April 24, 2017

Captivating: Chapter 12 Weekly Review – End of Study

Girlfriends, what an awesome journey we have been on for the last couple of weeks. I pray that you are more than convinced of your awesomeness!  You truly are Captivating.

On Monday, Jackie told us that we have an irreplaceable role to play in this world. God is waiting for us to accept that role so that He can use us for His glory. You and I have the power to influence our world for God.

Tuesday with Tonya we learned that what God asks us to do can seem more than what we thought possible. Being what God requires us to be can seem overwhelming at times. But, by saying ‘yes’ to God, and by going where God is asking us to go, and doing what God asks us to do, we are also acknowledging that we have faith in His covering—faith that He will take care of everything else.

Carissa shared some awesome truths with us on Wednesday. She said that we might not be where we are ‘called’ to be right now, because God 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.

On Thursday, Michelle encouraged us to not be afraid of who we are, who we were created to be. It is time to stop hiding. Let us all step out in faith. Let us be real and present in the moment.

Girlfriends, I want to encourage you to be strong in the Lord. Yes, things come our way that paralyze us, and it feels like we will never recover, never be able to get up and walk again, but I want to remind you of the cross. When you are blinded by fear, think of what happened at the cross. God is in control!

I love you and hope that you will join us in our Women’s study that started on Monday, Girls With Swords. I feel armed and dangerous!

Let’s Pray:
Father, thank You for each lady that participated in this study. Thank You that You have great and wonderful plans for their lives. I pray that they will always know that they are Your children and that You love them unconditionally, Amen.

Be blessed!

Edwina

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 – “Mothers, Daughters, Sisters” – “The Long Road Home” (pp 168-173)

 

Adam named his wife Eve,

because she would become the mother of all the living.

 GENESIS 3:20 

If you want to understand any woman

When I think about the woman that I have become, I give all the credit to my mother.  I may not have been the perfect daughter, but I did my best to be who she wanted me to be.

Just like Stasi Eldredge, I went through different phases while growing up.  I, too, did things I am not proud of; and I, too, gave my mother grief during my college years and my early twenties.  When I was at home, I made sure I was doing everything as I was told but all the while hiding the things I was doing.  I wasn’t into drugs, but I portrayed myself as someone who wasn’t dating or going to parties.  However, no matter how hard you try to hide, things come out in the end and, in my case, they did. My mother was disappointed and threatened to have me withdrawn from college.  For a while I lived up to her expectations until I started working and began to live with my aunt.  Well, my aunt made sure she reported everything I did—if I came late from work, my mother knew about it; if I had a date on Saturday afternoon or if I didn’t go to church on Sunday morning, my mother would ask me why on Monday morning.

My relationship with my mother was restrained during this time, and it made me hide who I was from her.  I longed to be a good daughter…but I couldn’t be since all she heard were the bad things that I did.  My mum would say that “I needed Jesus.”  All the “bad” I was doing was because I didn’t know Jesus.  Well, like a daughter who wanted to be in the best books with her mother, I received Jesus at a major crusade that took place.  I stopped pretending that I loved the Catholic Church and started going to a Pentecostal church.  I broke up with my boyfriend at that time because he didn’t share my new faith.  My weekends were spent at church or at home if there wasn’t a church program.  I became someone who my mum and aunt were proud of.  The reporting slowly stopped and life was good.

I wish I could end here and say that things were like that over the years.  Unfortunately it wasn’t.  I wasn’t always the good girl and this wasn’t the last time I would hide or make wrong decisions in life and disappoint my mother.  However, despite my shortcomings, my mother was there to correct me and show the correct path.  My mistakes did not stop my mum from loving me.  She was there with me through the heartbreak and pain that I suffered in my relationships.  She always rushed to be by my side when I needed her the most.

“Girls’ hearts flourish in homes where they are seen and invited to become ever more themselves. Parents who enjoy their daughters are giving them and the world a great gift. Mothers in particular have the opportunity to offer encouragement to their daughters by inviting them into their feminine world and by treasuring their daughters’ unique beauty” – Stasi Eldredge.

Looking back at my life now, I cherish the life that my parents gave me and my siblings.  We were given opportunities to excel in everything that we did.  My parents encouraged us to dream big and rejoiced with us when we did well in school and never failed to show us how much they loved and cared for us.

My mother went to be with the Lord last year after she lost her battle with diabetes.  She left behind a legacy of love, strength, and care.  She was always full of advice.  She was not someone who would embarrass you when you did something wrong;she would call you aside, listen to your side of the story, and tell you what you did wrong and what doing the right thing looked like.  My mother lived by example.  If she wanted something done, she would be the first to do it.  She was someone who would be the first and last to leave a room, making sure everything was fine.  I pray that I  become half the person that she was.

I know that some of you cannot say such things about your relationship with your mother because of the pain she may have caused you; but at the end of the day, a mother and daughter’s relationship is the most of important of all.  It’s the relationship that helps us when we grow up and become mothers ourselves.

