April 25, 2017

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8: Make the Choice (pages 251 – 267)

Choice 8: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived” Galatians 6:1, 2  (The Message).
The action items for Week 8 are short and sweet compared to our past 7 weeks. The focus is on your personal story and how to best share it with others in need of encouragement, support, and hope.  John Baker jumps right in with very little introduction to this week’s Make The Choice segment.

PRAY –
Ask God to bring someone in to your life to share your story with. Be prepared for what you ask, because He will answer! This isn’t someone who will just hear your story of recovery, but who will also hear His Good News, and how His presence in their life can bring about radical changes, too.
WRITE –
After we’ve prayed for God to lead us to someone to share with, we need to make sure we have prepared our story and how best to share it. For some of you, skipping over some of the nitty-gritty details will be appropriate; while others will need to expose a little more to get their story told. I think of our dear friend, Leslie. I don’t know of many who would openly share the experiences with hospitalization and electro-shock therapies as she has during our study. But for her, this is a crucial point of the desperation she felt and how liberating life has been with God. I’ve kept back some of my personal details because it would bring pain to others, but it doesn’t lessen the impact of my story.

Your story is uniquely yours. The ways God spoke to you, led you to see the need for Him, delivered you from the hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and how you will be used for His glory. Don’t compare your experience with anyone else, but praise the life He has given to YOU!

Take this time to write in your journal, (as Baker points out, page 251), a list of experiences that have significantly impacted your life to this day—both the positive and the negative. Indicate the ones you caused, and the ones caused by others. Remember to use the inventories we’ve created if necessary.

  • Write what you have learned about each experience.
  • Write about how God helped you through the tough times, but also how He blessed you during the good times.
  • Make a list of people who need to hear your story.
  • Write out your story. I love Baker’s comment on writing, ‘Remember, thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips to the fingertips. Write it out.” (p 252)


SHARE –
Ok, so you’ve now asked for someone to share with and written out your story.  Share it with your accountability partner. This person has been alongside you as your cheerleader and coach during our study. They know where you’ve been, where you are now, and they have hope for your future. Allow your partner to work with you to fill in holes in your story, add details (or pull back on some), and assist in your humble presentation.
It’s not about saying “look what I’ve done;” but what HE’s done that is our focus.

One last thought…in addition to sharing your story…consider other ways you can say YES to God.

“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” Hebrews 10:22-25  (The Message).

We’ve made it to the end of this leg of our journey. Note, I didn’t say we’ve completed THE journey, but only a portion of it. I don’t want anyone thinking that the work is done and we can move on to something bigger and better. No, this was just a portion of what God has in store for each of us. Perhaps you will find the need to re-read the book, put more time in to some of the exercises, share more with your accountability partner. Perhaps you’re at a good place now, but will find the need to re-examine some of the deeper issues at a later date. Whatever path you end up taking, remember to always take Him along with you for strength, comfort, wisdom, and unconditional love.


Let’s Pray –
Lord, when we look back to where we started, who we were when we started this study, we stand thankful and amazed by the transformations You have done in our lives. Guide us through the next phase of sharing our experience with others, finding strength in You, courage to open our hearts and lives, and the desire to be lights for Your glory. Thank You for the blessings we’ve seen, the friendships we’ve made, and all of the lessons learned. Amen.

 

Power Verses for Chapter 8
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
Deuteronomy 4:9
James 2:17
Ephesians 4:1
2 Corinthians 3:18
Hebrews 10:24
Romans 12: 9, 13
Galatians 6:1
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – Why Does It Take So Long to Get Rid of Our Character Defects?

There are four main reasons why it’s hard to change the defects in our lives:

1. Because we’ve had them for so long.
2. Because we confuse our defects with our identity.
3. Because every defect has a payoff.
4. Because Satan discourages our efforts to change.

All my life I have been a very anxious person. I have always felt I did not belong or fit in. I always felt disconnected and unloved by my father. I have felt like a burden to my husband and all of our family. I have felt like I’m not good enough, or smart enough, to hang out with or be accepted by my husband’s friends or around those he worked with because they were so smart and had much more education than me. I have felt shameful for things I have done out of my addictions. I have felt unworthy as a person and that I don’t deserve to be happy or to be loved. I have felt afraid to love, trust, and have intimacy with my husband because I did not feel this growing up from any male figure. I have even gone so far as feeling embarrassed at Bible study when asked to turn to a certain book because I had no idea if it was in the front, middle, or back; and therefore I felt I was ignorant.

