June 26, 2017

About Carissa Markantone

Carissa Markantone - Blog Contributor – Singles Ministry
Carissa joins us from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she’s lived nearly all of her 25 years. She has a huge heart for serving others, especially children with terminal illnesses. Carissa desires for every woman to know her worth through the eyes of God. Her motto for 2012 (which will definitely carry to 2013) is “get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” God doesn’t call us to an easy life. Living for Him is hard, but it will be so worth it once we get Home!

Captivating: Chapter 12 – “In The World” – “Do Not Give Way to Fear” (pgs 212-215)

People always talk about their “calling.” It’s such a Christian-ese phrase.  “So what led you to that decision?” “Well, I believe it’s my ‘calling’.”  Now, I’m not trying to put down anyone who may have used this word.  In fact, I use the word often.  Typically, after frustration grips my emotions, I cry to God, “LORD, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT MY CALLING IS! TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BE! OPEN THE DOOR ALREADY!”

Once I lose the anger, I remind myself of the truth.  And the truth is this: much like the reasons God allows bad things to happen to us, He may have us in a place we aren’t “called” to be right now because He is preparing us for His plans that are to come.

We can’t see the big picture, but God can.  He has you right where you are for HIS reasoning.  It’s also similar to why you may be single and lonely right now.  God has a reason.  God is preparing you for your “calling” every single day you awake.  He’s preparing your heart for something that is to come that will be so worth the wait, the patience, and the persistence!

So the question remains: how do you find your “calling?” In an effort to help you find that answer, our authors pose the following questions: What is it you yearn to see happen? How do you long for the world to be a better place? What makes you so angry you nearly see red? What brings you to tears?

The answers to those questions are different for each person – praise God! And those answers are the desires within our hearts, desires that God set within us even before we were born. Those answers are invitations.

“They are invitations to bring your heart to your Lover and ask Him to clarify, to deepen, to speak to you about how and when and with whom.”

I am reminded of this passage in Matthew 6:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (verses 25-33).

So maybe you know a few answers to the questions above.  What’s keeping you from pursuing them? What’s keeping you from action? For me, Stasi and John hit the nail on the head when they discussed that terrible four letter word: F.E.A.R.

Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability…I could go on.  But all of these fears have one thing in common—They are not from God.

As we have journeyed this book together, I pray that each of you has found who you are in Christ.  You are a strong warrior princess made to share in an adventure, made to serve and to love.  But no warrior princess can realize her own strength and purpose if she hides away in the castle her whole life.  No, we are called to take risks!  Risk the failure, risk the disapproval, risk the rejection, and risk the vulnerability.

Jesus did that.  And if we are called to live like Him, we must live radically, fully entrusting our lives to Christ. One of my favorite authors and inspirational speakers, Bob Goff, states in his book Love Does:

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.

Ladies, I pray that each of you will live, breathe, and act that verse. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

2Tim1_7

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Father, I thank You for the life You’ve given each of us. I thank You that You have promised each of us a purpose and to use us to further Your great kingdom.  Father, in our days of doubt, remind us that You use all things (and situations) to Your glory.  Lord, draw close to us, reveal Your plans for our lives to us.  We want to know You and serve You more. Father, in Your time, give us the courage and will to pursue those desires You’ve set deep in our hearts.  We love You so much! In Your precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Spend time in prayer today, drawing closer to God, asking Him to deepen your desires and reveal His plans for you. He is faithful; He will answer.

Captivating: Chapter 11 Warrior Princesses – “Relational Attacks” – “A Warring Bride” (pp 193-197)

Sword and Roses

Whoa. When I read what Stasi and John shared in the “Relational Attacks” section, my mind flooded with past situations with roommates, boyfriends, family members, and friends where the Spirit of Accusation applied.  I bottle things inside of me.  I let those negative feelings fester, and I dwell on the situation at hand.  How dare she not take out the trash after I’ve done it the past five times! If he really cared about me, why would he have said those things? He said, she said…the situations play on.  This Spirit of Accusation doesn’t just occupy our heads.  It occupies our hearts.  As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). Many times, what we harbor in our hearts are lies and evil.  But there is freedom in Christ.  There is freedom in prayer.

