and godly support and advice offered to you by our dear sisters. may God bless you and keep you (and each of your family) and continue to provide your daily bread. i look forward to hearing the praiseworthy report of God’s deliverance and provision! <3

  2. Hi Renee:

    What struck me the most, and the word I underlined is the word “turning.” When negativity strikes we have to TURN toward God, and His promises. It is “turning” that leads to transforming, as we allow our hearts to be made new, and transforming leads to believing as God’s thoughts become our truth.” I love that and now understand the process. The first step is to turn.

    Another idea that I really liked was when you said we find “find lasting confidence” only when we identify ourselves as children of God. I think it is very liberating to know that we can be children of a holy God and so can lead holy lives.

    I am learning and growing a lot through this study.

    Thanks a ton,
    Anna

    • christine lowe says:

      Dear Anna
      Wishing God’s love will fill your lonely spaces. Your hurt jumps out in your post. I can only imagine how heart breaking your situation is. You are a daughter of the King and are worth more than your husband knows. Praying that Jesus will fill your heart with His love.

  3. Deborah Dean says:

    This is the first on-line bible study I have done. The book has been very enlightening and given me alot of insight. I have been afraid of sharing my thoughts by way of email for different reasons. So this week was difficult because I have not been interacting with other people doing the bible study and I had to look at some things that I am aware of but painful. I thank all the people who have been putting posts they have been a source of encouragement for me. I have read the 5th chapter and it has been great. I thank God for all of you. Deborah Dean.

  4. Kim Ward says:

    A few things that stood out to me in this chapter were:
    -I know I have to take my eyes off myself and turn them toward the light. Were in a world were it’s all about me…. but in the spiritual world of God’s kindgom, it’s God taking our eyes off ourselves, and turning them to Him, and others.
    -Our hearts will only find lasting confidence when we find our identity as children of God. I so want to know who I am in Christ. I want to see what he sees when he looks at me… who am I in Christ?
    -Turning was really my favorite! God’s Word is what transforms us, and helps us to turn away from ourselves, doubt, and the darkness. I want God to turn me around and turn me to Him. Let his LIGHT take away the darkness inside. I’ve learned that one of our biggest enemies can be ourselves….
    *Another thing that I’m learning through this study and book is the big word COMMITMENT! I’ve always been somebody who gave up when things are too hard. I would never apply myself to anything… especially when things wouldn’t going the way I wanted them to. I really want to commit to God, and this study, and his work… so I’ll be able to commit to others, and possibly marriage one day. I don’t want to ever give up on God, he’s never gave up on me!

    Love this chapter!

  5. wow, turn. Still looking into the meaning of this. Very deep. I turn aside and I turn toward Him and I turn around to allow the Light to penetrate deep within me. I turn away from myself to find myself, Him, others, it’s all true. Thank you for being encouraging and supportive.

  6. Virginia S says:

    I have been looking at my shadow of things that were told to me from day one of my human life. My mother refused to take me because I didn’t look like my blonde, blued eyed, fair skinned brother and sister. I had dark hair, eyes that were so dark they looked black and dark skinned. She did take me, but always kept telling me that story, plus that I wasn’t as good as my brother, I wouldn’t amount to anything like he did. My sister had died shortly after her birth the year before I was born. That added the statement that I wouldn’t have been concieved if she had lived. I realize now as a grown woman that Mom was hurting. I can’t live in her prison of doubts and hurts that caused her to be so angry. Thankful that God my Heavenly Father doesn’t want me to live like that.
    So TURN!! Turn away from negative thoughts.Turn to God is written in my book on page 93 in large letters. Turn towards Truth. Turn towards the light of God’s promises. Turn and be about living our (my) life in God’s truth.

    • Virgina,
      You have turned a negative experience into a postive by opening your heart to God’s truth for you. God’s truth is what matters and you are so very special to him. He chose for you to be born just as you are with dark skin and dark eyes. God doesn’t make mistakes, no one is exactly like you, as noted in your post above, you have a caring heart and a true devotion to the Lord.

    • Virgina,
      I can relate to your story about your mom. I was the baby of four children in a family where my father didn’t want any kids. I was always told by my mom that I was a mistake and later found out that my parents fought when they found out they were pregnant with me. I love your statement “turn away from negative thoughts”. I am working through a lot of past issues growing up and this book and all of you wonderful ladies give me the encouragement to know I can do this. Just the reminder that God loves me and can use any of my past hurts for good. Thank you Renee for this great study.

  7. This is my second time reading this book, but my first time for the online study. I know this is a smaller chapter, but is one of my favorites. My struggle with self confidence in the past has come from fear of failure, fear of diappointing and fear of not being good enough for other people. I’m learning to keep my eyes on Him because His love for me is unconditional and no matter what mistakes I make, my confidence is in His love for me and there is nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me.