So now you understand why I am the way I am. Of course, I needed to take Xanax and drink, because of my horrible anxiety. Of course, I needed to hide and avoid everyone, because I don’t fit in. Of course, I had to distance my heart and stay as far away from intimacy with my husband, because he might abandon me like my dad had done. Of course, I’m afraid to trust because of all the bad relationships that have disappointed me and hurt me. Surely you understand, too, right?

Now you can see why it’s been so hard for me to let go; because if I did, then who am I? Who will Leslie be without anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, fear, jealousy, envy, hatred, loneliness, bitterness, and unworthiness? I had no clue what it would feel like to want to live…to feel like a good mom and wife—or, especially, God’s child? Do you see where I am going with this? I honestly had lived my 38 years believing all of these defects are who I am and that I will always be this person who would always be depressed, a worthless person, and bound to be ill and miserable for the rest of my life or until I would finally take it. My life was hopeless and that’s who I was—just a miserable hopeless person. And, although life was excruciating, I couldn’t imagine things differently.

I remember just how frightened I was when I became sober. I was so fearful to face things without using something to get me through it. Emotions were almost unbearable to feel without that Benzo or glass of wine. It was so hard being alone in the house because the voices that I hid from were much louder and frequent in a quiet house. I was so afraid to be in certain rooms of my home because I remembered withdrawals and hallucinations that I experienced there. It was so hard to come home from outpatient program and do my assignment of looking in the mirror and telling that image looking back at me that I love me and I am a good person.

Letting go of these defects was not easy. I actually enjoyed the attention I got because of my illness. I felt wanted and loved when family members called and checked on me. I liked receiving cards and seeing my name on prayer lists. I actually liked being able to not speak to my dad because I wanted to have power over him feeling sad and abandoned because of all the years I felt that hurt. I liked being constantly pitied when I would do destructive things to myself because that not only got me much more attention from my family, but attention from doctors, also. For me, a life I was miserably comfortable in at least had a payoff. How about you? What payoff do you get by not letting go of your defects?

John Baker says in this chapter, “Satan constantly tries to fill our minds with negative thoughts. He is the accuser. He whispers in our ear, ‘This will never work; you can’t do it, you’ll never change.‘” Have you been hearing this alot?

When I started seeking Christ these whispers were constant, loud, almost paralyzing at times. I learned to rebuke Satan, and almost every 5 seconds I was doing so in the name of Jesus. Satan would stop for a few moments and start right back up. Being fragile and not trusting in God very much, I spent my days feeling weak and tired. Satan told me I would never be well, I would not stay sober, I was a loser, I had no real friends, that my husband pitied me and that he had lost hope in me. I had thoughts that my kids might be scared from seeing my actions and addictions. And that I did not have a real relationship with God because He did not love me enough to save me and take me out of that hell I lived. Why did I have to hurt so badly for so long? Does God not love me?

John8_32Please listen very carefully, ladies…SATAN IS A LIAR!!! There is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he shows what he really is like. The devil was a murderer from the beginning. He has never been truthful. He doesn’t know what the truth is. Whenever he tells a lie, he’s doing what comes naturally to him. He’s a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 God’s Word Translation). Baker states, “But counteracting Satan’s lies is the truth that sets us free.” Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). As we begin to grow in God’s truth and voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our life and allow Him to remove our character defects, we will discover the happiness of doing what God requires. So what are you waiting for?

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LETS PRAY
Father, we come to You today ready to submit to all the changes You want to make in each of our lives and remove our character defects. We ask that You reveal to us defects that we have lived with for so long and have become part of who we are. Help us to let go of these things. Lord, help us when Satan tries to discourage our efforts to change by trying to fill our minds with negative thoughts, and instead focus on the truth, Lord. For we know the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. Lord, we ask for Your help; and we thank You for Your forgiveness and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Find a quiet place and ask God to reveal to you your biggest character defect. What has been the payoff keeping it and not letting it go?

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If you are interested in joining us for this amazing Online Bible Study, click HERE to sign up.

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

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

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 4 – Moving Past the Guilt – Part 2

I’ve been to rehab three times.  And the third time was the charm. I would love to tell you that I came home and everything was just perfect and all my relationships were restored and I was forgiven and trusted immediately. NOT!!!!!  I never would admit to anyone all that I had done. I had three different sponsors during early recovery and did steps 4 and 5 at least three times but never the way God intended. I only told what made me sound somewhat sane, which was entirely a lie. I never admitted to God, I figured He knew already and why did I need to tell Him again?