Do you believe that there is a spiritual war that rages around us?  Even when you sit alone in your room, supposedly secure from all physical danger, the war ensues.  But we have no reason to fear; we have power in Christ.  So no matter what she didn’t do or what he said, God has given us power over those evil thoughts and negative feelings. This chapter really brought to light the power of prayer.  When we call on His name, He is faithful to deliver us

I’m ashamed to say that my first reaction to unhappy situations is not always prayer.  I usually let my feelings overwhelm me until I have time to “cool down.”  This chapter has challenged me though.  The next time a situation arises, I want to take a step back, denounce the evil that is at work, ask for the Lord to take the situation and help me see how He wants me to handle it.  Just as Jesus was tempted in the desert, we, too, are tested in our faith daily.  Satan knows our weaknesses, but we are not to give him a foothold.  Let’s take the power that is already ours in His name and use it! I love the quote from our authors on page 196:

“Christianity is not a passive religion.”

We know that oftentimes the Lord will allow hardships so that we may grow in our trust and faith in Him.  Even Paul speaks of a “thorn” that tormented him:

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Ladies, God is so good! He will never give us more than we can handle.  Do you believe that?

Do you also believe that we are warriors in Christ?  We have His strength to sustain us when we feel we can’t take another step, another breath, another disappointment, another insult, another negative feeling.  He is with us always, and His power is available to us through our communication with Him. Talk to Him, share with Him, rest in His presence and in His control over things that may seem uncontrollable.  Nothing is too much to handle for our God.

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Father, thank You for who You are and for offering Your power and Your strength to us.  In Your Name, I pray that we take hold of that power daily.  Lord, as situations arise to test our faith, that we will stand firm in the knowledge of Your presence and protection.  Let us be warriors for You.  Thank You for Your strength that sustains us through the everyday battle called “life.”

Your Assignment:

Is there a situation in your life that you need to turn to God?  Do that today. In love, work to reconcile relationships, and know that you have power in Christ to do all things.

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Have you signed up for our next Online Bible/Book study yet?  If not, you will want to right away!  This is going to be an amazing study!!  The study begins March 24th!

Click on the picture below to be taken to the sign-up page.  Once we receive your registration, we’ll email you further details.

GWS

Captivating: Chapter 10 – “To Mother” – “My Sister, My Friend” (pgs 176-181)

So, if you don’t already know, I’m single.  I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any children.  Furthermore, if you know me at all, you know that little kids fascinate me.  I’m one of those creepy people who will stare at your kids just because they always put a smile on my face.  Nothing brings me more joy than when I wave to a little baby and get a great big smile in return.  Children are life in its most simple, pure, and innocent form.

Deep down, beyond all the outward fascination, I struggle with jealousy.  Oftentimes, I watch a mother take her toddler’s hand to “go find a book to read before bed tonight,” and I get jealous.  I want that.  I want to take a little mini-me and read bedtime stories to her.  I want to watch my son play baseball or score his first goal playing soccer.  I want to get lost in an imaginary world, dress up like a superhero and fly around my living room with my little ones. I want to listen as they try to pronounce words like “popsicle” and “spaghetti.” I want to snuggle with my baby as she falls asleep in my arms.  I want to mother.

When I find the jealousy creeping in, I have to turn it over to God.  He’s faithful, He knows these desires of mine, and I know He will give them to me in His time.  And when it is my turn to mother, I want to encourage my children to live a life from their heart, as our authors state.  I want to encourage them to be the person God has created them to be—nothing more, nothing less.

But, even if you don’t have children of your own, you do have opportunities to mother not only other people’s children, but other people in general.  All you have to do is care about someone, offer a listening ear to that person, and encourage him or her to simply be who God created them to be.  Let the following passage from Philippians resonate in your hearts:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Phillipians 2:1-4 ESV

Count others more significant than yourself? Really? I mean, who does that?

Mothers. Mothers do that.  Or, at least they should do that.  If you haven’t had a mother who sacrificed and loved you the way she should have, I’m sorry.  But there is Someone who has filled her role. There is Someone who counts you more than He counts Himself.  There’s Someone who died to save you from your sin so that you can live forever with Him in Heaven.  That Person is Jesus, and He loves you unconditionally.  I love this quote by Jerry Bridges, a notable Christian author.  It reminds me of a mother’s love for her children:

“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” — Jerry Bridges, Christian author

Right in suit with caring more about others than yourself falls our friendships with other women.  Do you have those? How are they? Can you think of a girlfriend who you know would be there for you if you needed someone to talk to, cry to, receive godly advice from, or just goof around with? If you don’t have a friend like that, I encourage you to seek one.  My mother told me that when I was a toddler, she didn’t have many girlfriends.  When I entered preschool, she had been praying for a good friend to come into her life.  God was faithful! Through a fun course of events, He placed another family into my family’s life, and our friendship continues to this day.  Not only did we gain a friendship, but this family led my family closer to God.  Our faith was strengthened through that friendship.

Do you have a friend who causes your relationship with God to deepen?  Does she encourage you to grow and walk closer with Him daily?  If not, I pray you seek, invest, and spend time with godly women in your church, Bible study, or even with this group online!  Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “iron sharpens iron.”  Do you have an “iron” friend in your life? Friendship with like-minded women is crucial to your spiritual growth, and I’ve seen it create accountability and a safe place in my own life.  If you already have your “iron” friend or two, then don’t forget to nurture those friendships with love and attention.

Praise Him!

Carissa

 

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for our innate desires to mother, care for, and encourage those in our lives.  I pray that we will apply these desires in the lives of our children, future families, marriage, friendships, and even acquaintances.  I pray that Your love that dwells in each of us will overflow to those around us.  Father, thank You for the gift of girlfriends and friendships.  Lord, I pray that our friendships will grow as we all seek to know You and serve You better each and every day.  In your Holy Name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Do you like kids as much as I do? I can’t be the only creeper out there! What does your heart desire with regard to children and a family?  Do you feel the desire to “mother” as our authors discuss?   In the past, what has held you back from forming friendships with other women? How do you plan on changing that for the future?

 

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GWS

Our next Women’s Online Bible/Book study begins March 24th.  

To sign up for this amazing study, click on the picture above, complete the registration form, and we will email you further details.   

We hope you will join us.

Captivating: Chapter 9 – “Emasculating Women” – “Arousing Women” (pp 158-161)

As I read about each “type” of woman, I attempted to pin myself to one of the three types.

Am I the Emasculating Woman—always trying to be the boss and control my man in order to get my way? Is my heart hard and do I send the message that “I don’t need a man. I can do everything on my own?”

Am I the Desolate Woman—super needy for love and attention because I’m trying to fill the void in my heart that only God can fill? Am I hiding in activities and business to disguise the hurt and desperation I have to be “completed?” Does my desire to “get a man” define me?

Am I the Arousing Woman—strong and confident in who I am in Christ? Am I gentle to the men in my life, encouraging them to fill their role and be the Hero? Do I act in love and beauty and offer it daily?

The truth is I have embodied all of these types of women at some point in my life.  And you probably have, too!

So the question is: which type of woman do you resemble most in your life right now?  How has God changed your heart in the past few months, years, maybe even decades?

Ladies, the men need us.  We’re their “ezer,” their support, and their strength.  What messages are you sending to the men in your life?

I love how our authors condense the Arousing Woman’s role into two simple sentences:

Need him.  And believe in him.

 

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the men in our lives.  Lord, we lift them up right now, that they will seek You and find who they are in You and only You.  As we walk through this life, let us, as women, demonstrate to our men that we need them, and we support them.  Let us speak life to our men.  Thank You that we are able to do these things because of You.  In Your Name we pray, Amen.