My prayer is that no matter what went on in the past or if it may still be happening right now, we would look to the Lord to help us restore the relationship with our mothers.  My mother said I needed Jesus—and she was right.  Our faith in the Lord is what cemented our relationship.  Every time we discussed issues regarding faith, all our differences would melt away.  When we talked about Jesus, we were not mother and daughter but we were both children of the most High God, we were both daughters.  I enjoyed hearing my mother say “I am praying for you” because I knew that she meant it.

Be Blessed

Jackie

LET’S PRAY:

Lord, I thank You for the precious gift that You gave to me—my mother.   I thank You for the life that I had with her, and what she meant to me and my family.  I pray for my fellow sisters whose relationships with their mothers are not great right now, that You will restore it.  May they cherish one another and learn from one another.  May their relationships be Christ-like and forgiving.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

How is the relationship with your mother or daughter?  If you were given an opportunity to write about her, what would you say?  Please take time today and tell her how much she means to you.

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GWS

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

We hope you will join us.

Click on the picture above to sign up today!

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

Captivating: Chapter 9 – Arousing Adam – Standing in Love’s Way (pp 148-153)

This is one of those chapters where if I happened to meet with John and Stasi, I would thank them for including this topic.

It’s so easy for us as women to blame the men in our lives for the pain that they have caused us over the years without knowing that they, like us, carry the same wounds. Such blame comes because we have not really gone to the basics to find out why men act the way they do.  It’s only when we understand the issues at play that we will begin to address our hurt.   The truth of the matter is that both men and women have wounds that date back to the time of Adam and Eve and, should we fail to address them, every generation will go through the same things.

There are so many misconceptions about masculinity that we have believed and embraced.  However, looking at our topic today, we can put some of those lies to rest.  Men just like women HURT and as much as they don’t always show this side to us, deep inside they carry childhood wounds.  They may act macho and have an “I don’t care” attitude, but they too have been hurt by their fathers who were also struggling with the same issues and did not know how to reach out to their sons.

How do we expect little boys who have grown up being told that “boys don’t cry, it shows weakness” to understand and comfort a woman when she is hurt and needs emotional support?  How will such a man relate to you when you want answers to these questions:  “Why won’t he talk to me? Why won’t he commit?  Why is he so angry? Why is he violent?”  The truth of the matter is the boy in him sees this type of emotion as weakness and probably thinks you are needy.

John and Stasi tell us that we won’t begin to understand a man until we understand his Question, his wound and how Adam also fell.  His search for validation is the driving force of his life.  The question that boggles a man’s mind is “Do I have what it takes? Am I the real deal?  Am I a man?”

We may love the men in our lives with everything we have got but we cannot answer this question for them.  This validation of a man’s soul only comes from knowing who he is in Christ.  In the same way, a man cannot fill the void that is inside our hearts no matter how much he declares his love for us.  ONLY GOD CAN.

Let us allow this chapter to help us heal the wounds that have been inflicted on both men and women.  Let us open our hearts and minds to allow God to validate our souls.  Only God can restore our beauty as women and strength to the men who we love and cannot live without.

Our understanding of this topic will help us build loving relationships and help heal the hurt that we have inflicted on one another because of lack of knowledge.  The bible says in Hosea 4:6 “My people perish because of lack of knowledge….”  When I understand what my husband or a boyfriend went through while growing up, it will help me understand why he acts the way he does with me.  Then it’s my job to pray for him, not try to fix him!

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ went through Calvary in order to restore the relationship that we had with our Heavenly Father.  At Calvary, Jesus bore our sins, including all the misconceptions that are there between men and women.  When He created us as male and female, He did not create us to inflict pain on one another but to love one another, enjoy one another and be One.  However, it is because of the Fall that we were cursed and have to endure the pain and suffering of this fallen world.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was vital for man’s existence because it validates our existence and answers the questions that He alone can answer.  It is through their relationship with Jesus Christ that men and women can truly love another and live in harmony.  I pray that this study will continue to draw us near to Him and, that through Him, we will embrace the relationships that we have with one another.

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LET’S PRAY:

Father, thank You so much for all that You did for us at Calvary through Jesus Christ.  His death gives us purpose and validates our existence on this earth.  It is only when we know You that we can embrace who we are and are able to truly love one another.  Restore in us that which was stolen when Adam and Eve fell.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

Ask Jesus to show you what you’ve been doing with your Question and how you have related to Adam.

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If you are interested in sending Jackie a private message in regards to this blog, please email her at: Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

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 7 Romanced – Longing for Romance (pp 111-113)

Jeremiah31_3

I remember the first time that I heard the above words some few years ago.  My sister, who was staying with me at the time, had just gone to visit my parents in another city.  I felt so alone that evening and I decided to listen to music in order to drown out the silence that was in the house.  I had just bought a new praise and worship CD which contained a song based on Jeremiah 31:3. “I have loved with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with my loving kindness.” The song was so overwhelming; and I felt like God was speaking to me directly.  God LOVES me with an everlasting love.  I can’t express the exact feelings that I felt then but every fiber of my body felt that love.  I was so in awe of God for reaching out to me and telling me how much He loves me through that song.  My loneliness was replaced with God’s presence; it was an experience that I will never forget.

