{Chapter 4} Running With Courage – Chasing God’s Plans

Today I want you to meet my sweet, funny, amazing friend, Rachel Wojnarowski. Her story is one of God’s redeeming grace and the choice she’s made to chase after His plans and hold onto His hope — with all that she has in her.

I grew up in a wonderful Christian home with fabulous Christian parents.  We were faithful to church and I graduated from Christian school.  I went on to Christian college and completed the circle by teaching in a Christian school.  My future husband was a “preacher boy” and when we married, the plan was that he would take a youth pastor position wherever God led.  Only after we married, he had serious doubts about his calling and stopped attending church all together.

After two years of marriage, a precious daughter was born to us via emergency c-section.  She experienced oxygen deprivation and required resuscitation, but she lived.   Three years after Taylor’s birth, I discovered that her father had been having an affair essentially four of the five years we were married. In spite of that great protective environment I’d always known, and being faithful to God’s house, sin had erupted my “perfect” life and my marriage to this man didn’t withstand. Bad choices were made by both parties and we divorced.

In spite of all the pain and loss of the “perfect” life, God brought a solid Christian man into my life and He has given us a wonderful story of grace and redemption.  But in the midst of Matt and I falling in love, my dearest mom fell severely ill, diagnosed with a rare type of anemia.  Two months later the diagnosis was changed to leukemia and she lived just six short months after that.  Mom was the strongest, most faithful Christian I’ve ever personally known; she was my best friend.

During my divorce and my mom’s death, the discovery process for Taylor’s developmental delays became more intense.  Doctors often blamed the delays on her lack of oxygen at birth.  But in my heart, I knew there was more to her issues.  Nine months after my mom’s death, the diagnosis for Taylor came through: MPSIIIB, a rare, genetic metabolic disorder which causes gradual neurological degeneration.  The average life span is 10-15 years and there is no cure, or even a treatment.

Upon receiving Taylor’s diagnosis, my walk with the Lord became intense.  I did just what Renee talked about this week in chapter four.   I asked all the why’s and the how’s.   I wanted God to spill out His plan for my life in one day.

But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.

Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.

While God has richly blessed Matt and me with a beautiful family and more blessings than we can count, Taylor’s disease has not changed.  Every day is by faith, that God would have His will for her life and ours.

Each day we claim His promises and make the choice to run towards His plan.

Rachel, your story has changed me.  Your journey of choosing hope through your past and into the present brought tears to my eyes. I’m inspired by your faith and your surrendered life.  To be broken daily, like bread, held up (like loaves and fishes) as an offering of God’s of love and mercy. You my friend are beautiful – inside and out.

Connecting in Community: I’ve been reading your comments and praying for each of you by name. And I’m working on a way for us to connect next week via conference call – Lord willing!! I’m hoping it will be a way I can share my thoughts and answer questions you all are sharing and asking about here. For today, I’d love to know….

What is God speaking to your heart through Rachel’s story? Also, is there anything from the questions He’s given us for the end of Chapter 4 you’d want to share? Let’s connect here and talk about it. {If you are reading this via email, click here to return to my blog to share your heart.}


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. Jerrianne says:

    Love this statement that Rachel shared, “Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.” This what beging a Christian, or should I say Christ Follower is all about. I have been praying for my husband and our marriage for many years, trusting God to heal all the hurts. This week my husband has opened up about some things from his past, hurts that he is still dealing with. It is like he was reading chapter 4 with all of us. I know this is God. So many emotions, so many hurts, so much grace and healing when we press into the Rock.

    Thanks Renee for sharing your heart in this book and study. Happy Friday!!!

    • Amy C Helms says:

      That’s the statement that hit me the most as I look at making each day just as important to give him as my eternity.

    • Blessings to you Jerrianne!! God has always been in the healing business! 🙂

    • AMEN, Rachel, and Jerrianne about God being in the healing business! I’ll never forget this: In the midst of feeling shattered, God spoke through someone else to remind me I’m not broken, but I am in pieces, and He will put me together. I know some of you may feel bruised by life circumstances, but just because a puzzle is in pieces, doesn’t mean it’s broken. Have a blessed day, and let the Master put you together, ladies!

      • Christina says:

        Thank you dKnigh Tweets! I needed the reminder that even though I am in pieces I am not boken! God bless you my friend!

    • Marcella R says:

      I too have been praying for my husband and have been trying to heal from hurts as a child and marriage. Things changed yesterday as my husband poured his heart out to me about certain things that he endured as a child. We cried together and were closer yesterday then we have been in years. Mi love the picture of being a puzzle and God putting the pieces back together. What a great visual. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rachel is indeed inspiring and a beautiful sister in the faith. Her story is one to share. Blessings.

  3. Rachel’s story encouraged me. We all have ours struggles and on our own they seem impossible, but we know with God all things are possible.

    I had a rough “doubting” day on wed. It was our son’s spring concert. While sitting in the bleachers I saw some people from past relationships. The shame crept in and I felt like the great life I have today is a sham. It reminded me of what I had wrote for the answer to #4 question.”How have past hurts robbed you of hope and affected your relationships today?”

    Past hurts have caused me to accept the bad things people said or even the negative things I imagined them saying or thinking. It caused me to ignore and refuse compliments. I didn’t accept them because I felt like I didn’t derserve them. If they knew the truth about me they wouldn’t say nice things about me.

    The truth is I wasn’t a very nice girl in high school. I was lonely and wanted to be loved, and boys paid attention to me. I believed the promises made, but like the song “Just Another Birthday” says, “back seat promises fade like the mist.” Unfortunately, I didn’t learn my lesson very quickly and adapted myself to the pain I felt by drinking and doing drugs. I wanted to remove the pain, but it just brought more. I was angry and completely overcome with myself. I would continue down this path for many years. By God’s grace He reached out to me and I turned around. Today as a wife and mom, and most importantly child of God, I know that my past is not who I am, but is hard sometimes to remember that.

    • OH sweet sister!! I so go that. Satan knows how easy it is for us to get rolling on thoughts of the past and “what if?” God is bigger. When I hear Satan’s lies on this topic, my go to verse is Psalm 103:12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Blessings to you!

  4. What a beautiful testimony Rachel! There are been several times in my life where I have had to walk in faith & cling to the hope I have in Christ. He has always proved himself faithful!

    I want to thank you all for the prayers for my surgery on Wed. I’m recovering well & hoping to be back up to speed by the end of the weekend.Thank you Renee for the video posts this week. When I haven’t been able to focus on reading I have been able to listen your videos. They have been such a blessing. I hope to play catch up with the reading next week.

    In His Calm,

    • So glad you are recovering well Mary!! Praying for your continued strength and healing. I love that this week we had two videos so you could feel connected when you weren’t up for reading. We have another one early next week too 🙂


  5. Renee, I have had a busy, crazy week. My schedule got all out of whack, which threw the kid’s out of control and therefore my days also. This morning I decided that despite all the errands I had to run this week, I would read Chapter 4, finish my studies and go over all your posts for this week. I have spent 3 hours of quiet study time and now I am fitting in as much “discussion” time as my 2 small boys will allow. Thank you so much for sharing openly the pains of your past. I have known for some time that I was causing stress in my relationship because of my expectations and inability to fulfill his expectations for our marriage. I did not realize or understand that most of these expectations come from our past. I am praying and hoping that through the knowledge that you have shared and through my continued study and self-evaluation with God that I can improve my relationship and stop the negatives resulting from expectations. Blessings to all and I look forward to many more insights and blessings to come!

    • It’s been a crazy week for me too 🙂 and I’ve not been able to comment as much but even the little that we can do, God takes and multiplies it doesn’t He? Sounds like He revealed so much to your heart through your time with him this morning. Im praying you will keep hearing His whispers and sensing His wisdom and insights as you go through your day just abiding in Him in the midst of kids and a busy day. Im asking Him to do the same for me and each of us.

      I am more blessed than I can put into words through this journey with all of you – to watch God take so much pain and hurt that led me to the pit of despair, the hopelessness that made me want to end my life – and use it for your good and HIS glory. To watch the broken pieces of my life be made into a mosaic that gives you hope to seek healing and believe that He has the same plans for you. This is redemption.

      This is our Savior’s plan. This is why He died on the Cross to give us life. That sin and sorrow would not have power over us. What Satan has used for evil in our past or is using in our present – Jesus is there asking us to look to Him for the love, assurance, truth and hope so that HE can set us free from the prison of pain that threatens to hold us captive.

      We are not our past. The pain we feel is not our truth. It’s a result of sin but our hope is not loss. Jesus is working and has so much more for us. Healing and redemption are coming one day, one step at a time, one lie and one tear at a time. Hope is on the way!!