    So my my favorite section was Changing My Focus: “….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 things about us.”

    My many years of striving to be perfect and pleasing to other people had left me feeling defeated, hopeless and like a failure. I was a workaholic, working 50-60 hours a week, and while I had a successful career I never could feel satisfied or complete as a person or as God’s child. “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.”

    After reading this book for the first time I have started on my journey to a confident heart through Christ, and yes it has been a journey (hence why I’m doing the study). This has meant my living a life dependent on God, rather than myself. So I had to highlight this section in God Is Not Limited by Our Limitations because it is oh so true! “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.”

    And finally I know this has been a journey to a confident heart and will continue to be one, probably for the rest of my life, but there was something that Renee said that was SO important in Getting Past Our Past, “When doubt washes over me, often it is because something has happened to trigger my old emotions and create thoughts in my mind that are similar to those I had as a child.” There WILL be things that will trigger these insecurities–I’ve already started to realize this. “When I find myself standing in the shadow of doubt, I ask Him to show me what triggered my doubt and got me to start turning away from His truth. I ask Him to shine the light of His Word on my heart so I can see His reality versus the lies I am believing.”

    Thanks Renee for writing this book and doing this online study. I am excited about doing this study with a ladies group at church in the near future.

    • This is my first online study too.

      I agree with what you are saying about striving and look at striving as doing things without depending Him. so maybe when we strive we are in the shadow instead of turning to the Light….

      Also, does anyone else see “turning” as the same repentence? When we repent, we turn from our sin.

  8. Jennifer Barber says:

    The part of chapter 5 that spoke to me the most is on p. 87: “When we focus 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.” And on page 86, “Think about it for just a minute. As you went through your day today, how many times did you wonder if you were measuring up to someone’s expectations?” I’ve been insecure since childhood. Because of my father’s job, I moved 7 times before I turned 14 years old. It seemed that I was always the new kid trying to fit in, trying to get people to like me. And I’m doing the same thing as an adult. I am a chronic worrier, not necessarily about big things, but just the everyday struggle to feel like I belong. I’ve managed to cover up my insecurity in most situations, but keeping my insecurities under wrap is stressful and exhausting. I’ve suffered from migraine headaches for over 40 years and I know it’s because my thoughts are such a jumble most of the time. I like the phrase that says “we have GIVEN THAT PLACE AWAY.” In other words, I have a CHOICE to either leave room in my thoughts for God, which leads to truth and clarity, or I can allow my thoughts to be overcome by insecurity and fear of what everyone thinks of me. This week, I am going to find some bible verses that I can use when I catch myself worrying about other people’s opinions.

  9. IOh, I love everyone’s comments! we encourage each other! I want to turn away from negative thinking and turn to God. There are negative people in my life, and when I’m around these negative people, I become like them. I do what I don’t want to do. God seems so far away when I’m around these negative people! He wants me to trust him. I’m going to keep praying for his help to trust him, and I want to turn to him and away from negative thoughts. Just knowing that the negative people are trying to make me miserable like them makes me angry inside, then, i just become like them! I’m just going to pray for help! This study is helping me so much! and reading all the comments and we all encourage each other! Thank you Renee! God found me a great study!

  10. Dallena Hess says:

    What kinda jumped out for me was “we weren’t not destined to block the light or be the light”. I’ve learned that this is so true-it’s not about me rather it’s all about him. I have to remind my self to live in a way that draws people to THE LIGHT and that I’m just a vessel so others can see him thru me and know how good he is just by watching me.

    And-“it’s just that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God” Again, i can get critical of others because I’ve not made it all about him but rather myself.

    • Shannon Steckel says:

      That is what spoke to me. I know in many cases this year the people who have encourage me with awesome spirit is Jesus speaking through them since they listen to Him and follows Him. It is so inspiring to realize Jesus speaking through people and we are never alone for God will never part. His love is always in our heart.

      I also like the comment when we change our thinking as it was mentioned (Romans 8:6) the mind set on the flesh is devil, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. How true. I know when I put God first in my life I have this calm feeling. It makes you feel free. I still have my days like we all do but we have to look at the sky because that is where the light is even in the dark of night. Sunlight is in the morning, stars out at night, the moon that shines bright. during storms there is lightening. Actually, when you think it is an awesome beauty that God created.

