November 18, 2017

Captivating: Chapter 12 – “Be Present” – “Take My Hand” (pgs 217-220)

We have spent an amazing 3 months together.  We have explored our femininity, our gentle side, our warrior side, and one thing we know is that we are meant to be a complete woman. The woman God intended us to be.

As we wind down this study, how has it affected you?  Have you been able to connect with Jesus, your Lover, your Father, your Friend?  This is what He wants for us girls.  To be authentic.  Not to be a woman in a magazine, your neighbor or your friend.  He wants you to be YOU.

So who is that woman?  Have you discovered her?  If I have learned anything through this study is that we cannot be afraid to be who we are.  Who we were created to be.  It is time to stop hiding, ladies.  Step out in faith.  We need to be real and present in the moment.  Now.  If not, all our hard work will go to waste.

Throughout this study we have talked about freedom.  We need to live that out now.  Freedom to love and to be loved, freedom to be who we are, freedom to live completely and fully in Christ.  God loves you, and He wants you…all of you.  If you need a reminder of who that is:

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I am so excited to see what God has in store for each and every one of you.  Live large, wonderful women, God wouldn’t want it any other way.

My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.”    Song of Solomon 2:10

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LET’S PRAY:

Father, as we wind down this study, I know You will remain with each and every woman.  If the time ever comes when we start to question who we are in You or who we are meant to be, I ask You to please come alongside us in love and confirmation.  Remind us.  Help us to live fully in You as You created us to do.  We love You, Lord, and thank You for loving us with an unfailing faithfulness.  We pray this in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

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Captivating: Chapter 12 – “Your Irreplaceable Role” – “In Your Relationships”

We are not all cut from the same cloth, we do not have the same background, we do not have the same personality, and we don’t always see things the same way. Some of us may be more outgoing; some of us prefer to be center stage while others of us would rather stay behind the scenes. Women come in different shapes, sizes, personality type, demeanors, etc. We are a creation of variety and of differences. Yet despite the various aspects of us and our lives that make us different there are things that we as women share; and one is “a heart that is alive and passionate.”

God desired and designed women to have this heart, a heart that “keeps relationships a priority.” At times this may seem like a burden, especially when the relationships seem one-sided, or the relationships seem to cease to exist. And these relationships are not only romantic relationships, but friendships and family relationships. I’ve said before that when I study a book like this I try to find one or two things that stand out to me and touch my heart, today it was this: “No one can be to the people in your life who you can be to them. No one can offer what you can offer there are many things God calls us to do, but loving well always comes first.”

Sometimes what God asks of us can seem that it “requires more of our heart and soul than we thought possible.” Sometimes being who God is asking us to be in our relationships can seem overwhelming.  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 by saying “yes” to Him, He will take care of everything else.

Ladies, don’t ever doubt that we are “unique feminine” don’t ever doubt that we are “designed differently,” and that we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Ps139_14

Let us remember that we “need to be as cunning as a Rahab, an Esther, and a Tamar.” We are captivating, we are beautiful, and we are created by the Creator of all things; we are made on purpose, for a reason, and made with love.

With Love, Tonya

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You, thank You, thank You. You have made us uniquely feminine and  You made us for a reason. Sometimes these reasons can seem overwhelming, sometimes they can seem too much to handle. But thank You for being there, thank You for Your covering, thank You for Your unique design.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Look at the stories of Rahab, Esther, and Tamar again. Look at their characteristics. How can we learn from their cunning; how can it apply to our world today?

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Our next Women’s Online Bible/Book study has begun!!

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Captivating: Chapter 12 – “An Irreplaceable Role” (Reading Assignment)

I can’t believe this study is coming to an end!  It has been an honor to serve as your co-leader the past 12 weeks.  I pray that you have grown over the past 3 months, and you are ready to be the captivating woman you are!

 

Here is the reading assignment for our last week together:

Monday: Jackie – An Irreplaceable Role through The Power of a Woman’s Life

Tuesday: Tonya – Your Irreplaceable Role through In the Body of Christ

Wednesday: Carissa – In the World through Do Not Give Way to Fear

Thursday – Michelle – Be Present through Take My Hand

Friday: Edwina – Weekly Review (Epilogue)

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Our next Online Bible/Book Study begins NEXT Monday, March 25th!!

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Captivating: Chapter 11 “Warrior Princesses” (pp 199 – 203)

Warrior women are strong yet vulnerable women, women rooted in Christ Jesus who know whose she is and therefore know who she is.

I love that description.  Who wouldn’t want to be that woman?  I know I do.  When I see that description I picture a confident woman.  Confident not because of the way she looks or what she does, but for who she is in Christ.  That kind of confidence opens doors that no other can.  When you have confidence in Christ, you can be yourself, you can be loving, you can be vulnerable.

Be yourself?  I know that many times I will not say or do something because I worry about what people will think.  I can’t state my opinion because then that person may not like me anymore.  I can’t dance around the park being a goofball with a friend or my son, people may laugh or stare.  I can’t sing that solo at church because I may mess up and everyone will know I’m not perfect. (And yes, I overcame that one two weeks ago!)  How much better would it be if I was secure enough that I could state my opinion, dance around or sing that solo because it’s ok.  My opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s, I can have fun, and if people want to make fun, that’s their issue not mine, and what would be the worst thing that would happen if I messed up my solo?  God still loves me, and He is the One that created me to be the opinionated, goofy, imperfect singer I am!  And isn’t that what’s important?

Be loving?  When you feel loved by our One True God, it is much easier to give that love away.  When we feel the true love of Christ, we have an amazing example to follow.  We can love our family, friends and yes, even strangers, with a kind and mercy-filled love that is only available to those who live in Christ.  You may have heard the saying “hurt people hurt people?”  Well, loved people love people.

Be vulnerable?  This one makes me want to run in the other direction!  If you have faced any hurt in your past, the thought of being vulnerable, to opening yourself up to that kind of hurt again may be more than you think you can handle.  Child, guess what?  God is right there in that fear!  How much better would it be to be so secure in Christ that you can take any chance, form any bond, go anywhere and know that no matter what happens, you will be ok.  And not because of anything you will do, but all because of what He will do in you.

Remember, ladies, we are warriors.  Every day we must put on the armor of God to battle the demons that Satan sends our way.  No one is immune to it, but the more we prepare ourselves for battle, the better our chances are to conquer the enemy each and every day.  Stay strong, be prepared, and depend on God!

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LET’S PRAY:

(Today I would like to use the beautiful prayer that ended this chapter.)

I now put on with thanks the armor which You have provided for me – girding myself with the belt of truth; binding up all that is vulnerable of my femininity; first my need to be pursued and fought for.  Thank You for daily pursuing me and fighting for me as well.

I also gird up my desire to be irreplaceable in a grand scheme of Yours.  You have placed this desire within me and I wrap Your truth around it, in hope of what You will do.  Grant me eyes to see each day in light of Your activity, to live in the bigness of Your story.

I gird up my desire to offer life through my gifting, the beauty You have bestowed on me.  I ask You to continue to reveal and confirm what You desire to do through me and all You have given to me.  I trust that You have called me by name and have given me a love, a beauty, a gift to pour out on my family, my friends, and those You bring to me.  May this day be an offering of love poured out before You on the altar of my life.

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Our next Online Bible/Book study beings March 25th.

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To sign up for this study, click on the picture above and complete the registration process.  As soon as we receive your registration, we will email you further details.  We hope you will join us for this amazing study!!

Captivating: Chapter 11 Warrior Princess – “Fighting Back” – “Emotional Attacks”

Sword and RosesWhen I’m working with new clients or patients one of the things I make sure to stress from the beginning is that when it comes to life and the things we go through in life, our mind, body, and soul are all connected. What we are going through does not just affect one of these areas and one area cannot be affected without the other two areas being touched also. These three aspects of our lives are interconnected, and make up who we are.

Emotional attacks in life are very real.  These attacks are not limited to our minds, or our hearts, but are aimed at our bodies as well. The example Stasi uses of dizziness made me think. This was something I knew, but also something that I didn’t think of on a regular basis, it was one of those “oh yea” moments for me. I learned a long time ago not to put anything past satan. He is out to hurt us, and he will do so at any cost. “Demons smell human brokenness like sharks smell blood in the water, and they move in and take advantage of our weakened soul”. Yes, satan has his ways, but God also has His, and His ways are stronger, more powerful, and made specifically to protect us.

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:26-27

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8-9

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you”.

Luke 10:18-19

For reasons I have yet to understand, society makes it seem as if mental health is a taboo subject. The need to seek out the professional help of a counselor to the need for medicine such as anti-depressants has been made to appear as a negative “out”. This is far from the case. The act of verbalizing your thoughts and feelings to a Christian counselor or trusted advisor can be one of the best decisions made by someone. If God is leading you to speak to someone, then please do. God has given individuals in this world a gift to help us through our struggles in life. There are a lot of things in our life we overlook because we see them as “normal”, and even if they are not as “normal” as we would like them to be, we are hesitant to talk to someone about them. My favorite quote from these two sections was this one, “It’s amazing what we will live with because we think it’s normal when it’s not”.

What if I don’t know what should be normal and what shouldn’t be normal?

 PRAY

Constantly talk to God, if something feels less than normal to you then talk to Him and ask.

The title of one of these two sections is “Fighting Back”; it’s time we fought back, it’s time we told satan, “no more”. But we can’t do this alone. Let God “began to train our hands and heart for battle”. Let Him touch our hearts, minds and souls

1 Thessalonians 5:23

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With Love,

Tonya

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, normal is a word that has taken on many meanings, and can be hard to figure out. Please touch our hearts, minds and souls and show us what you have intended for us, what is normal Lord? What do we need to bring to you? Lord remind us that our body, mind and spirit are all connected, we cannot address one without the others. Thank you for caring for all of us Lord. Lord, I pray that when we question normal, or when we question ourselves that we automatically come to you, Lord I pray that we make praying without ceasing a normal part of our life. Thank you for your tools, and thank you for your protection.  In Jesus’ name we pray,  Amen.

Your Assignment:

What are your thoughts on fighting back? What does it mean to you?

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

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To join us, click on the picture above and complete the registration process.

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

We hope you will join us!

 

Captivating: Chapter 10 – “Awkward Love” – “An Open Hand” (pp 183-187)

As we have seen, intimacy is not only an issue when dealing with relationships between men and women, but just as equally between women.  Friendships can go through the same challenges as any other relationship.  There are expectations, hurts, dependencies, and disappointments.  It is how we deal with these challenges that will determine the strength of your friendship.

Communication is essential in any successful relationship.  This isn’t always easy.  If you are like me you may not like to “rock the boat.”  It is easier to not say anything than to lovingly confront your friend.  While that may be a temporary band-aid that will cover the issues, it will inevitably lead to an infectious resentment or hurt.  As many, if not all of us, can relate, if we don’t talk about an issue when it first comes up, chances are that it will come out later in a more explosive, less loving manner.  That doesn’t serve any relationship well.  Talk, repent and forgive.  Love like Jesus.

“In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” 

Philippians 2:5

Another important aspect of a successful relationship is your own personal security of your identity in Christ.  I definitely saw myself in the examples given by the author of this book in comparing our “fallen” selves to our “redeemed” selves.

Fallen women want people to come through for them.  Redeemed women knows Christ has come through for them, and are more free to give of themselves and “put themselves out there.

Fallen women have been hurt so they withdraw from relationship to avoid further pain. Redeemed women know they are valuable and secure in the Lord, so they are able to be vulnerable.

fallen women

I don’t know about you, but I thank God I am redeemed!  This, for me, was the ultimate “take away” from this section. No matter what we do, no matter the relationship, when we do it with the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirt, and we do our best to love others like Jesus loves us, we can’t help but find the intimacy we long for.  It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.  God is so good, and I am so thankful for His faithfulness!

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”   

Proverbs 17:17

LET’S PRAY

Father, thank You.  Thank You for showing us what love is.  Thank You for giving us an example to follow.   Please help us when it is hard for us to face the tough stuff.  Give us Your strength, mercy, and grace as we deal with the relationships that mean so much to us.  Let us rest in the security of Your love, and be free to give that love to others.  In You, this is more than possible.  In Your Heavenly Name we pray. Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

Friendship is such a great gift! How can you nurture, guard, and fight for your friendships?

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

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GWS

Girls With Swords by Lisa Bevere

Our next online Bible/Book study begins March 24th.  To register, click on the picture above, complete the registration form, and as soon as we receive your registration, we will email you further details.  We hope you will join us!

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Captivating: Chapter 10 – “Our Last Year Together” – “The Cost” (pgs 173-176)

The true repair of a relationship is an indescribable feeling. Some have experienced this and some haven’t; some haven’t had the need to rebuild a relationship on this level. But God will restore a relationship lost through simple miscommunication or deep hurt. The one point that has rang true to me through this entire book has more to do with not what God can do for us.  It has to do with what we will allow Him to do.  He has written in His word that He is capable, willing, and does great and wonderful things in our lives. 

Will we let Him into our lives and hearts and open ourselves to the healing He has ready for us?

I’ve worked as in the hospice field for a little over 3 years now and as a Bereavement Counselor for a little over two. The story in these two sections is one that I have seen many times, and each time it becomes more and more beautiful. The redemption and healing of a relationship is possible. Through some of the most difficult situations and circumstances God will rebuild ties we thought were severed forever. He will mend together the pieces of our heart that we thought were not able to ever be fixed.

“I tell you this story because I want you to know that redemption is possible. Healing is possible. Ask Jesus to bring it to you and it’s yours.”

 

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of healing and restoration that You offer. If any of our hearts are hardened in this area please soften them, Lord. Please open our hearts and eyes to see the work that You want to do in our lives. Help us to bring the relationships in our lives that need healing to You, Lord. Thank You for this precious gift! It is a gift to us and to those we love.

Your Assignment:

Do you have an example of a relationship restored? Journal your story, and if you feel compelled, please share your story with us. Your story may encourage and inspire another.

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GWS

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

To join us, click on the picture above and complete the registration form.

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

We hope you will join us!

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 If you are interested in sending a private message to Tonya about this blog, please email her at TonyaEllison@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Captivating: Chapter 10 Reading Assignment – “Mothers, Daughters and Sisters”

Blessed Sabbath, Ladies!  This week we are going to be talking about our relationships with the women in our lives.  How do they affect our perspective on being captivating?  I am looking forward to finding out.  Here are the reading assignments for the week:

Monday:  Jackie – Mothers, Daughters, Sisters through The Long Road Home

Tuesday:  Tonya – Our Last Year Together through The Cost

Wednesday:  Carissa – To Mother through My Sister, My Friend

Thursday:  Michelle – Awkward Love through An Open Hand

Friday:  Edwina – Weekly Review

LET’S PRAY:

Father, we stand in expectation for what You have for us as we begin week 10. If we are struggling, help us to let our fears go.  We know that the enemy is trying to steal our joy.  We strive to live completely in You and for You.  Show us the lessons we can learn through the women in our lives, and grow us in ways we can’t even imagine.  In Your Name, we pray.  Amen.

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GWS

Our next online Bible study begins March 24th!!

Click on the picture above to sign up for this study!  

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

We hope you will join us!!

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

Captivating: Chapter 9 – “Loving Fallen Men” – “Good Men That Do Not Belong To You” (pp 161-167)

Wow, ladies…I have to say, this section of the chapter really hit close to home in many ways.  And to be honest, part of me started to balk as I was reading this.  “I can’t write about that!  I can’t talk about that!”  or  “I don’t know what to say!”  Of course, I know this is a ploy of the enemy to try to get me to shy away from a difficult topic, so here I humbly sit writing this post for me, as much as every reader out there.  I pray you are blessed.

You Will Find Me

Seek me with all your heart.  How many of us long to have a man who is willing to do just that?  Exactly what does that look like?  And how do we cultivate that in our relationships? This is no easy question.  I believe that we have to walk a delicate line when we are attracted to a man.  In the book John and Stasi state, “Don’t offer everything, but don’t offer nothing.”  How do we know what is too much…not enough?  This is something we cannot do on our own.  This is when we must lean into the arms of Jesus and seek His guidance. Fervently pray for discernment and wisdom when entering into any relationship.

