Chapter 1~When Silence Fell

“Like weeds in a garden, Satan loves planting lies that choke out truth. And he’s thrilled when the weeds bloom so cute that it’s hard for us to tell the difference, hard to tell they are lies until they’ve already taken root.” ~Jo Ann Fore, When a Woman Finds Her Voice (page 19)

gardening

When I was a girl, my family had a big garden. It was the job of my sister’s and I to help plant the garden, pull weeds, water it, and help harvest the produce when the time was right. I can remember complaining about pulling weeds. We all did. But it was neccessary in order for the garden to grow and produce enough food for my mother to can and put away for the winter.

I love the words of Ann that are at the top of the page. The concept of lies being like weeds is a great visual. The truth she shares in that statement is overhelming at best. I don’t know about you, but I’ve, without a doubt, allowed those “weeds” to take root and they’ve certainly choked out my voice-my literal voice, my writing voice, my sharing voice, my praying voice, my reading…. they’ve choked out the very gifts God has given me. Afterall, isn’t that what Satan wants? When we attach these “weeds” to our emotions (and about all women do!) the impact is powerful. We fall silent. Our voices become silent in so many areas of our lives. We entertain thoughts of worthlessness, emptiness, and unhappiness.

“Emotional wounds have their own convincing language, and too often we make decisions based on the voices of those wounds. It’s a survival code, a coping mechanism of sorts. …We aren’t always aware that we make these crippling covenants, but this is the sort of thing that happens when we allow our emotions to make our decisions.” (page 19)

Have you ever made emotional decisions based on hurt? Did the decison you make reflect the weeds you allowed to grow in your garden of life? It’s amazing how when I reflect on a few decisions I’ve made, I get an overwhelming feeling of stupidity! Why in the middle of my “messes ” have I make a decision based on the weeds in my life, not thinking about the produce of my life that is yet to come? I am constantly telling women to STOP making emotional decisions when it comes to their horses. When in all honesty, it’s not JUST about the horse-it’s a reflection of what’s going on in life. Horse’s don’t lie. They tell on us all the time. And if we tune in and listen, they will always tell us where we are struggling. (Once again, we can see how our horses bring out the most emotional parts of us.)

“God is greater than our feelings, more powerful than our wandering minds and insecure hearts.” (page 23)

I highlighted this italic print in my book and circled it. I’ve GOT to get this inscribed on my heart and in my head. We have so much power in our faith, yet we are so quick to choke it out with lies, mean words, bad FB posts, bad memories, regret, etc.  We’ve GOT to get a handle on our thoughts and begin to BELIEVE in the power of our thoughts and words! We ARE daughters of the King!

“Every day we have a choice, and the choices we make dicate our future. Will we focus on our weaknesses, powerlessness, or will we look for opportunities to implement and experience change? (page 25)

Change is hard. There is no doubt. Finding the life that God has for us is a DAILY choice. We will have bad days, but we will also have good. Jesus promised he would never leave us or foresake us. We’ve got to quit going to our “default” of silence and go His word. We’ve got to stop rolling around in self-pity and pray! I know it’s hard. I’ve been struggling with it too. But NOW-as in TODAY-is the time to make a change! I don’t want to feel like I have been the last several months, for the rest of my life. And guess what? My husband can’t do this for me, my kids can’t do this for, only I can. I can’t do this alone. It’s heavy and it hurts. I can only begin to pull those weeds and prune my garden with His help. Sometimes change is good!

A great place to start is by answering the questions on page 27-28. Write down the answers in your journal! STUDY page 21-22. Practice redirecting your thoughts and reframing your thinking with scripture.

Please comment below on this chapter. What words did you highlight? What did God reveal to you while you were reading?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introduction

I normally post on Wednesday, but today I wanted to post just on the Introduction. There were some things that really spoke to me.

You see, I’m a “words girl”. I love words. I enjoy writing them, speaking them, reading them, and searching for new words I haven’t yet used. Words build me up, but they also tear me down. Gary Smalley would say that my love language is words of affirmation. Sometimes I’m guilty of being dependent on the kind words of others. I am also guilty of letting negative/nasty words wound me to the core. Because I’m human, I’m sure I’ve even said some words that should have never been spoken. Perhaps my very own words have hurt others in the same fashion I’ve been hurt. I’ve been in a bit of “hiding” the last several months making my words few so that I didn’t risk being punished by the words of someone else. Maybe that’s why this book tugged at my heart. Perhaps it was the words “finding her voice” on the cover that drew me in. Today when I read  page 2 of this book, it  grabbed me and kinda shook me.