  11. Karen in Canada says:

    It is amazing to me how I can relate and identify to almost everything that everyone shares in this wonderful community!
    So far this book has been simple and powerful, not necessarily easy to swallow at times. Since the beginning of the study I’ve been dealing with insomnia. Coincidence? I think not!!
    However, it has allowed me time to think deeper while working through this powerful book. Of the many things I’ve highlighted so far in Chapter 5, identifying with the ‘hurt little girl’, was an eye opener! Reading how ‘powerful yet immature emotions from my past rise to the surface’ is unfortunately what still happens to me on a daily basis!! Crazy for a forty something year old!!!
    The section ‘Turning toward the truth’ will probably continue to reveal it’s power to me as I reread and study that this week. The number of doubts that have lured me include all that are listed in this section and many more. I have too often felt not good enough, not educated enough, too ugly, too fat, insane…. the list is quite endless. As Renee states, this has stopped me from living in the security of God’s promises!
    For decades now, I have allowed my thinking (doubts) lead me to feel exactly like Renee states; defeated, discouraged, and paralized by uncertaintly. These feelings are strong in my marriage at this time, and I am too quick to blame my husband for my pain. Turning toward God, truth and light is exactly what I must learn to do. I have heard that our circumstances (or condition) will not determine our destiny! To God be the Glory.
    His grace is enough for me!!! ( and all of you!!!)

    Thank you AGAIN Renee for this study for women like me:)
    Karen

  12. January says:

    Loved this chapter. The beginning of this year was pretty rough for me. Stuck In a rut of worry and doubt which lead to anxiety and negativity. Reading this book (twice now) has really aided me to change my thinking and perspective so much. TURN… When those negative thoughts or memories creep up TURN to him. Lean not unto your understanding… Love this book and especially this chapter

  13. Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

    I found several very important points Renee has mentioned in Chapter 5 that I can truly relate to, and I’m sure many of us women understand it deeply too:

    pg. 86
    “We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we’re performing and what others are thinking about us.
    (this is so super true for me- and I don’t mean to do this, but subconciously I do this all the time-I need to focus on HIM and not me)

    pg. 87
    “If I wanted to walk ourt of the shadow of my doubts, I knew I would have to take my eyes off myself and turn them toward the light.
    (Again – this hit me- stop focusing on the things around me and look toward GOD)

    pg 88-89
    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.
    (another lesson learned- LET GO LET GOD)

    pg91
    I am so like Gideon!!! I too fall into the comparison trap, comparing my abilities to others. I’m filled with so much self doubt… In the face of comparison, conflict and criticism- I too take my eyes off God’s strength and focus om my weaknesses, just like Gideon.

    pg93 THE BEST PART OF THIS CHAPTER (at least for me)
    TURNING:
    Turning away from self
    Turning toward GOD
    Turning away from doubt
    Turning toward truth
    Turning away from darkness
    Turning toward light

    So as we turn toward HIS LIGHT we can concentrate on living, loving and leading others toward HIS LIGHT.

    Father- Thank you for shining your light upon me, Thank you for never giving up on me, Thank you for loving me… May I be confident and take courage to shine my light to those who live in darkness. I pray for all my online sisters to be blessed to feel your loving embrace. In your precious son’s name Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

    Aloha from Hawaii xxoxoxox

  14. Pg 94 says: “When doubt overshadows my thoughts, help me shift my focus back to You.”

    That’s it for me!

  15. Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

    Renee-

    I pray you feel better soon- I caught a cold that lasted 3 weeks and turned into Upper Respiratory Infection- I also lost my voice for 2 weeks… It was cetainly was a SUPER BUG… I was put on antibiotics 3 times a day for 10 days…
    Lord- please heal this wonderful woman of God an almighty humble servant-you are the great Healer please heal Renee and comfort her from the top of her head to the toes on her feet. We Love & Worship you Lord- In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

    Aloha from Hawaii xoxoxoxox

    • Dallena Hess says:

      Renee-

      I hope you feel better soon as well. I’m not feeling well either with the cough/congested chest that is going around. I hate getting sick in the late spring/early summer because it seems it drags on forever!

      Praying for you sweet sister!

  16. Bonani( South Africa) says:

    Renee “wow” this chapter speaks to me as i am like Gideon. Lord i am so happy that i am part of this study group. I am turning away from myself.
    Wow i read the chapter twice and God is talking to me.

  17. Amy McCardle says:

    Thank you Renee for doing this study. Didn’t realize I was so trapped in doubt. As I’ve been reading chapter 5 the two things that stuck out the most is like Gideon ive let the perception of myself be past on my past. God pointed out to me that I’m no longer the person of my past I am new in Him. And u have put so much attention on myself and fitting in that I have lost focus on what God has for me. It’s such a blessing to know His grace covers all. Thanks again. Amy

  18. I loved the “turning” part of this chapter! I have always been, almost naturally, bent toward responding negatively. I am discovering that it has been something I have hid behind, to get a laugh or some response…trying to connect or receive acceptance from others b/c I didn’t feel as though I had anything else to offer. It is very easy to get sucked into negative thinking and excuse it for humor. God is revealing this through every chapter….He is peeling back one layer at a time of the lies and deceit I have allowed myself to get caught up in thoughout my life.
    I am turning away from negative responses and God is showing me that I have so much more to offer in a conversation than tearing someone else down for a good laugh. I am re-reading chapter 5 this week to let it all soak in that much more and to listen to God speak to me deeply filling those empty spaces with His love and compassion.