Bottom line: I  wasn’t ready to surrender. I wanted to do things my way, like the lonely soundtrack for misery of the song, “I did it my way.”  My way wasn’t working and had never ever worked and it was time to try something different. I wanted the miracle of freedom, so I finally did what it took and it started with confessing my past and truly leaving all those bags at the doorway of freedom and never looking back. Oh, I pick up a bag every now and then and carry it around. It’s heavy and uncomfortable and I’m supposed to ask Him for help. I wasn’t meant to carry this alone. He created us to need each other, and to need Him in the midst.

We need an accountability partner—we have to tell someone our secrets, for secrets keep us sick and keep us right where we are. We cannot move forward until we let go of our past by confessing our past to someone else and to our Heavenly Father.  We need to have this person pray with us for the forgiveness and freedom that is ours through Jesus. He died so that we may have life free from sin and guilt and shame. Do it now. Don’t wait or procrastinate. I read somewhere that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of being strong too long.  Ask for forgiveness and accept it—it is freeing!  If you don’t then you are saying His death was for nothing, and that it wasn’t enough for you. It is for you.

We don’t get to choose our story’s beginning and we don’t get to make our husbands love us perfectly. We don’t get to choose our children’s problems (or lack of) and we don’t get to demand life. We get to accept it. Like a gift. No one ever entered into God’s fullness by giving Him only half of yourself. You may wrestle, but in Him you’ve won. You may suffer, but in Him you’ve got security. You may regret, but in Him you will rise. You may no longer be free to live the easy way, but in Him you will be free.  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  “Outweighs them all”—all the mistakes we have made He uses all for His glory. When you’re tempted to hide under the covers this week because some horrible memories of things you did in the past are bringing back shame and guilt, remember they are just feelings—nothing more. You have been delivered.

Psalms 54:4  “I sought the Lord and He answered me, and He delivered me from my fears.” Delivered !!!

Ephesians 3:20  “He is able to do abundantly beyond anything that we can think or ask.” He is able…to do ANYTHING.

Anything we need-–-we just need to ask…then receive…then move forward. When you are tempted to go back, fall forward. Keep moving forward toward Him. Finish this race strong. Remember, God forgives instantly and freely; now just do it!!!

Do these steps in this chapter, read them carefully, and do them exactly as they are written. God will hold you through this. I’m so proud of you all!  Hang in there and know I’m praying for you.

At last I leave you with God’s word, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us” (Philippian 3:13, 14).

Acts20_24

Your life is worth so much. Please hear me—God’s grace is freely yours, just follow through with choice 4; freedom and joy and so much more are yours!!!

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise You for Who You are. You are our strength and our fortress. Our stronghold and comforter in sorrow. You are our everything. We cannot thank You enough for Your forgiveness and grace freely given to us. You love us not for what we do but for who You made us to be. You know each of our hearts and You know what we desire and You promise to give them to us. We trust You. We ask for Your help in laying it all down at Your feet and help us not to take it back. Forgive us and keep us safe during this sometimes painful journey.  We love You.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Your Assignment:

Please read sections 4 and 5 carefully, and pray about when and who and where to do your talking. This a hard one.  Just let us know that you have chosen someone, and the rest can be your choice as to whether you share or not.

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If you are interested in joining us for the online Bible Study, click HERE. Once we have received your registration, we will email you further details.

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

Life’s Healing Choices – Chapter 3: Stepping Across the Line

I’m going to start today’s blog post with a little poem that my pastor quoted Sunday.  It goes like this…

 

I went for a walk today down a winding road and fell in a hole,

it’s not my fault.

I went for a walk today down the same road and fell in a hole,

why did I do that?

I went for a walk today down the same road, fell in the same hole,

it’s my fault.

I went for a walk today down the same winding road, I barely made it around the hole.

I took a different road today.

I cannot handle that winding road I’ve been on. I won’t go down it again.

 

Does that sound familiar to you? Are you having a hard time stepping off the same path? Today we will step across the line together into Jesus’ arms and allow Him to care and control ALL of us. Ready? OK! (The cheerleader in me came out.)