Each one of us wants to feel loved and to be romanced; we want to know that we are special to someone.  There is something about love that changes the way we feel and look at ourselves.  When I am first in love with someone I see things differently…I tend to smile at anything…what could easily annoy me does not bother me at all…the way I walk and carry myself…the time I take to look beautiful…happiness bubbles from inside my heart waiting to burst.  The day dreaming and secret messages that are shared with my loved one all seem to make my world beautiful—like I am on top of the world and nothing can touch me.  I feel special, worthy, and beautiful!

I have come to the understanding that I don’t need to wait for a man to feel special, worthy and beautiful every day because there is Someone who already makes me feel these things and so much more.  His love for me is eternal.  His romance is for eternity.  The romance that the Lover of our Soul, Jesus, has for us.  This romance is ours to experience every day.  It began long before we were born. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).  Yes, that’s how much God knows (and loves) you and me.  He pursued us way before we came to be and He will never stop.  Like the great lover that He is, He woo’s us with everything that He has created: the flowers and vegetation, the beautiful sunset, the blue skies, the glorious mountains, the enormous lakes and oceans.  Everywhere we look, we are enchanted by the beautiful things that He has made for us to enjoy.

I always wondered why the Song of Solomon was in the Bible until I realized that it was a love message from God to us.  God is so romantic that He dedicated a whole book for romance.  Wow, that’s something not to be taken for granted.  This book beats all the romance novels that you and I have read by far.  The way the writer uses words to describe different animals to reflect the beauty of a woman is intriguing.  The love that is shared between the two lovers is mesmerizing.  I hope you find some time to read this book and embrace its uniqueness, and experience the romantic side of God.

Stasi Eldredge writes, “God longs to bring this into your life Himself. He wants you to move beyond the childlike ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’  He wants to heal us through His love to become mature women who actually know Him. He wants us to experience verses like, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her” (Hosea 2:14). And “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride” (Song of Solomon 4:9). Our hearts are desperate for this. What would it be like to experience for yourself that the truest thing about His heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval but deep, fiery, passionate love? This is, after all, what a woman was made for.” (pg 113)

Jesus is our Bridegroom and we are His Bride.  I pray that you will accept Him to romance you the way your feminine heart needs because YOU ARE HIS DARLING!  “How beautiful you are, my darling” (Song of Solomon 1:15).

Be Blessed,

Jackie

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LET’S PRAY:

Lord, how wonderful it is to know just how much You love us.  You loved us even before we came to be, and You are coming to take us with You as Your bride.  May we experience this romance with You every day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

How comfortable are you with the idea of Jesus being your “Bridegroom” and you being His Beloved?  Is this a relatively new category for you to think about in your relationship with Him?

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If you are interested in sending Jackie a private message in regards to this blog, please email her at: Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating – Chapter 4 Weekly Review

On Monday we learned from Tonya that our fathers made a mark on our lives.  Some of those marks were better than others. But our Heavenly Father has the biggest impact of them all. Remember, despite the happenings of our childhood (good or bad), God created us in His image, and with His heart.

On Tuesday Tonya reminded us that we do not live in Eden, and that the world we live in is a troubled place, ready to hurt at any turn. But rest assured that we have God on our side. The Bible states it clearly: He is here to heal the brokenhearted, to set us free from the bonds of our wounds.

On Wednesday Carissa shared with us that God is waiting for us to trade in those evil messages that try to control us. He wants to exchange those negative messages for His messages of affirmation, love, beauty, strength, boldness, self-worth , and perfection in Him.

On Thursday Michelle said that God does not want us to live in shame. Shame makes us hide, makes us think that we are not worthy. As daughters of the King, we need to fight these thoughts that do not speak God’s truth into our lives.

Wow, girls, I don’t know about you, but I could totally relate to this chapter. I had my fair share of hurts and disappointments, but God…. Even at the age of 41, my mother’s words can still do some serious damage, I mean really serious damage, you know what I mean? Have you been there? I was the child who got her food right at the end when there was no more meat left in the pot, but God…. I was the ugly one in the family, the one no one noticed except for when I did something wrong. But praise God for His wonderful love and healing promises. Praise God that I was able by His grace, to turn those hurts into wonderful opportunities to bless my 13 year old daughter. I am determined not to allow the enemy to steal my joy.

Before we close, I want to share a video with you.  I love the words in this video “This is where the healing begins, when the Light meets the dark.”  God loves us so very much, ladies.  Do you know that?  I mean, do you really know that?  He wants to heal you, to heal the past hurts and wounds.  This is where the healing begins is when the dark meets the Light, as the song says.  Allow Him in, to give you the FREEDOM you’ve been yearning for!  Let His Light come through!!


Be blessed!

Edwina

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

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

“Captivating” Coming Soon to Girlfriends Coffee Hour

Captivating