    • You are so right Sherri when you said that it is easy to get caught up in the negative thinking and putdowns as a form of humour. For years I was the queen of putdowns of myself to make people laugh and accept me. When asked why I did this, I responded that it was better for me to do it first then to have someone else say negative things to me. I lacked confidence in my life and have been dealing with it ever since, especially with abandonment and a divorce. Much of where we are today is from the lies we have heard and have believed. I now know that God is working in and through me to bring His truths to light, and He is working in all the women who are seeking to step out of the shadows. Praise be to you God!

  19. …”we cast a shadow of doubt in our minds by blocking [refusing to receive] the light of God’s truth in our hearts.”
    We grow so accustomed to believing what the enemy says about us that we allow our hearts to grow cold and hard to the Word…the Truth…the Light of Christ in our lives.
    Right before I started this study this verse came to me…”today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert…”
    Through this study, and especially in reading Ch 5, I can see where my disappointments with God have caused my heart to get hard. I can see where my “wilderness wandering” the last 8 years started and why. (I am in that wilderness even while walking with God.) If this is my “testing in the desert” I am grateful that these tests last a lifetime and I haven’t failed it!! It is time for me to TURN!! It is time to go to the well, where Jesus is waiting for me!! ♥
    After Ch 4, I am grateful for the simplicity in Ch 5…I feel encouraged again!!

  20. August Rose says:

    Thanks so much ladies for sharing. I think I gleaned something from every person. As I read chapter 5 I realized I need to turn. I have been thinking negative thoughts about myself wondering how I could have allowed my husband to deceive me. Everytime I think of a lie I believed about me coming from his mouth/the enemy I turn. It is difficult because at times I can still hear his voice. I am turning to hear our heavenly Father’s voice.

  21. What spoke most to me in this chapter was, “Turning would be crucial.”

    “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.” Deuteronomy 2:3

    I heard God whisper to me recently that it was time to turn…turn towards the light. I had been going around the same mountain for too long. It was when I heard His words that I choose to completely surrender to him. It was then that after 13 years of struggling with an eating disorder that I was finally able to turn towards the light and let go of the darkness.

    Turning truly has been crucial for me!!!

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I continue to be transformed by your book.

    (((hugs)))

  22. Two sentences caught my attention – “the insecurities from my past are not the truth in my life” & “God sees beyond who I am to who I can become”. Powerful thoughts! Too often I let the insecurities of my past become the truth in my life. It is so encouraging to know that God can see beyond what I am right now & has a future planned for me. Absolutely awesome!

    • Cynda, those two sentences were the ones that spoke to me through this study also. Doing the timeline really helped me to see an overall theme in my insecurites. I have reviewed my life before through other books, counselors, etc. but it helped me to see how things repeat themselves…. I am recently divorced (tried everything before that point…almost all the books, christian marriage courses, counselors, etc.) and am all my own trying to start over and trying to trust God…instead of trying to rely on myself. I pray for all of us doing this study that we may find what we need and accept God into our hearts.

  23. “It’s important for us to realize that damaged emotions and insecurities from our past have a powerful influence over how we see ourselves today.” Wow, what a powerful statement! SO TRUE!! The Lord has been working on my heart all this year through various online studies to help me work through childhood pain. It truly has affected how I have lived my life. Praise Him that He is ready for me to “turn north” and grow into the woman that He can more fully worth through!

  24. Wow. In this chapter I felt quite a bit of conviction. Turn to His thoughts, not mine. And really, His are so much greater!

    My insecurities are how easily I am deceived and how afraid I am to ask tough questions. The first is most likely the product of the second. I have always been too shy to ask questions, all through school, in the workplace…actually, too afraid to ask. I saw myself as a coward and this past Lenten season, decided I would give up cowardice. Easier said than done, still working on it. During that journey, I realized where this fear came from. God showed me the memory of “Insecurities from my past.”

    I remember as a little girl hearing a foul word on the playground. I knew I could ask my daddy anything, so I asked him what “it” meant. His immediate reaction hearing that word from my mouth was a slap across the face. I remember hurt, physical and emotional. And my father was never violent. Except for this instance, I don’t remember him ever hitting any of us 5 kids. And rarely even raising his voice. He is a wonderful, God loving man. Looking back, I think his reaction shocked him as much as it did me. But I was a little girl, and it scared me so bad. And I stopped asking questions. Not on purpose. Just happened. Became a habit. A familiar fear came over me whenever I wanted to ask a question, especially a tough one.

    I am 40 years old now, and praising God that He showed me the source of my anxiety. That it is unnecesary. That, to be ridiculously simple, if I want to know something I need to ask. That the response from my asking questions is not something I need to fear. To see the light in this, I think I’ve been blessed in that I’ve learned to stop and think and pray before asking my questions. Hopefully that will also help with my discerning ability.

    My dad’s reaction was not intentional. I’m sure if I spoke to him about it today, I would see sorrow in his eyes.I think he would hug me and tell me he loves me. I think my fathers welcome my questions. Ask. Seek. Knock. Because more than anything, I believe both of my abbas want me to know I am loved!! 🙂

    • LeeAnne, I am thankful that you have forgiven your dad and for the insights that you shared-God bless you

  25. Hi friends. I’ve ended up with a bad case pf bronchitis so I’m gonna try to rest a lot this week. I have a guest for tomorrow but I may be a little more quiet than usual.

    Although I feel awful right now, reading how God is encouraging you each of you and showing you His direction for your hearts is like medicine to me — a sweet does of joy to my weary “wishing i was better” self.

    I’ll be here reading your comments, praying and watching God lead you closer and closer to His heart as you turn more and more towards the Light of truth HE has spoken over you!!

    This is a short chapter but one I hope we’ll all read a few times because it really can be a TURNING POINT in our journeys. Love to you! ~Renee

    • Lifting up prayers for you Renee, that the Lord will comfort you during this time of sickness and will heal your body quickly. God Bless

    • coleen hayden says:

      continuing to pray for you, renee! asking the Lord to heal you and make you whole. God bless you and keep you! <3

  26. A quote from chapter five that struck me the most is

    ” Instead of waiting for God to zap us with confidence and remove our doubts, let us ask God to use our doubts to draw us into a deeper place of dependence on Him and His promises.”

    I often wish that God would just zap me with confidence in certain areas of my life. I’ve realized though that God is much more interested in taking me on a journey with Him than just quickly fixing my problems.

    I love how Renee talks about “turning” “Turning away from doubt and turning towards truth. Turning away from self and turning towards God.”

    I’m learning how much of a process this is.

  27. Connie J. says:

    I have started writing a personal prayer of the day on index cards. Today, I used the prayer in this chapter as my prayer of the day as it was something that I could agree with from my heart. I haven’t answered the questions at the end of the chapter yet, but it is my next step.

  28. Besides fear and doubt, the consistent darkness in my life has been sadness/depression. For the last few weeks I’ve been very down (for no specific reason) and one night I was reminded of a dream I had almost 15 years ago. I don’t remember the details of the dream very much, but I remember darkness, and an evil voice (or person) saying that my mother and I both had a spirit of depression. At the time, I was a teenager and didn’t grasp the enormity of the dream and I hadn’t remembered the dream for many years until now. This time, I tell myself to go towards God, the light…and I remind myself, that nothing that is said to or about me is true, unless it lines up with the word of God. I still have days where I don’t want to get out of bed, but I make different choices..I journal about my feelings, I exercise to lift my spirits, I listen to Christian music, and I just decide to go in the other direction when I feel angry or sad.

    • Bonani( South Africa) says:

      Thank SNP about what you said” nothing that is said to or about me is true, unless it lines up with the word of God” God bless you

  29. I am struggling in my marriage my husband continues to look at porn sites just a few months ago he decided he did need help so we started meeting with our Pastor. Then today I got his phone and there was a whole new email of his with woman… OMG I am broken we just moved into our first rented house I was yelling at him… I hate him. Why should I forgive him 77xs I just can’t he discusses me. My pastor is on vacation and I don’t know anyone who knows what I am going through. How I am supposed to feel beautiful when he keeps turning to these woman. I am tired of going through this.. I love God so much and I am glad he brings our sin to the surface but I am getting weak and it’s not making me fall more on love with my husband… I need verses I need A voice from God what does he want me to do

    • Bonnie, God loves us when we are at our weakest. You are never alone in His presence. Go to Him with an open heart and ask Him what He wants you to do then trust in Him with all your heart. Be prepared for the fact that what His plans are, might not necessarily be what you want at the moment, but He knows what’s best for us and if you trust that wholeheartedly, He will see you through to the end. I will be praying for you.

  30. I have not completely read Chapter 5, but the phrase ” When we follow Him, we find our confidence in Him and our lives become a message about Him, the One who came t illuminate our darkness with His redeeming love.” This phrase to me is so comforting, it reminds me that at all times, my focus needs to be on God. Sunday here at home, was a very difficult time for my husband, as he was not looking forward to his workman’s comp doctor appointment. I could feel the tension and the worry just with being in the same room with him. And for myself on Sunday, it was a non worry day for me, even though his mood seemed to rub off on me. I did not have any worry or ask myself what if, like he did. But then Monday came: I had no stress until we where in the doctors office. The doctor came into the room and basically said, hello, I am here to evaluate your foot sir and ask some question. I can not tell you what I think or give your any advise. So now my focus turned to my husband and myself, this is where I felt the tension and aggravation start.ed. I have never experience any doctor saying I can tell you anything. After getting home and having some time to look at what had happened today, I just continue to tell myself, everything is going to okay, God is in control. When I focused on God and not ourselves, I found peace. I did not find the answers I was looking for, but I did feel confident, that the Lord knows what is best for us and that He will take care of us, like He has always done. So yes, I do have days that doubt creeps in, but as soon as I can refocus on God, my heart is filled with confidence and this is when the light in my life starts to shine for everyone to see, just as the childhood songs says: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine….” so I pray that all my sister in Christ, will be able to focus on God daily, and shine their light just as the love of Christ has shined for us. God Bless

  31. Should read: I CANNOT tell you anything. Also on Monday, my husband seemed to have the day of no worries…

  32. Well, I basically highlighted this entire chapter and I can’t even express how excited I am to see how God is working in all our lives through this study. I plan on reading this chapter many more times!!!

    Renee, I thank God for the work He has done through you and subsequently, through your readers. I am praying for renewed strength and healing for you.

  33. I have been a bit hesitant to post my feelings and my thoughts on this book but I felt that today I needed too. I guess a little self doubt creeping through. Each chapter I have been reading and doing the questions and praying but it wasn’t until chapter 4 that it all hit me. I could barely get through the chapter bc of the tears that seemed to just keep coming and coming. I realized that a great deal of my lack of confidence has come from some of the situations in my past that I have let eat at me and in doing so I have put up walls towards the Lord and my family. In those moments of pain and heartache I wish that I would have listened and let them go a long time ago but I guess it’s part of the journey and learning to be a confident woman. I have stared reading chapter 5 now and it reminds me of the little song this little light I’m going to let it shine!! I am pray that as I learn to lean on God more for everything in my life that His Light will shine through me! Whew, that was big for me to write and post. I also would like to ask for prayer for tomorrow( big of me to do as well, so silly). I am having surgery tomorrow and I pray for a speedy recovery so that I can get back to taking care of my husband and two little ones. Thank you!! And thank you for your thoughts and stories and words of hope and wisdom.

    • Amanda, your post touched me so much. I sense how very much courage it took for you to open your heart. Thank you for being brave and letting us in. I’m proud of you and so very thankful that Jesus is showing you all that has been going on in your heart for so long. I know this journey of uncovering what’s been hidden isn’t easy but I assure you freedom is coming. Hope comes when we let Him enter into those wounded hurting places and show us the lies we’ve believed – because in seeing the lies we can begin to replace them with truth. We can acknowledge the hurt but lay claim to the fact that those hurts were instances – not definitive moments in our lives that get to have a say over everything else.

      Keep turning away from the dark and towards the light friend. Freedom and confidence that comes with it is drawing near. Keep persevering – and I”m praying for a speedy recovery for you too!!! Blessings and hugs, Renee

    • Hehe. ThPk!snawede naman siguro, sis. Kaya lang lemon gives a distinct taste in dishes so iba pa rin talaga. Pwede naman siguro olive oil or kahit yung regular lang, pero syempre iba ang lasa at bango ng sesame oil eh. Panalo.

    • Yes, they could go either way in the short term, but long term they’ll almost surely maintain value better than the dollar, and there’s a finite supply of them.

  34. Chapt 5 and this online studies comments help remind me that its that easy (or not) to put our focus on the Light and quit all our stinkin thinkin FOR THE GLORY OF OUR KING. How?? Practical daily steps??

    I think it kinda boils down to our daily walk and putting Him in first place.

