{Chapter 4 Video} Courage to look back…Hope to move forward

Today I wanted to share my Chapter 4 video teaching message. In it, I share how God walked me through a process of looking back with courage – so I could move forward with hope. He helped me identify things I didn’t even know were affecting me and gently led my heart on a journey towards freedom.

Please click the arrow below to “hear” today’s message {If you’re reading this via email click here to return to my blog to watch the video}.

{Are you a note-taker? If so, I created “Video Message Notes” in a PDF format here or in a MSWord doc here, just for you. Even included key verses and blanks to fill in.} 🙂

Let’s Connect
Let’s talk about how God is speaking to your heart through chapter 4 and through today’s video message.  Click “share your thoughts” below this post. I’ll be here reading and praying over each of you and  your stories. {Also, I know the timelines I encourage you to create might sound overwhelming or scary, so I recorded another little video message to talk/walk you through that process that I’ll share this week too.

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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.


  1. Cannot wait to see the next video this week

    • amen! it takes courage to walk in obedience, especially when you know it means walking through some valleys, but i shall fear no evil for God, Himself, IS with me. I’ve incredulously asked God where He was in my darkest hours and He lovingly showed me He was there and how He was working on my behalf. I encourage all of you ladies to call upon Him, for He WILL answer you and show you great and mighty things as you look toward the future!


      • I need prayers today. I have greatly enjoyed this study so far and feel like God is really working in my heart to be real with Him and others, but for whatever reason, last night I slipped back into the doubts and fears that I do not really belong to Him and that He is so far away. I know that He is never far away from us, but I don’t know what to do. Please pray for me that God will show me the truth and help me to deal with this the way He wants me to. I have always been insecure, but seemed like I was moving along in my relationship with Him and now i’m even questionning if I have a real relationship with Him.

        • Praying for you Ashley. I know it can be a constant battle I caught myself in that same old cycle today at work. I sometimes wonder if my prayers go past the ceiling. But then something will happen to show me He is hearing me.

        • Charlene says:


          Recently I was bombarded with lies, attacks and criticism from within myself. I knew I needed help. I took time to stand up to the lies by calling upon God and reading His words. Within 20 minutes I was freed from the lies and I was back to normal. I think understanding darkness (fear,criticism and discouragement) and where it comes from (Satan), how to recognize it and overcome it is just as important as learning about God’s light and love.

          Even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light-He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness.

          I think it is important to understand and accept that darkness exists-but not to dwell there. We know light exists-we feel joy, goodness and love. God’s light is real!

          Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. We must act and call upon Him. The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but the night always gives way to dawn, the light will come. The darkness will surely fade, because it cannot exist in the presence of light.

          With Christ, darkness cannot succeed. Darkness will not gain victory over the light of Christ.
          He will come to us in our darkness if we call out to Him.

        • angela 2 says:

          praying for Ashley. here is something I got today
          In Christ love

          Often we do just the opposite of Noah. We worry about the details over which we have no control, while neglecting specific areas that are under our control such as attitudes, relationships, or responsibilities. Like Noah, concentrate on what God gives you to do, and leave the rest to him. What details do you need to entrust to God?

          Hope you like it. Only concern your self with the things you can change and let God handle the rest.

          • Thank you all so much for the encouraging words! Just this morning, God showed me once again how much He loves me. The Holy Spirit brought back to my heart the fact that Jesus died for me and rose again for ME and that since I have asked Him to save me, it is done! I don’t have to be perfect-He is and already paid the price for my sins. Thanks for the prayers…keep praying for me. I truly appreciate your replies!

  2. I love when you said to look at our hurt, past, or pains of today through the filter of God’s power not through the filter of our past and what we have been through or even done. This was a very concrete articulation of God’s grace to me and it was almost as if I saw myself set one filter down so I could pick another one up. The thing about God’s filter is he helps me carry it and it allows what is coming through the filter to not seem so weighted. Bless you for how you speak in real terms that touch an everyday mom.

    • I agree with you Christy. If I truly chose to look at my current situations through the filter of God’s huge power instead of through the filter of my past, my life, my attitude, and my hope would be transformed. I WILL choose to look through the filter of His power. I am a bit daunted at the time looking back at our past hurts and processing them with God will take, but I am also longing for the healing it could bring.

  3. Thank you Renee for the courage to write this book. I now read chapter 4 for the second time and after watching your video I cried. Hurt and thoughts came to mind from my past as a little girl. I realize that I never felt I was good enough and that is why I am so hard on myself today. My two sister received praise for excellent grades, how beautiful they were, their large group of friends, and having boyfriends. I wanted that praise from my parents and others. Instead I was told you look like a mini Maggie (my mom), try harder and your grades will improve, your too quiet that’s why you don’t have friends…..etc.

    When these messages are stated over and over they are drilled into you….I am going to try the time line and walk the journey past these hurts so I can embrace my future with HOPE. I didn’t know then but now I do, that what I needed was God’s unconditional Love!

    • Carolyn Cheer says:

      Amen Ruth. I have realized too, after reading the first three chapters, how important it is for me to truly know and accept God’s unconditional Love. Without trying to analyze my situations anymore, I try to just let go and let God be my only measuring tool. If I am pleasing to him, then I have done well. Easier said then done sometimes.

    • Angela 2 says:

      Amen Ruth And Carolyn I too realize a lot from my past still kind of scared to face it. If I can’t forgive myself how can God forgive me. I keep reading chapter 4 and I know God will make it click for me. Please pray for me to move forward. I love God so much there is nothing I would not do for him. In Christ love.

  4. “YOU ARE A RUNNER “, This statement is my label and has been since I was young. Anyone that has ever been close to me has walked out of my life. I did not realize the label I have on my back was TRUE OR UNDERSTAND , until reading chapter 4. I am not close to anyone. I do not share my feelings with anyone. I figure they will just leave like my grandparemts did when they did nothing about the abuse i went through as.a child, or when suposedly best friemds who know your secrets swear they will keep in touch whem they move. It never happens. My mom walked out of our lives when I was a teen . So to deal with the fear of abandonment I RUN OR SABATOGE THE RELATIONSHIP. Unfortunately, this has been my pattern with GOD. SO I RUN, BOLT, LEAVE ….FIRST. This way i am the controller. I am so thankful to have been prompted by A FRIEND TO DO this STUDY. It has been a blessing in my life so far. THANK YOU !!!!

    • christine says:

      I too am a RUNNER. I run away, escape, before I can get hurt. I’ve been hurt alot in my past and I have WALLS UP with everyone. Can’t get close to others. I want friends and relationships, but I too run away or sabotage the relationship – first – so I’m not the one getting hurt. But I’m walking thru life hurt. I don’t want to run away from God anymore. I will choose to believe He is always here for me; when I run or when I stay. I will pray for you Chris, and I, today, that God teaches us to TRUST Him and others. That no one is perfect; we will get hurt in this life but to try to BE IN relationships is what He wants for us.

      • Christine, thanks so much for you prayers and words of encouragement. I can’t tell you how
        much it means to me, to know that a complete stranger, sister in Christ is praying for a stronger relationship with others and God………. for ME !! I will pray for you also. I so do not want to be RUNNER anymore and I really do not like the label. Along with ths runner label I also get “You are so hard hearted”, I don’t want that either. Although, both labels have seen me through so many situations that I knew if I let my self feel it would be the END ! So again THANK YOU !!

  5. Marcella R says:

    Thanks for the video today. Going through a really difficult time right now and I am using the wrong filter. Your story of family broken by divorce and your happy ever after. I too have that story. Can’t wait to see the next video. Thanks again Renee.

  6. Jeremiah has a much stronger message today than before. I have overlooked the freedom that comes in living this scripture. Thank you Renee for new insight. I read page 81 yesterday and realized, anew, that I have choices to make that indeed bring me freedom through my PaPa and our growing relationship we share daily. The question remains, am I willing to choose freedom through Jesus and come back to the well of life or remain in the captivity of my doubts? I choose freedom, even if it comes with tears and pain.

  7. Thank you for encouraging us, Renee, and I’m thankful to be doing this study with so many wonderful ladies. Like everyone else, I have a long list of hurts and pains from my past that I need to process. But I’m very hesitant to go down that road. I’m afraid of uncovering past hurts and, like Renee said, get stuck or become overwhelmed. But after reading the chapter and watching the video, I see that God wants me to jump in, even if it’s just one hurt at a time, He can heal them.

    So, over the last couple of days, one memory has sort of re-surfaced. Even though I was too young to remember the details, I recall my mother leaving one night. She and my father must have had an argument or something, but it was late and she was leaving. I recall asking her where she was going and she must have responded with something benign. My childhood mind assumed she was going to the store, so I didn’t pay much attention. She came back later and that was that. I was only about three years old.

    Years later, my mom brought up this incident, almost in a joking fashion, that it was the only time when she tried to “leave” my father. In the intervening years, I was a third party to most of their fights and arguments. My father had an explosive temper and my mother was prone to nagging. My mother made many comments throughout the years that if it weren’t for me, she would have left my father long ago. I was an only child and for a few years upon emigrating to the United States, I was her only confidante. By day, I observed my father’s frustration and dissatisfaction in trying to adjust living in a new country with few friends, no credentials, and little money. By night, I listened to my mother as she poured out her own fears, struggles, and insecurities about herself and our family. I was only eleven years old.

    Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she had left. I also wonder why she would consider leaving without me. Was she that scared?

    I love my parents; they were good to me for the most part. They did the best they could in a difficult situation. However, being unbelievers and unable to find hope in anything other than themselves. So they worked harder, pushed me harder, and hoped for the best. Well, I’m thankful to say that God blessed them, and me. But what do I do with these hurts from the past? Can they be so easily excused? How can I forgive and let go? God has been gracious in helping me with other memories too, but sometimes, it feels like a never ending reel that just keeps on playing. Do the ends justify the means? I await His healing….

    • Gloria C says:

      Julie, something that helped me to deal with past wounds was to say the same words Jesus said from the cross: “Father, forgive them! They don’t know what they are doing!” Most people don’t realize the hurt and wounds they inflict upon us. They are just reacting to the pain in their own lives. If we can forgive them with the love and forgiveness that Jesus showed toward us, it makes it a lot easier. Forgiveness isn’t saying, “What you did was ok,” it is saying, “I’m not going to hold onto the pain of this any longer!” Unforgiveness doesn’t put other people in prison, it puts US in prison! That’s why Jesus told us to forgive–so we can be set free! Praying for you as you walk through this valley. And, YES! IT IS WORTH IT!!!!!

      • Thank you for your kind words, Gloria. You are right, forgiving is important. Sometimes, I just get used to holding onto things and afraid of letting go. But God is doing a new thing and change is on its way. Thanks for your prayers!

        • Julie thank you for sharing your heart, we just need to be wiling to forgive and god does the amazing rest of it. Praying for you.

          • angela 2 says:

            Hi Julie I have been remembering a lot of hurt from the past and I have not even finished chapter 4 yet. My brain is will to give it a try but my heart is not. Every time I pick up the book to finish the chapter I start to cry, so I put it back down. I do not know what to do. I’m scared because I don’t want to go back to my old self. I was not a nice person while I was drinking. Bring up the past scares me a lot. I pray all the time for God to heap me understand what he wants me to do. Please Pray for me too that I can finish the chapter and God helps me to forgive others and myself ant to move on to better things He has in store for me.
            In Christ Love

  8. Thanks for the video. I just wentcthrough a very hard weekend. My fathercin law passed away in Junw 2012 and so my husband and I moved in with my mother in law to assist her. She is losing her vision. Uglly words were said on Saturday. I have many past hurts with her, with my husband. I processed through forgiveness and I apologized for my part. But I am still hurting. I realize that the approval I want will need to come from God. The love and acceptance I want will need to come from God. I have signed on for this task, but quite honestly I feel as though I have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Today, i will seek God. Dear Lord, bridge the gap between fhe love, approval, and acceptance that i receive and the love, approval, and acceptance that I need. Amen

  9. Brenda T says:

    This week especially I am under attack from my past and my husband’s past. First an email from an ex boyfriend who wouldn’t commit after 7 years and a reminder of that pain and regret and then my new stepdaughter tells me that she wants me to know that she loves me no matter what and even if someone says they don’t like me, she will “trick them” by saying she doesn’t like me too but really she does love me.

    I feel like I had just started processing the pain from the ex boyfriend and get some grounding when that floored me again. I’m in the ring of a fight I never wanted to be in and keep getting knocked out. Before I have a chance to get up and shake off th punches, the next blows come.

    My husband says that this is proof of God’s mighty plan and design in our lives otherwise there wouldn’t be a reason to attack.

    I’m expecting my first child and all I can say is GOD PLEASE SEND IN A REPLACEMENT AND PUT ME IN A SAFE PLACE. I want out of this fight.

    • Hi Brenda,
      Just want to say that you put into words something that I haven’t been able to define when you said “I’m in the ring of a fight I never wanted to be in and keep getting knocked out. Before I have a chance to get up and shake off the punches, the next blows come.”
      Each round I think I’m progressing, getting better, renewing, then come the multiple sucker punches beating me down again. I haven’t ever doubted that I cannot fight this fight without Him, but I doubt myself so much that somehow I try to fight alone, & end up more isolated & alone. It is confusing to me that I know I can’t do it alone, but I still insist on trying to do it that way. My hope is in Him alone, my confidence should be in Him alone. And I just reread what you said about sending in the replacement & it occurs to me that He did send in the replacement, maybe we need to figure out how to tag out, get out of the ring & trust Him to take care of it. harder than it sounds if you ask me, but I’m not gonna give up or throw in the towel, even tho I feel like it so often – practically every day in fact. But I encourage you to hang in there, too. If there is any other constant in this life, it is that things WILL change & we don’t wanna give the evil one the satisfaction. God bless you!

  10. Sorry for the typing errors I am on my tablet and i hit an extra key when i hit the space bar.

  11. Thank you for sharing your own experience with us! I have been dealing with a lot of issues from my childhood and young adulthood that I thought were done and over. But God uses all things for our good and everything that I have been going through has opened so many doors for healing in me, doors that I never knew needed to be opened. I see my life and the world in a whole different way now. God is Great and He will get us through all the hurt and pain just to fill us with His joy, His peace, His love. Thank you again for sharing! Blessings!

  12. Rene,
    I press on. I am surprised that this book and your words on the video are totally what I need. Although God has healed much in me, as you yourself say, it is a process. God is revealing to me more areas that need to be brought to the light…brought into His presence, for healing and release. Oh, that’s my One Word for the year. Release! Sigh…onward. Thank you for this…am sharing on my blog at some point hilights of this journey with you here. So many sighs…but it is good. In His Grace, Dawn

  13. Gertrude says:

    Hi I thank you for your encougemnt ladies. I have been keeping this to myself and a few of my relatives and friend. Now I think its time for me to share this painful experience. On the 25/12/2012 at 3 am I woke up to find a man standing beside my ben holding a crow bar and a knife the first words he said to me was give me money, I said i didnt have money and he pointed the knife at me and asked me if I wanted to die, I then opened my purse and gave him what was in the purse (P40), he then said I should undress and while I was undressing he was pointing the knife and warned me not to scream. This man raped me. While he was raping me I was praying and he thought i was on the cell phone he threatened to kill me but i told him I was praying and he asked my to put my hand on air. After raping me he left I sat there crying and asked God why this happened to me. Then I said to myself if not me then who then (my daughter, my sister, my mother or my neighbour), and I just said no I wouldnt with for anybody to raped as this is a very painful thing to happen to anyone. I was angry, felt dirty and emotional throughout the holidays. I went for counsselling and thought I was okay. I forgave the culprit or so I thought, but everytime his smell comes to me I get angry and emotional. Im glad I could share this with you and ask you to pray with me. I know I can forgive but I cant forget. God be with you ladies.

    • I am praying. I am so sorry.

    • I’m praying also. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes, shedding light onto a dark secret is a great way to start letting go. May God see you through in this healing process.

    • Gloria C says:

      I’m praying for you also. So sorry this happened to you.

    • I am praying for your healing! I’m so sorry!

    • Praying for you and healing. Matthew West’s song, Forgiveness, is amazing! It will be a long process for you. So sorry this happened….prayers and hugs to you.

    • I am praying for you too! only God has the power to make you feel whole and clean again. May He wrap His loving arms around you and give you peace and comfort now and always.

    • My heart aches for you. Prayers for God’s love to heal and comfort you.

    • twillow V says:

      Rape is a crime that should be reported to police authorities.

      • twillow V says:

        As believers in Christ Jesus I believe we have a right to protect ourselves from violent perpetrators such as this Gertrude there is a lot to your story that you left out, like how did this person acquire access to your home, did you know the person etc,etc.

        • twillow V says:

          The good news today is that,it does not matter to God what type of traumatic situations that has happened in our lives or in the lives of our friends and family,when believers in Christ have the manifested presence of God in our lives it can break the chains of pain, hurt and oppression and bring healing and restoration to our wounded hearts,minds, and spirits.We don’t have to be overcome but more than conquerors through Christ that strengthens us.

    • Father, I lift Gertrude to you right now. I pray that you will wrap your loving arms around her and help her to know that you are there. Help her with this very difficult situation, You know her heart and her struggles. May she sense YOU in her life like never before! Heal her emotions and hurts. We don’t always understand why things happen to us but we know we live in a fallen world however YOU will never leave us or forsake us! No matter what this world throws at us YOU will be there helping us through! I love you Lord and I thank You in advance for the help You will give to Gertrude in the coming days. Amen

    • I too am praying for you. I do hope you reported this to the police…I am not a therapist but that could be part of your healing process.

    • Gertrude: my dear sister in Christ, my heart goes out to you. Have you ever heard of mending the soul? It is a Christian based book and workbook that helps women (and men) work through abuse. I would encourage you to work through it with a counselor or small group. I am a mts group leader at my church. This was not your fault. You did nothing to cause this. Praying for you.

    • Madeline says:

      I am praying for the Lord to clothe you in His love and beauty. May He give you strength in every trial you face today and everyday stemming from this horrible act. I pray He bring your attacker to justice and repentance. I pray You feel Jesus with you, I pray you sense Him smiling at you and holding you in His arms of compassion. In His holy and precious name I pray.

      Thank you for having the courage to share. I am sure there are others reading this that really needed to know they were not alone in suffering and your obedience was just what they needed to start their healing process.

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Gertrude I too am praying with you and for you. I know the kind of pain Rape can bring and as well as the other feelings. I was rape twice growing up. first by my real father ( I was 7 yrs) and them by a stranger
      ( I was 15yrs). I pray we both can forgive truly and completely. In Christ Love.

      • Susan Whitaker says:

        Gertrude, love and prayers are with you. It took courage for you to share your story. I am so very sorry to hear of your pain. You are in my prayers.

  14. When I was a little girl I felt unloved and insignificant to everyone and to God.
    I felt misunderstood and ugly, I remember wearing a new blouse to school in Grade 5 and in a quiet moment, looking at the sleeve of my blouse and feeling that I was unworthy of this blouse and I felt sorry for the blouse that it had come to be worn by a nothing like me! This one incident stand out in my mind so strongly about that little girl who felt so bad about herself that even her nice clothes were to be pitied.

    My life wasn’t traumatized by abuse or divorce, in fact we were a Christian family; but there were problems in the home and my sensitive nature somehow absorbed the pain and hardship my mother had due to her circumstances of raising a large family new to this land. Two nervous breakdowns; one right after my birth and the second 7 years later must have impacted us kids. She had a difficult relationship with her mother due to losing her father when she was three years old. Our family histories have a long shelf life passing down through generations, but there is hope for the future. I do believe my parents did the best they knew how and this helps me tremendously in the healing process.

    I have received much from the Lord and praise Him for His faithfulness, He continues to heal me and help me work through tough emotional issues for which I give thanks. I KNOW that by doing this course I will continue on this path. Thank you Renee! To all the other’s out there, stick with it and reap the benefits, it’s a crazy world out there and this is a safe, soft place to be and receive from the Lord.

  15. Yvonne Whetzel says:

    It takes many years sometimes to filter all the hindsight thoughts out of your mind. The thing I have decided to do was concentrate on the blessings. I know God has helped me look for the brightness of the future and to push back on the ugly memories. I just try to concentrate on the great things HE has done for all of us who draw our daily living close to HIM. It works.

  16. I am so glad to see you including the verses beyond Jer. 29:11. That is quoted so often but to going on to the next verses really gives the promise of hope – when we pray, He listens, when we seek Him we find Him, He will lead us out of captivity. What an amazing promise that we don’t have to be stuck in our “yuck”.

  17. From I what I gather on the email list and video this chapter speaks volumes to me. I’m currently reading two different books. One is entitled Hiding from love which totally ties into this study. I’m continually looking for material to help with healing hurts. In looking back their are many painful memories and events but my response has always been the same, run. I avoid conflict and hurt like the Black Plague. I feel God teaching me to grow and mature in this area. In Christ I am more equipped and able to process pain and hurt. My initial response is not healthy because I have doubt when it comes to confronting hurt. Instead I will runaway by being withdrawn. You can be somewhere physically but your heart can still run for the hills. I think I found my next study to start . Can’t wait.

  18. I am going through a program called Celebrate Recovery and this perfectly dovetails and enhances my healing!! Courage to look and hope to look forward!

    • I wish I could do celebrate recovery with you.
      There is not much of a group around here
      I’ve heard wonderful things about the program!

    • Yes!!!!!! It does!

    • angela 2 says:

      I too went to celebrate recovery it help so much and was a great group. I now go to a great church that helps me greatly. Good Luck in your journey In Christ Love


    • Mary Hilding says:

      i have been going through celebrate recovery for 2 years and it has helped me work past my denial and work on my issues. God has brought me through some amazing stuff in the last 10 years. its awesome to see his had at work. also there is a movie coming out this weekend called homerun based on recovery. its an amazing movie i saw it last year when i went out to the cr summit and also saw it last night. trust me u wont be disappointed. mary

  19. I have fallen behind on my reading this week but I wanted to say what a great video! To know that God has a plan for me and that He loves me and wants to redeem and restore me is just amazing! I can really relate to putting expectations on my husband and being resentful and critical to him for things that had happened in my childhood. I was so dependent on him to make me happy. My parents divorced when I was a baby and my father was no part of my life. I grew up thinking that a man in my life would make me happy and after I got married, I expected my husband to be my everything. I have had a lot of healing through God and fortunately my husband has stayed by me and encouraged me. Starting this study, God revealed to me that though I didn’t have a great example of love through my earthly father, He has given to me a wonderful husband who has loved me and stuck with me over the past 15 years. As I grow closer to God, I am able to let the past fall away and know that my future is in the Lord’s hands.

  20. I did the timeline and kept seeing “rejection” as the feeling that came up over and over again. I find it hard to believe that anyone accepts me or even likes me. It makes me distant and quiet and doubt myself and my abilities. I never venture out to do new things for fear of failure and people saying, “why did you try that, it’s obvious you couldn’t do it” and laughing at me. I constantly seek others’ approval before doing anything because I have no confidence in myself. I’m praying for things to change in my life because I want to be what God created me to be, I just don’t know what that is and don’t have enough confidence that I can do it right now.

    • Praying for you. I was like this for many years too and one thing I noticed is that I’m constantly afraid of being rejected by others, I “defend” myself by rejecting them first. Like you, I was quiet and distant. It took some special souls to reach out to me, and it took time, but I’m better now. God can help you too, don’t give up!

    • Staci, praying for you and for all of the other ladies here too. I feel rejection through out my life as well and it really has kept me from living. I talk myself out of doing things because I just assume the same thing will happen and I live in a shell. I am thankful for ladies like Renee who will invest their time and share their stories and their walk so that we may find freedom from our past.

  21. I am so grateful for this study. I am now at the place I am ready to heal from my past. My parents divorce when I was 13 and I buried and have been holding on the pain and hurt of rejection and abandonment from my dad. He left me to deal with my mom. She was very mental unstable and he was my buffer from her. He left and I felt so unprotected and vulnerable to her abuse. My mom as since passed and I have healed and forgiven her. And I believed that should be the end of the pain. I thought she was my the source of this deep pain. It wasn’t until recently it was truly my dad. I love my dad and I have a close relationship with him. But I have all this unresolved stuff that I have been carrying around physically, mentally and emotionally. My relationships have suffered because of my not letting go and allowing God to fill those dark, lonely and painful places. This study has opened my eyes and heart to knowing I can and will heal and God will be with my every step of the way …filling as I let go!!

    • Charlene says:


      As I read your words it reminded of a book that I read by Stormie Omartian. She has an amazing story to tell, similar to yours. It is called, “Stormie: A Story of Forgiveness and Healing. You can buy it on Amazon for about $8.00

      Forgiveness, in some situations, may happen bit by bit…like eating an onion sitting on a shelf. We take it off the shelf and take a bite of it…it is painful, maybe only able to eat a little of it… then put it back on the shelf, to pick it up later and deal with more of it. Layer by layer the pain is felt, then we ask God to take it away.

      Someday you will be able to completely forgive your Dad- great joy will be yours. Your strength will be from overcoming.


  22. I have read this chapter 3 times. I am scared to do the time line. scared of what it may reveal. I know I need to because this chapter and the video have been so powerful to me. I’m trying to let go, and let God. I love Jeremiah 29:11-13. But, WOW, Isaiah 61! And how you broke it down for me, Renee, knocked me to the floor. this is on page 68. Powerful!

    • Angie,
      I understand the timeline feeling overwhelming. It’s hard to look at the past hurts of our lives all laid out bare in front of us, and yet still discern that it isn’t ganging up ready to whollop us all over again. One thing you can do that Renee mentioned is just do it a little bit at a time. Maybe just one event at a time. Take that event, identify what the “lie” was that you learned from it, “unloveable” “unvaluable” “stupid”, these are things my timeline revealed… it helped me to remember these events happened yes, but those things I took away and started to believe about myself because of those events are not necessarily true. I am not unloveable because Christ loves me. I am not unvaluable because Christ died for me. If Christ is of the most immense value to Father God and yet God loved us so much as to ask Christ to sacrifice His life for us, THAT shows *tremendous* value to His heart! I am not “stupid” because I have the mind of Christ and Christ certainly wasn’t stupid. I may make foolish choices sometimes yes, that is my human nature, but because of the Holy Spirit dwelling within me those mistakes do not define me, Christ DEFINES us through the authority of His blood, Who He is to us, and who we are to Him, and who we are within Him. So, take it one event at a time. Look at the lie you picked up, then face that with the Truth of God’s Word, which is almost always a direct opposite of that lie. If the lie is “rejected” the truth is I am not rejected because Christ has received me into His family. If it is “dirty”, I am not dirty because Christ has washed me completely clean and made me whole through His blood, I am a new creation through Him. If the lie is “incapable/incompetent” then the truth is, I am capable and competent to do everything through Christ Jesus who strengthens me, empowers me, gives me wisdom, and walks with me. Try this one event at a time. Take a couple days per event if you need to. Look at that lie, define the opposite of it, then take THAT word and look it up in the back of the Bible to find scripture to stand on. It’s okay to take it slow. It’s okay to work on this timeline for weeks or months. It IS a process, but freedom in Christ is worth the process! Stay in Prayer, let Him lead you. Let Him love on you. Let Him prove Himself faithful and mighty to save you from the bondage of your past and break the power of the lies that have held you down for so long. “Where the Spirit of Truth is, there is freedom”… doing the timeline brings you freedom through Christ who died to give you that freedom! The timeline although it may seem daunting, it is important. Take it to prayer and let Him strengthen you as you take each step. If “a lie left unchallenged becomes the truth we live by” then it is a good thing, and a right thing, to seek absolute truth through God so that we only let Him define us, and once we know those scriptures and we know those truths to stand on, then we can learn to stand with confidence. Praying for you! I know it is hard, but don’t give up! You can do this! Christ Himself stands ready, willing, and compassionately able to *gently* help you along the way. He so treasures your heart. He doesn’t want you to hurt anymore.

  23. Years ago I dealt with the pains from my childhood – alcoholic parents, threat of divorce, being molested over and over by a ” family friend” and more that haven’t only been dealt with but have been removed from my memory completely by our dear Lord. However, I am now understanding, by reading this book, that I must not have understood the full implication of that forgiveness because I am harbor ing regret and unforgiveness in my heart toward myself over some bad decisions (and life changing ones) that are haunting me today because of the consequences I have to deal with now. These decisions were made AFTER I went thru the process of finding and healing the hurts of my childhood. What I am now discovering is that I did not change my pattern of behavior, rather than allowing new hurts to be healed immediately, I have stored them up again! It’s like I emptied the box only to refill it! This time, with God’s help, I am going to empty it and throw it away! God is now helping me to deal with the two “biggies” that have impacted me for over 10 years now.

    • Jennyp1973 says:

      Alice R…love the visual of ’emptying the box to fill it up again’…I don’t know if my box will ever be empty. I am sure I will put other things in it in the future, but I will remind myself that it is filled w/ Jesus…and hopefully that will make it harder for me to place ‘things/people’ in it.

  24. Learning to live in the security of God’s promises is a daily journey of dependence…. this is really speaking to me this week. It is something I keep hearing and reading over and over. I believe the Lord is really trying to engrave this on my heart. I think that all the things I have been through, all through my life, have caused me to be very independent. The Lord wants me to truly depend on Him. I love the Lord, and I accept Him, but I don’t think I have totally surrendered my hurts and pain over to Him. Those places seem to be so deep, and so covered over with scars. I want to be free of all of this, I want to be surrendered to the Lord…I want to depend on Him. My prayer today, is that God would penetrate those deep dark recesses of my heart, that He would heal me and lead me to depend totally on Him…Please Lord, please

    • He wants to heal every part of you, so don’t give up. Just keep praying and giving your fears and hurts to Him, and let Him take care of you. God bless!

    • “Daily journey of dependence on Him”… so so so beautifully put! Loved those words. I hope they stick with me, because I love that visual. It is my journey, and it is my goal, all at once.