      • Thank you for this study and in particular this chapter. When I read it earlier this week I was led to stop and pray( with tears) about some the deepest hurts of my past and present. Though I have prayed before seeking forgiveness and His comfort this time was different. I am married however my husband can be distant and cool and I can often feel alone. I truly felt that Christ had entered into this time of prayer. It was comforting and so uplifting. I have clung to that time all week. He gave me hope through the pain. Thank you for your encouragement to face the pain of our lives. He is our hope. Can’t wait see what Be does with our broken pieces.

      • amen!

      • I am struggling with not understanding when we face our hurts and choose to ask God to help us forgive, do we have to share with the people in order to truly forgive and be healed? I struggle with the thought of opening up to these people, like a mother or husband. Its hard because I was saved a few months after I was married, have been going to church for almost 12 years, yet I didn’t receive or understand the difference between attending church and a relationship with our Lord until a couple years ago when I lost my job and for me was at rock bottom, heavily weighted with much anger. I was malested as a child, my father past when I was 14 which was the only person I trusted, and I am married to an unbeliever and have felt like a failure as a stepparent. Never feeling good enough, when I feel like I have grown, feelings of doubt or jealousy arise and lately my emotions are a roller coaster. I now know that I was struggling so many years in church from condemnation and conviction and will not give up now but I’ve been battling my mind a lot. I have been fearful because I don’t know how to share with my husband and he makes negative comments about God and my books that don’t help and so like always I don’t share much. Then I get frustrated behind closed doors cuz I’m the one supposed to be showing Gods love yet I’m just now learning and learning how to trust God in all things and obviously need healing still. I felt like I’ve been growing last year and this year I’ve been battling with anger complaining etc yet I know better. I just hope that my healing isn’t dependent on sharing with these people because I’m just not seeing it. Yet I know I still need to forgive because I get judgemental and show anger when I try so hard not to behave this way because I know it is not pleasing to our Father. I’ve also been fearful of the attacks of the enemy a lot like death and such, yet I know God is bigger. Wow, that was a lot and could keep on but thank you for sharingthis study

        • Christy
          I can relate somuch to your journey. I was molested at 13 by my father. And spent my life trying to forgive and move on. As a teenager I was very sexually active and lived that way thru mist of my life mixing in drugss and alcohol along the way. By the time I was 15 I became self abusive ( a cutter) and I fight that battle daily . I’ve raised 3 sons and inherited a daughter. Helped raise her 3 boys my grandkids and love all my family . But I am an empty vessel who only cones alive when someone cones into my home. I literally sit and wait, hoping for something or someone to open me and fill me up. I married anon believer and he works at being an obstacle in my life. I need prayers and I need God . I know He is there but I cant seem to turn my life over completely. I try and then become fearful of what will happen.

          • The best thing you can do is be completely honest with God. He knows everything anyways. He knows your fears, weaknesses, everything, He just wants you to ask His help, being honest about everything and not feeling guilty about anything. God will fill you and complete you and bring you the joy we so desperately need we just have to get to the point where we want to put Him first. I know because I’ve been there and am now its coming back. Focus on your relationship with The Lord and who He wants you to be which is wonderful beautiful queen who He loves dearly and doesn’t judge and pray for your husband, yet be more focused on who you are In Christ and God will work on you and your heart when you are willing to surrender it and He will also work on your husband as our motives are on our relationship with God first. When you feel fear or guilt, pray The Blood of Jesus over yourself, bind that evil spirit and loose Gods peace strength protection in its place and the enemy must flee. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  6. I posted this on yesterday by mistake, so am re-posting it to today.

    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.

    • Deborah Dean says:

      Hi Becky,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I relate. I was definitely was not raised in a christian environment and had a difficult time trusting God. I trust no one and will not put my confidence in any person. I would put trust in my dog before I put my trust and hope in people. I love to share and give to people, I just dont expect a whole lot from them. To expect or hope in someone has proven to me to be very disappointing. When I experience something nice I thank God for the blessing and thank them. Although this attitude and confidence has had an impact on my relationship with God, I am learning and believing that I can trust him even when things or circumstances do not appear like I think they should be or wether they are fair. I have surrenderded my life to Christ regardless of the outcome and have tried and continue to want to believe his word. Many prayers and blessings to you.

      • Thanks, Deb, for sharing. Trust has been a huge issue for me. I have put a lot of effort into hiding the distrust over the years, because I intellectually realized that 1) I should be trusting in Jesus and 2) My husband has never given me reason not to trust, and has always worked with me to build reasonable safeguards into our marriage. But inside, I have NOT trusted, and often had great fear on the inside, confidence on the outside. I could not always keep it hidden, and it is something my husband and I have been working on all of our marriage to some extent. But this past year as I release him from the expectations of fulfilling my every need, making me feel loved, secure, enough, and have been learning to DAILY lean into the perfect comfort of God’s love, I am seeing God’s work in our marriage, as well as in my heart. I have far to go, and a faithful God, who will not let up on me! I am in the middle of the Chapter 4 process of looking at past events and their impact on my present and then praying for God’s healing and leaving the baggage at the foot of the cross. It has been soooo hard! But I am pushing forward in faith that it will get better! What I used to be able to hide, my fear, my insecurity, has been right under the surface and easily uncovered, like God is not allowing me to revert back to pretending. I am learning to be thankful for that, and am grateful for a patient husband as God works me through some tough emotions.

    • Hi Becky,

      I understand the feeling of, “fear of what God is going to bring from my memory.” I wanted to put my past behind me and start over. Start over by being good and do what was expected of me. The problem was, was that everyone seemed to expect something different. What one friend thought was respectable another friend thought was stuffy and unfun. What some people thought was well planned and helpful others thought was controlling. It seemed like I was switching back and forth between what others thought. Eventually, I lost me. The me that I used to be I didn’t like and the me that I was trying to be was too hard. I want to be the me God created me to be, and I think we are all on that journey together.

      • Thanks, Britney. We are all on this journey and I am so thankful for the encouragement and support of so many understanding sisters in Christ. I can relate to the feeling of “losing oneself”. I am learning to trust God for my daily emotional needs, and especially learning to believe that all of my life, He has been with me. Nothing has happened to me that He did not allow, and that He will use, is using, for my good and His glory. I didn’t want to even think this way in the past, wondering how He could use the abuse of a child for His glory. But, now I am seeing through the testimony of other women, and in my own life, how He can and will do exactly that! What a great and wonderful God we serve!

    • Hi Becky,
      My heart hurt for you as I pictured the little girl, the teenager, the young women you were with what looked to others like a picture-perfect life and yet the weight of the pain, the secrets and the shame you carried, knowing what was hiding behind it all. You have carried quite a burden for many years. I know the heartache and fear of so much of what you so courageously described. And I’m so very grateful for how Jesus just won’t let you go it alone. How He keeps gently pursuing you, wooing you into a place of seeking Him and processing with His tender love the broken places only He can heal.

      Good Christians don’t have perfect lives. Pretending ones do. None of us are without hard stuff. Life is just too complicated and our world is too fallen to have a life without loss. I don’t’ think Jesus would have come as more than Savior unless He knew we would need more – we would need Him as Healer, Redeemer, Restorer, Counselor, the Way, our Truth and our provider of Grace.

      Im praying for you right now as you look at the timeline of Your life and let Jesus enter into your secret hurting places – the ones He’s known about all along. Im praying you’ll discover just how much they don’t define you, you’ll claim your inheritance as a child of God and now allow them to steal from you anymore – or usher in doubt about who you are or how beautiful you are as a wife or mom. Take back the power that is YOURS in Christ and tell the enemy to pack up his bags with all those chains and lies he’s been using to hold you captive. The victory is yours!! Help, healing, hope and beautify are coming friend… be brave and keep letting Jesus fulfills His plans and His promises for your life!!

      • Thank you, Renee, for your prayers and your words of encouragement. I am thankful for this study, and for God’s perfect timing. I am ready for this next big step in my healing journey, but boy does it hurt! I find that the pain is right under the surface these days, along with the fear and feelings of rejection. I trust that this is God’s way of keeping me from managing thing myself as I have tried to do in the past. So I am learning to see the pain as being used by God for my good. I am learning to trust ~ God first, then my husband. God has so richly blessed me the past 23 years of marriage and motherhood, and yet my fears of having it shattered, as was my childhood, have really robbed me of much of the joy. I am ready to reclaim that, for myself and for my family. I pray that God will continue to use you and your life story to help encourage women to really seek God’s will and healing for their lives. And I will persevere.

        Romans 5:3-5
        Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

        James 1:2-4
        Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

  7. I, too, am so encouraged by the reminder that our walk of faith is not a one time event, but a daily one, a moment by moment one.