  35. Blessings, this chapter is so true, see we tend to look for fulfillment in the eyes of anyone that will say they love you especially if your lacking it from small, and like me if you’ve been hurt one too many time you block that from anyone that is will to truly love you including God, I know that God loves me but at times I wonder if He do why don’t I have my baby today, or why must I choose between the one person that I open up to and truly love and Him, see we are not married and I was pregnant for him like I mention before after all that happen he (Dj) stated that God is giving us the chance to do it right, still yet even thou we agree to wait for intimacy we tend to still do it, at one point I told him I feel like I have to scarifies our love to get closer to God and he agreed however there are days we lay next to each other and we are fine nothing happens but now I stop him from staying past 11:00pm do to he start desiring me once we’re sleeping which was not happening before. I truly want to please God and for the first time I am truly in love with this man that I feel God blessed me and the kids with, he loves God as well and rather me leaving him and keep my focus on God. He admit once before that he has a spirit of fornication (not the cheating one just that if he loves someone and plans to wait for marriage he tends to still have that desire to make love were as this has not been happening to him for awhile until we met. Please keep us in your prayers that God will do His will with us and we learn to fight this fornication until God bless us on that special day.

  36. I am very thankful to be doing this study alongside all of you. Have never done one online and love the comments and care found here. Doubt & insecurity have filled my life in so many ways. I did a study on insecurity about a year ago —- funny how quickly the truths and promises of God can be washed away when I’m turned to face the Shadow. But I’m turning. Turning away from trying to do this life on my own and rebelling against what God wants for me….to the light of his promise and power. I loved the section on Gideon “…God was going to conquer the Midianites, but he invited Gideon to join Him.” How powerful is that! I’m turning toward God and planning to join Him.

  37. Please pray for me, just starting messy divorce,need support n prayer,i am a daughter of the King

  38. A.Renee says:

    I agree with most of the comments here. It really is when we think and dwell on ourselves that we start feeling discouraged, trapped, helpless and that nothing will ever change. But, thank you Lord Jesus – you ARE changing me, you ARE changing us in your time and in your ways. I choose to trust Him even though we are between jobs right now and we are not sure where God is leading us.

    I thank and praise God my worth is not in what others think of me, and not even in what I think of myself! 🙂 It blows my mind to know that God not only loves me, he showers me with promises and gives me a new name, even when I don’ t live up to it all the time.

    So thankful to be a part of this study

  39. When i was reading Donna’s story, it made me think of my relationship with my daughters father. He moved to another state and doesn’t pay any child support. I often feel like he has abandoned my child and must not love her. But I pray for him daily and I have learned to accept him for who he is. I also chose to live in the Light of Jesus so I can have the freedom and security of a confident heart.

  40. Martha ParfaitFelix says:

    Renee I pray that you are restored to full health quickly. Our Father is an amazing healer. This week in chapter 5, the turning point is what stuck with me. Choosing to turn to God (my source), toward the light of His promises & turning away from all my doubts & fears.

  41. Kamilah says:

    Chapter 5, (pgs. 88-89)
    “Often God will call you beyond BEYOND your limitations to do something that requires faith.”
    ***I screamed AMEN after I read this. I’ve been laid-off from my teaching position since June 30, 2009 and it has cause me to experience every emotion in the books. The gift of teaching and connecting with students is so deeply rooted it oozes out of my pores. It is the only thing I’ve ever done effortlessly…that’s why I know it’s a God-give gift. I was working at a modern school, in an ok neighborhood, with mostly eager (to learn) student, wonderful colleagues and support staff. It all went away when I got my pink slip. I was demonted to being a substitute teacher, which meant a DRASTIC cut in pay and work day-to-day. I spent the majority of the last 3 years complaining and mad about my paycut. I took a friend’s place who was pregnant (and leaving the school for good) as a long-term substitute at a school in a violent neighborhood, where parents and students showed very little respect for teachers and education. My first 2 months there, my car was stolen; students (4th graders) fighting in class; parents complaining by the massess; and at 33 yrs-old had to go to Urgent Care for an EKG. Now, I have a VERY good reputation for being an great teacher, who is strict, out-of-the-box and passionate. I found myself in the principal’s office over a dozen times from parent complaints. And to make matters worse, I had to move back with my mom who lives 45 miles (one way) outside the city. I remembering screaming at GOD asking Him why I was in the position I was in and at THAT SCHOOL! After a 2 months, the principal was asking me to take students that other teachers couldn’t handle (severe behavior problems, when I already had most of them in my own class). At one point, school police had to remove a parent and her son from my class. This was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY beyond my limitations and I ONLY made it by the grace of God.