S-urrendering

T-o

E-verlasting

P-eace

 

Step 1: We must accept Jesus as our Savior, Lord of our life. He must live in our heart and be the center of our being. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  You will be saved, not might be, but will be. Commit as much of yourself as you can at this moment and He can do great things. This is so exciting! Shall we go on?

Step 2: We must accept God’s word as our standard. It must be our life manual. God gave us His word to guide us in every aspect of our lives. What a gift from our Creator! The Bible contains love letters from our Heavenly Father, and instructions by which to live our lives so that we will have the peace and joy He promised us. As we commit more and more of ourselves to Jesus, we will want to live our lives according to His will for us and the only way to know His will is to read and study His words. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for resetting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living”(2 Timothy 3:16).

Step 3: We must accept His will as our purpose. We have to let go of the plans we have for ourselves and totally surrender them. His ways must become our ways. We must die to ourselves and become a new person in Him—the person He wants us to be. I love how John Baker puts it: how we must wake up every day and say “Lord, You woke me up this morning. You obviously have another day planned for me!  What is that plan?” I usually start my day out on my knees and end it there also. I pray for the willingness to be teachable and the strength to do whatever He wants me to do that day.

Step 4: We must accept His power as our strength. 2 Samuel 22:40 says,  “You armed me with strength for the battle–You humbled my adversaries.” When we commit ourselves to Him, His strength is ours, and His power is ours. He has given us His Spirit and with that comes the benefit of having His resources at hand at all times. We are armed for whatever trial comes our way.

So, are you ready to step across the line together? He’s waiting with open arms. If you have not yet asked Him to be Lord of your life, my friend, this is the most important decision  you will ever make. It is your life choice. Look. Here  I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal as friends (Revelation 3:20).

He wants to come into your life and help you live this life He gave you. He wants to come in so badly but He will not come in if you don’t ask. Oh dear friend, you don’t have to go this alone. You don’t have to white knuckle it! His power is yours. Your willpower isn’t enough. I know mine isn’t. If it was, I would never have gone down this road of addiction. I wouldn’t have left a trail of destruction and hurt for all I love. But we serve an awesome Savior Who can redeem all we have done and make us a new creation in Him.

 

If you are truly ready to commit your life to Him then answer these questions:

Do you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and proved He was God by coming back? 1 Corinthians 15:2-4

Do you accept God’s free forgiveness for your sins? Romans 3:22

Do you want to switch to His plan for your life? Romans 12:2

Are you ready to express your desire for Jesus to be the director of your life? Romans 10:9

If you answered yes to all these questions then make this a reality and make the choice to step across the line today holding your Savior’s hand. He’s so ready and willing. Just say yes.

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for coming into my life and redeeming me and dwelling in me. Thank You for all these women who dedicated their lives to You today, some for the first time and for others a rededication. Lord, we believe You sent Your Son Jesus to die for our sins, so we can be forgiven. We are sorry for all our wrongdoings and as we continue this journey with You, Lord, we ask for the willingness to be teachable and the strength to carry on with this beautiful life You have given us. Thank You that we do not have to go this alone. Lord, some of us are so tired and we need You more than we know. Give us rest and take our burdens as You have so promised. We love You and Praise You for Who You are. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Your Assignment:

Let us know if you prayed that prayer, so we can continue to encourage you in this amazing journey. Look up scriptures and enter them in to your journal. Remember, all comments are public on this blog. You have the option of signing in anonymously.

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If you are interested in joining us for the Life’s Healing Choices online Bible study, click HERE. Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

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

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 3 “The Commitment Choice” – What’s Holding You Back?

I have a question for you this morning: What is holding you back from surrendering your problems and your life to the care of God?

Today we are going to talk about five things that keep us from making this choice: Pride, Fear, Guilt, Worry, and Doubt.  

This has been, and to this day still is, a battle for me in a few areas in my life. I found it painfully hard to fully acknowledge to myself those painful feelings of guilt that I tried to push down deep inside that would continue to pop up and hurt. Satan loves to try and ruin our day by bringing up past scars. He loves to see us reliving that pain and being pushed bit by bit away from God. His desire is that the pain will always be there and we will not ever be able to heal.

Everyone has feelings of pride, fear, guilt, worry, and doubt from time to time. But God wants us to stop, let go, and give Him these feelings and hurts that cause destruction in our lives and to those we love. He simply wants to take care of our hurts; all we have to do is hand them over to Him today. For many, this is not easy. In fact, this was so very hard for me to do. I would like to share a situation in which I had a very hard time giving up control and putting my love and trust in God.