    • Thanks, Becky for sharing yor story, I have come to realize just how human we all are. I’m also learning that the Bible was written not about happy go lucky perfect people, but about people who make wrong choices and how that effects so many around them. I want to follow Jesus and make the right choices in my life…Thank you

  8. This was truly an inspiring story.
    Something that stuck out at me was this, “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.”
    This is such a true statement and I can truly feel how God is working in me, to dive into his word every day, even for a few minutes. This is really helping me keep in check with a busy schedule…work, children, etc. and truly opening my eyes on how he works it all together for good.

    You are all such an amazing group of women and I am glad I am on this journey with you.

  9. Deborah Dean says:

    Thank you, so much for sharing your story. As I read the story I had a wide range of emotions. I felt feelings of betrayal, and hope and suffering. I am grateful for your testimony and your inspiration from the circumstances and situations that you had to experience. I have been going through my valley in life and really have been searching and seeking strength from God. I believe we can make choices that really can change the course and direction we end our destiny. I keep praying that I choose and make the right ones. I love your picture. You have a beautiful family and may God richly bless each one of you.
    Deborah Dean

  10. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story. We should all learn to walk with Christ on a daily basis as you have had to do with Taylor; we may not carry such a diagnosis, but we are all, each one of us, closer to heaven every day and we should be pursuing our Savior with that in mind.

  11. Amy C Helms says:

    Great read Renee! The thing that stuck the most was about making giving everyday just as important as trusting eternity to God. I tend to remember the eternity part but each day lately I have found myself remembering that its day by day and moment by moment. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:22-24) This has been a hard lesson for this stubborn girl to learn through the many choices I’ve made and through it God is teaching me that He is faithful not to leave or let go. Each day brings many struggles but I must remember to daily fall deeper into Him.

  12. I am having a hard time with this chapter. I have a number of things this chapter brings up that are negative that happened to me as a child and up to now as an adult. These things have left me at times asking why God? and claiming this is not fair!!! but I have learned that God is refining me in a way only he can. I take the lessons learned and try to make them positive and share when i can or think it would help. The other thing that has helped me is praying for those that I feel have wronged me. I have a person who was my best friend a girl and she betrayed me in the worst way a friend can betray you by having an affair with my husband. I have not been able to forgive her years later. Though my husband and I have moved past it and become stronger through God’s supernatural grace. I still harbor anger at her. I have reread this chapter 5 times now and all I can think about is that situation and how I feel towards her. So praying on it. Not sure what to do about it but listen and pray.

    • Eileen,
      Writing as one who betrayed her best friend, I know how much I hurt her and my husband. In my case, I confessed to her and she forgave me immediately. She then asked, “Well, what are we going to do to go forward from here?” I was totally broken when I told her because I had already told my husband and family and did not know if my family would remain intact. Her forgiving and unexpected incredible response is etched in my memory forever. It is beyond my comprehension when I try to put into words how much greater than this must be God’s unending love and faithfulness for all of us.
      Perhaps your friend needs your forgiveness as much as I did? To begin to know that God loves her even when she doesn’t love herself. I pray your heart will be open to forgiving her and I know you will be blessed immeasurably. God’s Blessings.

  13. Rachel, thank you for your testimony.
    Things like these are difficult for me because I look at my own life and think that I am doing something wrong or have failed in some way because my life is not NEARLY that complicated and yet…
    I guess maybe I have the misconception that at some point everything will be “fixed”, guess that is what heaven is for.

    • Jesus is the Redeemer. His ways and timing are not our own. Sometimes we get to see a sneak preview of what Heaven will be like on this earth and yes, some things we won’t understand fully until we see the face of Jesus. Bless you Shelley!

  14. Each day we claim His promises and make the choice to run towards His plan. When I began this study I was struggling with the decision to stay in my marriage or not. Wanting desperately to stay in Gods plan. My husband and I divorced after 12 years of marriage, and were divorced for 9 years. There were so many hurts and betrayals, through my single years my relationship with the Lord matured and old hurts were healed, He remarried, I did not. After some time he divorced. I was serving in a church and one day he came to a play that we had for Christmas, to make this story short, we began to talk again and he started attending church, we have children together and they were thrilled to have their father back in their lives, We remarried on Valentines Day 9 years ago. A few short years later things got rough again, a lot of the old wounds came back. Not as they were before with abuse and addictions, he has a lot of anger and embarrassment with our children and their life choices. plus he blames me for so many things, that he became emotionally unavailable. for 5 years we have lived in the same house as room mates. I have tried to reach out to him and continually pray. He will go to church on occasion but resents my involvement and when we do things together in public he is sweet and affectionate but at home he is closed off. this study has helped me to refocus where my self value comes from and to focus on Gods leading and not my disappointments, I hate the thought of being a fool. and I tell myself surly God didn’t do all this for it to fall apart again. Thank you for this study. My heart has been refreshed and encouraged,

    • Jerrianne says:

      Diana- I hear the hurt in your words. I too know what it is like to live as room mates. Stand strong for your marriage. God can heal ALL your hurts. I am standing strong and pressing into Jesus, He is my Rock. I even have a rock that I look at to remind me to press into and lean on the Rock, MY Rock.

  15. Reading Rachel’s story – wow!

    This is very inspiring: Trusting His plan for MY everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for my eternal life.

    I am really enjoying the new discoveries through this Bible study!

  16. Debbie Jo Vondrak says:

    Thank you, Rachel, for your story. What sticks with me most was the comment about “faith” not being a one-time thing, but a DAILY commitment…..each day commiting our FAITH to HIM!!!! Spending time with HIM….reading HIS word…enjoying HIS love…..serving others for HIM!!! To GOD be the Glory…..

  17. I really thought I had processed all the “stuff” from my childhood, and indeed I have come a long way, but I also can see where the things that have happened in my life, whether it was something someone did to me or bad decisions I have made in my life effect ALL my relationships. I know that the Lord will use all my experiences to increase my faith, and to influence my life and others around me. I also know only too well that when wounds need to heal, they need to be cleaned, and that cleaning process is painful. But that clean wounds heal much better. Thank you Lord for healing my heart of the painful wounds, for showing me those hidden wounds, and healing me to the uttermost. Thank you Lord, for Renee and Rachel, for sharing their hearts with us, for healing them in their process, and for leading them in all they do. Teach all of us Lord, to follow after you, to surrender the deep pain, and hurts to you. For helping us to understand that when you died on the cross, you took all our pain on the cross with Him, and when you rose again, you gave us victory over all the things that keep us in bondage. Thank you Lord! Thank you for everyone doing this Bible study together, for praying for each other, and for the love you have put into our hearts for one another. God Bless All!

    • Wendy,

      My name is Wendy as well. As I read your post, I had to stop and think – did I post something today? Every word you wrote could apply to me as well. I have “stuff” and wounds to clean. I am also so greatful for Renee, Rachel and all the women doing this study!

      The love and prayers are so sustaining to me! This is the 3rd time I have done COnfident Heart and every time I learn more and go deeper.

      Love to all my OBS sisters!

      • Wendy – I love that you are reading the book for a third time and how you shared that every time you read it your learn more and go deeper. That was something I prayed for – for each woman who would read the book – when I writing it. I just knew no one would really be able to gain all God wanted to give them in one read {b/c it took me 20+ years and I still can’t grasp it all, all at the same time :> }

        Thank you so what you shared!!

  18. Katherine says:

    Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am a single mom of two beautiful daughters. One of which was recently diagnosed with a genetic disorder with no cure or real treatment. The doctor has warned me that my youngest daughter more than likely has it too. Thankfully, the disease isn’t terminal, but it is painful and I struggle watching my daughter suffer everyday. Your story has inspired me to never give up and trust on our Lord. I haven’t had a chance to read chapter 4 yet, but I promise not to throw the book at the wall. Again, thank you for sharing your story – I needed it.

    • Bless you Katherine! I can imagine your pain and hers because I’ve experienced myself. and still do. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay in God’s Word. I’m sure you know that, but truly, that is my source of strength. I have lists of Bible verses on my website and the one Renee mentioned above is a popular one, but there are others on trusting God in tough times and for when you feel overwhelmed. God is so gracious that our story could be of a help to you!!

  19. Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your story. I will be praying for you and your family. Your story has inspired me to change my outlook on life. You could have easily given up and have the “why me” attitude; but you didn’t. You continuously trust God and His plan. At times, I want to give up because situations seem so unbearable. And, mine seem minor to you dealing with an illness of a child. If you can persevere and keep going… so can I! Thank you again for your story of faith, courage, and triumph.
    God bless!

  20. I am encouraged by Rachel’s story. I too have a special needs child (13 yrs old w/ cerebral palsy – non verbal in wheelchair) and recently divorced after my husband exhibit signs and symptoms of severe bipolar w/ schiziphrenia aspects and refused to get treatment – 15 yrs of marriage and 20 yrs together – gone essentially. Yes I have my health and my boys and a job…. but at 50 this is SO not where I wanted to be!! and our sweet Lord is not telling me where or what he wants me to do w/ this life…. so I have joined Rachel’s website and look forward to her blogs and hope to gather some encouragement. Love her “tribe”!!

  21. Carolyn Cheer says:

    I have had a challenging morning with one of my daughters. There seems to be nothing in this world that I can say to teach her the right way or encourage her to embrace forgiveness for others. She is a “pay-back” girl who just won’t believe that she is talented and gifted from God. She will not allow him to write her path, but insists on writing her own. All of this is packed into one small 10 year old little body, who has a heart of gold, when she allows it to show. I am at a loss for words of wisdom, for patience and for understanding. I pray everyday that the Lord give me what I need to get through to her and everyday, I feel for the most part that I have fallen short. It brings me down in my confidence as a mom, and in my ability to do what I believe the Lord has in mind for me; working with youth and mental health issues. I am not educated in anyway for that career, it is just the calling on my heart that I am exploring as my now 4 year old will be starting school full time in September and after being at home for 13 years, I need to explore the return to work. It is a scary path for me, my own doubts and abilities. I am hoping this chapter and timeline, will open doors that I have hidden and will erase the doubts by building my confidence; “ For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope, and a future.” Jer 29:11
    Thank-you Renee for your openness and your sharing, thank-you for choosing each of your friends to share their stories with such perfect timing. You are all VERY BRAVE women to be able to open up and present your weaknesses, to strengthen yourselves as well as the rest of us. I pray someday, my story is also used to encourage and enhance the lives of those I encounter, as well as heal my own. May the Lord continue to reach deep within each of us, filling the gaps that we have looked to others to fill. Help each of us to learn to fully trust in Jesus to be all that we need to survive this world.

  22. Carolyn Cheer says:

    I have had a challenging morning with one of my daughters. There seems to be nothing in this world that I can say to teach her the right way or encourage her to embrace forgiveness for others. She is a “pay-back” girl who just won’t believe that she is talented and gifted from God. She will not allow him to write her path, but insists on writing her own. All of this is packed into one small 10 year old little body, who has a heart of gold, when she allows it to show. I am at a loss for words of wisdom, for patience and for understanding. I pray everyday that the Lord give me what I need to get through to her and everyday, I feel for the most part that I have fallen short. It brings me down in my confidence as a mom, and in my ability to do what I believe the Lord has in mind for me; working with youth and mental health issues. I am not educated in anyway for that career, it is just the calling on my heart that I am exploring as my now 4 year old will be starting school full time in September and after being at home for 13 years, I need to explore the return to work. It is a scary path for me, my own doubts and abilities. I am hoping this chapter and timeline, will open doors that I have hidden and will erase the doubts by building my confidence; “ For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope, and a future.” Jer 29:11
    Thank-you Renee for your openness and your sharing, thank-you for choosing each of your friends to share their stories with such perfect timing. You are all VERY BRAVE women to be able to open up and present your weaknesses, to strengthen yourselves as well as the rest of us. I pray someday, my story is also used to encourage and enhance the lives of those I encounter, as well as heal my own. May the Lord continue to reach deep within each of us, filling the gaps that we have looked to others to fill. Help each of us to learn to fully trust in Jesus to be all that we need to survive this world.

  23. Yvonne Orefice says:

    Love the statement she makes “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.” Her story encouraged me. Every day is a struggle! Some days are better and brighter than others. It helps to know that others are going through the same thing. With God nothing is impossible. Thank you for sharing!

  24. Thank you Rachel for sharing. Your story has really touched my heart as it is similar to mine in many ways. I e been a Christian for nearly 30 years, married a lovely Christian man. We have three children who were all born premature by emergency C-Section all with various issues we have to deal with on a daily basis. My husband has also doubted his calling. He comes from a violent family background (he also has Asperger’s syndrome) but will not face the issues, instead pushing them deep down in his heart. Although he has not cheated on me physically be has emotionally through pornography and dating websites. Currently he wants nothing to do with church and although wont stop me going makes me feel guilty when the kids and I do go. I feel totally lost with the dream we had together has been dead and buried now for six months. Only in the last couple of months has my mind been clear enough again to focus on again on God. Thanks for sharing Rachel. I can only trust God has a plan for our future I can not see

  25. Rachel, thank you for sharing your story!!! I loved your quote about the importance of trusting God here on Earth. It truly is just as important as trusting Him for our eternity. The one thing that stuck out to me the most was that God provided you a Godly, Christian man after your divorce. This gives me hope. I’m 31 and I’ve never been married. I’ve dated several guys but none of them have been the kind of man that I would want to commit to in a marriage relationship. At times I get frustrated and disheartened and wonder if God is ever going to provide in this area. I desire to be married and have a family so much!!! Your story has given me hope for this area. My hope and prayer is that God will provide a Godly husband for me soon!

  26. Penny Morgan says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am struggling with Chapter 4. I,too, believed I had healed from sexual abuse as a child but I realize I have hidden most of it. I became a Christian 9 years ago this month. I am 48 years old so you see that I’ve lived many years in anger, disappointment and isolation. I have remarried ,a wonderful Christian whose wife left him after years of affairs. They have 3 daughters who are grown and I have 3 sons. My baby is 16. The ex wife can not let go of the life she realizes she threw away. She uses her daughters love and loyalty to keep “attached” to the entire family she walked away from 10 years ago. My husband is not there for me the way I need him to be and once again I am angry, so angry and disappointed and lonely. It is difficult for me to believe that God really does have a plan when all I seem to experience is the pain. I so needed this study and will continue reading and praying that I will have an “ah-ha” moment that any of this pain will make sense.

  27. “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.

    Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.”

    THIS!!! Oh THIS! I’ve kind of been in the well I have faith except I think my faith got as flabby as well lol well me 😀

    I read this and it was like a thunderbolt that and the verse to memorize this week.
    I have no job since January and I am the sole support. I have cried why and oh why and imagined far to many terrible outcomes.
    But God will make a way I need to choose to trust him every second and run after his plans.

    Thank you so much for sharing it meant a lot to me.

  28. nancy kimball says:

    Thank you Rachel for sharing your story. It is very powerful and I enjoyed reading it. I have had many times in my life wanted to give up but I keep on going. I have made a copy of the verses and I have read and reread them over and over. They are all great and very true. I will try to have faith and not give up and the Lord will be with me as I journey down the path he has chosen for me. Thanks for all the help in guiding me and helping me to follow the right path of the Lord.

  29. Lora Mace says:

    I don’t know about everyone else, but for me when life gives more than I feel I can handle, I feel like I’m on a searching frenzy. Searching for answers, searching for advice, searching for solutions, searching for anything that will bring me a sense of calm in the midst of chaos! During one of these times I was searching, an overwhelming peace hit me like I ran into a mountainside and all I heard was “be still and KNOW that I am God!” Ever since, I repeat those words when I feel like I can’t handle what lies ahead! I remember that there is NOTHING bigger ahead of me than the God behind me! He has a plan for each of us and I am clinging to that promise! Hugs to all!

  30. I have felt like quitting this past week, and when I read I want to weep. I am amazed at the emotions this study it stirring within me. But…. I am keeping on. I am also doing another study for the small group I am in. Then to top it off, the ministry where I work… we meet weekly for devotions and prayer, and this week it was my turn to share. God keeps putting me into studies that are REALLY stretching me right now. Finances are tight as my husband is developing a new career (long story) and ministry finances are tight and I never know if I will get a full paycheck or not. My so called security is shook to the core… and God keeps reminding me over and over again that He IS with me. i just seem to have the trouble of getting from my head into the rest of me. This last week, during a devotional time, the words I read earlier in this study came back in a personal way…. it went from your comment, Renee, of believing in Him to believing Him….as a general statement to ME (go figure). God spoke directly to ME… saying ” I know you believe IN me but do you believe ME? Do you trust Me? ” I almost broke down and cried … but there when the wall again…back up. I didn’t want to blow my cool or look foolish. But I have found myself sharing how God spoke to me. My husband and I have had long talks and I KNOW God is doing a mighty work in me. Thanks Renee for being part of that journey.

    • Kristi, I know what you mean about the sentence in the book “I know you believe in me but do you believe me?” It stops me in my tracks every time I think about it, and I realize how much I doubt what God says when I apply His word to my life. Together, we will overcome….

  31. I just have to say, doing this study and being a part of this blog, hearing others’ hearts when sometimes all I can hear and feel and think of is my own heart ‘stuck’ in my own private little world …. I have a renewed respect and appreciation for the phrase “sisters in Christ.” I love the closeness and ‘realness’ shared here ‘in this room’ (as I’ve come to call it). I truly appreciate you sisters! Praying for you … and I thank you in advance for praying for me in my own little struggles of life, realizing, my gosh, we ALL really do have them. God is reminding me that He has not left me orphaned. Thank you for sharing your hearts, ladies.

  32. Thank you Rachael for sharing your story. Also thanks for the verses. I turn to this verse, when I need God’s strength.

    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…..

    God Bless You and your family..

  33. Thank you Rachael for sharing this amazing story of one woman’s journey. Yes, faith is a daily decision. Often difficult when we don’t understand the “why” of life’s earthly slings and arrows. May our Father continue to give you the strength and faith to continue on thru all. Blessings to you and your family. Renee, my beautiful sister…STANDING STRONG with you, girlfriend. Thanks for being the woman God made you to be! You are such an inspiration and light!

  34. Rachel,
    Thanks for sharing your story with us! You are an amazing testament of God’s urgings to STAND! I am drawing so much strength from your story! Thank you for the encouragement to PRESS! I’m praying for you and your family! God is a Healer!

  35. Oh Renee, thank you for sharing Rachel’s story. Knowing her in real life and online is a true gift, as her faith and authenticity speak of God’s faithfulness and overflows His love.

    Thanks, too, for your message a Kingdom Hearts. God radically worked in my life that day, opening up my heart to another level of surrender and surprising me with a truly unexpected blessing as result in the week that followed. I especially was impacted by your transparency and humbly reminded how my “big dream” must include daily time with God as a non-negotiable. Thank you!

  36. I am encouraged by your story Rachel of having a husband who helps to bring the restoration back. I went a bible camp last july and felt god was saying i didn’t have to fear of losing a husband but that I was gaining a husband. Yesterday we had a mediation meeting re. finances and I was very calm about the whole thing.
    Then I get this phone call from him for 2 hours which seemed so positive and both of us being open etc. Was all in a tis thinking about it, that I ended up feeling down and just sang any words i could which gave God praise. Worshiping God is definately releasing and empowering, only thing i feel like i have to keep doing it, as soon i had my head turning everything over again later on!
    I really want to make things work and feel like its my last chance to make things work but am stuck and its hard bringing up all the emotions back up and lack of sleep. I need LOTS of prayer. It breaks my heart when i find so many people seperated, divorced and hurting that I hope I can find complete healing which God has already begun and be able to reach out to others.

  37. Retha Morgan says:

    Hello Renee & Rachel,
    I was led to Rachel website one night when I was growing very weary in my season. I shared my story with Rachel and before she could send me a reply her blog kept me encouraged through all the many scriptures on the site with her words of encouragement. I am enjoying this bible study and if you have not checked out Rachel’s site please do so and follow her on Pinterest as well. (just to cover your bases of being blessed)

    Love and Blessings to you both.
    Retha Morgan

  38. TJ Ellis says:


    Thanks for sharing your story…. We may have met, not sure. I was at She Speaks last summer! I was born with CP, my parents are divorced, my mom has been fighting cancer. She is my primary caregiver. Through her illness as ,much as I wish God would heal her, I have come to lean how to trust God’s heart, even when I don’t understand his ways. I related to your story! Renee wrote about battling depression, and I am just wondering if their is actually a point of total deliverance from depression or it something Christ helps a person have grace for like a thorn in the flesh? Anyone can answer with your own journey of course. Thanks!

  39. Miss Mary T says:

    Rachel…as I read your story my heart was both aching for your struggles but filled with joy for your faith trust and perseverance. 5 years ago after a difficult pregnancy (with a pre diagnosis of a neuro muscular disorder and the option given to my daughter to abort…with a profound and resolute NO) my daughter Tara gave birth to my grandson Andrew. We were told he would not live 3 days. I told them that they had no idea who I was…a woman of great faith and how I believed that God had his own plans for Andrew. I told them after they brought Tara an autopsy release that if they didn’t embrace God’s plan then let me know right now so I could get him the **** out of there! Needless to say God did have plans for Andrew and today, although diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disorder, Pena Shokeir phenotype IV, with no documented research of any child surviving past 3 months of age, and no voluntary movement except for his head and eyes, slight hand and foot, trached and vented, Andrew is in my class at school since age 3. Andrew uses a variety of augmentative communication devices, is cognitively age appropriate and recently trialed an eye gaze computer for which he has been approved. I am very proud of him and Tara. I am in awe of the Lord and His many blessings upon our family. I praise and thank Him with my love honor faith and trust! I share this whole story both as a release for myself and to let you know from someone who knows that you and your family will be remembered in my prayers. I am a Special Educator teaching and caring for medically fragile students with extremely rare syndromes or disorders. This school year was challenging for me as we had to let go of Jayla and Eddie as they were called home by Jesus! The Lord blessed us with their presence in our class for 3 years. They showed us God’s love every single day! Thank you for sharing your story of faith!

  40. Rachel,

    Thank you for being real and sharing with us. I struggle with running toward God in hard times but through faith I am learning to run to Him and trust. Thank you for affirming this is the only path. God bless you and your family.

  41. Trusting God with your everyday life is so very true yet so very hard. All I seem to ask is why why, why?

  42. Thank you for sharing Rachel’s story. It is so true “that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision” and “trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.” So many people don’t do that. They trust the Lord for their salvation but don’t trust Him for daily help. Holy Father, please help me to trust You every day for strength, love and the ability to show You to all the people around me. Help me to love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.

  43. Charletta Rupert says:

    Thank you Renee and Rachel or sharing with us. Amazing!

  44. Renee, I am enjoying your book very much. So much of it is how i feel so much. All week long, my nerves have been on edge, everything just makes me jumpy. A few times at work this week I’ve just had to stop and ask for Jesus to help me. I’m trying to spend more time with God, praying and reading the bible. My mom has MS and watching her health get worse has been very hard and at times leaves me very impatient, which I hate to admit. My parents are at divorced, my middle brother passed away from a car accident several years ago. The anniversary of his death is coming up on the 22nd. My youngest brother who is 30 lives with his partner and doesn’t drive so I am my mom’s go to person for everything and at times I feel very overwhelmed. I just ask for prayers to let go of past hurts, have faith in all the current hurts going on. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and the verses that are your favorites.

  45. I have finally caught up! Hurray! Although I had purchased my book way before April 1st, Satan used my long going struggle with depression to keep me from starting on time. I am so blessed that my husband of 30 years sought help through counseling for himself (to know how to help me) and for me. This has helped me to get motivated and start this study. And I am so thankful I didn’t continue to listen to Satan’s lies that this study would not help me with my walk in Christ. Because each chapter is filling in the missing pieces I have needed for so very long!

    My biggest hindrance is being able to forgive close family and friends who have hurt myself and my husband numerous times over our 30 year marriage. Chapter 4 is just what I needed to hear! Things that jump out to me in this chapter, “The Holy Spirit showed me I needed to remake my memories by seeing how Jesus had been there all along, and then replace the lies my wounds had led me to believe with new truths He was teaching me through Scripture.” I have felt for so many years that I was alone and didn’t truly have help in learning how to live for Christ. Things I haven’t understood in the past are starting to become clear to me, thanks to Renee’s book and this wonderful study!

    I am asking Jesus to cover my wounds with his blood! So that I can finally forgive those who have wounded me so deeply for so many years. Freedom of forgiveness, what a wonderful promise to us!

    Loving praying God’s promises at the end of each chapter! This is new to me and hope I can adopt this into my daily walk of faith!

  46. Rachel,
    Your story of faith and courage has strengthened me tonight. My Mother passed away Feb. 15, 2013. So much needed to hear and feel your words.

    God bless you and your family,

    • Jerrianne says:

      Brenda- Praying for you during this time, lossing a parent is tough. Hold on to your faith and remember that God loves you.

  47. Thank you for sharing your story. Your faith is incredible. I will pray for you and your family.

  48. Rachel,

    I never tire of hearing your story! Love you and so thankful for the work that God has done and is doing in your life! So blessed to have you in my life.

    Love ya!

  49. Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes it is so easy look at the negative and allow those thoughts to get us to a point of no hope, but what I learned today by reading your story is that there is hope. God can turn our mess into something beautiful. Only He can do the impossible. Chapter 4 is helping me deal with any unresolved past issues not by taking those issues and dwelling on them to make me angry but allowing the Holy Spirit to set me free from the things that continue to hold me back from the abundant life God has for me. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. I look forward to what God has in store for me and my family.

  50. Rachel, you are such an inspiration to me. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  51. Elizabeth says:

    I am truly inspired by Rachel’s story. I, like Rachel come from a wonderful Christian home and pastor’s kids as a matter a fact and married a Christian man who i loved and respected. Just last year I learned of his affair. I felt my life was falling apart. My perfect little life was crumbling on me. I never imagined him doing this. I have three beautiful children and continue to stand in faith believing my God can turn what the enemy meant for bad for good. I like what Rachel said that trusting God is not a one time decision but an everyday decision. I am declaring His promises and filling myself with Godly resources. Thank you Renee for introducing me to Rachel. Thank you for this wonderful bible study.

  52. This encourages me to continue in trusting no matter the situation we face, that God is who he says he is and out of our obedience and his faithfulness we are more than conquerors….Faith and trust a day at a time…


  53. Rachel’s story is inspiring for sure! When my 1st child was born my husband struggled with an addiction to porn! I felt ugly and tossed away like I wasn’t good enough. He stopped as soon as I found out but the morning lives with me everyday. He won’t talk about it so it’s hard to move past it. A lot has happened in our marriage over the last 5 years and we r growing but these kind of posts help me to know I can move on and rely on God and God alone with help from women like u guys. 🙂 thanks Rachel for sharing.

  54. Debra K Yarbrough says:

    Wow chapter 4 I have been blessed to have worked through a lot of hurts in Celebrate Recovery over the past 3 years. I have asked God how many more questions Lord how much more to be healed from? Chapter 4 helped me to realize how God has always been with me throughout all the abuse sexually, physically and verbally as a child until an adult. I have suffered from abuse of every kind, I have been
    betrayed by a man whom I thought was the love of my life. I am grateful to say that God was always with
    me and still is. God has helped me to forgive my husband of 23 years for never being faithful once in our marriage. I am grateful to say God has taught me to trust in Him first then others. I am grateful to say
    God is my husband lst, my best friend, my confidant, my counselor my all. I am learning to be in a
    deep relationship with God. So through all this suffering I have never been alone or unloved for God was
    with me.

  55. Renee, I loved the visual of being broken each day, daily bread, used by God, blessed by God. He indeed has been using this Bible study, the videos, the book, the guest bloggers to touch my life. I stood in church last Sunday and felt at peace with myself, with God, with the world. That has not always been the case. That is why I stayed away for so long. What changed, me. God has been working in the dark hidden corners as I have invited Him to heal me and free me from the captivity of old hurts and helped me to understand HE has forgiven me and I am not condemned. I am still sorting through my life, it takes a while when you are 62. But what I have come to realize is that even when I can’t do things when I would like, God opens other doors of time and opportunity for me to grow, to share, to hear Him, to feel Him. Great is God’s faithfulness, new every morning as I open my eyes and my heart to Him in faith. Thank you!

  56. This speaks to me because I have seen so much hurt in my life but it has really mostly been others. I was hurt quite a bit as a teen and turned to God to help me through it “moment by moment.” But I know things can hit again. Lives can be destroyed. Only God stands. This reinforces to me to cling tight to Him and to walk constantly in His presence. I have a long way to go on learning to do this, but His power and protection are intensely felt when I do. Not that I don’t expect hard things to come. But I know He is always my Savior in every circumstance. All I need do is run to Him.

  57. I am in the middle of a divorce right now. The journey isn’t easy and reading Rachel’s story of a “perfect life” I can relate. I thought I had the perfect family, husband, marriage and children until it collapsed in a day. I just hold on to God’s promises that He has a perfect plan for my life and more than ever all I want is His will to be done in my life! Rachel’s story gives me hope that God does restore and has good for me and my children and future!!! And I love this, “God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.”

    • Im so sorry and I am praying for you Mochi- for all that you are going through. Im asking Jesus to show you His heart and His presence in your life each day and to speak to your heart with tender assurance that you are not alone, that you are valuable, and that your life has a purpose. This divorce does not define you – don’t let the enemy or your emotions tell you otherwise. And when you feel alone, remember Jesus is there and we are too, holding you up in our prayers.

  58. Ever since I began this program I have basically been free from fears and doubts, experiencing a greater level of healing in my life. Before it has been a roller coaster ride with all these emotions. I’ve done a pretty good job at putting the past behind me because looking back crushes my heart. But in this next step Renee teaches us that God wants us to go back and process our pain with Him. Now, I have touched emotions that have been buried and I feel great sadness and depression, leaving me barely functioning.

    There are 4 major situations that has caused great devastation in my life. Would you mind if I shared my story with you?

    My dear mother gave birth to 8 children, 7 of us were a year apart! When I was 5 years old my mother divorced my father, for which I am grateful for because he was not a good role model…an alcoholic and habitual womanizer. He went his separate ways and was never a part of our lives. Even though it was for the best, I can see how not having a father created great feelings of insecurity, instability and abandonment throughout our lives. I honor my mother for making this courageous move.

    The next situation is very difficult to discuss and it still makes me cry 40 years later when I think about it so I don’t …until now. My family had to deal with my older brother sexually assaulting our neighborhood friends. After each incident he would be taken away for a long time then brought back and then it would happen again. This went on for about 10 years until he ended up in prison. Fear, shame, sadness and being shunned by others were such a part of my growing up experience. Living daily was a traumatic experience: fear for my little sister, great shame and heartbreak about how he ruined their lives and great sadness/compassion for my brother. My brother, even though what he did was “horrible” was dealt a raw deal from the very beginning. He has always been mentally incapable to be like the rest of us. You can tell just by looking at a picture of him when he was a kid. He was molested by a baby sitter when he was 5 years old. Being molested is difficult for any normal person to manage let alone someone who is mentally incapable. He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Fear, shame and sadness were such a part of my growing up experience.

    Not only were we extremely poor, we grew up in a 5 room house with only 2 bedrooms. The girls had one bedroom and the boys had another. My dear mother slept on a couch. I understand that my dear mother was hanging on by her teeth, trying to keep us together. But our house was a small “hoarder house” and was a great embarrassment and shame to all of us.

    Nevertheless, my brother’s and sister’s have become good and respectful people…a special education teacher (me), a doctor, nurse, psychologist, accountant, and the others work hard at what they do. Great miracles have happened in our family and I believe it is because my mother kept her integrity through very difficult situations. The blessings do come and He does notice the good choices we make.

    I remember thinking as a teenager that if my mentally ill brother had been a girl that her life would have been even more devastating (because of her ability to bear children). I had no idea then that it would happen with my own daughter. My daughter Crystal had a very loving heart. When she was a teenager she started to change with deep mood swings. She would become very self-destructive for a few days, return to normal for a couple of weeks and then it would happen all over again.We had done many things to try and help her and it was devastating to see her go through this. For a period of about 10 years she struggled with this “emotional illness” and then she took her life when she was 23. I saw her go through emotional hell-lots of bad memories. Yet, I am proud of her for hanging on for as long as she did.

    The experience that I had with my mentally ill brother gave me understanding and prepared me for an even greater trial later concerning my daughter. My brother saved me. He has had the greatest impact on my life, teaching me about love and compassion…yet I am left me with great sadness because of all these experiences.

    I can see now that I need to feel the pain and give it to Him so that He can take it from me. He is the God of Comfort…who can free me from my sadness. It is very difficult to put this out there but I think sharing this will help me. I would greatly appreciate any words of comfort from you and I thank you now if you choose to comment.

    • Jeannine says:

      Charlene, my heart goes out to you for the pain you’ve experienced in your life. I’m sure writing all of this out was very scary and hard, as you had to live through that pain again. I experienced small pieces of what you’ve gone through, and lost my brother to suicide (he was diagnosed as bipolar). I will be praying for you to feel God’s peace, comfort and strength as you continue to work through these hurts. God has not abandoned you; don’t ever forget your are His daughter. He chose you first, He delights over you.

    • Charlene,
      I have just read your post. I wanted you to know that I believe you are inspired by God to do the work you do. What an enormous light he has cast on you as you work with special needs children. You are a comfort and a strength to these children and their families, and this gives them hope–how much greater is what our wonderful God does for us so that we can do for others.
      You have walked through many difficult hardships, but God’s light has always been shining for you and even in the most difficult times, it continues to shine. We may only see a flicker because of our situations and self-imposed limitations, but being open to His light brings amazing comfort and healing. Be open to His light and see the wonderful things He is already doing through and with your life. Feel His presence and know this comfort and love. I pray for His abundant light to continue to shine in you.

  59. Thank you, Rachel for sharing your story.

    I get hung up on the consequences of my past whether they are from my own wrong decisions or the results of someone else’s decisions. I am starting to believe that He will and can and wants to work things for my good because I love Him and I’m called to His purposes. Regardless of my past, I believe He wants to use me in some way and I pray for guidance in that direction.

    When I struggled with infertility I asked God all the time why. I believed that If He loved me this wouldn’t be happening. It was a difficult struggle but He was with me every step of the way. I didn’t always see it at the time, but looking back years later I can see His hand reaching for me over and over. I believe 2 Corin 1:3-4 and I did have opportunities to share my story, though it was hard because I did not end up with a “success child”. I haven’t thought about this issue from my past for awhile so maybe God is still healing me from some of it or wanting me to help someone going through it. I just want to be obedient and I’m willing to be used however He wants to use me.

  60. Love that our courage doesn’t have to come from our ability to cope or get things right — it comes from our trust in God who is real and with us. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and awed at the peace and courage I have, that is never my own, in my difficult places!

    Keep Running Couragous, Rachel!

  61. Rachel, thank you so much for sharing with us. You have an amazing testimony of faith! You are so right when you say “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision” because it is an everyday decision and sometimes I have found it is an hour to hour, moment to moment decision to put my faith in God and not let my mood reflect anything but the Fruits of the Spirit.

    I finally finished chapter 4. Last year I went through Celebrate Recovery’s 12 step study to let go of hurts, hang ups and habits that I have carried for years. Though it had been a year since I took the class I still have never written my testimony and that is something that I am running from because I do not like getting in front of a group of people and speak. I need to complete that and through this year, God has really been calling me and working on me.

    In question 6 we are asked about forgiveness. Forgiving others is very important, just because you forgive them doesn’t mean you need to allow them to be close enough to you to be able to hurt you again. My answer also includes that if you have difficulty forgiving, does it make it hard for you to fathom that God can forgive us for ALL of the wrongs we have done in our lives?

    Chapter 4 was a great chapter and full of so much information that I think most of my pages are pink from highlighting. I had to complete an inventory last year during my CR course so I have done my timeline and it is so very healing and if you have someone you can share some of those things with, it is so freeing. I am really looking forward to Chapter 5 to learn how change my focus because even though I have let so much go, I still need to stop letting the enemy beat me up with low self esteem and self worth.

    God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend!

  62. Renee thank you for all your prayers. I listened to your video. I was hurt by others and I also hurt loved
    Ones in many ways. I try not to think of my hurts but I am overwhelmed with guilt over the hurt I have caused others. Its hard for me to trust and the truth is I don’t want to have hope when I can be disappointed. I basically live day trying to be content I pray and I spend time with the Lord but as I read and listen I second guess myself and ask I m being religious just going through routine where is my heart for my Savior and my love for Him do I just fo to church because I have to or need to? Or because I have a need. I honestly feel fake I have read chapters 1 & 2 I didn’t start 3 yet I did what u said hghlighted passages answered questions but after I was done with the chapters and read the passages in the bible and make notes I felt I completed it and I honestly don’t remember now all I read and wrote on those 2 chapters. what am I missing? Is something wrong with me.

  63. Like everyone else, this chapter was hard because of the timeline challenge. However, I prayed and God started revealing some hurts that He wants to heal. I got stuck in the hurts from kindergarten and had to call it a day. And kindergarten was one of the nicer parts of my childhood! God really wants to heal me but sometimes, it really is quite painful to recall some events. And in all fairness, while other people contributed to my pain, at the end of the day, my burdens are my responsibility. God wants to take them away so I won’t be a slave to them anymore. But I’m so used to carrying them, letting go is just as hard. I’m going to continue praying over this timeline; it may hurt but it cures. Praise God!

  64. Stephanie Rudash says:

    This blog makes me think of my story… How my life was going great – I was at college doing what I loved
    – then I got sick and no one knew how or why (some doctors even said I was faking it for pills)
    – diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Still’s
    – 2 years later it formed into Hodgkin’s lymphoma with an 85% cure rate
    – went through 3 different chemo cycles and a bone marrow transplant and am still not cured.
    – Developed GVHD just after getting back on my feet and hospitalized / bed rest for 4 months
    – new treatment that is causing me severe neurological problems

    Yes, there are days (sometimes a month at a time) where I lay in bed, or sit around and just ask God “why?” over and over again.

    This isn’t just a past hurt I need to process… It’s a current hurt I am constantly trying to process.
    That’s why Ch.4 speaks so strongly to me.

  65. After reading chapter 4 and I also attended a Christian women’s conference this weekend I’m inspired but Gods love. He loves us so much no matter what we have done he loves us and has a plan for us as promised in his word. I also love the verses following Jeremiah 29:11-14 that when we seek God with all our heart we will find us and he will set us free! So amazing those words are refreshing. I have many pains in my past with never having a father and trying to fill that void with a man which resulted in teenage pregnancy and divorce in the long run.. But now as I look back I see how God has used all my “mistakes” to make me into the woman I am today. That he was always with me in my darkest hour when I felt alone he comforted me and I’m so grateful for that. I can be free as a woman today blessed with a new husband who is my souls mate and 3 amazing boys who my grandmother says are going to be pastors lol. Although I’m not perfect not will I ever be I know that God will always love me and will never leave me no matter what I do! Thanks for sharing all your stories ladies its such a inspiration to fellowship and share you never know who’s heart you touch with your words!! God bless! And I look forward to continuing in this journey together as sisters in Christ! And Renee I LOVE the prayers at the end of every chapter they truly touch my heart and are God breathed!! Love you all!

  66. Thank you Rachel and Renee for the love and encouragement you have showered on all of us. WOW – hard to accept and then process the mighty impact our pains from the past have on our todays and tomorrows. This mighty challenge must be faced if we are to fully be all God desires and Praise God we can all take this journal together, offer support and understanding.

  67. wow! loved the post. I’m taking my time throught chapter four but I just loved this special guest. thanks!!! God is truly using your book and this online help to strengthen my walk with God!! thank you!!!

  68. I agree with you Julie our burdens are our responsibility and I realize seeking God and His Word for guidance is the best way and I am committing myself to mediate and focus and not be a passive reader. I have read so many of what so many of you are and have gone through in your lives and I can relate to some. I too suppressed my past as if it never happed along with the bad choices I have made. I can relate to the woman at the well and also Mary Magdalene and there are times looking back at my past I felt even like Rehab but at age 46 my entire past from childhood up to 46 came floating up to the service and I had no control of it it was awful. When it all came to the surface I didn’t want my husband to know of it I was afraid of losing him I knew in m y heart I was not good enough for him since I had cheated on him once, inspite we were not married at the time we were living together. There was an urgency to tell others of what I suppressed all those years andI told so many ppeople I considered friends I called up so many places asking for prayer but I was guided my someone at the church I had just started attending to tell my husband everything about my past and aftr I told him and ask his forgiveness I felt relieved but I m not sure what was happening to him it was a lot I told him and the cheating part I believe hurt him really badly because he trusted me and never expected that from m e. now we are separated and I don’t know what is Gods will for our marriage.

  69. I just wanted to also share this passage with you Daniel 2 verse 22. “He makes known secrets that are deep and hidden; he knows what is hidden in darkness, and light is all around him” I believe The Lord wanted me to come out of the darkness to clean the cowebs out of my closet in a sense to cleanse me of my past. My only regret is that I didn’t tell me husband first instead now so many others know so much about me because of my own doing. I believe at times in Romans 8 verse 28. God bless you all have a great week. Thank you so so much.

  70. God most definitely has a plan! And I am so blessed to be in this study and to have also gone to Women of Faith conference yesterday with a dear friend, in Mesa, AZ.
    Thank you all for the blessing of your faithfulness and for sharing with us your lives. It’s your transparency and openness to sharing what you’ve been through and your honest feelings that is so encouraging to us all. God bless you for that!

  71. Julie Smith says:

    What an inspiring story. It gives me so much hope for the troubles in my life. I love her 12 Bible verses for when you feel like giving up. That is a beautiful family.

  72. Well, I have found it “difficult” to keep up with this study. I’ve been “cramming” the weekly assignments into Sunday evenings and I am less interactive during the week, other than reading the assigned chapter, but I know that it’s the negative energy trying to push me away from this positive and from what I am to learn.
    My thoughts on this chapter, I am just amazed, Renee, at how much I relate to your story. I find myself reading the book and saying “been there, done that”. It’s easy to relate, but harder to make the changes. So Renee, thank you for writing this book and your encouraging words in this weeks “real time” video – it will help me keep pushing forward. I also keep reflecting on last weeks video of filling the jar with “Him and His water” and not all the other “stuff”. Thank you again!

    • Heather S. says:

      Beverly, I know what you mean. I am just catching up on last week’s assignments, and I can really tell a difference in my attitude. When I pushed away the study because I didn’t have time, I fell back into my habit of having negative thoughts and doubts. If affects every aspect of my life, until I release it all to God. It is so hard to change. I want to be a more faithful Christian at the snap of a finger, but I’m learning that it’s a process that will take God’s time, not my time. When it’s in His time, it is all worth it!

  73. Tami Meyer says:

    I know im late in reading and posting but I hope someone reads this. I have a hard time with this chapter because I do have alot of hurt. I am also having a hard time cause I am missing a small group setting. I want to share what God is doing and how he is doing things. I havent gotten any responses to my posts and I know that this is from the enemy but it makes me feel like I am not important.

    Also ladies please pray for me. I have had constant headaches for two weeks. The only thing that gives me any kind of relief is pain killers. I went to the er last night and they did a ct scan and blood work that came back normal. But I have a history of bone spurs in my upper back and my left arm is going numb and then tingles. She wants me to go see a neurologist she believes I have a pinched nerve that if left untreated could cause permanent damage. I really need God to come through for me cause I have no insurance and very low income family.

  74. Thanks for sharing your story Rachel!

    I have been putting off Chapter 4.. I have been trying so hard to forget no not forget. But, to let go of all the mistakes and all the hurt from my past. I did not grow up in a wonderful home or have a great childhood. Then, went on to marry at a young age from there had my 3 children. My Faith is what got me through. I knew that God always loved me and He was always there when I needed him the most. Which was most of the time. I divorced from an unhealthy relationship due to being abused. Both Mentally and Physically from living with an alcoholic. Had to leave without the children, started drinking and living the wild life. Not long after that was in and out of relationships alot like what is in this book. God speared me life after being a major car accident. In which, I should have died. In fact, I landed in front of a 5 foot cross. That was my sign to wake up and get me life together.. From then things change for me.. I have delt with the past and I now can let go. As a peaceful feeling just come over me. Right now, I am living a good life..
    Thank you for writing this book.
    God Bless

  75. Renée M. says:

    I’m so inspired by her story because I have a lot in common with her. Divorce has been difficult, but God has been faithful to me! I’m encouraged to know that all things work together for good! Thanks for sharing your testimony!

  76. I have to remember to run to my God daily with any problems – He is always with us, ready to listen and to strengthen us. He has the best plan for each of us! Trust Him no matter what! I know He is using my pain, trials and challenges in life to ‘grow’ me to look more like Jesus, and also will use it to encourage others. And the best of all – we are here on earth for a very short time, and we will live with our Awesome God forever! In joy, in peace and live real life to overflowing!

    • Charlene says:

      Whenever my past creeps up on me or I hear others put themselves down because of their past- I turn to the story of Paul- as Saul he hunted down & imprisoned or stoned Christians. When Jesus confronted him he turned around and became Paul. He doesn’t write about his past & his challenges of people coming up to him and reminding him who he was- but I’m sure his integrity was questioned. I picture him ignoring those people as that person he was no longer existed- he probably walked away from them. I take heart that if God can renew Saul & make him a new being- one of the greatest leaders & writers of the early church- He can renew me. Also I look at that who I was isn’t who I am now- I have to remind myself that I am renewed just as Paul was- just as others who were worse than I ever thought of being & they are today wonderful followers of Christ.

      Sometimes the day to day struggle I lose myself in the forest & can’t see the trees. Thank you for sharing your story Rachel- I am strengthened by your example & strength-
      “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.
      Trusting His plan for your everyday life is equally as important as trusting Him for your eternal life.”

      This is going on my wall- to remind me – along with your turn-to verses- that just because I read yesterday, just because I trusted yesterday- prayed yesterday- I need to do so again today. All relationships require daily effort- why should mine with God be different?

  77. It was a wonderful story…but I believe we all have similar heart aches and stories to be told….mine has not been a life of roses…but my faith in the Lord and my trust in Him has always been my peace….my father died in a horrific accident 7 months before I was born. My mom raised my 3 siblings and me without a helpmate. We all went to college, all received degrees and 3 of the 4 chose a life to live for the Lord….my one brother is struggling in his walk, but I believe scripture…train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he won’t depart from it…I waited until I was 44 to marry. I remained pure my whole life and never really met anyone I felt was compatible. I would like to say it’s happily ever after, but our marriage has had it’s struggles. Again….my hope in in Jesus…he is in control of our lives. I did get pregnant 1 month after marriage only to have a miscarriage, and another miscarriage after that. I have 3 step kids who my husband has full custody of them…this has caused stress in my life, but I do love them. We struggle in our marriage…my husband has problems with anger and control, but Jesus is the master of my heart and he bottles up our tears in heaven. He knows our sorrow and He was the man of sorrow.

  78. I am in the midst of asking the why questions right now. Things are hard and I don’t understand why I (and my family) can’t catch a break. I like how Rachel said “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.” It just reminded me that I am not making faith an everyday decision. It’s a decision I make when a crisis comes up at that moment…not a decision I am making every day as I am walking through the crisis.
    I am still a couple of chapters behind, but I am loving this online Bible study!!

  79. Nicole S. says:

    The statement that stuck out at me the most was “But through His Word, God has taught me that faith is not only a one-time decision; it’s an everyday decision.” That is true…just so true. Something resonated in me when I read it. Like yes…yes it is an everyday decision.

    As I was reading your story Rachel, and just hearing all the bad things that had happend to you, it’s heart breaking and devastating. But you were strong in your faith and you knew that YOU HAD to be strong in your walk with God in order to make it. It’s like I know that I need to be strong in my walk with God but to hear other people, who also have problems, just stand firm in their faith it’s inspiring.

    I will be praying for your daughter and the struggles that you will go through with her. She has already touched people’s lives and she doesn’t even know it. Her story and how it effects your family and the strength you have in the Lord is amazing. Thank you again for sharing.

  80. Thank you for sharing your story. It is so awesome to hear others faith journey. I have a special needs daughter. She is 34 now and we were told she might make it to 12. God has been with us through it all and while I have done more than my share of asking why. I can see so many ways how God has been there and how my husband and I would not be who we are today without her. This study and the stories are such a blessing. Still a struggle to share and keep the faith. So often we just want to hide and not face the hard work of healing. Thanks for helping me heal.

  81. Maureen Chiasson says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Rachel. I have often asked the questions of the whys. God has shown me through His Word that our hard times bring us closer together to each other and Him. We Also live in a fallen world so we experience hardships. God has helped me to let go of the past and forgive myself and others. He has shown me that my insecurities have stopped me from my destiny. I must step out in faith because it is the opposite of fear.

  82. Gloria C says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Rachel. Although it’s sometimes hard to face our painful past issues, when we do and when we allow Jesus to cleanse and heal us, we can become free from the chains that hold us bondage. I keep thinking I have dealt with everything–all the wounds from the past, but God keeps bringing more and more to the surface. He says, “Ok, you’ve dealt with that one, now lets deal with this one.” I’m so thankful for our Father’s love and forgiveness! He never gives up on us, but is patient and kind. He knows what we can deal with and when we can deal with it. How blessed we are! So grateful for the privilege of walking this part of my journey with all of you, dear sisters! Don’t give up! We can do this together!!!

  83. I’m a little late doing chapter 4, I was down in my back and not really feeling like being on the computer,and I’m was planning on getting my book last Friday and getting caught up,but then my car broke down, but I’m watching thyour videos and I have printed all the words for the week and have them on my wall where I c an see them when I’m on my computer. Those alone have blessed me and helped me so much I’m still going to get the book as soon as I can ,can’t wait to read it all.

  84. Thanks so much, Rachel for sharing your story and to Renee for Chapter 4. Several years ago, I did a similar exercise with a therapist mapping out my timeline. It was interesting to see how past hurts that we tend to sweep under the carpet can reveal themselves in the most subtle but damaging way in our current lives. My parents didn’t have the greatest of marriages and always argued in front of us (kids). Life at home was miserable most of the time. The buried resentment and hurt followed me into young adulthood and affected a lot of my relationships. My renewed faith gave me the strength to face and conquer this pain. However, in recent years, I struggle most with an unexplainable fear of failure. I’m still trying to figure out the source and hope that the timeline would be a good start as it helped in the past.

    I know that God has a plan for me. He has been so faithful. There are days that I hate myself for not being in the Word daily to nurture my relationship with him. I know we were not created to be too busy for God. The saying that faith is not a one-time decision but an everyday decision is SOOO true. I pray that we all continue to grow in our walk with Christ during this study. It was been such an eye-opener and joy to take part.



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