We also need to remember that “don’t offer everything” not only includes the physical, but also the emotional.  I have had some trials in my life, like most of us, and in the past I have found myself spewing forth every detail of my past to someone who, in reality, I barely knew. We have to realize that this isn’t necessary; as with anything else, the reveal should be slow and based on increased intimacy with a man.  When we find ourselves sharing so much so soon, we also have to look at our motivations for doing it.  Are we longing for intimacy so much that we are forcing the issue?  Are we sharing every skeleton in our closet to scare any potential mate away?  Or are we just not using good judgement?

We deserve to be valued, and not every man deserves all of us ladies.  Guard your treasures—physical, emotional, and spiritual—to share with the man the Lord provides.  We cannot avoid this challenge in our journey but, when we trust in our Lord and seek His guidance completely and fully,  the results will all be worth it.  Remember the words in Matthew 6:33 (NLT) – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”

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LET’S PRAY:

Father, I ask You to guide us.  You know this journey isn’t an easy one.  It can be so hard to know how much is too much when we delve into the world of dating.  We pray that we always keep You first, because then all that follows will be pure.  Guard our hearts, mind our tongues, and keep us close as we learn to discern Your voice in the chaos.  Thank You for loving us with a love like no other.  In Your Heavenly Name we pray.  Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

In which aspect do you find it hardest to find the balance between “not enough” and “too much?”  Is it spiritual?  Physical?  Emotional?  In what ways do you turn to God for guidance?

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GWS

Our next online Bible study begins March 24th!

Click on the picture to sign up TODAY!! 

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

Captivating: Chapter 9 – “How Does a Woman Love A Man?” – “The Holy Scandalous Women Of The Bible”

Throughout my life I have heard that there are many ways to a man’s heart, many ways to make a man happy. Sex and food being the main two theories or methods, tools, feeding his favorite hobby, or being submissive. I’m sure if a survey were taken it would be found that there are as many answers as there are people polled, and that the answers differ greatly between men and women.

“Femininity is what arouses his masculinity. His strength is what makes a woman yearn to be beautiful.”

”The beauty of a woman is what arouses the strength of a man.” 

The first thought that popped into my head was “hmmm….” But it makes sense, there are many other complimentary relationships in life, this just happens to be a very important one, past the peanut butter to my jelly, past the ink to my printer, it is about a man to his woman and a woman to her man, strength to beauty and beauty to strength.

But what if I’m single. What does that mean for me?

What I write next applies to all women. Before God sends our husband, and even after God has blessed us with the man we are to marry, we need to make Him Number One in our life. The strength of God is what makes us beautiful. The hand of God in our life is what prepares us for life, it’s what teaches us how to be beautiful, it’s what teaches us how to be good women. It’s been said before that a man doesn’t complete us, God completes us. Yes, a man’s strength is what makes a woman yearn to be beautiful, but until that man comes along, and even after he has been placed in our lives, the Number One man needs to be God.

The strongest women in the Bible displayed courage, cunning, and stunning vulnerability.  When we display these characteristics in our relationship with God it will only allow His strength to shine through more.  When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to Him, then our beauty will shine through more.

 

With Love,

Tonya

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord,

Beauty is a word strived for by all women, beauty is also one of the things in life that seems impossible to feel at times. But when we allow Your strength to take hold of our life that beauty shines bright; when we are vulnerable to You, Lord, our beauty is magnified because of Your strength. Please prepare us for our husbands by teaching us how to let masculinity and strength shine through because when this takes place our beauty does the same.  In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Your Assignment:

 “Femininity is what arouses his masculinity. His strength is what makes a woman yearn to be beautiful”…”The beauty of a woman is what arouses the strength of a man.”   

What does this mean to you? Or what else stood out to you? Share your thoughts; they may bless someone more than you know.

 

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Our next Online Bible Study

“Girls with Swords” by Lisa Bevere begins March 24th.  

To join us for this amazing study, click on the picture above!

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

__________________________________

 If you are interested in sending a private message to Tonya, please email her at TonyaEllison@girlfriendscoffeehour.com