 

Your Assignment:

What does needing a man in a healthy, God-centered way look like?  In what ways can we show the men in our lives that we believe in their abilities and goals?

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GWS

Our next online Bible study begins March 24th!

Click on the picture to sign up TODAY!! 

Captivating: Chapter 8 – Offering Beauty – Of Course It Feels Risky (pp 138-142)

TrueBeauty

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” –William James

I challenge you to think about your “ugly” moments.  What’s in your heart? Is beauty being revealed to those around you when you gossip, when you think negatively, when you dwell in self-pity and despair?

Our “ugly” moments have one thing in common: our self.  We’re focused on how I feel, what I want, what I don’t have…you get the point.  It’s all about “me.”  In each of our authors’ examples of women who offered true beauty, these ladies did a 180 with the spotlight.  They focused their hearts, their attitudes, and subsequently, their actions on reaching out to people.  Healing begins when we reach out to those in need; we offer joy and beauty when we serve.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama

True beauty is a condition of the heart.  I challenge you today to examine your own heart.  Where is it? What does it look like? How do you want God to change it so that He can work through you to affect the hearts of others?

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver

    and her profit better than gold.


She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.


She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.

Psalms 3:13-18

Praise Him,

 

Carissa

 

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your work in our lives in the past, present, and future.  Lord, we know You have a plan.  Let Your will be done.  Help us to show the world our true beauty, the beauty You’ve instilled in each of our hearts.  We love You, and thank You for continually renewing us each day.  In Your Name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment

What’s holding you back from fully offering beauty to those in your life? Is it fear? Is it rejection? Is it a self-centered attitude?

Captivating: Chapter 7 – What Does God Want From You?

When I was a child, I had a “best friend.”  All of my other classmates knew that she was my best friend not just by the fact that our names rhymed (my name is Carissa, her name was Larissa), but because we were always together – on the playground, in the classroom, even outside of school.  And we got along famously, too. It didn’t matter if we were running around outside in the woods or doing our stinky homework together – we were always having a ball.

As I grew older, we grew apart, like many relationships do.  Since then, I’ve been in search for a friendship like that.  I’ve been searching for a buddy who “gets me,” someone I don’t have to be anyone but “me” around.  I don’t have to explain my weirdness or hide my oddball nature.

Maybe you’re like me. You’re still searching for a relationship, whether romantic or not.  One where the other person just “gets you.”  Do you know that God “gets you?”  You don’t need to hide your true self from Him; He created you to be just the way you are.  So when you’re talking to Him and spending time with Him, you can just be yourself.  He is your oldest, most true friend.  He knew you before you were even born! Jeremiah 1:5

“Jesus loves you.” A common phrase, probably one we’ve heard a thousand times.  So with any solid relationship, affection is a two-way street.  I’ve always been told, “Carissa, YOU choose your friends.”  So I ask you: Have you chosen God?  Do you love Him as He loves you?

Because you are created in the image of God, your desire to be romanced is the same as our Father’s.  He desires our love and attention.  “He wants to pour His love into your heart and He longs to have you pour yours into His.  He wants your deep heart, that centerplace within that is the truest YOU.  He is not interested in intimacy with the woman you think you are supposed to be.  He wants intimacy with the real YOU” (page 121).

WhatDoesGodWant

Our authors point out that we were made to worship.  I’m not talking about singing hymns or praise songs in church every Sunday or while you’re driving in your car.  I’m speaking about worship as “what we give our hearts away to in return for a promise of Life” (page 123).  That “Life” our authors reference—I believe that’s the part of our hearts that was created to be filled by only One Being: Jesus.  It’s unable to be filled with anything else; not money, not success, not a man, not a family, not anything else that this world can offer.  Only Jesus can give you the Life and the Love you need so desperately. So I ask you: Have you let Him in? Have you given Him your love that He so desires?  Do you know your true Father—the One who loves you just the way you are?

I love the lesson about Mary versus Martha in Luke 10.  “[Mary] dropped everything and sat at His feet, fixing the gaze of her eyes and the gaze of her heart upon Him.”

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:8

I pray you fix your eyes on Who is unseen right now, but Who we will soon see one glorious day in Heaven—our Father and ultimate Lover, Jesus Christ.

Praise Him!

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Father in Heaven, I thank You for Your unconditional and unsurpassed love.  I pray that You become our focus, that each day we start by fixing our eyes on You.  You alone can fill the missing relationship in our lives.  You alone can give us the love and attention we crave.  I pray that we can better show You how much we love and adore You, too.  In Your Precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

What have you given your heart to? What are you worshipping daily? What is distracting you? Make a list. Share it here with us, in the comment section, if you wish.

Jesus is the only One worthy of our heart’s devotion. Mary recognized who Jesus was—the Source of all Life. Love Incarnate. She did what you and I hope we, too, would have done. She dropped everything and sat at His feet, fixing the gaze of her eyes and the gaze of her heart upon Him.

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If you would like to contact Carissa in regards to this blog post, please email her at: Carissa@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 6 – Forgiveness and Healing (pp 102-105)

Look at the title of this blog.  Do you realize that you can’t have one without the other? Those two words are not mutually exclusive.  Ladies, you cannot have the whole healing Christ offers freely without not only accepting His forgiveness, but offering it to those who have hurt you as well.

I was a very emotional child.  I would carry around hurts of “he said, she said” or “she talked about me behind my back” or “he gave me a dirty look” all of the time.  I carried those burdens.  In fact, I still do.  I still find it hard to let go of things when people hurt me.  In those times of intense anger or hurt, I remember what my beautiful mother always told me.  “Take the stone out of your own eye, Carissa.”  This principle she taught me comes directly from Scripture.

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” Matthew 7:5 (ESV).

Our authors discuss this point as well:

“It might help to remember that those who hurt you were also deeply wounded themselves.  They were broken hearts, broken when they were young, and they fell captive to the Enemy.  They were, in fact, pawns in his hands.  This doesn’t absolve them of the choices they made, the things they did.  It just helps us to let them go—to realize that they were shattered souls themselves, used by our true Enemy in his war against femininity.” (pg. 103)

Helps put things in perspective, doesn’t it?  Our enemies are not the people who hurt us…it’s Satan.  He’s the one who causes evil in this world.  He’s the snake behind The Fall of Adam and Eve.  Yes, the responsibility is still ours; we make wrong choices daily.  But, be assured that one day, we will all be held accountable for our actions and words before God.  He will judge; He will right all wrongs.  We are accountable for ourselves, not for anyone else.  So that is why Jesus calls us to “forgive as the Lord [forgives us]” in Colossians 3:13.

When we forgive, a burden on our heart is lifted.  So what burdens are you still carrying?

WhenWeForgive

 

Once we forgive and let go of those hurts, we can receive fully the healing promised by God.  David, tortured by his oppressors, praises God in Psalm 23.  Meditate on the truth below today. God loves you and will heal your broken heart!

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

For You are with me,

Your rod and Your staff,

They comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

In the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

All the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, You are so magnificent! We praise You, Father, for Your endless mercy and forgiveness because we deserve nothing.  Help us to forgive those in our past, present, and future. Heal our hearts, Daddy.  We love You, and know that You promise complete healing if we ask.  In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

 

Your Assignment:

What’s holding you back from offering forgiveness to those who have hurt you?  Please share so we can pray with you!

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 If you would like to send a private message to Carissa in regards to this blog, please email her at: Carissa@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 5 – A Special Hatred (pgs 82-85)

So I don’t know about you, but I’m a big-time people pleaser.  I’ll say “yes” to invitations that I know full well I will not attend just to avoid disappointing someone by saying “no, thanks.”  I want friends. I want love. I want peace.  I want to be liked.  I want to be accepted.