    I finished the year that June (2010) and praised God so hard in the parking lot of the school that I brke down. I was passing out awards at an assembly and there was this ONE kid (Josue) that I’ll never forget. Everytime I felt like giving up, God used that little boy to encourage me. I broke down at the award show. Most some miracle, I did well enough to be selected to teach summer school even though it’s not offered to subs. That was successful as well. That summer I tried MY BEST to get another position, BUT GOD…kept me at that school. In the midst of my frustration, I had prayed for the school, neighborhood and its students. That August, I received a call from the adminstrators to tell my that my class had some of the BIGGEST gains in their state test scores and I was asked to return (really the principal told me I had no choice). I said ok Lord…I can’t do this without You. I can’t have another year like those last 6 months. The principal could only keep me as a sub classroom teacher, which frustrated me again because it meant the same minimal pay even though I had a successful year. Nevertheless, I was allowed to pick the grade I wanted to teach (5th), hand pick my students, get technology others didn’t have and teach a pilot currculum that the District was trying out (which meant training). It was another successful year. I’ve had the pleasure of watching some PRETTY amazing kids (that other teachers wrote off) prosper…AND God has allowed me make connections with parents, grandparents and others. Those same parents that complained about me, tell their neighbors to put kids in my class. This last school year, I began as a sub class teacher again in Special Ed. I had 18 students in grades 3-5 (same room) with one aide and multiple disabilites, and 3 with violent tendencies. It was overhwhelming, but I didn’t buckle. I was deteremined to not be stressed like previous years. I worked so hard just to be bumped and watch my students spread out into 2 other rooms with their new teachers. I was placed in a 4th grade class just like the one I spoke about earlier next to the same classroom that I used be in. I had gone back to where I started and not moved forward…OUCH!
    After 6 wks, I gave notice and walked away.

    I’m embarrased to say, my faith has been up and down like a roller coaster. I’ve done a lot of reflecting on these last three years and God has helped me to see that I have had the greated growth as a teacher in all that I experienced in these last three years. He had much to accomplish in using me at that school. I visited the principal today and she is trying to work on getting me hired for the Fall. God is amazing…He’s calls us WAY BEYOND what we can do so that we have NO choice but to SEEK and REACH to HIM….and that is when He gets the greatest glory. It reminds me just how MIGHTY and IN CONTROL He is!

  42. Kamilah says:

    Ch. 5 (pg 89)

    “…Sometimes that hurt little girl still 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.”

    I have been guilty of this more times than I care to admit. I started counseling last September and discover that I was allowing the “little girl” in me to throw tantrums. That was a hard pill to swallow. I could not progress to the woman God create me to be allowing these emotions to run me. I first had to identify all the triggers and events (past hurts Ch 4, pg. 79) that I made myself believe were fine, but in fact where areas that I had not completely given to God. I was vulnerable, delicate, etc. for a long time walking around thinking I had made peace with it all. That little girl in me had been hurt and let down SO MUCH (and I hadn’t dealt with it) that I, in essense, had an emotional breakdown. I couldn’t even get an audible prayer out because of the chaos in my head. I couldn’t hear God and that scared me. Sometimes I’d just say help me and other times I’d lie in bed and moan. I remember going to prayer and a lady asked if I had a cold and it was like sometime stuck in pin in a ballon and all the air came out. I had let it all out. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, let down and disappointed. So, I began counseling (I thought) to help me get over my broken heart, but past hurts, failures and disappoints surfaced. For the first time in my life, I was able to recognize how those negative emotions kept me from prospering. When I was able to pray, I heard God. I picked up a book that I had stopped reading almost a year before and God used it to speak to my heart.

    Today, that little girl is gaining strength and confident is knowing who she is in Christ and how much she is loved and adored by HIM. In the last month or so, I keep hearing God in the spirit affirming me….I truly felt like it was my daddy loving his baby girl and IT WAS! God knew I needed that touch to let me know that little girl in me could grow up now and be mature. Today, I am in awe of God’s love and grace.

    Thank you JESUS!

    Lord, I pray that you heal all my sisters who didn’t know the love of a natural father and searched for it in men as I did……Fill them with Your “Daddy” type of Love (like You did for me) as only You can so that the litte girls in them will grow with confidence…in Jesus name. AMEN!

  43. Susan Southerland says:

    My mom passed away in 2008. Followinng this, my dad stopped speaking to my sister and I. It has been a long 3 1/2 years and he is still not speaking. Our mom’s will has finally been settled and we can move on. Today’s devotion with Donna’s story really struck a chord with me. I felt all of the things she listed while growing up with this dad who was so abusive to all of us, especially my mom. And now, what kind of relationship can we possibly have? This devotional prompts me to make an attempt to make peace, but if he chooses not to, to go to my heavenly father instead. Thank you Lord for your love and forgiveness. Help me to share this with all whom my life touches.

  44. “The insecurities from my past are not the truth in my life” & “God sees beyond who I am to who I can become”.

    This is what needs to become a reality in my everyday life. I think that I have overcome these feelings that I have carried for years, only to find them rare their ugly heads again and again. I know that God has purpose beyond what I have allowed him to achieve in and through me. I feel his calling on my life. Today, I will write down those things which cause me to feel so insecure, so unworthy, give them to God (for real this time), tear them up and throw them away. God, help my faith to believe that you do make all things right.

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