Due to the lack of male figures as a child growing up, I had trust issues and I yearned for male attention. I had my heart broken many times as a young child and I truly felt very sorry for myself and very angry toward men, but on the other hand, I wanted their love so badly. When I was 14 years old, I was raped by my boyfriend. He pressured me to be with him because he “loved” me. Although I wanted that love so bad, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give myself to him.  At the last minute, I decided not to go through with it, but he chose to continue…without my consent.  Afterwards, he threatened that if I ever told anyone what he did, or tried to break up with him, he would let everyone know what I had done with him; that I was no longer innocent and pure.

As time went on, anger, hurt, love, and trust turned into major resentment toward every man I came in contact with. I was not about to trust a man with my heart. I would be the one in control, and I would not have to fear rejection. I started using my body as a way to control that overwhelming need for love. I used sex lying to myself calling it “love.” I would now become the rejecter. Although, reality was that sex became disgusting to me because it was filth and not love that I always yearned for. That was when I decided I would be the one who would cause one to feel sad, hurt, and unloved. I wanted men to “want” me, because this is what I thought love was. I learned great ways to manipulate them with my eyes, the way I moved my body, the way I did things to cause them to feel jealousy so they would stay with me. This was (in my mind) justifiable behavior. I had been treated that way, so why shouldn’t I treat men that way. Isn’t that how love works?

After this, I turned very selfish and could not offer real intimacy and pure love to anyone, even with my devoted husband who truly loved me. I just never believed that love was real. I had never received it in any other male relationships before, so I thought how would my marriage be any different. That boyfriend I had, said he loved me, but look how that turned out. I believe this is my reason for having a hard time putting my trust, not only in my husband, but mostly with the Lord. How on earth could my Heavenly Father really love me that way?

Finally I woke up and decided to quit playing the victim. I chose to give this hurt to the Lord along with the control, pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt. In the beginning, I did not think He could change me, but God did. He was going to set me free!

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud.  I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.  Oh return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”  — Isaiah 44:22

Today, love is changing between me and my husband. I am “learning to trust” him and even more, trusting God in all things. God is calling out to all of us “This is the Lord, trust me, let go, and I will catch you.” (Baker)

How about you? Are you willing to lay down your pride and surrender? Are you ready to stop being tormented by your hurts that have controlled you for so long? Are you having doubts right now even though you want to believe? Ask God right now to help you with your unbelief. As John Baker says, “Jesus said, that’s good enough.” All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed. If you put that faith in our Big God then you will get results. (Baker)

Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

So what are you waiting for? Let go and give Christ control! He wants a loving relationship with you more than anything!

 

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Let’s Pray:

Lord, Thank You for Your love for us. You tell us, Lord, to come to You with all things and You will give us rest. Lord, we want to do this and surrender our problems and care over to You; but it’s not easy. The pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt get in the way. Lord, we ask You to help us right now to let go and surrender our problems and lives to the care and control of You. Lord,we need help. We need You in our lives. All this we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Your Assignment: 

Write down and explain which of these things God is showing to you about yourself such as: pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt that is holding you back from making a decision to surrender and give Christ control of your life. Remember, comments made here are public. You do have the option of signing in anonymously.

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If you are interested in joining us for the amazing online Bible study, and would like to join our private Facebook Discussion Group, click HERE to sign up. Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

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

Life’s Healing Choices: The Commitment Choice

Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Matthew 5:5 (TEV/NIV)

During our second week of the Life’s Healing Choices study, I was confronted in several areas of my life where I must have control.  When I don’t feel like I have the desired level of control, the world spins around me and anxiety reigns in an ugly way.  Conflicts arise in my relationships with my kids & my husband, and the anxiety just grows and grows.  And, gaining my perceived level of control doesn’t make anything better because those around me are already irritated and annoyed with my actions.  So when I read the first page of Chapter 3, I knew this week is going be even more hard-hitting for me.

John Baker writes, “We take desperate measures, trying to keep our life’s hurts, hang-ups, and habits up in the air so they don’t come crashing down around us.  We try so hard to keep up a good front- pretending that everything is okay – when in reality, we’re struggling with real pain and real issues that we desperately try to ignore.”  He continues, “we start feeling guilty about our behavior … I should be able to change.”   Yep, once again, I admit … that’s me.  Juggling everything for everybody, hoping nothing comes crashing down, yet I’m crawling inside with anxiety, worry, and fear that my lack of control will be found out.  I should be able to do it all!  I should be able to change the world around me!  I should … I should … I should.

Ah, but there’s where the problem lies.  I was never designed to do it all, or be all.  Especially not in my own power, strength, and energy.  We saw last week how we must plug in to God’s power to overcome our past experiences, and daily strive to become closer to Him.  This week’s lesson will be on letting go. 

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Choice 3: Consciously choosing to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

We will learn the things that keep us from making this choice, how to move forward & toward Him more, and how God will be with us every step of the way.

Remember, God never told us that life would be easy.  But He did promise that our load would be lighter and easier to bear if we allowed Him to walk alongside us.  Matthew 11:28-30 reminds us…

Matthew11_28thru30

When I read that verse, I think of my idea in 2011 to participate in the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati.  I’m not a runner, but I can walk.  I walk every day … from the parking lot to my office building.  I walk with the family … at fairs, festivals and activities on weekends.  I can handle walking for 13.2 miles … without formal training … because I walk every day!  Pretty crazy, isn’t it?  Well, that was my thinking at the time.  But I showed up, and started walking before dawn that gray, rainy May day.  I saw friends at the 3 mile mark that had come to cheer for our group of walkers.  By the time I saw mile 6, I was near tears.  I did not expect the hills and inclines during the walk, and started doubting my ability to finish.  I condemned myself … “What were you thinking?  Whatever made you think you could do this?  You’ll never finish!”

So, what did I do?  I called a girlfriend in Virginia who had participated in long walking events and cried.  She encouraged me, told me she was proud of me for trying, and said to keep going.  I sent text messages to my mom, and received periodic messages asking where I was in the walk.   I reached out to those who could help me move forward, and 4 hours 7 minutes after I started, I actually finished the half-marathon.  I had blisters on one foot, pain in my hip & ankle from shifting my gait to avoid more blisters, but I finished.  My sister, who had completed the route as a runner, met me at the finish line and told me she was proud of me. While my Encourager’s may not have been with me physically, they helped bear my burden of doubt, provided encouragement, and kept me moving forward … one step at a time.

God may not be physically visible & touchable in our lives.  But He is still there giving us the encouragement, the strength, and the “YOU CAN DO IT” that we need.  Will you turn to Him for whatever challenges you face this week?

 

 Reading Assignment for Week 3: Chapter 3 of Life’s Healing Choices
Monday: Laurie will discuss Principle 2: The Commitment Choice
Tuesday: Leslie will discuss Beginning to Move Forward
Wednesday: Kim will discuss Stepping Across the Line
Thursday: Amy will discuss Make The Choice & Action Steps
Friday: Laurie will bring it all back home with a recap of our week

 

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we have all tried to manage our lives on our own, and we’ve failed to do it in ways that fully honor You.  Show us through the week’s study how we can fully turn over all areas of our lives to You.  Your Word promises that we have already been given ALL blessings, so help us recognize daily where You have shown mercy on us.  You will give us the power, strength and desire to do all that’s before us, but we need to surrender to You first.  Thank you for loving us with a love that knows no end.  Amen.

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Power Verses for Chapter 3:

Romans 10:9

Matthew 17:20

Matthew 11:28-30

Psalm 37:5

Psalm 25:5

2 Corinthians 1:9

Psalm 143:10

Proverbs 3:6

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If you are interested in joining us for the amazing online Bible study, and would like to join our private Facebook Discussion Group, click HERE to sign up.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

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

 

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 1 – The Cure for Our Problems

 

“ The cure for our problems comes in strange forms;

it comes through admitting weakness and through a humble heart.”

John Baker

Why was this so hard for me to do? I wanted to be “normal” so badly; and be a functioning member of society. I had already lost so much. It was pretty clear to everyone around me that I was powerless over my drug addiction. Every day I said to myself “ today I flush the bottle ” I can control this. I will just cut back, taper off, I don’t have to quit all together. Do I ? Sure I’ve lost every friend I had and my husband has to pick up the pieces of this mess, but I can control this.