See, I can try to “people-please” all I want, but the fact is, I’ll always be hated.  And I’m not talking about by people (though that would be true, too).  I will always be hated by the one who hates God, even the slightest hint of Him.  I’m talking about our greatest enemy, Satan.

He absolutely despises me! And he hates you, too! Yep, I said it—HATE.  That’s a powerful word.  And the evil one has his reasons.  We, as women, have something that he loved and then lost because he fell from God.  We are beautiful, and we give life…very much like the image of God.  And how does Satan compare to you and me?  He is straight-up UGLY, and he is the definition of DEATH.

I want you all to do something for me right now.  Just hold your pointer finger up in the air. All right, now stand it up tall, and get it as close to God as you can.  Your finger, right now, represents your light.  It’s the light the world sees when there exists nothing but darkness.  It’s the light a stranger sees when you help someone in need, when you look someone in the eye, when you speak words of truth and life, when you exchange a smile or offer an encouraging word.  Do you all know the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine”? If you don’t, I encourage you to YouTube it.  One of the stanzas in the song reads:

Don’t let the Satan blow it out,

I’m going to let it shine.

Don’t let the Satan blow it out,

I’m going to let it shine.

Don’t let the Satan blow it out,

I’m going to let it shine.

Let it Shine,

Let it Shine,

Let it Shine. 

So do like this kiddy song says, and don’t let him blow out your light! Don’t believe the evil one.  He has many, many lies for you.  Lies that you’re too much, too flawed, too complicated, too emotional, too confusing, too unworthy, too boring, too crazy, too damaged, too too too too too too!

Guess what?!  Satan is TOO powerless against us.  He feeds us lies through our culture, our men, our own thoughts about ourselves, and our own situations.  He instills the fear of abandonment in us, a lie from the bowels of Hell.  How can we ever be abandoned when God is always with us?

 

Satan is fighting a losing battle.  We have won, and we are crowned princesses of the Most High. Hallelujah!

 

“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;

but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:55-58

 

Plain and simple, we have victory in Christ.  Put the fears and lies aside, and rest in that victory today.

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray

Dear Father, thank You for defeating every fear and every lie that Satan can throw at us.  Father, let us find ourselves in You each and every day, victorious, worthy, loved, and never to be abandoned.  Thank You for these promises.  In Your Precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment

After you fill in the blank (either comment on the blog or in our private Facebook group), meditate on the power we have over Satan and his lies.  Like Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings, say with authority, “Leave me alone, snake!” #winning

Today, I am letting go of the lie that I am too _________.

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If you are interested in joining us for this amazing online Bible study, click HERE. Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send Carissa a private message in regards to this blog, please email her at: Carissa@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 4 – The Messages of our Wounds

Three years ago, I stepped into the office of my counselor.  Nervous and excited (but mostly nervous) I was there to discuss my past relationships with men.  I was there to figure out how to forgive myself for the sins of my past.  I was there to talk about my ex-boyfriends and the issues in our relationships.  Boy, was I surprised when my counselor threw me a curve ball. We spent the majority of the time talking about the messages, rather the lies, I had come to believe about myself, about forgiveness, about relationships, and about God.

Our wounds produce the messages we believe.

These messages are exactly what the enemy wants us to believe, defend, and keep alive.  As we defend these messages daily through our actions and thoughts, we give the enemy victory.  But here’s the truth: the only power Satan has over us is the power that we give him.

I don’t know your story, I don’t know how you’ve been hurt in the past, and I don’t know how you may even be hurt in the future.  But God does.  God has messages for you to hear, too.  He’s waiting for you to trade in those evil messages that try to control you.  He wants to exchange those messages for His messages of affirmation, love, beauty, strength, boldness, self-worth, and perfection in Him.

Paul defines our methods of war against the enemy and his lies in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS <aka the messages, the lies>.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So these weapons with which we fight…what are they? They are the spiritual armor of God found in Ephesians 6:14-17: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

Psalm34_4

 

So how do we gear up? I believe before we try to pile on all of the armor, we have to get rid of the stinky, smelly, worn-out rags we’ve been wearing until now.  They stink!  I encourage you to spend time today taking off those rags, removing those messages or lies that you’ve come to believe.  Some of the strongholds in your life may be apparent and some you may not know.  Ask God to reveal them to you.  Ask Him to remove the rags, to cleanse you, and prepare you for the future battles waged in your mind and in your heart.  David writes in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” He will deliver you, too.  All you must do is surrender your strongholds to Him, and let Him heal your heart.

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, we praise You for the power You have and the power You’ve given to us through Your son, Jesus.  Father, the enemy’s lies are all around us; reveal those lies to us.  Help us to denounce each and every one of the strongholds in our lives, surrendering them to You.  Take them, Lord, they are Yours.  Cleanse our hearts and renew our minds as You have promised. In your precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment

Sit with God today and ask Him to reveal the messages you may have come to believe. Denounce and surrender those messages to Him.

What are the things you have come to believe about yourself through hurts you experienced as a little girl?

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If you are interested in joining this Online Singles Bible Study, click HERE.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send Carissa a private email in regards to this blog post, you may email her at:  Carissa@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

 

Captivating – Chapter 3: Dominating Women – Desolate Women

I remember the moment like it was yesterday.  I was 8 years old and away from my family for the first time for a week of Kids Camp with my church.  It was one of the best, most memorable times of my childhood.  And the scene that follows left an immeasurable impression on my mind and heart.

While drying my hands in the bathroom, one of the counselors whom I greatly admired and loved, said to me, “Carissa, you’re so cute!” Boom.  The words were spoken, and those words felt so good.  I had a new goal.  I wanted to be “cute” all of the time.  I wanted to feel special, noticed, admired, and loved every day.

But the fact remains: I’m not as “cute” as I once was.  Over the past 17 years of my life, there have been way more “non-cute” comments directed my way.  And so, I’m sitting here, writing to you as a scarred and broken woman.  Because of the Fall, I’m cursed with a longing to be beautiful and irreplaceable. Since the world has shown me more coldness than warmth, I’m guarded.  I know I’m not alone in this either.  My guarded mindset is driven from fear—fear of being vulnerable.  Every woman deals with this fear differently.  The two main methods, pointed out by our authors of this book, are either domination or desolation.

So how do you deal?  Do you play the defense, trying to control your situation and others, sometimes even masking your controlling nature as “caring” for others?  Or are you a wallflower, preferring to be silent and unseen, thus also controlling your situation instead of surrendering it to God?

We must realize that these two attitudes are inspired by fear, a fear that was not sent from God.  Ladies, 1 John 4 affirms that “God is love.” And we know that “perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”  So if we live in love, then God lives in us and fear has no place to dwell.

So no matter which woman you identify with (either dominating or desolate…or maybe both) and no matter how much you try to control or how well you hide, God knows your heart.  He knows the motives behind everything you do.  He knows every thought, every attitude, every action, and every reaction.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

God wants you to know Him, too.  He wants you to know freedom from your fears and past hurts; He wants you to know the depth of His love for you.  He wants you to know that in His eyes, you are way more than “cute.”  You are beautiful and irreplaceable. He delights in you because you are captivating.

 

Praise Him,

 

Carissa

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Let’s Pray
Our beautiful and wonderful Savior, thank You for who You are, thank You for creating us in Your image, thank You for the beauty that you instilled in each woman.  Father, I pray that every day, we will wake to dwell in You because You are love.  I pray against the Evil One and his attacks on our hearts with fear and doubt.  Help us to daily surrender our lives to you – surrender our desires to both control and hide.  Father, we know that we can do all things through You because You are our strength.  In Your precious name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment
Are you more dominating or desolate?  Can you see how these attitudes stem from fear?  What are some ways we can daily practice to abide in love and thus reveal the beauty within each of us?

 

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If you are interested in joining this online Bible study, please click HERE to sign up.

Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

 If you are interested in sending a private message to Carissa, please email her at CarissaMarkantone@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com