Jo Ann wrote, “Or those times when others made you feel worth-less and inferior, pumping up their ego at the price of your self worth. This battle for our voice is intense. We want freedoms. To feel joy. We want to matter. But our worlds are loud, filled with friends, family, and co-workers as well as social demands and outside negative influences.” It’s like this page has been written on my heart. The desire I have had for my words to be heard has been smashed by the words of others and all the noise that goes with being on a public platform. I have not been prepared for the unkind words of others, the lies, and blasts on social media. It has also been the lack of words that haunt me too. The unspoken “I love you” from my husband (he’s not a words guy) or my dad. It’s a feeling of never being good enough simply because no one ever TOLD me I was.  It’s also the criticism that lies in a look with no words at all. Perhaps it’s words that I’ve spoken that have fallen on deaf ears.  And then Jo Ann speaks even more truth to me- “And in the midst of all this noise, we tend to lose the voices that matter most-both our own and that of God who whispers to our hearts.” Amen to that, huh!?
Reading over to page 5, I love the italic print near the bottom. “True emotional healing lies somewhere between intentional choices and divine intervention, a junction of surrender, faith, trust, and action.” There’s that word- action. She didn’t say stuffing, or hiding, or ignoring. She said “surrender, faith, trust, and ACTION.”

I have a feeling this is going to be tough, but are you with me? Will you walk in the dark with me so we can learn to surrender, have faith, trust in God (not in ourselves or in the words of others), and take action? In the comment section below, tell me what part(s) of the Introduction spoke to you. Did you highlight anything?

IMG_2271.JPG

IMG_2270.JPG

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Welcome!

Good afternoon! THANK YOU for taking time to be part of my online biblestudy. I’m humbled that you have choosen to spend your time with me. I know there are so many things that women have to do, so I’m honored you are here. Please know that I am praying for you and am excited to see what God has in store for us!

voice 2Today is our “first” session here. I know a few of you just received your books, so for all of us, the assignment this week is to read the Introduction and to read Chapter One. Please use a highlighter on whatever words stand out to you this week. I would also like to encourage you to use a journel and write down things that come to your mind as we go. Writing (wether you feel like your “good” at it or not) can be very healing. We are all on a journey with God, and while we are all at different places, we are all here because the title of this book When A Woman Finds Her Voice made our hearts skip-a-beat. Something about “Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference” compelled us to go to Amazon.com and buy this book! 😉  And even more so, somehow you found this study. I believe that was “something” was God.

Please know that what makes this opportunity so special is that we have the ability to comment and ask questions, etc. at the end of each post! PLEASE leave comments each Wednesday!

To get started this week, I’d like for you to tell me where you’re from (city and state-or at least state-maybe even country if you’re outside the US!) and why you decided to join this study! Let’s take a little time and get to know each other! I’ll go first….

My name is Lisa. I am a wife (19 yrs), a mother of 4 children, and a lover of horses. I am IMG_3625the Founder of Reins For Renewal-an equine based program that helps women with their horses, and a lover of my Savior-Jesus. I turned 40 this year, and I have to say it’s been harder on me than I care to admit. I’m in the process of working through some deep hurt, but am excited about the journey we are on here together.

 

So here we go!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

NEW Online Bible Study Starts Sept. 3rd!

I’m BACK! Starting September 3rd, 2015 we will be starting a NEW and FREE Online Bible Study! We will be studying the Word of God along with the book When A Woman Finds Her Voice by Jo Ann Fore. You can go to Amazon.com to purchase the book for $12.33 (paperback) or $8.49 Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/When-Woman-Finds-Her-Voice/dp/0891123873/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408751476&sr=8-1&keywords=when+a+woman+finds+her+voice

“Something happens when brokenness stains our spirits. Secret, unresolved, or lingering hurts leak into our everyday lives, filtering into everything we think we know about who we are. We tend to question our value and meaning. We feel un-important, “less-than”, or “not good enough.”

(from the back of the book)

 

Each week you will check in on Wednesday, read the blog, and discuss your thoughts in the comments section below! It’s FUN and it’s EASY! This is the perfect study for any woman who is struggling with life’s hurts and disappointments.

MAKE SURE YOU click the FOLLOW button in the upper right hand corner and enter your email address!

If you have any questions, please email me at: reinsforrenewal@gmail.com

Thank you! I can’t wait to get started!

 voice 2

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Chapter 14~ Seven Messages From the Cross

It’s taken me some time to post today, because the words are few. Once again, I’ve heard about and read the story of the cruxification over and over. While it’s very real to me, once again, Jonathan points out so much more.

cross

The words that fell from the lips of Jesus while he hung on a cross….

Statement #1: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
Luke 23:34

Statement #2: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Statement #3: “Woman, behold your son! Behold your Mother.” John 19:26-27

Statement #4: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

Statement #5: “I thirst.” John 19:28

Statement #6: “It is finished.” John 19:30

Statement #7: “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.”

The statements that fell from his lips while hanging nailed to a tree, speaks assurance into our lives today. He speaks forgiveness, compassion, caring, and commitment. He touches our humanity and pronounces victory over sin and forever security.  (pg. 176) Can you hear him? Do these words echo in your mind and heart today?

It is my prayer today that we become still and close our eyes-if for only a few minutes-and listen to his words…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Chapter 13~ When Jesus Prays for You

Praying woman handsSometimes it’s hard to pray. Somehow the words don’t come out right. Or maybe the words don’t come out at all. I’ve been there too. Feelings of inadequacy, pain, emotion so raw you can feel it to your core. Upcoming events you’re not sure how to handle. Past events you wish you knew nothing of. Mistakes you’ve made and somehow you can’t find enough words, and “I’m sorry” just doesn’t seem like enough. Prayer can be hard.