What a lie straight from the father of lies. If I could’ve controlled it and quit on my own I would have. The first step to freedom is simply admitting we are powerless over EVERYTHING ……I can’t, He can, I think I’ll let Him. I heard this early in my sobriety. How can something so simple be so hard? It doesn’t have to be if we hand over the power to the One Who created us. That’s really how He made us…to need Him. To let Him write out our story. To let Him run the show. We cannot control anything, truthfully. Only ourselves and I’ve proven that even that’s hard to do.

I’m taken back to a song that we sang in my childhood “they are weak but He is strong”, anyone remember? The Bible says over and over that in our weakness He is strongest. We must admit our weakness and rely only on His strength. How do we do this?

Get rid of the pride that has kept us where we are for so long. The pride that kept us from getting the help we need. Pride keeps us in our struggles and makes us completely unteachable, unchangeable, a mess. It must go for God cannot exist in a heart full of pride. So here’s where God’s grace comes in and begins the healing process. We ask Him to get rid of the ugly and fill us with the beautiful… Him. He gives us the ability to be teachable and to daily die to self and let Him have complete control. We cannot go back and change anything. As haunting as those memories can be, we have to consciously take each one and give it to God and let Him continue the work that He started in us a long while ago.

Psalm 18:18-19 says, “ they attacked me at a moment of weakness , at a moment when I was weakest, but The Lord upheld me, He lead me to a place of safety, He rescued me because He delights in me.”

Oh how He delights in YOU. Oh how He loves YOU. If you’re struggling today with a hurt, habit, or hang up, and your life is completely unmanageable, go to the One Who longs to manage it for you. Name your hurt or habit and surrender it today. He wants to give you an abundant life. A joyful life and He’s ready for you to come back.

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, We come to You today praising You for Your grace that has set us free. That when we are weak, You step in and give us Your strength. We ask You today for the courage to admit our lack of control and the willingness to hand it over to you. We are so tired of trying to go this alone. And for the ones still struggling, Lord, I pray that You wrap Your arms around them, keep them safe until they are ready to say “I can’t, You can, and I’m ready to let You.  In Jesus precious name we pray,  AMEN

Assignment:

What do you need to let go of today, to lose control of? write it down and literally place it in God’s hands. Share with the group if you wish? We are all on this road together!

 



If you are interested in joining us for this Online Bible Study, and becoming a member of our online discussion group, please click HERE to sign up. Once you are registered, we will email you further details.

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

GCH: Victorious Healing – “Life’s Healing Choices” begins January 6, 2013

 

Girlfriends Coffee Hour

is excited to announce a brand new ministry

GCH:Victorious Healing.

This ministry will sponsor its first

Online Bible Study,

“Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker,

on January 6, 2013.

Life's Healing Choicesby John Baker

Life’s Healing Choices
by John Baker

 

Won’t You Join Us?

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To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and you will be taken to our sign-up form.  Follow the instructions.  Once we receive your registration, we will contact you with further details.  

Announcing our Brand New GCH: Victorious Healing Online Bible Study

Through life, we often think recovery is only for alcoholics or drug addicts. Regardless of what issue you may be struggling with in life, whether it is financially, emotionally, through chemical dependency, sexual addictions, food issues, lying, depression, anxiety (just to name a few), we all have a hurt or a struggle that causes us pain and hinders our walk with God.

‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’  

Romans 3:23  

There is not a struggle or hurt that is greater or lesser than the other; just as there is no one sinner worse than the other. We all need God’s hope, healing and recovery through these hurts.

So many times we try to fix our problems ourselves, finding that we turn right back to the comfort of our faulty coping skills. This blog will help you realize that no matter what your hurt or struggle may be, God wants to give you hope and healing if you will trust and allow Him to. With the blogs, studies and fellowship of this group, you will have the opportunity to begin to feel the freedom and peace of healing from your hurts and struggles.

We are excited you have decided to join us on this journey- so grab your cup of coffee and get ready for the ride!

Our first GCH: Victorious Healing

Online Bible Study

begins January 6, 2013!

Life's Healing Choicesby John Baker

Life’s Healing Choices
by John Baker

This 8 week study takes the 8 Beatitudes from one of Jesus’ most famous sermons, the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5: 3-10. Through the principles outlined in the beatitudes, you will find the hope, healing and happiness God has intended for you. The book outlines how you can leave your past hurts and struggles behind and begin to rely on God to help you focus on the amazing future He has planned for you.   

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To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and follow the instructions.  You will also be given a link to where you can purchase this bible study.  We’re looking forward to studying “Life’s Healing Choices” with you!!