  25. This chapter has hit me hard, after reading through all of the post and crying through much of them, I know I’m not alone.. My whole life has been filled with nothing but twists and turns just like everyone else. From the time I was born my life has been very painful. Before the age of 3 I was abused sexually and physically by my step-father, until the state took me away and I was put in foster homes. After about a year of foster care I was finally going to be adopted, so I went for a “trial” to see if I was going to fit well with the family. As I was there, the man “going to be dad” was sexually abusing me for his pleasure so I stopped eating “that was the reason they didn’t go through with the adoption” finally I was adopted to a family, all things were good till about age 14 when my dad moved out, I felt betrayed, hurt and blamed myself for their separation. At age 16 I was with my boyfriend and we were driving around, I saw my dads truck at another women’s house. I felt like the one man I trusted for so long let me down.. And I knew my dad was committing adultery since my parents never divorced. I see now that I was RUNNING from things, I moved in with my boyfriend and his parents. I then became pregnant at age 17 looking back I thought this was a way to keep a man.. But I know now this was not the correct answer. About a year later I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. I forgave him and we stayed together, but he made it a repeated act so I left him. (Another guy I couldn’t trust) when I finally decided to get married at 21 my husband became controlling, to the point that if I wasn’t home from work at a certain time he was out looking for me. He also accused me of wanting to go to church so I could cheat on him with the priest. Later I found out 2 months after we got married he had an affair and got someone else pregnant. At 25 I married again to a man that started to emotionally and physically abused my daughter by grabbing her by the throat, flashbacks came to mind and I RAN leaving me with another divorce. I felt like the world was crashing down on me.. Two years later I moved away from everything wanting to start a new life. I met another man married he 2 was abusive, so I left, Finally at age 33 God gave me the man he wanted me to be with, a few months after we got married I was raped by a man I didn’t even know, I was at a birthday party for a friend when he put something in my drink, dragged me through ally’s so know one would see, he took me to a half way house where he held a gun to my head, pad locked me in with four locks, and forcefully had sex with me, told me I was the biggest baby he had ever known, I had bruises up and down my body. That whole time I was praying and begging him to let me go, at noon the next day he through my cell phones at me and told me to get out he had enough of my whining.. Lets just say I ran for my life and freedom!! I hated God for this at first, then I realized God was with me the whole entire time, I am alive because my prayers were answered. But I questioned that at first “why would God allow something so painful to happen repeatedly to me by men” and since I just got married to a wonderful Christian man?? Why?? Even though I have forgiven the man, And its in Gods hands, I do live with fear.. But I keep reminding myself to have Faith and the Lord will protect me from the evil doers. I cannot allow the fear of man to keep me captive, I need to let the Love of our Lord shine through me to comfort those. Isa 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted , to proclaim freedom for the captive and release from the darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of The Lord favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, this speaks volumes to be!! I will not let evil doers have control of my life, God has shown me the light of his wonderful salvation through this journey, I am blessed to know him, he is the Father that Loves us unconditionally, we are only here for a short time, even though the most tragic struggles we can truly find Peace and Hope in him!! God Bless all of my Sisters!! My The Lord touch each and everyone of You!!

    • Gloria C says:

      Melissa, your story touched my heart. I’m praying that God will take you through this journey victoriously (and I know He will)! This scripture came to mind: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
      2 Corinthians 1:3-5

    • Melissa you are a very strong person to be so open. God holds you in his arms. Psalm 23;”he leads Melissa besides quiet waters, he restores Melissa’s soul” , “Even though Melissa walks through the valley of the shadow of death, Melissa will fear no evil, for his rod and staff they comfort her. He is proud of you.

    • Melissa Joyce Meyer once said that courage is not feeling fear, it’s walking through that fear but always with God. One thing God has shown me is that He not only restores but he makes all thing new!!! When we give God our hurts , we don’t usually forget the memory of it , but he takes away the feeling that was connected to it. And I really think its because He takes the bad and turns it it for good to those who love Him. He will use it as a tool for other girls who are in the same situations . I am sooo sorry u went through all that but I do know this letter u wrote is touching so many people , girls that may not want to live through something like that and you have just given them great courage to go on. My true prayer for you is that alllllll the pain to every memory you have will be broken off in Jesus Name . Thanks for sharing

    • Melissa,
      I read through your story in awe. What an amazing victorious woman you are to have literally walked down “the valley of death” and yet “proclaim the year of our Lord’s favor”! Melissa, do you know what an encouragement you have to others sharing this testimony? You write so candidly it is easy to feel your pain, your confusion, your emotions, and your confidence and trust in the Lord towards the end. There is so much abuse, you are not alone in this, and I know your words will help usher other beautiful sisters of ours to the feet of our Lord, that He may comfort them, heal them, bind up their wounds, and restore gladness for despair. Thank you for having the courage to share your testimony and journey. Please keep speaking out to others. I would not be surprised if God chose to use this in your ministry to God’s other hurting daughters. Beauty for ashes for every one in Christ Jesus in Jesus’ name!

  26. Elke Kelly says:

    I guess the first pain I discoverd, to feel not loved enough by my parents. As I can remember I was afraid of my father, when I was about 4-5 years old. He was very scary for me at that time, later he was very comanding. Also also missed the affection of my mother. They hurt me a lot, by not knowing what is really going on in my life. But when I got older I learned to forgive them. They tried their best in their abillities to raise me. Than I got married, to my prince charming, I thought. But he was very bossy and controlling. He thought he is Mr. Perfect and he treaded me like dirt. I tulk me 12 years to break free from these marriage. I,m still not able to forgive him, what he did towards me. After that I made an other bad choise, to fall in love with an alcohol addiced men. These relationship chatterd me in pieces. But every time I had to re-new my self. I guess that GOD sended me these lessons. First I didn’t understand why. But now slowly I think I understand it. It helps me a big deal to see now things from a diffrent prospective. Thanks to GOD for this opportunity.

  27. Thank you, Renee, for writing the book, for being transparent with us about your past, for your video teaching, for encouraging me to deal with the hurts of yesterday and to process the pain of it so I can experience redemption and embrace everything God has for my tomorrow. To tell you the truth, this is my second time reading your book in the last two years. The first time I read chapter 4, I was angry. I didn’t want to deal with yesterday, I couldn’t imagine how my story can help anyone and i didn’t really want to share it with anyone. I wanted to forget the past and let God write a new story. I know I was running from my past, it was too painful. The thought of sharing my story with anyone made me sick to my stomach. So I ran from it… but deep down in my heart I knew though that I needed to deal with it, that was the only way to experience healing. You see for the past 5 years I have been dealing with lots of unexplainable health issues, went to various doctors, from one treatment to another with no significant improvements. Somehow it was all stress related. I am thinking now stress of not understanding and dealing with my past hurts, stress of living behind a mask. When I heard you were having this online Bible study, I knew I needed to do it. And here I am sitting in front of chapter 4 again. It doesn’t make me sick anymore like it did a year ago, but it sure brings a lot of tears. I think God has been preparing me for this during the last year. I think I am ready for God to restore my ancient ruins and restore the broken places in my heart but i am so afraid to be hurt in the process again, afraid to fall apart, afraid to have panic attacks again. Where do I even begin? Can’t wait for your next video!

    • I had a hunch that this is a book that takes several readings! I’m saddened to read about your health problems, but have faith that God can heal you! He wants to restore us. This is my first time reading the book and this chapter was tough! I also didn’t know where to begin but upon praying, one memory surfaced, and I felt God saying to me, just take this one memory at a time. So I did that and it’s one step in a long journey but I’m walking behind The Lord, and I pray that you can too! God bless!

  28. When I saw these video, I felt like wao!honestly this message was really for me,for t’he past two days I hav been battling with my past,which came hunting me. I was in a relationship,but later we broke up and ever since, I have not been able to move on, I have been in §ø̲̣̣̥ much pain,and t’he moment I took a decision to let go, I feel empty, I keep praying but will not let all go §ø̲̣̣̥ it comes again,but this time I said I dont care whatever it may cause me but am gonna let go and seek God’s purpose for my life.Renee thank you soo much for these words of encourage,am bleesed with them and it is a motivating power to keep seeking God’s will.thank you because you just spoke to me.

  29. I am truly grateful for this study! This chapter has brought to surface some unforgiveness that I thought I’d forgiven. Past hurts that I thought I dealt with, however have resurfaced, in which I believe God has been nudging me to no longer stuff down. (my way of dealing,in the past) I’m learning and it is a day by day,moment by moment, process in taking it ALL to my Lord and Savior. Thank you Renee! Thank you Jesus! And to all my sisters-in-Christ, thank you for posting and being so courageous in opening up and sharing. You have inspired me to open up and feel safe here. God is so good!

  30. When I started watching the video today, tears started streaming down my face and I had to stop the video and process all of the emotions that were rising to the surface. I grabbed my journal and wrote four pages of “Messages” I have received throughout the years. Things like, “You’re not good enough! Your opinions don’t count, in fact, they’re stupid! You’re not fun to be with! We only invited you because everyone else declined! Your very words cause irritation, frustration and anger! Your choices are terrible, so are your ideas ; they don’t fit in with our ideas and choices–in fact you don’t fit either! WE REJECT YOU!!!!” I had to forgive all those who had wounded me–knowingly or unknowingly–repent of the sins of believing the lies of the enemy and for rejecting those who had rejected me. There were sins of jealousy, bitterness, resentment, self-pity and pride (to name a few). I asked the Lord to wash all of this with the Blood of the Lamb, to heal the soul wounds with the dynamite power of the Resurrection, and to fill me with the Glory and Light of Jesus! I asked Him to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Needless to say, I feel so much lighter! Thank you, Renee, for this video and for helping me to face the “icky” stuff I was holding deep inside. It feels good to get it out!

    • Thank you for sharing, Gloria. It’s helping me to let go by remembering that while others may have unknowingly hurt me, I unknowingly hurt others too. But His blood is enough to cover over everything, so it makes so much sense to forgive and forget. I’m encouraged to hear that you feel so much lighter now. God bless!

  31. I surrendered my life to the Lord 14 yrs ago, I have had my share of bumpy rides, but I believe God’s promises and live daily depending on Him. As I’ve been reading this book, things of my past, as I mentioned before have come to my heart. But today as I read the remainder of chapter four…I felt my heart stirring with alot of feelings…especially when I got to Page 73….*Like you…. where Renee wrote I wonder where you have been and what you have been through. Are there things you have done or things that have been done to you……..Renee also says on page 76 God wanted to finish what He started.. my heart just keeps stirring, and I know its the Holy Spirit, doing the stirring….Renee asks What story is God wanting to write in your life? Will you let Him? I found myself wondering about this and …..wrote yes…as Renee suggests I am going to write out a timeline of my life with the Holy Spirits help…. I know I have come from broken to beautiful with God’s unfailing love…I trust Him with my all…..Since the stirring in my heart I feel like God wants me to share my life….so I will get started with my timeline and will be praying….I must admit I feel a little anxious, but go back to this scripture I just love and hang on too….Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus…..

  32. Tami Meyer says:

    I love that God has a plan. God is taking me on a journey to heal from my past of sexual abuse and at the same time show me how to heal with him.

    I will be honest I am enjoying this study but I am having a hard time with not having a small group to discuss with. Its harder when its online…

  33. Renee, thank you for your teaching and your encouragement and your openess and honesty. I have had the same feelings toward my husband and I am praying for God to guide me through this process.
    To all of my sisters who have been sharing your comments, your hurts and your wounds, I am praying for all of you. Please don’t ever give up. That is exactly what the devil wants us to do and we have to refuse and rebuke him. God is good and He will always bring good from every situation in our lives if we seek Him with our entire being. We cannot know the ways of God, and even though He doesn’t remove us from the circumstances in our lives, He will and does give us the grace to go through and He will bring good from every circumstance. I feel an incredible closeness to all of you and I want to thank each one of you for sharing. I am praying for all of you (and me) and I pray that God will bless each of you and each of your family members. God Bless.

  34. I am having a very hard time with this study. I know I need to go thru this and this is where God will bring His healing to me. I grew up in a home where I never felt safe, love, protected, good enough for anyone including God. I was sexually abused by my mother’s second husband from the time I was 5 till I was 16. My mother said she suspected something was going on but never asked because I didn’t tell. I didn’t tell because I was praying to God to help me and no help came. I was date raped when I was in college (I went to a Christain College) and had an abortion. I thought God was punishing me. All I could ever see was my failures and punishments. My childhood imagine of Him was one who punished, not very loving . . .Kind of like a angry grandfather. One time I asked my mom if I was pretty, she laughed and said no, I brought home straight A’s and was asked why they weren’t A+. I am 49 yrs old and still fight feeling like a child. I am a wife of 28yrs, a mother of 2 wonderfull childern and Grammy to 4 boys. I spend so much time trying to please everyone I know and feeling like I am not doing one bit of good. My mask is so thick, no one knows how scared I am all the time.

    I was in the shower this morning, on my knees praying. I was asking God to forgive me, show me how I can make Him happy, how I could please Him. To please show me what I had done wrong so I could try and make it right. . . I turned on Pandora and the first three songs dropped me to my knees . . . Lead Me to the Cross, followed by Trading My Sorrows and then By Your Side. I am still hurting, but I know that my hurting will finally be healed. There are going to be some deep scars, but the bleeding will stop soon. I am afraid to do the timeline, but I will. I will seek Him always, He will turn my ashes into beauty.

    I am sitting here debating if I should delet this post. I want to, but I am not.
    Thank you Lord for using Rene to bring this healing to so many of us! I give You all the honor and glory. Thank you for Your mercies and grace! You are our healer! You are Amazing.

    • Gloria C says:

      Cyndi, thank you so much for sharing your story! It obviously took an incredible amount of courage to write it, let alone post it! Please know that God is pleased with you! You are His precious Bride, His Beloved Child, His Beautiful Princess, and His Valuable Friend!!!!! I used to look at God as an angry Father who was waiting to pounce on me for every mistake I made. Every bad thing that happened in my life seemed to be a punishment from Him that “I deserved.” Those are lies of the enemy! He loves us just the way we are–after all, He died for us while we were yet sinners–and wants the best for us! Once I stopped believing the lies of the enemy and started believing the truths of God, my whole outlook on life changed, not to mention my relationship with God! I’m praying for you, dear sister, that God will reveal these truths to you and that you will finally be set free! Bless you!

    • Praying for you, Cyndi. I can relate so well to what you said, ” I spend so much time trying to please everyone I know and feeling like I am not doing one bit of good.” Sometimes, I also feel like I need to earn everyone’s acceptance, including God’s. But thankfully, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am already loved and accepted by God, so I don’t need to try so hard. I just need to rest in His grace and whatever He calls me to do, He will give me the strength to complete it. I just have to remember to receive it. May you find peace and hope in Him today. God bless!

  35. Debbie Jo says:

    I love it that God has a plan for me, a good plan!!! Realizing today that my food addiction has been around a lot longer than I thought….going on 20 years now–that was about the time of my divorce–I ask God to help me, but I know I have not been willing to do my part 🙁 I now know there is HOPE for my future….I want to seek Him with ALL MY HEART–He will lead me out of captivity….Time to Change…Thank you, Daddy God, for revealing this to me!!!!

    Thank you, Renee, for your wonderful teaching video!

  36. Courtney says:

    Renee, awesome has usual! Listening to your story brought tears, more like puddles, to my eyes. Our stories are similar. I am a recent newlywed and I expect my husband to be this knight in shining armor. I often get frustrated with him because I feel he’s not “doing enough”. When I am not happy, I feel he should be the one to fix it. He will ask me what it is I need and I quickly tell him that I don’t know. All I know is that I am unhappy.

    When I did the timeline, I realized that I have years of hurt, pain, memories, and words that handicap me. When I was 6 months, my parents separated. My dad moved in with his parents. Although I would stay with them every weekend, I still didn’t see my dad. He was too busy with other women and living his life. When I was 11, my mother died from cancer. I moved in with my dad’s parents and him, but as I stated I still never saw him. When I was 16, the grandmother that was raising me died from cancer. I felt so alone and lost. My dad’s niece and sister started being really mean to me and saying hurtful things. They would always tell me I would never be anything, among other hateful things. My dad never took up for me because he wanted to keep “peace in the family”.

    For years I dated guys that we’re mean and abusive. It was like I was looking for a father figure. And I had many hurtful friendships with women because I wanted a mother figure. And I could forget about trying anything new! I automatically thought I would fail because of the hurtful words of my aunt and cousin. I was just a mess! So to find a man that love me flaws and all and wanted to marry me…. WOW! I thought that he would fix everything… NOT!

    Thanks to a friend who got me to start going to church, I discovered that I always had a father, and a mate…. JESUS! I still have my days, but I keep praying. And joining this bible study with all these awesome women of Christ is amazing! Your teachings and stories are a blessing to me. Each day gets better and I feel myself getting stronger. I am finally able to confront some things and let some things go.

    Thank you to each of you, and God continue to bless Renee and this OBS.

    • Thank you for sharing! What an inspiring story. My heart breaks for the pains of your past, but God is using it for your good and His glory. I can totally relate to feeling unhappy but having no idea what would make me happy. At which point, I just turn everything to God and let Him fix it. While your husband cannot fix everything in your life, God put him there for a reason. May He bless your marriage and help you.to inspire Godly growth in each other.

  37. Isaiah 61:1-3 has a special place in my heart. I’m so happy that Renee brought it into the reflection questions….I long to see beauty for the ashes, the joy instead of mourning, to praise instead of despair, to comfort those who mourn.

    My greatest strides as I was an am healing became encouraging others in my pain. If I didn’t/don’t, I sink in the darkness. The time lapse between beauty and ashes, the joy and mourning, the praise and despair is a time of testing for me, I feel. Because I DO believe that the God who designed the entire universe would ever make a mistake with my life…He longs to make things beautiful…even the bitter circumstances He even said we’d go through. Sometimes, they are the means to the beautiful masterpiece.

    I read a story of how one who was scraping the bottom of life resolving to go to her grandmother’s for advice. The grandmother meanwhile boiled carrots, eggs and coffee beans in 3 different pots.

    20 minutes later the strong carrot wilted and lost strength in the adversity of the boiling water.

    The egg, with its soft heart center hardened in the “trial”….such as a death, a break up, a financial hardship.

    Or the coffee bean, actually changed the very circumstance of the pain…the hot water became fragrant and flavorful…changing the situation around it and becoming better in the process.

    I pray that we’d all be like the coffee bean…sometimes the most fragrant things can’t release its beauty until it is crushed. May you see the beauty of what God is making you into. Even though you can’t see it, someone else just might.

    This is one example of that on a surface level:

    May God bless you all beyond your imaginations and turn your RAIN into RAINBOWS!!

    • This is one of the most amazing videos I have watched in a long time. I struggle so much with self-esteem issues. The only time I look in a small mirror is to put on makeup. I avoid having my picture taken at all times. All I can see is ugly. I have a wonderful husband of 32 years, two amazing grown sons, and a lot of great girl friends. But, I can never get passed thinking I don’t deserve to be loved because I can only see the ugly. Thank you for sharing this video clip. It has given me a lot to think about.

      • Sweet Sharon, I totally understand where you are coming from. I know the thoughts personally and I know the IMMENSE AMOUNT OF JOY that it robs too dearly. I single-handedly ruined many precious memories because I had scales over my eyes and heart as I looked at myself in extreme distortion, as well as fear of other’s opinions. I still regret that to this day 🙁

        On top of everything else, the early years of my courtship with my husband consisted of running away from the compulsive camera taking tendencies that he had, IN ADDITION to needing a “subject” for his then photography class assignments. I look back at those pictures and relive the extreme insecurity in my eyes (if he managed to capture them as I literally had shots flying away from the camera.)

        And yes, because of the insecurity, I didn’t feel confident in the love he wanted to give me. I cannot iterate what that did to my life. The only thing that broke this curse in my mind were a couple of things:

        1. I realized that the Creator of the Universe doesn’t make “junk”, and it was like insulting Him when I would rather believe the evil one’s lies than His Truth.

        2. I took my eyes off myself and started loving others in the community, volunteering and teaching. The interesting part is, the pictures of me after I started doing that were actually reflected great physical differences in me as well….something from the inside came out. It always catches me off guard when I compare the two phases.

        3. I understood that there was a battle for my mind, and the moment I let into discouragement, the evil one won…knowing that it would DESTROY what beautiful relationships and opportunities I had and would have if I believed the lies.

        I can tell you one thing for SURE…it looks like there are A LOT of important people who think you are beautiful inside AND out!! Keep believing the one WHO LOVES YOU SO MUCH HE CAN’T TAKE HIS EYES OFF OF YOU!!!

        • Pillar, thank you so much for taking time to respond to my comment. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I admit I am not in the Word every single day, and I know that has allowed Satan a foothold in my mind. Your points are valid, and I will certainly incorporate them into my life. Knowing others are/have struggled with these same issues gives me hope that I too can overcome insecurity and self-doubt. God Bless You!

          Your friend,

          • Sweet Sharon, God is always by your side! Be strong, wear your “armor of God” (Galatians 6:11-18) and LET HIM (and yourself) LOVE YOU!! You are a gorgeous gem!! My prayers are with you always!! May God bless you beyond your dreams!!
            Love in Christ, PILLAR

  38. Renee praying that you will feel better…..

  39. I haven’t read chapter 3 or 4 yet, I am behind to say the least and I haven’t watched this video but I just found myself at work, typing a message to my colleague and when I typed the word confidence in the sentence about some management not having enough confidence in me, the flood of thoughts and emotions that tell me maybe there is a reason they don’t hit me hard. I have an 8 month old and I am struggling with being a working mom. I never thought I would even think about being a stay at home mom but it just seems more and more that that is where I should be instead (I have 5 beautiful step children as well so plenty to do at home).. I appreciate my job dearly. It is a really good job and so many are not fortunate enough to have one at all. But I struggle with confidence being the only female professional in my group and being young. Now I’m not happy with the work and a big piece of my job, one of the only pieces I enjoy, has become a political project and has been taken from me. I started the project and now somehow management slowly removed me from the entire thing. I don’t have girl friends and I don’t share well because I feel like everyone has their own struggles and I should just support them but I felt like this would be such a safe place to share. I have a certification exam to study for after work but I think this book is going to cuddle with my baby girl and I first! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing. It sounds as though God is paving the way for some changes in your life, whatever they may be. It’s hard to let go of the old and embrace the new, but I pray that the Spirit will show you which way to turn. Meanwhile, may you find confidence in His strength, that He has your best interest at heart in everything. May you be blessed today!

  40. Oh boy did this hit home with me. I have been experiencing increased resentment and bitterness toward my husband. I was divorced after 17 years to my high school sweetheart and experienced deep feelings of disappointment and rejection. I’m remarried now and thought that I now had my knight in shining armor. I have know him for many years professionally and saw him as a confident, strong, powerful person who was going to protect me and take care of me. It is both our second marriages, he is a widow. Before our wedding I was asked to sign a prenuptial agreement. I could process this intellectually since we both have children with our previous spouses. The emotional side of me not so much. It really hurt. My feelings of not feeling good enough surfaced and I felt less than…….. since our marriage 2 1/2 years ago we have experienced unexpected changes in his career. The financial obligations from his private practice and debt accrued before we were married are affecting us and our future. This is the root of my bitterness and resentment. However, God is working on me through this study! I have let go of the bitterness and resentment because I know God will take care of me and that as in Isaiah 46-10 I know the end from the beginning, from ancient time, what is still to come, I say “My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.” I put my trust in God and feel much peace! Thank you, Renee, I so appreciate your teachings!

  41. Again, I am so glad that I have been led to this bible study! All day yesterday I kept getting the same message. To let HIM into my heart and life. So much has happened to me over this past year, losing my mother for one to cancer, problems in my marriage due to substance abuse ( not on my part), problems with my oldest stepson with addictions and mental issues, money issues for the first time in almost 14 years of our marriage, etc., it seems like my husband and I are about to blow apart! There has been physical abuse, mental and emotional. I have helped to raise his sons as my own. My family took them in as well. My husband has always had custody of his sons from the beginning. Being the man that I met and the way he was with his boys, was one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Unfortunately, he has become an enabler to them and they are always first. As young men now, I am made to feel as “the” intruder. I feel like a stranger in my own home. An unwelcome presence. I also live with non believers. However, their mocking doesn’t bother me anymore, and that seems to have stopped for the moment. The more I seek Jesus it seems, the more problems I have here in my own home. I feel like I didn’t have any “safe” place to turn to and have discovered that I can not do this alone anymore, and oh how I have felt alone! Digging up the bones in my closet is a really hard thing to do, but I am doing it. But this time, not alone. I feel God’s Grace! I am so greatful to be able to read all of these stories on here (sad as a lot of them are) and know that at least here, I am not alone. With prayer and guidance I feel a little stronger, a little less on edge and a lot more hopeful! I am realizing again, that yes, I AM one of God’s children, and yes I do matter. We all do. I thank you for bringing me back to Him! If it wasn’t for my friend and coworker, I might still be a lost sheep. I look forward to the next video and chapter!
    Thank you again and God Bless you all! Thank you Renee for doing this!

  42. Renee – I wan to to first thank you for your story, and for sharing it!!! To be honest, I bought your book a while ago, and then when I saw the online study, I felt an urgency to sign up. Yet, I felt that I wasn’t a “candidate” on some level for this study. I felt like I might have other issues that weren’t related to a lack of confidence. My-of-my how God works! As I go further along in your book and this study, I am being deeply moved to ponder things I now know I have buried deep inside, that have caused me pain and an inability to feel the joy and peace I so desperately seek in my relationship with God. I have felt a sense of sadness and loss for so many years, and I have blamed everything from my never-ending anxiety from our financial struggles, to my husband’s dysfunctional family (which has had an impact on our marriage, of course), to my genes (my mother and sister have manic-depressive disorder). One night last week I woke suddenly in the middle of the night and my stepdaughter was on the forefront of my mind. I KNOW God was shaking/waking me at that moment. Because now as I work through chapter 4, I am realizing that there were painful things that happened to her years ago, when my husband and her mother divorced, and he and I later met, married and had a family. I believe God is using this study to prepare me for a time of healing with her, and with my husband. My marriage has not been healthy for quite some time, and I feel lead to believe that God is using not only this study, but my stepdaughter, as a way to open up doors that have long since been shut. It’s scary, and intense, but I feel God’s power working in me.
    Please pray for me that I open my heart, allow the God of hope to search inside, and then to trust HIM with this entire situation. It is the only way that I will grow, and it is the only way I will be able to successfully navigate the tough road ahead as I try to work through these relationships.
    Your story, and your teaching, together with the inspired bible passages you have provided, are shaking my world – in a GOOD way, even thought it’s definitely not without its challenges. God bless you, and may God bless all of the women in this study as they take this journey through our past, to lead us to a hopeful future in Jesus!!!

  43. The verse “for i know the plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you2 has been a recurring theme in my life. I am so in the right place with this study. I finally got to read chapter 4 or start to and it is already talking to me about my own life. My pain and past hurts keep coming back and I feel like saying Why did my husband leave me, why me? I’ve gone through so much I don’t want to go through any more. I don’t want it anymore.
    I need God to heel my pain and hurts, to heal my emotions, my spirit. I want to be the person he has made me to be and do all the wonderful things he’s got for me, but I can’t see it happening. I get frustrated and struggle to embrace what he is doing now. I don’t want to miss anything I want to know how to fully go through it all so I can come out the other end complete and whole.
    I want ot be that person he promised me to support others in my peer group. To see other peoples lives changed. But i don’t seem to be getting from a to b.
    As i was listening to the video I was reminded of the verse ;” I will restore the years the locusts have eaten” which was given to me. And i had the verse too at some point : “To proclaim the year of the LORD’S favour”.( the year of the LORD’s favour is connected with the year of JUBILEE when everyones debts was cancelled.) Have I missed it?
    What have i done all this time? I was in Birmingham city centre today, enjoying the culture,arts,lots of people which i miss now i live in a small town., And despite all the good feelings I felt lost, Lost and forlorn wanting to be found. To find the real me amongst the mixed background I’ve had,the mixed emotions,the ups and downs. I wanted to be found and come into my own to walk in the perpurses that are for me. To find that confidence and security in the one who made me.
    I have so much going on in my head it is hard to make sense of it all. i have my days when things seem so great but oh how much more do i want those days to be more frequent.
    Thanks so much for the book and video clips etc something is definatey touching base and i hope i will be able to work through it all to fully change for the better.

  44. Elizabeth says:

    This really made me think about my past and how I become almost jealous of how my step-daughters are treated so well by my husband when they are dealing with situations and I tend to say that they just need to deal with things on their own. I realize that I am being critical because I didn’t have the support I needed when I was younger. I was just told not to feel sorry for myself and never had anyone help me to deal with issues I was facing. This book and particular message is really helping me to pull out some roots from my life. Thank you Renee for listening to God when writing this book!

  45. This video message was amazing. Renee speaks such truth – the truth of God that will heal our hearts. He made us, He knows us and He knows what we need… and just how to heal us. Praise God that He gives us a future and hope! God bless you Renee as you keep listening to God and keep speaking/writing the truth. God bless you all as you trust in Him!

  46. Hope you feel better real soon, Renee!
    I actually found myself laughing while watching the video, because you started to talk about going through your past again and I thought, “I’ve done that a million times and don’t need to do that again…” and then realized that I was crying and stuffing my face with food simultaneously while listening to you describe my exact life…the trying to create the happily ever after that you never had in your marriage. My poor husband has been through the ringer because of childhood scars and that all came to a climax 2 summers ago…he “out of nowhere” (how it felt to me) told me that he couldn’t take it anymore; the fear, the control, etc….and it was the worst because I had been trying so stinkin’ hard to be perfect, you know? lol. I was pregnant at the time and was unable to deal with what was going on…but God was so faithful and carried me through that season and reestablished His Husbandhood (not sure that’s a word) in my heart again, and things are better in my marriage than they’ve ever been. I am no longer jealous and consumed with the fear that my husband will leave me….but there are still some control issues that plague me…which is where the stuffing my face with food while crying came into play…IT IS A PROCESS. lol.

  47. What chapter should have got me doing was to weep a little. But somehow I really felt challenge to be angry at God for letting me go through this, through out my journaling and answering the questions what I heard been spoke time was this : “God love you that he wants to show that power of his love for you through those pains and shame”. And upon that I caved the new word for my life which is a sister of motive but it is called PURSUE, and for now whatever that I do I say or wish for I have to ask what am I pursuing it for is it from Hod or the me God. I struggle with letting God have it, but I know He will enable to. Pursue after God and let home be your GOD.

  48. Mary Hilding says:

    That was a wonderful video. It just showed me that God never gives up on us even when we want to give up on ourselves. Right now God is teaching me that I need to let him be my husband and when I do that then he will be bring the right guy int my life. I was only married 5 monhts before my husband took off and when back to the mormon church. I was so mad and bitter at him and at God but now I know that we were not meant to be togerther. God is good. Thanks for sharing Renee.

  49. I struggle so much with my past. I divorced in 2002. My ex has moved on and is remarried. And I am still processing all the emotions I feel. I keep wishing the divorce never happened. We are both Christians. I keep beating myself up over things I should have said…ways I could have acted. How I could have been a better wife. Maybe we would still be together. I feel like such a failure. I have asked God to forgive me for the divorce. I see what I did wrong. I am just feeling hurt from it. Is this….normal….after all these years?? Shouldn’t I be “over this” by now? When will the healing- complete healing- come?

    • There is no standard grieving period for a divorce, so yes, what you are feeling is normal and valid because you are God’s daughter. I’m saddened to read that you are still hurting and blaming yourself. God forgives you and He can help you forgive yourself. Turn these thoughts and emotions to Him and let Him work. One unfortunate incident does make you a failure. God can work all things for your good and His glory. May you find peace and blessing in Him today!

  50. Renee, thank you so much for this book!! You really help us to see that we can learn to let go of pain.
    Not that we can forget – but, we can have freedom to leave it with God.
    These chapters are so down to earth and helps and wants us to share it with other women.
    Since there is no real way to give you a hug, wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze knowing that you are being thanked and appreciated.
    The Lord, is using you in such a powerful way.

  51. Patricia says:

    This chapter and video really touched my heart . I started the timeline and reflected on past hurts and ask God to begin the healing process. Unforgiveness had me bound but I am thankful I can truly say I have the victory in this area. It was not easy but daily I seek God to keep me free in this area. I am truly hearing God speak through His word Isaiah 61: 1-3 and Jeremiah 29. Thank you God for this group.

  52. About 8 years ago, I began to really open up to God and trust Him for the outcome of addressing my own pains. It was actually a very messy and difficult process (because it’s hard to let go and trust) and although my life literally fell apart, I never gave up on God. Now, I can say that He is restoring every area of my life on HIS terms…not mine. It’s awesome to watch the Holy Spirit work in my life and I know that I can trust in Him for the rest of the story. The key to getting through the ugliness of our past is to know who we are in Christ Jesus. Oh how awesome of a God we have! He wants to redeem us and fill us with a future of hope. Loved ones, take it from me, it is so worth it to let the light in and trust in Him for the outcome in all aspects of living.

    • Do you have some practical ways that God showed you how to do this?

      • In my life, I lived many years as a controlling perfectionist. Last year, God began to teach me about surrender. Since then, I have been slowly taking my hands off of things when God says He will take care of it. For instance, God wanted me to skip making reservations for a dinner party because He could produce a table for a party of ten on a busy Saturday night. The concept was inconcevable to me but God said He couldn’t open the Red Sea if I won’t leave Egypt. So i did and miraculously, He came through. I was so scared at first but my faith has slowly grown and I’m trusting God more and more and don’t care much about appearing to be perfect all the time.

  53. Stephanie Rudash says:

    I believe my past hurts have actually made me as dependant on God as I am today. However, the Lord has been brining a couple old battles I may not have completely delt with through this chapter. The problem is: I don’t know where to start to pray about it. It’s ao deeply buried I’m even ashamed when it comes to mind.

    • Praying that God will direct and show you where he wants you to start. May the Holy Spirit who guides us in all truth direct your ways, reveal how much you are loved and comfort you in your fears.

    • Stephanie,
      I pray that shame will not hold you back from seeking healing from God. “Shame” tell us “we are bad” instead of “what happened was bad”. God will never, ever shame His child. He desires to take that toxic shame off and away from you. I struggle so badly with toxic shame! It can be like an icky, inky, oily glue that swallows me and I can only shake off a few drops at a time. It is so frustrating, so I feel your pain. I understand not knowing where to start and the temptation to cut the memory off the moment it starts because the shame takes over! But I will share with you when I become overwhelmed of where to start, I do as Evette shared, I pray for God to show me where to start. When that memory surfaces I invite Jesus into it. Even a simple prayer of, “Jesus I don’t even know what to do with all of this, but please, right now, come into this part of my life. Come into this moment. Come into this memory. Make yourself known here. Redefine and redeem this.” And every time He has. Sometimes it takes me longer to work through some than others, but He never leaves it undone. He brings freedom, comfort, and release at the very end of it. And then I move onto the next one. So trust Him and follow Him. He will remove your shame and heal your heart. prayers for you!

  54. After reading chapter 4 or for that fact the previous three chapters, I see where my doubt came from and if I want to go forward I have to confront the past and ask Jesus to show me how to process this pain that and fear that I carry with me. My parents were not the most nurturing and I became a people pleaser just to get them to show me some affection. I had to be perfect to get praise. so I will construct this timeline and ask Jesus to help me process it and move forward from it.

  55. I have a lot of pain from my past things I’m not proud of, but I also have gotten to the point where I can’t allow my past to dictate my future. If I continue to dwell on my past and not move forward then I will be stuck forever. I have come to realize that I have a story to tell a story that may help someone else. I can’t just sit and ponder on the what ifs that’s not getting me anywhere. My past is my past I can’t go back and change anything as much as I want to, but I can move forward and trust God with my present time and future.

  56. I must be honest – I didnt want to do the timeline. I did not want to look back and revisit the hurt. I thought I had moved on so much, I didnt want to go back. But perhaps that shows me that those events still hold a lot of pain for me. This is my second time doing the study, and I stumbled across the timeline I did before. Rejection – my fear of being rejected. My fear of being rejected is so big, that I dont put myself in positions to be rejected – or so I thought. Really, this study did help me the first time, and I have stepped out just a little bit more – nothing major and still very single, but in other ways. I also see that I do need to make the timeline again and see a bit more where God has brought me from. I was afraid that I would be shattered visiting all of those places again. But maybe not. I’ll trust in God to carry me through instead of trying to depend on my own strength to carry me through the memories.

    • Thank you for sharing this. I can almost say ditto. I don’t want to go back and look at the painful places. I thought I had processed them before, but I don’t want to really look at it too much. I am in counseling and I still find it difficult to look at the really hard places. I would rather pray for healing and forgiveness and move on. I am battling my fears and how to be confident in the Lord, to not throw away my confidence. I am struggling today. I could use some prayers.
      thank you.

      • Praying for you evette. I did my time line this morning. I asked the Lord to be with me visiting those places again. It was strange how the emotions cames back. The overwhelming feeling that I had this time around was that I was inadequte. Always inadequate because of all of the abandonment and rejection. I pray the Lord helps me to process it it all. To understand it, and to show me – He does NOT feel the same way. He loves me. I dont deserve His love, but He loves me. He loves you too Evette. He loves all of us. Hold on to that fact.

  57. Thanks Renee for the video and I look forward to the one later this week on the timelines, I know that this part will be difficult but one that I really think I need to work through! One of the points that stand out to me on this Ch 4 was “He knows all my failures and shame but He loves me completely” and ” deal with the past but don’t dwell in past.” I read these and then actually watched the link that Dove did on beauty (someone above linked it on her comment) and I know that like me it is a struggle for many of us on how we see ourselves so those two lines really hit home too with that!! Thanks for the encouragment and helping me see how to deal with past to move forward to build my future based on Him and His plans not on my past!

  58. I think that after experiencing so much pain and hurt when I was younger, that as a young adult I tended to move on and let go too fast when bad things happened, if that makes any sense. I just moved on without processing anything. I think that at the time I didn’t want to dwell on it, because I felt bad enough and wanted to move on for my and my daughter’s sake. I wanted to be what she needed me to be, so I didn’t want to think about or have any feelings resurface that would get in the way of that. As I’ve gotten a little older, and as we go through this study, I realize that was not the way I should go about it. I wouldn’t be truly free or healed going on as I had. I have to have the courage to revisit those feelings and times that I don’t want to remember. It’s not always easy, but so worth it in our journey to freedom, just like Renee said.

  59. Melissa B says:

    As I am slowly digesting Chapter 4, God is really touching my heart and showing me His desire to fill the void that my daddy never did. Each time I open your book, Renee, it’s like God picks me up and places me in His lap and holds me while I read. I end up crying and He begins to heal the wounds left by my daddy. God told me today how jealous He is to be what my daddy wasn’t to me. My daddy never took the time growing up to spend time with me, or to really seem interested in me much at all. He was on drugs and too busy drinking and partying with his friends to spend time at home with my Mama and sister. I am thoroughly enjoying your book. It’s like we’ve lived mostly the same life. The same struggles with criticizing your husband and bitterness you mentioned in your video is the same struggle I have been fighting with for a while now. God just recently showed me why I was doing that to my husband. It all had to do with my unforgiveness toward my daddy and the bitterness resulting from that. I am so glad that God led me to read your book. Thank you for your transparency. It is helping me tremendously!

  60. Thank you for sharing your notes via PDF and Word… so helpful!! My past hurts lead me to God!!!

  61. Michelle Johnson says:

    I’m learning each day how to try to listen to God (really listen). I know I hide from my past hurts, that I project my dreams ( my little girl dreams) on a lot of people, especially my husband, and I have to acknowledge them and accept that God has a plan. When I truly listen I will hear those plans. I have much fear in me but I also have hope and the hope is starting to break through the fear. I thank God for the little moments I have that keep me wanting to search for more, to find the courage to break the chains that I have bound myself with and knock down the walls I have built around me. I thank God for women like Renee who found the courage and share it with women like me who are still looking. And I thank God for all of you who are there to support each of us through sharing.

  62. Jennyp1973 says:

    In this video I am reminded of the times I need to stop ‘dead in my tracks’ and think about the past hurt that is creeping into today to make me believe that lie again. All the healing I experienced last year, this reprocessing has been the most helpful…not only for me, but my husband when we are communicating. I can stop myself and be authentic in the truth that I was believing the lie caused from a past wound…that caused the behavior of today to redirect it to the truth of today that I am loved…I am worthy…I am forgiven…I am complete in Christ. To refocus my behavior or thought on loving first and being open to accepting my husband’s love also.

    How has this helped my husband too? He is able to recognize, accept, then move into loving me where I am at and not be thinking…what did I do wrong? why is she nit picking? what next? He has been with me in those hurts & healing, so being honest at the moment helps us communicate better. Sometimes he will call out the lie if I am too entrenched in the feelings in the moment…that has helped me too! Almost like ‘snap out of it’.

    Part of my therapy also included a ‘family history of secrets’…which helped me recognize the importance of being authentic & processing issues together safely vs. ‘hiding from the shame’.

    Did the timeline of emotional wounds in this chapter…already knew pattern was rejection, abandonement, unworthy, unwanted, & unloved…However God has been healing those hurts w/ me…love Him!

  63. Although I know I am not the only women struggling with pain it is helpful to read that I am not alone. I’ve had many hurts in relationships with parents, friend and my husband. I really am not one to dwell on my hurts and thanks be to God many years ago I was able to give God my past. Yet, I still continue to struggle with a lonely, lifeless, estranged marriage. It has gone on for more than 20 years that my husband and I cannot seem to get along. We were both raised in Christian homes and our fathers are pastors. We even divorced for 5 years and then reconciled and remarried. I know its both of us but I have grown so weary of going to church alone, parenting my children alone, going to social events alone, sleeping alone. We barely talk. I thought I got through the hurt of our past. I know I am fighting not with flesh and blood but again, I’m tired of the enemy working overtime to bring me down. This study has really helped me as I was a person who never felt I was good enough. My dad never seemed to be pleased with me and my husband normally blames me for what goes wrong in our family or with our children. I have been really feeling confident not in my own self but in God’s love and then WHAM! the rug get pulled from under me and my husband brings me right back down. I fight to not allow my self to sink into depression but I’m at a loss. At times I have felt that maybe God was against me even when I know that is a lie. What is tough is my husband knows the Bible and will use it as a way to manipulate me to think its all my fault. I pray, I read my Bible, I have done bible studies, sought out Godly women to share and nothing changes. I am in pain but I just drown it out with the busyness of life so I don’t have to deal with it. Hoping that God will change us both. I’m sure the past pain has some bearing on my today but as I still experience the pain with no answer to “stop the bleeding” and start the healing makes me lose hope. I creates a “double minded” state that I know is not of GOD. Just don’t know what to do anymore. I continue to hold on to God and his faithfulness but not sure I can go another 20 years this way or even 1 more year. Thank you for your prayers.

    • Jennyp1973 says:

      Rebecca…your story breaks my heart because I sense your broken heart. There are times life feels so overwhelming to me…the enemy is attacking…again…again…again…relentless at times it feels. I will tell my friend or husband ‘I can’t wait for heaven’…I say that as a child with a confident heart that needs to be reminded of the promise we have waiting for us. The greater plan & purpose that my tiny mind can’t fathom compared to my BIG God.

      He loves You, and He is with you in your hurt. I pray for you to embrace the hope of His promise for you…your name,Rebecca, is already written in heaven…and His on your heart.

      Romans 5:3-5
      Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

  64. Renee,

    How amazing is our God that He would reveal to me last week in my prayer time that I need to throw away the past and look to the future! Now this week with Chapter 4 in the book coinciding (we know there are no coincidences with God!) it truly has blown me away! So much pain and hurt from my past that has carried over to today that I need to pry it away from who I really am. It is a process and I know I cannot do it without Him! Thank you again for the courage to open up your heart so our hearts can be healed!

  65. Fourth chapter (hope)
    As a little girl I could hear my mother say to all of her children, if someone offer you drugs what are you
    going to say?? We answer no. My oldest brother and I was very close, we grew up in a poor area were drugs was the Norman. My brother did indulged in drugs, and got aids. I was in denial that anything was going to
    happen to him. One day we had a big argument over something silly, we stop communicating with each other.
    Now mind you this was in early 80’s when everyone was very much afraid of the disease. I wasn’t afraid of my brother, I had to much pride, and that got in the way of forgiveness. We never said few words to each other. I could now see in his eyes that he was scared, and that he was worried that he wasn’t going to see is only child grow up. Time passed, and so did my brother. I was beside myself, the hurt I felt was indescribable. I took his death very bad, all I could say I didn’t tell him I loved him. I ask God why did this had to happen. Then in the the early 90’s my youngest sister got aids, I made a promise to God, and myself that communication & closeness to my sister i will be there for her, I learned available lesson to forgive myself & my brother by being there for my sister I told her I loved her every time I was here. I had felt that God had gave me a second chance. I also lost another sister to cancer in late 90’s my family had it ruff for a little while, but my parents and I help raised their children most of them was very young at that time. I did go into some depression but, god has away of seeing you through it. Their kids are now all grown up, and some have children of there own.
    I can are them in there grandchildren faces. God has blessed us with so many wonderful faces. I won’t tell you that we didn’t ask God why all these things had to happen to our love one’s, blaming him was not going to be the answer. Turning it over to him, to give us the strength to carry on was the answer. Forgiveness way the answer, for my family are we would had been dead inside and not living God’s promise. Hope is one of the many things that I chose to hold to.

    I chose to hold on to.

    • You write beautifully and have an amazing life story! Love your wisdom. Wishing you blessings this day!

  66. I have been struggling in the last year or so with unemployment. With each rejection letter, email or non response, I feel my old insecurities creeping up on me and the next thing I know I am back in grade school feeling like I am not enough or good enough. I really appreciate this chapter because writing the timeline is going to help me deal with those past insecurities and also guide me through my future. I appreciate you Renee for this! GOD IS AWESOME!!!

  67. Miss Mary T says:

    Renee, after reading and journaling through chapter 4…I kept going back to Isaiah 61, especially verse 4 and your thoughts shared about letting God write our stories. I have always comforted myself and others by saying God has a greater plan and we may not know what it is but we have to trust him. It is this faith and trust as he carried me through the deaths of two of my students this year; Jayla and Eddie. Jayla had just turned 6 and Eddie would have been 6 on Christmas Eve. She passed on the 3rd day of school and he passed on Thanksgiving day. God certainly wrote their stories as well…and although they may have been short stories, they were full of God’s love and purpose. Sorry to go off on a tangent but this study is raising my awareness of many events in my past and present…and confirming my hope for the future!

  68. “We can trust God’s plans as we realize that His story is being written in ours” Renee writes this, powerly, in Chapter 4. When I read this, I felt the Holy Spirit move in me! This is, TRULY, right where I am, right now! It clicked…seeing it in plan English… Surrendering all of the things that have held me hostage inside suddenly made sense to me. If God has chosen me to tell His story, through my hurts, somehow it seems really much more important and freeing to let Him do just that! Instead of holding on to these things, that I’ve been trying so hard to figure out for myself, I had a Bigger Purpose of letting it go… My heart has understood this, until that moment I read it, my mind hadn’t made sense of this Truth… I have a reason to Trust. Also AMAZING! I was listening to the Hymn, Be Thou My Vision by Chelsea Moon, while reading. God has really made an impact on me here. Praise God! Thank you, Renee:)

    • Several years ago, I claimed Jeremiah 29:11, as the verse I claimed as a promise for my life. God is Truly at work in me!

  69. I minister to widows and how this message offers hope for the grieving! Almost six years after the loss, I can look back on how someone so significant in your life being wrenched away with no warning can leave wounds that must be processed–looked at carefully, gently handled and cleaning so that absolute healing can take place and new plans and a new life can be started –plans that only God can create with a confident heart! Thank you for this chapter!

  70. Renee! Thank you so much for writing this chapter. It really spoke to me. I literally got breakthrough and clarity to all my anger. I have been struggling the past few weeks with anger, hopelessness, resentment… you name almost every negative feeling and I probably felt it. I was so lost and confused as to why I was this way, but when I read the part about the not getting the “happily ever after I had hoped for” I immediately got breakthrough. It was as you say my ‘aha’ moment. After I confessed my sin of all this anger and forgave in my heart towards my father and mother for not being what I needed as a child, I immediately felt the love of the Lord and His grace over me. It was amazing. Thank you so much!

  71. Linda S. Aranda says:

    I am learning that my hope is in Jesus; not man. I experienced some rather interesting trials this past year. I have been accused of lying, cheating, stealing and whatever and have done none of the above but what I am experiencing now is how to process my feelings toward myself and others because of it. the enemy (big liar) has tried to convince me that I am worthless but I am pressing through to what God says about me. I love this Bible verse this week because it is exactly what I need to get through. On the other hand, I have learned that I do not have to feel responsible for what other people think or say to me or about me. I spent most of my life being rejected, put down, treated and told I was nothing so I have had to really press in to what God says about me. This confidence I need is why God has brought me to do this study at this time. God is revealing to me Jeremiah 29:11-14. God gave that to me before the study so I really perked up when I heard you speak about on the video. Thank you for what you are doing to help so many. I try to encourage others and this is giving me more confidence to do so. I am learning each day that God really does love me and that’s why I need this Biblestudy.

  72. I can relate to Renee’s story a little bit. I lacked a father figure growing up because I lost my dad when I was 8. There after my mom had a few “long term” boyfriends, but never remarried. Looking back, I missed those daddy/daughter moments with my dad. When I married my husband I looked to him to fill not only the husband role, but other roles as well. Because he was not living up to my “expectations” I became disappointment and therefore resentment and bitterness started to sink in.
    Through my walk with Christ (and this study) I am learning that only the Lord can fill me. Even though my dad passed when I was younger, I can confidently proclaim that I am a child of God, and His perfect love fills me. I no longer look to my husband to be my “everything”. Instead I turn to Truth. Since owning this decision, I have been set free from the disappointment, bitterness and resentment I once displayed towards my husband.

  73. Hi Renee,

    I have not been able to watch any of the videos for the Confident Heart Study. Is it because I am in Bangladesh? I am able to download your notes.

  74. As i have been reading chapter 4 i there have been several things that i have identified with. But i have to admit, i just watched the video teaching and i feel frustrated. My past and my mistakes and my life right now are a MUCH bigger mess than what any ‘Christian’ teacher ever talks about. And then it’s frustrating to me to see that it looks like you have your happily ever after. So how can I relate to that? You’re ‘healed’, but you aren’t in the same struggle. You got ‘a’ happily ever after. A good husband, a beautiful daughter….. two parents raising her. Every thing looks perfect. From your hair and makeup and clothes / jewelry. So how can a single mom with no money who is drowning in life (past and present with a cloudy looking future) relate to that? I don’t mean to sound harsh or judgmental, which i’m sure i do. I’m sorry, but I’m honestly trying to get out of this place i’m in and i know i can’t do it if i can’t be real. And this is real. The feelings I just shared are what holds me back. Looking at ‘perfect people’ in seemingly ‘perfect situations’ telling me how great it is. I feel like you have no idea and so you can’t relate to where i am….. and i stay stuck.

    • Hi Nicole, it was very brave to post this and I hear what you are saying! Our struggles are different that’s true, but we all have the same Jesus who loves us equally! I’ve been in a similar place as you say you are in. It’s Jesus who wants to walk with you through your life, it’s Jesus who loves you and came to heal your past and bless your present. Cling to Him.

      I have learned that the battle is not physical; but spiritual, we all look around us and see the “mess” we have made of things, it’s when we draw close to our Abba Father and weep in His presence that we are comforted. Sometimes we haven’t made the mess, it was inherited from our families so we become victims of others bad decisions, but God can break the cycle and that’s what He wants to do through this study.

      Discouragement is a well used tool of Satan, he uses it to tell us: – what’s the use? things will never change; but this is a LIE! He’s distracting you from the reality of how much God loves you! God has a purpose for your life and each of your childrens lives as well!! If you were the only person on the face of the earth; Jesus would still have died on the cross for Nicole! That’s how much He loves YOU!

      If you feel as if you are drowning in life, I pray you will find a godly woman in your local church to help you and shepherd you to a better place.I’m glad you are here online, please stay with this study and grow spiritually along with the rest of us.

      I will pray for you Nicole! <3

    • I saddened to read that you don’t feel the people in your life can relate to what you’re dealing with. Even so, God always feels and understands your pain. He can provide you with hope and strength, and fill you up with joy and peace. I pray that You will draw close to Him and give Him a chance. Like the Samaritan woman who took a chance with Jesus, He can satisfy your thirst so take heart and don’t give up!

    • But Nicole, your story isn’t finished yet! God is still holding His pen and the ink is still wet! A few years ago, I was a single mom at war with my child’s father, battling all kinds of demons on my own, in a codependent relationship, and on the brink of suicide. I am now the mother of 3, married to a good man, and living a life that didn’t seem possible just a few years ago. I have to tell you though, that I have discovered that the “happily ever after” is not what I had envisioned and is not makes my story. What I have discovered, is that none of these things matter nearly as much as LETTING Jesus love me in all of those broken places. The outward things are wonderful and I do not take any of them for granted for even one second, but don’t let someone’s outer appearance distract you from your common struggle. That hurt doesn’t go away just because your circumstances get better That hurt sticks around and still has to be “loved” out by Him. I still struggle with all of those things even though if you were to look at a picture of my life you would think it was picture perfect. Healing is a process! Your story will be perfectly written for YOU and what Your God who loves you very much has planned for you and what will ultimately bring Him more glory than anything you could have ever come up with on your own! There are soooo many things that have happened in my life that would have caused me to run for the hills had He told me were going to be a part of my life. For example, I am married to a military man. I used to be terrified of change, so moving every couple of years has stretched me in so many different ways that I would have never volunteered for had I known the details! But praise God for knowing what I need better than I do! I would have missed so many blessings if He had allowed me to run this show! Be encouraged! He has a plan for your life that is so much better than the little ol’ happily ever after that you can come up with in your own mind! Do NOT believe the enemy’s lie that everybody else is perfect and that somehow your struggle is worse and things aren’t going to get better for you. IT IS A LIE. I bet that if you asked how many of us had believed that same lie at some point (or currently), that there would be a LOT of hands raised!

      • My hands raised! Well said!

        • Jennyp1973 says:

          My hand raised too!

          Nicole…I had a Christian therapist who shared with me this statement ‘do not compare your inside stuff to someone else’s outside stuff’. That helped me when I was believing I was the only one who didn’t have a ‘happy ever after.’ It also made me realize how broken we all are…and our relationships.
          We all have our own brokenness within us…we are lying if we say we are not.

          I had to surrender to God to change my heart and believe the truths of God’s promises…not the lies I had believed my entire life.

          My ‘happy ever after’ is in Him…me and all my stuff…and right now…I am letting that settle in my heart. It has taken me a very VERY long & difficult process of healing to believe that. I felt like I beat an addiction once I embraced that truth…it has ‘set a captive free’.

          Hand Raised Big for you…praise & glory to Him who is right there with you in all your stuff. We stand with you.

          • angela 2 says:

            Jennyp1973, just a quick question. I may be dumb but what does “amp” stand for.
            In Christ Love

          • Jennyp1973 says:

            Angela2…not sure where you are seeing ‘amp’? it may be a typo? my fingers get too fast on the ipad sometimes…not sure tho:)

      • My hand’s raised!!!!! So well said! I also wanted to point out, our lives, our broken, bleeding, shattered places is where Christ loves coming in. He doesn’t want the perfect. He doesn’t want the “self cleaned up”, he WANTS and desires the REAL. Those ugly places, those hard nasty unfair broken valleys are our love story forming with Him, and that beautiful precious love story that forms in that timeframe, becomes the most amazing of testimonies that help others come boldly, and brokenly, and willingly, before Him. He loves you, and He is NOT done yet.
        I saw a little film the other day that was so encouraging to me. The speaker was telling of Mary after the Angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her about the impending conception of Jesus. What did Mary do? She took her promise from God, and ran to Elizabeth, a woman well beyond childbearing years yet who was 3 months along in her own “pregnancy of promise”! So, when we feel we’ve been given a promise from God and we haven’t seen it happen yet, we’re not even sure there’s any seed even planted, much less fruit coming up, we need to go alongside to others who are already walking in their promise. Find an “Elizabeth.” Find someone who has been that single mom clawing out her every single day survival by her finger tips, but now has journeyed further down the road and learn from her. Let her encourage you. Let her teach you. Let her inspire you. Let her pray for you and support you. You are not alone. There are others who have struggled in the similar ways you are and have overcome and live *beautiful* lives! And my dear sweet precious daughter of the King, when you are further down your road and you can look back and see how God has guided you, how He became your “ever present help in trouble”, how he rescued and provided for you, then you have now become “the Elizabeth” to another struggling mom who can’t see beyond the next hill. There is so much hope for you, so much good in store for you. He is there with you, He hasn’t given up and He’s got no intentions of abandoning you no matter who else has! Your story already is incredible and you are doing an amazing job. Let Him see it out to completion, plans for good and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future secure in Him and all His goodness lavished upon you, His dear sweet amazing Daughter.

    • Charlene says:

      How can our Savior claim to be fully human, to understand human beings if he has never experienced human sin and guilt? How can a perfect, sinless Being comprehend my private agony of unworthiness? Does he know what it’s like to look in a mirror and despise what he sees looking back at him? Does he know what it is to wander through the ashes of a life destroyed by one’s own choices? What can sweet, sinless Jesus possibly know about the dark side of being human?

      According to the scriptures, he knows more about the dark side than any of us. In fact, he knows more about pain, grief, loneliness, contradiction, shame, rejections, betrayal, anguish, depression, and guilt than all of us combined.

      He experienced vicariously in Gethsemane all the private griefs and heartaches, all the physical pains and handicaps, all the emotional burdens and depressions of the human family.

      He knows all these things personally and intimately because he lived them in the Gethsemane experience. He lived a billion billion lifetimes of sin, pain, disease, and sorrow. Jesus took upon himself the sins and the pains of all the world.

      These truths have everything to do with our hurts, pains, and sorrows…

      We have desperate needs:
      * a mentor, one who has not just been through similar road but even a far worse one.
      * someone who is not a stranger to our glaring imperfections, immaturity, and rebellions…a physician of mind and body … he must know the antidotes to the poisons we have inherited.
      * a person who acts in our behalf not because of compulsion nor grudgingly but because of genuine care rooted in love- a constant, steady love.
      * Someone who has the right, authority, and the ability to deliver us from the threats of bondage and the compounding of our misdeeds.
      He knows the way out of darkness. He has experienced himself and has overcome it through His light. His light can overcome out darkness

  75. Lisa Rettig says:

    Such a wonderful message! Thank you so much for sharing your heart, so that we might allow Jesus to heal ours!

  76. carolyn rivers says:

    I am on chapter 9. It is very hard for me to put the book down. I have learned a lot about myself and my life. It also help me to understand some of the choices I have made and why the were wrong for me. My husband said its a good book and he was proud of me and that meant a lot considering the way our marriage has been lately. I am going to complete the book and go back for a second time to make sure I understand and I didn’t miss anything. Keep up your reading because it will change your life and your views in a good way..

  77. carolyn rivers says:

    I enjoyed the video and looked at several more on utube. It was helpful..

  78. Need prayer right now please! I have a past like all of you but it’s my present that is causing me to be unforgiving, angry, and resentful toward my husband. I know that this is study is about letting go of past hurts but I’m struggling due to the turmoil in my everyday life. My husbands best friend is someone I used to call a friend. I’ve been told this by her also! The sad thing is that my husband is a Pastor! Shocking huh!!?? He has felt pushed away by me for years and has found love and understanding with her. She “gets” him, so I’ve been told. i have asked for forgiveness for my failures as a wife from God and my husband but i don’t feel forgiven because everyone else’s feelings and friendship is more important than mine.
    I know we will get through this but I just need wisdom, guidance, and help from my Lord! Thank you all for your prayers!

    • Dear Rebecca,

      I too am a Pastor’s wife and I will be praying for you. We are put on a pedestal and when hurt creeps in we often try to hide it. I pray that you can find the forgiveness needed and be able to restore the marriage and bring the two of you closer together again. The difficult thing is when a spouse has a “best friend” of the opposite sex it makes is dangerous in all accounts no matter who you are.
      On a side note:
      In reading chapter 4 this week I was touched by the section under “God Has a Plan for Your Life” stating If I am living and breathing God’s plan is not finished in me. I have a long way to go still but I want to keep pressing on and forgive those who have hurt me in the past and leave it there.


      • Kristy thank you for your words of encouragement and for your prayers. I have been blessed with a church who dearly loves and supports me! Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without them. I am hanging on and praying that God would change my heart. I am starting to have resentment toward my husband and the “friend”. I hate that this is happening! 🙁 My husband has told me that he doesn’t love me anymore……..what do you do with that???
        However, I’m not giving up! I know my Lord has a plan for me, although I have no idea how, when, or what will happen.
        Thank you again and I’m praying that God will bless you, your husband, and your ministry!!!

    • Charlene says:


      You are in a very difficult situation. It is crucial that you spend time with Him every day. He can shine light upon your heart, let Him do it.

      I have been in difficult situations also. What saved me is arising early to be with Him. After a year of doing this, I am convinced He wants to be with me just as much as I want to be with Him. Sometimes He wakes me up at 4, 5 or 6:00. When I am woken up I feel that the Lord wants me to be with Him. I love to sleep. It is one of my favorite things to do but He is better than sleep. I no longer have a problem giving up some sleep-it’s worth it.

      Give Him your time, your heart. He will speak to you and strengthen you and give you peace and hope.

      Praying for you,

      • Charlene since beginning this bible study, I have been getting up every morning at 5:30 am to connect with God, Renee, and the rest of you beautiful women! I’m trusting in God and His word believing that He will work all these things out for His glory!
        Thank you for your prayers!

  79. Priscilla says:

    Not sure what things God wants me to process from the past. I do think I’ve been held back from God’s plan for me because I have struggled for so long with various fears and anxiety. I am asking Him to open my eyes that I might see the truth of what has hindered me for so many years. I have mild OCD basically controlled by meds but I can really get “stuck” at times and feel overwhelmed by such things as “did I do right? Did I do wrong?” It really can drive me crazy! Anyway I am asking God to show me whatever things from the past that I need to process with Him.

  80. Thank you Renee for the videos and this study. Since I am a note taker I am thankful that you have included those. I find for me its hard to bring some past hurts or sins I have made but listening to you and see how God has brought you through it inspires me to want the same. God bless you

  81. Thank you for today’s video. Before I even saw your post a thought crossed my mind about cetain issues of the past and how I do not want to think of them (I guess in a way not deal with them/not bring them back to the surface because I do not want to roll back to the shattered heart state where I was when they all first happened). I am basically talking about a few broken relationships with people who were important parts of my life at some point (one for 12 yrs and another for 5). It’s just hard to accept that possibly they were meant to be only in a ‘few chapters of my life’ and not in the ‘whole book of it’. I have a hard time letting them go even though with both we had zero contact for a few years, the hardest times are of course the holidays that make me think of them even more or ‘anniversaries’ of some type. But as you said in the video, I must take a rist of dealing with the ‘baggage’ in order for it not to impact my future. Thank you for the gentle push and encouragement, and I hope I will make myself courageous enough to truly heal and accept God’s will for these two.

  82. I love your ministry. I am currently doing your online study but have fallen behind….It is difficult for me to take time out of my day for me. But what mom out there would argue that one. I recently had a state worker (we are raising a couple kids not our own currently) tell me she is concerned because I seem to have it all put together. And yet have the weight of the world is on my shoulders…..she went on to say, not only do I have my own 2 girls I am raising, but 2 kids not my own and that may as well be like 7 kids….
    Haha. It is interesting, challenging, sad, joyful and many other things doing what my husband and I have chosen to do. Not to mention the fact that only months prior to taking on these kids, God was and continues to work on healing our own marriage relationship from much sadness, hurts and pain we went through for too long.
    Renee is so right that in order to heal we have to go through it with Jesus! He is our healer our strength and our portion for every single moment we face!
    You see, God brings us where we need because ONLY HE knows what we are capable of doing to honor Him and giving Him ALL the glory!
    God has brought my husband and I to a place that can only be explained through Him and His Grace! We cannot take credit for a relationship made new. And we can most definitely not take credit for 2 kids who were completely flailing and over the course of 8 months have begun to understand, themselves, what a true and loving family is with the guidance and Grace of a loving Heavenly Father!

    Thank you for this ministry! I hope to make myself take some time
    To catch up with the online study!!

  83. Renee I am having such a life altering experience during this study. I am a note taker and find myself writing whole passages from the book. So much of your story mirrors mine, and although I know it was painful to go through, it has served to bless so many. It helps give me hope that there is victory on the other side of what I am going through now! Thank you

  84. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that I cling to, it gives me a confident hope for the future!

  85. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom & insight. It’s hard to think sometimes were not alone in each and every struggle of our lives and yet there are so many other women and men dealing with the same afflictions and hurt that we are. Thank you for all that you do and encouraging us to become better (more devoted) Christians & children of Christ. 🙂 Thank you most of all opening your life to us and sharing your stories. 🙂 God bless you! 🙂

  86. The scripture I’m hanging on to is Isaiah 61:1-4. I still am struggling with my daughter and her depression. I feel that this is all my fault. I wish I was there for her. I missed out alot of her growing up eventhough I was physically present. I found out she was sexually malested in grade school. I asked her was I so unapproachable that you couldn’t tell me and she said yes. That breaks my heart. Right now I’m trying to keep my sanity. I’m in a strange state with no job and no rreal prospect in getting one because she can not be alone with the baby at this moment. I’m asking God to give me patience. I just needed to vent.

  87. It is wonderful to be reminded about your personal filters. We always seem to expect more of others sometimes. I’ve never realized my past could make me unconsciously resent my husband. I pray I can realize my disappointments and how they affect my here and now.

  88. I am so blessed and happy to discover your book and this online study. A song I heard recently (“Don’t Try So Hard”) by Amy Grant and James Taylor fits so perfectly with the message you are trying to enlighten us with.

  89. This study has come at such good time. I’m guessing when God knew I needed this most and could receive it. I have let fear and doubt control me for so long and it has impacted my marriage in such a negative way. I am finally seeing my sins in a clearer light. And while it’s never comfortable to see your sins, I’m thankful I can see them and by seeing and recognizing then, I can now do the work God has laid out before me to do and He’s using this bible study to do it. I’m seeing it in a different light. Instead of holding on to guilt and shame, I can let them go and place them in the hands of my heavenly Father and know He has forgiven me. This study has given me the courage to look at my past, my hurts and my pain and process it through Him. Instead of going to my old “what should I do mode”; I’m going to my God and asking Him for wisdom and relying on His promises. Trusting in Him. Thank you so much and I thank God for your courage and faithfulness to let Him use your gifts for our good.

  90. I had a hard time relating to this chapter, I wish it wasn’t so. I was Blessed with a wonderful family, good friends, and now a great husband, and I know God has called me his own and loves me, BUT I struggle with having hope in His plan for me when it looks so gray. I struggle with insecurity every day as a stutterer and am reminded of my hopelessness every time I speak. I long to be a great mother and to raise my children knowing and loving the Lord like my friends do, but feel I will be unable to teach them because of my limitations.
    At this point I don’t know how I will overcome this. I pray for God to change my heart and give me His power in my weakness, but I am constantly reminded of my weakness. Today in another bible study I’m doing with my small group on Deuteronomy, Beth Moore talked about happiness, and I know I am happy, but sometimes feel like I could be so much happier if I could let go of my hurt and he healed by the Spirit. That’s where I struggle.
    I’m praying I find out how to heal the wounds of my past, so He can start to recover my heart by praying about this has never been something I’ve done. I’ve viewed my stutter as God’s will for my life for 3 years now, and after praying for him to remove it for so long with no dismay, I closed that chapter of my life and moved on. The father knows my heart and already knows my prayers that I hide inside. After reading this chapter I think I’ve been embrarassed to talk about it with him, but don’t know.
    I hope as I continue to read, the Lord will make it clear. I’m tried of feeling so afraid.

  91. Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but are you aware that there is a lot of evidence that suggests that Moses was a stutterer??? If God can use him as His Voice and to lead His nation out of captivity, then He can certainly use you too! I am not trying to minimize your struggle. I am hoping to encourage you! When it seems hopeless, call upon an Aaron in your life to help you if need be the way that Moses did until you are confident enough on your own!

  92. I have to confess. When I read the part about writing a timeline about past hurts I wanted to cry. I have worked so hard over the years to put those behind me and move on. I do pretty good keeping it in the past most of the time. There are certain times of the year that I can’t help but dwell on the past. I strongly dislike this time of year. If I could skip over mother’s day and father’s day I would. My relationship with my parents has been a roller coaster ride for most of my life. They can go and have gone years without talking to me. I have had issues with my dad since I was very young. My issues with my mom began when I got married. I just don’t think I am ready to revisit all those terrible memories and feelings.

  93. Looking at the past is hard, but God has really opened my eyes to a few people that I needed to ask forgiveness from and I did that today. I praise God that I had the courage to stand up to my past and I know there is a lot more to deal with. I pray that he will continue to reveal his plan for me and I will continue to learn how to confidently follow Him.

  94. Miss Mary T says:

    Watched your video yesterday and again today using your message notes…I love that extra component of completing the message notes and reflecting on them as well…spending some quiet time thinking about the past and the role God has had it play in where I am today in my relationship with Him and in how I choose to live each day of my life…

  95. Chapter 4 really spoke to my heart. I have always been one to hold all my hurts and pains inside . I was the oldest child and felt I needed to be strong and hold it together for my younger siblings. And the last few years I couldn’t hold those things together any longer. I grew up in a home that was very unstable. My mother was bipolar, but not diagnosed until two years ago, and my dad was an alcoholic. In turn I grew up very quickly , and felt I needed to be the adult to my younger siblings because my parents were not. I put all that weight on my shoulders for so long. Right after I got married my parents got divorced. I knew it was coming , and didn’t really allow myself to grieve that. I had three kids very early in my marriage and about two years ago I could not keep ignoring my past any longer. I became angry and depressed. I didn’t reach out to anyone, and took a lot out on my husband. I felt unloved, alone, bitter, and resentful. I too expected my husband to fill those holes that my past created. When I felt like he didn’t I turned to another man hoping I would find it there. That affair created wounds so deep my marriage was holding on by a thread. I finally turned back to god and pleaded with him to save my marriage and get me put of this mess. Amazingly , graciously he did. It has been a year now , and The Lord is showing me places in my heart that he wants to change, forgiveness that I need to give, and the grace that he lavishes on me. The part in chapter 4 about god being able to use you past for the future is so very true. Now matter what your past looks like he is waiting to redeem you and give you abundant life.
    To god be the glory !

  96. The first time I read this book, I don’t even recall reading chapter 4. As I process this chapter know, I am so grateful that I have been praying for God to heal me from my past. When I was 11 years old I was almost raped by one of my brothers friends, while my brothers were in the room watching. Outside of my therapist, I have been holding on to this violation for 38 years, and throught this chapter I realized that I have not let go of all the angry, and hurt that this caused me. I though that through my therapist I had worked out all the issues that came attentioned to this violation, but I know that God has called me to heal in a different way. He wants by soul to heal… Sometimes when I get a flashback I become so angry, and feel very alone. This morning when the flashback came to me I felt different, I have mourn this and now I will let it go. Jerem: 29:14 I will be found by you and will bring you (Lillian) back from captivity. “I am freed by though his Love and Healing”

    “Faith looks back and draws courage; hope looks ahead and keeps desires alive.” Praising God!!!!!

  97. I read this a few weeks ago and had to ‘re-read it and answer the questions. Last week, keyhole I was visiting family in Texas, my boyfriend and I decided to take the time apart and seek God’s guidance in our relationship. He had admitted he hadn’t really prayed about it before and we both knew we hadn’t been obedient to God by dating so soon. On Tuesday, we decided to end our relationship. God had spoken loud and clear to us what we needed to do. It was hard but we wanted to be obedient. One of the things God had shown me was how I don’t see what He sees in me. How I don’t see the beauty in myself, the pain of what others have said to me and about me over the years. The heartache I carry and how I sought my boyfriends acceptance and looked for my self worth in Him instead of in Christ. This was my first real relationship and it hurt to let go. I still hurt. We are still friends and we attend the same church and I am close to his family, but I still miss some things. I don’t want to go through the healing process, it hurts. The last 2 days I have woken up and just cried. Didn’t know how to make it through the day without God’s strength. I am grieving over a loss even though I know it’s right, it isn’t easy. I believe and know that through this process I will be stronger and God will reveal a lot over time. I ask for your prayers, today is a good day but yesterday, I struggled. he Not just with the loss of a relationship but the enemy whispered all those lies about myself as a mother as a Women that I have been dealing with all this time in my ears. Thank you in advance.

  98. I have more to share but I just wanted to say thank you to you Renee and all of the women here for being truly loving and supportive. The prayers and words of encouragement are awesome. I have recently decide to truly seek God’s healing regarding the the very root of my problems which deals with trust and deals with facing my past. Thank you Renee for reminding us that God gave us hope for future. BTW this is my second going through the book (re-reading parts I highlighted and the answers I gave from the questions in the end of the chapter).

  99. God,
    I praise You and I thank You for this amazing online community that You have created specifically for Renee and her amazing friends. Your Word tells us that where two or more are gathered in Your name, You will also be there. God, thank You for showing up on Renee’s blog in BIG ways this week.

    I thank You for how You are healing hearts, setting folks free from their past, releasing us from our pain and loving us in only ways that You can! I thank you for each person that visits this page. I pray God that You will continue to use it to bring Yourself honor and glory, continue to use it to change hearts for your kingdom purposes, continue to use it to draw each one closer to your heart, and to continue the work that You have started in each heart as they seek yours and as they seek to have a confident heart.

    Your Word also tells us that if we seek You with our whole hearts we will find You and that You will set us free from the captivity of our past. Thank You for this amazing promise. Thank You that your plans for us include plans to prosper us and plans not to harm us. Thank You that You are our Promise Keeper and that those promises include You as our Hope and You as our Future.

    I pray that You will go before each person as they continue turning the pages of Renee’s page. I pray that You will reveal yourself in new and fresh ways. Fill them with your courage to keep turning the pages and to keep moving toward your heart – towards the LIGHT – and out of the shadows. Meet each one at their point of need and give them the boldness to deal with the shadows that they may be living in. Please continue to move the knowledge of your grace from our heads to heart. Fill us with Your grace, mercy, wisdom, kindness, love, discernment, compassion, and self-control.

    Fill them with the courage and boldness to forgive those who have hurt them. Boldness and courage to forgive themselves. Boldness and courage to share their hearts and their hurts with you. Boldness and courage to lean into you for healing. Boldness and courage to move forward toward the light. Boldness and courage to move forward in their reading of A Confident Heart. Fill them with confidence and give them the strength to hold onto their confidence and to not throw it away.

    Wrap each one in your arms and in your presence. Fill them to overflowing with your grace so that they can be poured out and be extenders of your grace and your forgiveness.

    “I ask God to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

    God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us”. (Ephesians 3: 14-21, The Message)

    • Amen, Donna.

      Thank you, Jesus, for your great salvation, for your healing, and for giving us a new identity in You. I agree in prayer with Donna, and trust you to continue and to finish the work that you have started in us, and to use all the things in our past for our good as we surrender then to you. Amen

  100. Asking for prayers…for a bold, confident heart. I will be speaking at a Women’s Retreat this weekend and have never done anything like this before. I am trusting God as I obey Him in this and so thankful how He has led me and taught me in the preparation but still am feeling anxious about the actual speaking. How comforted and thankful I am for this online community!

  101. Thank you, Renee, for Chapter 4! I know that God brought me to this book at the perfect time, and is working through it to encourage me to persevere in agreeing with Him about who I am and who He is, and allowing Him into the secret places of my heart that He already knows all about, but I have tried to forget.

    I grew up in a severely broken family. On the surface, it looked good: dad a doctor, mom working for him, a house keeper/nanny, private schools, horses, pets, etc. But who we were when the world was gone was a different story: abuse, anger, pornography, no protection for the children, my father’s mistress, my mother’s embracing of that, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, lying to our friends about who the mistress was, and how her daughter was related to us. I could go on, but I won’t. God called me out of that, rescued me from that life, at the age of 23, and I married a wonderful Christian man. He was aware of the big issues in my family of origin, but the details we were happy to leave unspoken. Whenever they came to mind, I would pack them quickly away and shelve them in the recesses of my mind.

    Our marital issues started on our honeymoon. For me, they started at the wedding when fear took hold and I began to wonder who “she” would be. I sought Biblical counseling within our first year of marriage, motivated in part by getting pregnant right away and being determined that I would not pass on my mess to our children. That was a real blessing from the Lord, as our baby gave me motivation for looking at some hard things. After a year of counseling, I felt that I could quit. I kept reading, studying my Bible, teaching in children’s ministries at church, and fighting my fears. However, we had just scratched the surface in that year of counseling, and I was still full of fear. But life went on, and 3 more beautiful children were added to our family, and my husband and I grew in our faith and in our marriage. But, the fear never left, causing tension in our marriage, even as we sought to strengthen it.

    Fast forward 20 years: through a series of events, God showed me a couple of years ago that I have been a slave to fear all of this time. I have grown in my faith some, but have held on to some of my baggage, for fear of seeing what was in it; for fear of trusting God with my future; for fear of rejection if my husband really knew the details of my childhood; for lack of a church family that is willing to be transparent, living by the motto “Good Christians don’t have problems”. I have worked hard to be a “good christian”, and good mother, and a good wife. But I have never felt like I was enough, or secure. So, the past year, God has been taking away some of the places that I hide in (our church and our “works”) and shown me some idols in my life (my husband, who I have wanted to make me feel whole, to fill that place within me that needs the comfort and healing only God can give. Renee, your description of how you wanted your husband to be the daddy and husband that your father failed to be could have been written about me).

    A month ago, in some reading that my husband and I are doing together (The Secret of Happiness by Solomon), I was convicted by God of my need to pick back up a timeline of my life that I started last summer on a solitary retreat I went on in the midst of some hard things. So I have been working on that a little bit, but with some fear of what God is going to bring to my memory. So what a surprise to find in Chapter 4 your encouragement to write a timeline! I will not shrink in fear from the memories, but will ask God to show them to me in His time and wisdom, and I will pray that He will use them to make me more like Christ, and to comfort others in the comfort that I have and will continue to receive.

    My past is not something that I share much about. I, like you before, Renee, have wanted God to write a good-christian-girl story with me first, then use the new story to bless others. Thankfully, He has brought me to a place of willingness, even eagerness, for Him to take my ruins and rebuild them into something He will use, to give me beauty for ashes.

    Thank you, Renee, for sharing your story of hurt, hiding and hope, and the encouragement that seeing you shining for Jesus gives to me that I, too, will be one of Jesus’ beauty from ashes stories.

  102. Renee, thank for the video you posted on April 18, telling about the women who didnt want to continue with the study..wanting to through the book…….I have been excited about this study, and got to chapter 4 and my heart has been stirred with many emotions…I dont want to quit, I want to go on…but find myselt remembering and feeling so many things. Yesterday the 18th I met a friend and we were talking and she shared something about her life, and it spoke to me so strongly, because it was something I had experienced in my life with my husband but, held back from sharing….I talked to my husband and he thought I should share with her because he said he thought the holy spirit was leading me, but i held back…Im going to call her and start my timeline there…..I started Genesis several weeks back and have been unable to continue after getting to chapter 34, the story of Dinah….to close to home..then yesterday my 17 year old, daughters boyfriend, just out of the blue ended their relationship…….I have found myself so teary today,just searching God’s word….. hurt for my daughter and actually wondering if I have stuff, I havent let go of…..My devotionals today have also been right on…One was entiteled Problems can be an asset…wow…..something stuck to me with this one….”problems can be a way to deepen our relationshio with our Heavenly Father.” the scripture for this one was 2Cor 4:8.” We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” …… The other devotional from Our Daily Bread entitled Strenthened through suffering…another wow……. the verse 1Peter 5:10…Im going to put this in my words, and some words from what was written……….”.Following Jesus is not an easy journey, we have to be strong and resist the devil, we will be talked about, misunderstood, people will be critical of us….but the bible offers so many promises…..in this verse in 1 Peter, he says there is a purpose for suffering…V10…it is to “restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”…. Jesus my Lord and Savior I know you will be stong for me on this journey your word says “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” 2Corinthians 12:9

    I can do this…………………………………………………..

    Always remember dear sisters “God is greater than any of our strorms..God Bless you all..I will continue to pray for all of you..Anna

  103. First Renee, I hope you are feeling better. I am an asthmatic and allergy sufferer as well, in fact often times it is my allergies that trigger my asthma attacks. I have been thinking and praying for your health. I know that struggle is not a fun one.

    I just wanted to say Thank you! 2 years ago I was devastated by someone in my church. There were misunderstandings that caught me from left field. I caught my breath by recoiling back and dumping everything before the Lord, over and over and over. She caught her breath by drawing it in and spewing it back out to anyone who would listen. Seeds of discord and slander were sown, and division and death in relationship was reaped. I began to lose friends for seemingly “no reason”. No one came to talk to me, they just picked a side and moved on. (what really hurt the most of this was I didn’t want “sides”, I wanted true unity in the body. If those who listened and accepted the seeds sown chose not to ask me of the things they heard that is fine because even my own “side” is still just from my own limited perspective, just please seek out the truth from God and hold onto that alone. I hoped for maturity and wisdom in insight from the mutual friends and sisters in Christ. I trusted God that He would reveal that every story has two sides, which means both sides have some things “right” and both sides have some “wrongs” committed too, therefore both sides need mercy, grace, and forgiveness. And with THIS in mind, there would be no black and white choosing “this” side over” that one, and no division, but instead increased unity. Increased prayer. Increased Love. But, this did not happen. In the two years I have spent countless hours in prayer, leaving my defense to the Lord. Not speaking out in my defense, not speaking against my sister to others in the church, and at times causing tension between those closest to me. They could tell I was deeply hurt, but I would not share anything with them the reason why. And all because I am trying to maintain unity, not become a stumbling block for another to love this sister in Christ, and taking my wounds to the Lord to heal. In the two years I have reached out a few times to this sister asking God to speak the words because I have learned not to trust my own. I need Him and His insight and His love. I have nothing to offer on my own that is good or that will bring about life in others or in struggling relationships. I KNOW it has to be from Him alone, through Him, and by Him. In those few times, the words were rejected, and I watched in time as the slander increased, the anger and bitter undertones increased. The passive aggressive comments increased. How it has broken my heart to be broken by Him and reach in love, and instead of my love offering tempering a flame, it only through fuel onto it. How it hurts to watch your love offering be discredited. Then, early this last week the Lord prompted me at night to apologize for my portion of the wrongs. There was only one part He brought up where I had sincerely sinned and that I needed to sincerely make right, the rest really had been all misunderstanding, and this ONE thing was what I needed to make right. I will always obey because I love my Lord and I desire Christlikeness and I know I can’t attain that or truly love Him genuinely if I choose to not do as He asks, but it was hard. It was SO hard. All those old rejections came back. I went rounds with God, why me, why the 5% of my part when she can’t acknowledge in the littlest bit of her wrongs to me, or my gaping wounds, or the further damage of division in the body. Why can’t she be sorry for these things? Why does it always rest on ME to step out and attempt to make it right? I was tired, tired of it all. Tired of being pinned down. tired of the drama. Tired of not being believed. Tired of being discredited. Tired of having my heart shredded for her self validation. Tired of watching love ebb away in others, and disillusionment and hate replace it and being so alarmed that they can’t even see it, how their listening and believing is harming themselves too. The Thank YOU comes in 4 hours after I wrote the message, after I crucified my heart (again) and reached out in love and did my part for making right for my own sins, I was crushed. I felt apathetic. I felt a little angry, but mostly just frustrated, and since everything in the past had a kickback I also felt some fear… just waiting, waiting to see it chewed up and spit out, again. And my friend doing this study prompted me that morning, “Kristy, have you read chapter 4? were you prompted by that reading to do this, or is this coincidental?” “No, not yet. must be a coincidence.” “You need to go read it. It speaks of this, of these fears.” And so I did, and in those pages Renee, it felt like they were written for me.. exactly for me, at exactly this moment of time. Page 78 stunned me, “We hesitate to ask others for their forgiveness because they might think we’re the only one who did something wrong and they won’t think they need to change. Or we are afraid if we bring something up again we’re going to unearth bitterness that we just don’t want to deal with so we leave it buried…” THAT was it! word for word almost. The first reason there is what warred on me that morning to not be obedient and write the apology, and it was that latter half that warred on me after I had been obedient, where I struggled with fear and apathy and bitterness even knowing I had acted rightly. And I needed those words Renee.. I NEEDED that encouragement. That my fear wasn’t stupid, that I wasn’t a fool in how I was feeling or what worried me, and yet I needed to press on ANYWAY. It’s hard to look at people’s past track records and believe it’s going to change. But then maybe my focus was too much on her and not enough on my Savior and me. So I prayed and I thanked God for you and this study and that chapter and I rejoiced in the amazing timing of it all. Then I prayed Psalm 51:10-12… “Give me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me God, take not away your Holy Spirit presence from me and give me the joy of my salvation..” (paraphrased from memory, sorry if I jumbled that one up too much), And while I wrestled with peace because of when all my other attempts had been discredited, He brought to mind Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Which I did) and James 4:17, “He who knows the good he should do and doesn’t do it, sins.” He encouraged me in His words and validated every word you encouraged in Chapter 4. So I just wanted you to hear this testimony. Chapter 4 can be gut wrenching hard, but it is needed! The joy that has enfolded me, and the freedom, true freedom, not freedom based on another’s acceptance or rejection of my hearts intentions, but from the Father’s delight alone, is incredible! Thank you for your part in that Renee.. and those struggling, don’t give up. It IS a process, but trust Abba. Give your heart over wholly to Him. He is gentle, yet He is firm. He will not allow something to continue to mangle you, and He is the only perfect one who can truly heal and free you. Not people. Not doctrines. Surrender it all! I don’t think my apology has helped this other sister, or at least I haven’t heard from her at all. But it’s okay, I know I’ve done all I can do and my freedom does not rest on another’s ability or willingness to free me. I can still love those who refuse to love me. Christ has and does. If I am to attain Christlikeness, to an extent, I need to learn this too.

  104. Chapter 4 was challenging for me. I have a lot of pain in my past. Resentment towards family members, death of my daughter’s father left wounds, past failures, broken dreams, my grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, etc. This chapter was so “freeing” for me. I was able to let go of my past and look forward to the future. It helped me realize that I am in God’s hands and he has a purpose for my life.

  105. I think I need to go back and concentrate on the Jeremiah verses. I don’t think I’ve read past v. 11! I think I need too!

  106. I think we’re still in ch. 4, lol. I may be a little behind with everything that is happening here. Just an update on my prayer request awhile back..thanks to family we have a duplex to move into not long from now. It will probably be smaller than where we currently are but I’m thankful that God supplied a home. Please keep us in your prayers for all the finances and the help moving. So much going on in our world today.
    as I was rereading ch.4 I underlined the sentence where it says “hope for your future will come when you allow Jesus to enter into the broken places of your life and do something beautiful”. I’ve also read ahead and in ch. 9 Renee talks about When I can’t stop worrying. it seems worry is much of what I do. there are bills to pay, how are we going to get all this stuff moved when my husband works 6 days a week, how is all this stuff going to fit in the other place, etc. It never ends. From reading some of your other comments I know I’m not alone in this but it feels like it especially when you have no one to talk to. I don’t make friends easily because it’s hard to trust. Is there anyone else out there who needs someone to talk to?

    • Pam,

      I can relate with the feeling of having no one to talk to. I am from England but have lived in the US for 10 years, sometimes I feel as if I just don’t connect with people as easily as I did back home, but at the same time I am also now older and on a different path. I feel closer to God because I find myself talking to Him more which is good, but at the same time, there I things I desire, things that have disappointed me so far that I can’t get past and I need to stop holding on to them and give them to God, then HE will reveal His will and He will listen. Only just today did the words that follow the so well know Jeremiah 29:11 really hit me and have meaning, then you will come to me ….. and I will listen. What a HOPE!!

      • Thanks Sarah. He’s the only thing, person getting me through all this right now. I know He listens when I call it’s just that I miss an actual person to talk to. Someone tangible. Especially with everything that is happening and still yet to happen this summer, it would be nice to have a woman friend to turn to. I hope and pray you find that as well where you are.

  107. Nicole S. says:

    I am struggling coming up with a timeline of my hurt that I am holding onto. I know that I am holding onto it, but I don’t think I want to dig that deep yet. I know I need to though. As I am going through this study I am just trying to pray and let God love me and show me my true path. I do feel like he is the other person that gets me.

    I really enjoy the videos because I feel like even though I read your book, you are a real person with real issues, just like you and me. I am behind on my post and I read chapter 5 and in there you said something to the tune of “I am having troubles with my own relationships should I even be ministering women?” When I read that I said out loud, yes you should! I don’t like to hear from “perfect” people who never have any struggles in their lives. I love to hear other’s inspriing stories so that I know I am not alone and I will get there too. Thank you for sharing your story.

  108. Maureen Chiasson says:

    Wow!! Just talked to one of my friends about this, tonight. This resonates with me so well. Forgiving, accepting and healing so we can move on. Of course pain input past can be come fearful experience. Rejection is scary. However when we can forgive ourselves and others we can be set free and go forward to a happier life. I know that personally. However, when a bitter root grows in us we ate poisoned and paralyzed by negative emotions.

  109. Catherine Prezbindowski says:

    I’m just going to say that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I know that its the best thing I’ll ever do. I know I need to do it and I’m asking for more grace to do it.

  110. Letitia King says:

    This is so hard for me that I quit after Chapter 2 but I didn’t let myself put the book away. It has been tugging at my heart since then and I started back up this week. It will only be by the grace of God that I can make it through this study.

  111. melissa says:

    I have come back to this study and would love to be able to view the videos (Chapter 4 especially). I am leading a women’s ministry bible study and find this chapter to be pivotal of finding the courage to look back to move forward. There has been so much hurt among the ladies that I want every bit of this study that is available.

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