I wonder this morning if it was hard for Jesus to pray for himself in the Garden of Gethsemane. I wonder if he struggled with the words. I wonder if he struggled with the fact that his heart was breaking and he was about the face the hardest thing he’d ever do. I wonder if, even though he’d warned the disciples about what was coming, if he felt like they really knew. I wonder what it felt like for him when he knelt in the garden and prayed….

I’ve read the words many times. I’ve read how Jesus went to the garden to pray. However, once again, I had never truly taken the time to really think through what was happening and how it applies to my life today. This example of how Jesus took time to get away and pray should be a principle we all live by. How much time do you take to get away from the noise of life and just pray? How do you feel when you do take time and pray for yourself? “Notice that it is not out of line nor a mark of selfishness to pray for yourself. In fact, it is always true that, as an old spiritual puts it, “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” Before we can rightly pray for others, we need to pray for ourselves and get our hearts in tune with heaven. Jesus was asking here that the Father would bring Him into the glorious state that they had shared before the world began.” (pg. 152-153)

After Jesus prayed for himself, he prayed for his disciples too. He prayed protection for them. He prayed unity for them. He prayed for keeping and he prayed for joy. But do you realize that Jesus didn’t stop there? Did you miss the part where he prayed for you and me too? “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) Jesus prayed that night for you and me. He did not just pray for the disciples that walked with him, he prayed also for those who would hear the gospel. He prayed for those who would take the message further and would share it. He prayed for all those who would eventually believe. He was praying for YOU and he was praying for ME.

Prayer is our connection with God. Jonathan points out how Jesus reminds us to stay connected. “In His last intimate conversation with His followers, Jesus reminded them and reminds us to remain connected to Him. If we want power, we have to be plugged in and stay there. He told us to stick with Him no matter what, and we will have not only power, but joy.” (pg. 155) Jesus prayed to God in heaven in order to stay connected to him while he was here on earth. As followers of Christ, we can’t neglect our need to pray. Prayer should be our life-line. And it can be hard to do. Sometimes the words are hard to find. But remember today, when the words don’t come and your heart is heavy with the pain of this world, that if you struggle to pray, Jesus is praying for you. (Heb. 7:25)

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chapter 12~Peace-NOW

I am amazed at God’s perfect timing. Amazing how we read the last few chapters in our book right before Christmas. God’s timing is always perfect. In every way. Right down to the chapters we read in a book…

During the Christmas season, we often hear the word “peace”. It’s often mentioned when people say all they want is world peace for Christmas.  I think when we hear the word we think of a having no trouble. We say the word peace in sentences that often imply that any trouble happening would end. However, clearly peace isn’t about trouble ending. It’s about knowing God is in control no matter the circumstance. No matter what the trouble. No matter what is going on around us or in our lives that is bad. Our chapter pointed out that Jesus gave the disciples peace in the middle of a on-coming circumstance. He wanted them to feel at peace during a very hard part of life. I never really thought about the cruxification in the way that Jonathan illustrated. I never saw the disciples as losing a loved one. I hadn’t thought about all the stress they must have felt as Jesus was taken, beaten, and nailed to a cross. I mean…I’ve always felt sorry for them, but never really took into account how they had to deal with so many stressful events all at once. Jonathan opened my eyes to the fact that the last supper may not have been this quiet, proper meal. Now I can see how the disciples must have reacted to his words and to each other. I never thought about how Jesus must have had to calm the room because of hard feelings and confusion. I have to admit, I’ve been apart of a dinner or two I wish someone would have been able to calm the room and give those at the table some peace.

peace 2

I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt the hand on my shoulder. I’ve heard God tell me that everything was going to be alright. Things may not have worked out the way I wanted, but looking back, they always did work out. God’s plans are not always the same as our plans.

“Your problem may be that your heart feels like raw hamburger; your circumstances feel like a storm at Cape Canaveral, and you don’t see any way out. Sometimes it feels that it might be easier to just give in. Why trust Him when He lets us go through this stuff? Why not just deny HIm, betray Him, or just give up? Well, for one thing-let’s be practical it wouldn’t do any good. You would still have to have a lot of hard stuff to go through, without the resources God provides.” (pg. 144)

“Take another look at the wonderful promise of John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you.” He is not talking about the initial peace of salvation and having your sins forgiven. It is a glorious peace that fills the heart of the person who is fully yielded to Jesus, the inner peace owned by the person who is living within the will of God. This is the peace that calms your fears and eases the extreme turmoil. This is the peace that passes understanding.” (pg. 144)

What area of your life needs peace?

Let me encourage you today to seek the peace that only God can provide. It’s an everlasting peace, a peace that passes all understanding. This Christmas season let’s get good at being still and knowing that He is God. ( Psalm 46:10)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments