May 28

Hidden Joy~Week 1

Here is where our journey begins.  If you do not have your book yet, do not be discouraged. You can easily catch up. We are taking this study at a doable pace.

The assignments given each week (posted on Sundays) are suggestions. You can, of course, alter them to better suit your schedule and need. That’s the beauty of an online study.

I want to acknowledge that I know for many of you this will be the most difficult thing you’ve done. Participating in this study seems risky. Why go there?  Why revisit the painful events of the past?  Let me assure you that author, Wendy Blight, our team at Proverbs 31 Ministries, our conference call guests, and I all know this won’t be easy. But, hear me on this. You deserve the best. You can have a life filled with hope.  You are not supposed to be a victim forever. You can be free.

I used to think when people said they had found Jesus and now their life was soooo awesome and free, that it was simple. Just ask Christ into your life, spend some time  with God, go to church, maybe even get involved in a Bible study to stay on track and the rewards would come.  I found out it wasn’t so easy. I couldn’t just go down a checklist to assure my security in life. So what was missing and why was it so hard?  How come others had their freedom in Christ, but I couldn’t have mine?  I was trying hard. I was being just as good as they were.

What I discovered is exactly what the Bible tells us. Make note that the Bible never says life will be easy. In fact, Jesus tells us just the opposite.

John 16:33-“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We are clearly told by Jesus, we will have trouble.  But he doesn’t want us to stay there.  In another passage, He says this:

John 14:1-Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” (believe=trust)

John 14:27- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Yes, we will have trouble, but our hearts don’t have to stay there. God is the answer. Jesus is the answer.  We have peace through Jesus.  He offers it, but we have to take it. We have to believe it’s true. We have to DECIDE that it’s possible.  It’s a daily choice. We can’t just say, “Oh I decide”  and then skip along our merry way. The hauntings will come back. Nightmares. Triggers of the past. People who remind us. We have to decide that we believe with God it’s possible. Not easy, but possible.

Matthew 19:26- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Decide to believe that Isaiah 43:18-19 is for you:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

God is doing a new thing in your life, starting now. Don’t look back with doubt and fear. Look  ahead with hope, believing and deciding this is for you.  You are worth it. You are.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1b)

God is calling you, summoning you by name. I imagine, this is what He’s saying to you.

“_____________(fill in your name here) do not fear. It’s time to let go of fear. You belong to Me. I will keep you safe. I will be your shelter. I have taken care of it. Trust Me and let Me lead you.  Joy, hope and healing are waiting for you, but I need you to commit to Me. I need you to trust Me. I will meet You where you are, but I need you to meet Me too. Are you ready? Let’s go.”

Let’s Go.

(You may want to print the rest of this post. Many hang it on their fridge, place it in their study book or Bible, or keep it at their workspace. It contains the entire first week of assignments.)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Words of the week:

Fear

Decide

 

Many of us are ruled by fear. It paralyzes us. It keeps us from moving forward. We are scared and afraid. And we have good reason!  Take a deep breath my sweet friend.  Let’s all hold hands in cyber space.  Join together.  Eyes up. Lift them up to the Lord. If our eyes are on Jesus, then they aren’t on our fear. Let’s decide to trust.  Let’s decide to believe.  We can do it. We have God. We have each other. Let’s encourage and pray for one another.  Here we go.

Sunday– Read this post of assignments.  Make sure you have a place to read and study. Have your supplies ready. A few suggestions: pen, highlighters, journal or notebook, Bible, and of course your copy of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.  Read back over the verses in this post.  Record at the front of your journal/notebook these verses. Read them often to remind yourself of what God’s Word says. Use these verses to combat any negative or defeating thoughts in your head.

Monday– Read the sections of Hidden Joy, titled “With Gratitude…” and “Our Journey BEGINS.” After reading, record in your journal your thoughts about proceeding through this study. What do you hope to gain through this study?  What are your doubts about going through this study?  Fears?  What is your goal?  Record a prayer for yourself. Write honestly to God. Be real, no masks, no hiding.  If you are willing, share your prayer for yourself on Melissa’s blog today, but if you want to keep it between you and God, that’s totally fine too!  It’s good to pray for yourself. Don’t ever feel selfish about doing that.  In John17, Jesus prays for himself, His disciples, then for future believers.  He begins with Himself. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us!

Tuesday– Read chapter 1 which, honestly, is hard to read.  Wendy tells the story of her rape. She doesn’t hold back, she shares this for what it was. And she shares her doubts and fears. She shares the ugliness and loss of  life as she knows it in her experience.  As you read, use your highlighter to highlight things that stick out in your mind or you may want to return to later.  Write a prayer for your sisters who are also in this study with you.  Share the prayer on Melissa’s blog if you wish. It sure will be encouraging to read all those prayers for each other!

Wednesday– After reading chapter 1 yesterday, we are still left with Wendy hopeless.  Can you relate to that?  Still feeling hopeless?  Well, this is where the study gets good!  Turn to “Reflection and Study” section of your book on p. 177.  Today, complete the questions for chapter 1 on p. 178-179.  Record your answers in your journal.  Read Wendy’s prayer for our journey together on p. 179. Read it aloud. Decide to believe this prayer for you…for all of us.

Thursday and Friday– Catch up days.  Check Melissa’s blog for a new post or maybe a Vlog. (Video blog)

Saturday– This is Melissa’s day of rest.  There will be no post on this day.  She is somewhere having a fun day doing something she enjoys :)  She’s not working today.  Make sure you do this at least once a week too!

If you are on Facebook, make sure to check out my Online Bible Studies Facebook Page.  Here’s the link:   http://www.facebook.com/MelissaTaylorsOnlineBibleStudies

There is information, encouragement, Scripture, and discussion about this study going on 24/7!   Please join us!

Check this blog Sunday, June 5th for the next week’s assignments!

Much Love and Loads of Prayers and Blessings to Each of You <3

Melissa

Comments

  1. I am excited and anxious abut this bible study. I have never done anything like it before. But as I have started to read and highlight I can see that i made the right decision to do this study even though it will be hard.
    I just wanted to share a little of my story and my prayer.
    I am 25 years old and was sexual abuse by my father at the age of 8. It has forever changed my life. fast ward from age 8 and I have done great things but my past hiolds me back from even doing greater things.

    Dear God
    I first want to thank you for this bible study. It amazes me how many other women can understand what I have been through. It gives me great strength and hope for the future and what you have instore for me in this bible study and beyond. Lord I pray for your strength as it is your strength only that helps me stand against my enemy everyday. Strength to keep going even when I think I cant go any more. Lord i pray for your peace to flow over me and my sister in Christ in this bible study. Lord you know that i am afraid to let my walls down and let others in and you know that I have been hiding behind my past for years. Lord I pray that you would help me take down the wall one brick at a time and to let You come in and change my heart from the inside out. Help me to face my fears and shame that have come because of the abuse and destructive behanior that has come out of it as well. Lord i love you and i set in your presence. I know you are my strong tower and that You are my rock. All i have to do is call on Your name and you are there. You know my dark and broken heart. I pray for your wisdom and FOR YOUR BLOOD TO WASH ME WHITE AS SNOW. I love you Lord.
    Amen
    Your beautiful daughter

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Hello sweet Shana,

      As I was reading your prayer, our dear Lord moved my heart to share this verse with you:

      “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7

      You are precious in His sight.

      Prayerfully,
      Michele Caséca

  2. Father, I feel like I am in the pit that just gets deeper and deeper and you are nowhere in sight. Honestly, I have very little hope that you will deliver peace and freedom because I have waited expectantly for so long and I have been hit day after day and year after year with tragic circumstances. How I can find peace while facing advanced cancer and an unfaithful husband who can’t seem to work through his past to be the man me and my girls need, seems to be beyond me. To find peace means I have to trust what you are doing in the lives of my very young girls and all my eyes can see is how you are allowing them to be hurt terribly. Yet, your words and promises must be true or everything I have believed and lived for for thirty plus years is wrong. That can’t be! Father, please heal my mind so I can find peace through this study…..and please in your mercy and grace, heal my body and heal my husband’s soul as well so he can make peace with his past vin Jesus Name, Amen.

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Dear Carol,

      Our Lord has heard you cry, forgiven your sin, redeemed your life, and He is bringing beauty out of ashes, and victory over condemnation.
      God WILL make a way, Carol. Believe this! He even works through intense period of silence.

      I would like to tell you that God’s silence is definitely NOT God’s absence. When you look around your circumstances and cannot see God’s hands, He is there! He is with you and your children.

      Let me share something with you. It’s a passage from the Bible found in 2 Kings 3:16-18 (The victory over Moab).

      “This is what the Lord says: Make this valley full of ditches. For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also hand Moab over to you”.

      Carol, during God’s silence, He still works!
      If we remain sensitive to Him, we will notice that God will break His silence soon. I love this: “you will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water.”
      That’s how God’s amazing miracles are raised in our lives… we don’t see anything happening around us, but God is working in silence, and suddenly, our valley will be filled with water! Hallelujah!

      Now, the best part of the verse: ‘This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord.’ The solutions for your prblems are easy things in the eyes of the Lord! It’s not a messed up situation, it’s not too big, it’s not too hard for God. He is with you!

      Grow in faith, and use this situation to learn, to strengthen the bounds of your family through the love and grace of the Lord… and at the end of everything, you’ll reach God’s favor.

      I’m praying for you and your girls constantly!

      I love you, but oh, dear one, God loves you SooOoo much more! You and your girls have your name written in the palm of Jesus’ hands. Every time He raises his hand to bless, He sees your name there. You are not forgotten.

      Be strong!

      I would like to write some more, but my lunch time is over, I have patients to take care of!!!!

      Blessings,
      Michele Caséca

      • Oh Michele, what a beautiful prayer for Carol! Wow, just brought tears of hope and joy to my eyes for Carol and also for all of us who are in very tough, difficult situations! There are times that we don’t have a lot of choice in what goes on around us and our circumstances, but we do have the choice to HOPE and BELIEVE that God is with us and working!!!!! Sometimes the battle in our MINDS/THOUGHTS is so intense that it takes a lot of energy to stay in that place of hope and belief, but I know, without a doubt, that God allows these very difficult times to draw us closer to Him, to rely on Him for our everything! I know that if I were healthy and feeling full of energy, I would be out and about, involved in everything!! And not spending the time with God that I have. Pain forces us to seek Him like nothing else. My faith is truly strengthened, to the point now, where I believe that I can get through anything and still feel His presence and love. For that I am eternally grateful! Thank you God for the pain you’re allowing in my life today, in order that I may seek you more diligently and depend on you fully. Amen!

    • Donna C. says:

      Carol, I’m praying for you my new friend. God is the ultimate healer physically, spiritually and mentally. I pray He will wrap His loving arms around you and your girls, there is alway HOPE in God. I will be praying for your husband as well. I don’t even have my book yet, but I feel so focus on this study, I almost can’t get it off my mind and all these wonderful ladies that are bonding together to let God be in control of their lives. I have so much to work on as well. With God all things are possible.

      • Carol I am also praying for you. God is right by your side , I’m glad you are here among us all. I pray through this study God will reveal his wonderful presence in your life and heal your pain.

  3. Teressa Morris says:

    Thank you for this study!! It is something I have been looking for my entire life – the ability to put aside all my fears and learn to step out again. I am 44 with two boys- ages 19 and 16 and a wonderful husband. Two years ago our business failed and I have been the main financial support of our family ever since while continuing to homeschool our 16 year old. We are about to lose our house to foreclosure and do not have enough money to afford rent anywhere else. May have to move in with my inlaws temporarily. Very scared of what the future holds, but also excited in a weird way.
    Anyway, my goal for this study is to lose my fear of doing things alone and of meeting new people. I also want to find out what God’s plan is for me and our family and not be afraid to pursue it!!

    • Donna C. says:

      Teressa, I already feel so blessed by this study. Such a wonderful group of ladies willing to share their inner most feelings, we are building up a trust with one another. I have a fear of meeting new people as well. It’s funny, I do pretty good sharing how I feel here or on facebook but when it comes time to meet new people in person, it’s a different story. I worry about what to say, keeping the conversation going, will they like me, and I think alot of that comes from not having confidence in myself. I have so many insecurites from my childhood of not feeling loved and not meeting my parents expectations. My parents also were the type that never gave us hugs or told us they loved us. Well enough, I could write on and on about my mixed up self and all the guilt, shame, hurt, negative self image, and addictions I’m trying to overcome. Hopefully in time, God will help me to open up more and face it all and turn it over to him. My main point was just to tell you that I am going to pray for you and your family. I plan on starting a prayer journal as well, so I can remember everyone and lift them up to our heavenly Father. He is the only way……..

  4. Melissa Baker says:

    I do not have my book as of yet, but have been starting a journal and reading others posts. I have never done an on-line Bible study either. The church I attend is quite small, and even though we have a Ladies Bible study, it is not the most organized. I need more than what they offer at this time. I have never suffered sexual abuse like many of you have, but have suffered emotional abuse. I know this study will be very good for me. I have been given the opportunity to hold a Ladies Bible study in my home this summer. We are starting June 20th. I am hoping with this study and the study we will be doing will gel together. Our God is so good. I uplift every woman in this study.

    Melissa Baker

    • Thanks for your prayers Melissa! That’s great you are leading a bible study in your home. Hope this study is helpful to you, thanks for joining us :)

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Melissa Baker,

      I too am going to start a Bible Study in my home, only for women.

      A beautiful friend of mine who suggested. It’s called “He Moved Her”, and we are gonna study the life of many women in the Bible, whose lives were changed when they allowed God to move them.
      If it was either a move from one city to another, or one country to another, ot if it was a move in their hearts, or in their behavior… every woman in the Bible who let God move them, who said YES to God, lived His amazing blessings for their lives.
      So, we are gonna start with Esther!
      It’s been such a great challenge for me, because I wanted to do the study in portuguese, inviting portuguese speakers ladies. But God keeps saying to me: No. I want you to do in ENGLISH. I want you to reach english speakers ladies around you! Oh, my!!!
      If it wasn’t hard enough to write… Now God wants me to speak in english! What a challenge!

      Maybe we can share some ideas about how to make the Bible Study dynamic and interesting for women!

      I’m praying for you, dear Melissa Baker!

      Sweet Blessings,
      Michele Caséca

      • Melissa Baker says:

        Hi Michele,

        I was very blessed to read your post. This is my very first time in leading a Ladies Bible Study. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but never had the opportunity until now. I am a little nervous….your prayers are greatly appreciated. I would love for us to give each other feedback on our studies. That would be so helpful!! We are going to go through the book ” Conversation Peace ” by Mary A. Kassian. It’s about how we as women can change on how we listen, communicate and build on our relationships with other women. I have noticed that alot of women seem to be against each other….we do not build one another up like we should. Sad to say, I have seen this too often in Christian circles as well. I am very excited to see how the Lord is going to work in our study. You are in my prayers as well. May God bless you this special day my dear sister.

        In Christ,
        Melissa Baker

        • Michele Caséca says:

          Melissa, you are totally right!

          Women are so often against each other, EVEN in christian circles. Too sad.
          There is SOOO much we can do to one another, instead, many of us let jealousy, envy and criticism be in our way!

          It’s so great to know you have worked in women’s lives! Hallelujah!

          I’m praying for you.

          Michele Caséca

  5. Veronica H. says:

    Wow, all the posts….it’s a wonderful thing. It will be hard to keep up on all of them but looking so forward to this study.

    I am off to do today’s assignment, been putting it off today and that’s never a good sign :(

  6. I think it is very important that you mention that we have to make the decision EVERY day to believe that Jesus is there for us. This is the hardest thing for me. It is so easy for me to let go of that decision and when I do, Satan has found a way in. I am finding that is why I have to have Bible verses posted everywhere. I keep my journal with me all the time to see them and I have them posted in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in my office. That is where our hope lies. Today is a new day. I am praying for everyone. Have a GREAT day.

    • Judy,

      What an awesome idea to post verses all around! I’m a visual learner and the visual placement of verses is so helpful to me! Thank you for sharing that.

      :)

    • Veronica H. says:

      That is a wonderful idea ~ I am going to do that!!! I journal every day but don’t carry it around with me and once I am done journaling I don’t open it again until the next day. Great advice ~ thank you so much for sharing!

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Hello Judy,

      It’s not only a GREAT idea!!! Don’t you feel like God is speaking to you, every time you read these verses around the house???? I do, and it’s amazing! Every time I read these little posts, I sense God’s voice telling me about His own promises! It’s a very effective way to fight against the enemy, because you keep reminding yourself of God’s great promises! YAY!

      I really loved the tip, dear Judy!

      God bless you, and I’m praying for you!

      Michele Caséca

    • Judy
      You are so right. Every morning after thanking God for another day I have to make the decision to know that He is in charge. I too have Bible verses everywhere to remind me what He is willing to do for me.
      Have a blessed day!

  7. Veronica H. says:

    Today’s task – Prayer for self:
    Dear LORD, I come to You asking for Your arms of love, protection and mercy to hold me as I go through this process of healing. I have tried so many times before to be healed of this but it just seemed to make me sadder. I am so ready to be rid of all the guilt, shame, anger, hurt and the constant emptiness inside of me. I ask You LORD to please strengthen me, guide me and keep me within Your arms as I start this journey. I ask You to show me all my blessings and to remove all evil from my heart, mind and soul. Show me that I can let go ~ I have carried this for so long even though I am sick of it, it’s scary to let go of soemthing that has defined me forever. I ask You to restore me to the living; show me who I am in You; show me my worth; show me how special I am just as I am – that I don’t have to be like anyone else, that I can be me and that who I am is good enough; help me to trust (posting this is my first step in learning to trust); define me in Your eyes and not as a victim. Change me, create in me Your love. Help me to lay it all at Your feet so that in You I am for the first time made whole. Help me to turst in Your word and Your promises. And keep me forever within your shelter. Amen.

    I am not a writer and especially of prayers, sometimes I just can’t get it into words what I want to express. But if I am going to learn to live, I am going to learn to trust so as hard as it is for me to put something I wrote on a website that anyone can read I am doing it trusting in the LORD that it doesn’t sound stupid, childish or idiotic. I can’t believe I am doing this so before I change my mind I am hitting submit!!!

    • Donna C. says:

      Veronica H. – thanks for sharing your prayer. Your words spoke to my heart and I prayed this for myself as well. Oh, what a awesome God we have, He hears our cry. He hears each one of ours prayers. I will keep you in my prayer, Veronica H.

      • Veronica H says:

        I am do glad it spoke to you Donna and we do have an awesome God and I am very thankful of that!!! Will be praying for you as well!

    • Darlene says:

      Veronica such a lovely prayer. It touched me deeply. I too have to learn to trust again. Praying for you today.

      • Veronica H says:

        I am glad it touched you, I am thankful I trusted the LORD enough to post it! Praying for you as well :)

    • April Ferry says:

      Veronica, thank for posting this prayer. I prayed it too.

    • Melyssa says:

      Many thanks to you for expressing something so heartfelt! I too prayed this prayer for myself! I believe in God’s plan for you and me and all the other women in this study. HE has an awesome purpose for our lives but we have to be willing to accept it. I am ready and I believe you are too! We will hurt no more! Love and blessings sweet sister!

  8. I just finished a Bible Study on Genesis which was wonderful. In that study, I met alot of wonderful women from my church. I was looking for a study to do during the summer, my friend Jodi gave me this website and I love it. I love the daily devotions and they have help me to keep close to the Lord. When I saw the bible study online – I was intrigued and so surprised at how many woman have signed up. Technology is a wonderful thing. I thank you Melissa.

    The two words for this week FEAR and DECIDE fit my life. My life has been turn upside down since my husband had a triple bypass. He has recovered but really has changed. It was a terrifying ordeal for him and he’s not been the same. He has been with another woman, he drinking and smoking. I’ve tried to get him to go to counseling, church and he has refused. So I feel that I’m living in a situation that is not good for me or my kids. My son is 21 and my daughter is 16. So I am fearful and scared of my path to get out of this marriage. I find myself frozen and I’m praying to God to help me. I feel like I can’t hear him and is it because I’m afraid to take that risk that he’s asking me to take. I don’t know. But I think this study is going to help me with the FEAR and the self-doubt I have in my mind.

    Dear Lord – Thank you for Melissa and this bible study. Please be with all these woman and bless them each day during this study. Help me get through my fear and to make the decision that You need me to make. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

    • Veronica H. says:

      Will be praying for you…..I sometimes wonder if I am afraid too because of what may be asked of me. I hope this study will help all of us to lose the fear we live with daily and to trust completely in the lORD.

      Praying for you~!

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Hi dear Lydia,

      Can I pray for you?

      Heavenly Father, today we come with our hearts broken, willing to listen to You, as You speak to our hearts! Please search us, and know us! Perceive our thoughts and be familiar with all that makes our hearts cry out! When we cannot feel you, and when our cry cannot change your silence, please let us know that You are INDEED on our side.
      Please, let Lydia feel your presence in her life. Take the feeling of fear from her heart, and change it for a spirit of courage. Courage to fight the enemy, courage to take the risk and leave the comfortable place of fear to find the security place of hope and comfort. Give her wisdom to perceive you are with her and her family, even when the circumstances don’t seem to show Your presence. Do a new thing in her and her family today! Enwrap her with your loving and warm arms. Give her freedom. Give her Your grace, and Your Great Mercies, in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!

      I’ll keep praying for you Lydia.

      Blessings,
      Michele Caséca

      • Michelle

        Thank you for the prayer – it was perfect. Your words touch me – I’m grateful for all of the ladies in this study.

        Dear Lord – Bless all these ladies. Help them to grow in their faith and their relationship with you. Help them all find peace and joy in you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

  9. I just had to share this song with y’all! My mother and I pretty much listen to it on repeat every time we get in the car. :)

  10. Just letting those interested in reading my journal know it will be on line on my blog out of the shadows. There’s a warning but that’s because its adult content.

  11. CAROL BRUNTLETT says:

    Hi just wanted to hop on here I am doing the study with you all, but I do have a prayer request I would appreciate if you all would pray for me having a real hard time right now I take care of an elderly parent and do the driving and stuff but its to long to mention but without really going into detail about it all we had a big falling out today she said alot of mean things to me so I took her back home and left her there and I came home, anyway I would appreciate some prayer because I felt like just started a bible study had a great worship at church yesterday and BAM its like I got hit from the front and behind and now I am beginning to wander really do I need to do this study or do I continue walking with the Lord I am really having some problems espically because I feel like I am so done doing this taking care of my mom feel like I can’t so this another day.
    Sorry fro being a downer here but I just needed some prayer.
    thanks Carol

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Hi Carol,

      Your request is written down in my notebook!

      I’m praying for you.

      Blessings,
      Michele Caséca

  12. I thought I would post the prayer I wrote tonight:
    Dear Heavenly Father,
    As I begin this study, I am filled with great anticipation. It has been years since I have joined a women’s Bible study and stuck with it. It is amazing how I seemingly “happened” upon this study by what seemed like “chance.” But of course, You, Lord, are the one Who led me to sign up for it. I signed up for it, God, sight unseen. But, Lord, You knew I needed this study. Lord God, my life has not turned out anything like I thought it would. As I thought back to my young life so long ago this past week, I thanked You for not telling me what was up ahead. I know I could not have borne it! But with You, I am able to. So here I am before You, O Creator of the Universe. My world is crashing down all around me, but I will cling to You. You are the unchanging God! As I embark upon this study, I will hold steadfast to You even when the Enemy tries to thwart me on every side. Even when I stumble, I pray that You will pick me up and carry me through the hard times! Amen!

    • Veronica H says:

      Thank you for sharing Ruth! Praying for you.

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Amen and Amen, Ruth!

      Thank you for sharing your prayer.

      I’m praying for you, as well!

      Love,
      Michele Caséca

  13. thought I would jump in the conversation here- my story is somewhat mixed I guess- I was a sexual assault victim but I have much peace overthat- I think I always have in reading the first chapter one thing stuck out that I had never considered – “God suffered when he saw me suffering”- what a thought!
    …in my life today I often have feeling of just “blah” – ness. I have little desire or energy to accomplish much which then creates a cycle. I have a great husband, good kids, friends around the country but often feel lonely bc I do not have close friends nearby. I need this study to help me draw closer to Jesus – to fill that sense of “blah” and overcome the lonliness with my relationship to him. I am praying for God to make himself even more real to me on a daily basis so that His joy will shine through me and energize me to show his love in all I do.
    Much love, blessings and prayers to you all :)

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Hello Gena,

      I’m praying God can change your feeling of “blah”ness, into a feeling of happiness and cheerfulness.
      But I would like to tell you that your feeling is VERY common. Many people I know, whose lives don’t seem to have big issues or problems, feel the way you do. And they actually feel unworthy and guilty because they blame themselves for this feeling. They think: “How can I feel lonely and blue, if I have such a good life”?
      But God knows your heart, and it’s not a contest about who has more reasons to suffer. It’s about letting these feelings go… and they DO EXIST in many wome’s lives… and change it for freedom, gratitude, joy and worthiness.
      Jesus CAN do it. Just ask Him. And He actually created us to live in relationship with Him and with others. So, if you tell Him you are feeling lonely, and ask Him to change the situation, I’m sure He will provide you beautiful people of God to share life with you!

      I’m praying for you, dear Gena.

      In His love,
      Michele Caséca

    • I’ve never thought of it like that, God suffered when he saw me suffering. I’ve been stuck in the blame & questioning phase for so long that I never thought to look at it like that before. Thanks for that realization!

  14. Hello, I don’t have my book yet, but want to be in this study and yes I am a Christian always needing to be sparkled with God’s daily reminders and lessons. Here is who helped me join:http://thegozette.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/monday-week-1/#comments
    I will do the best I can. TY< Jackie Paulson

  15. You know, I have junk in my past that I have always brushed under the carpet and thought I was dealing with it that way… Evidently NOT!! I read a book recently that made me decide that it was really time to deal with this “stuff” and put it behind me for good. I had already made up my mind to talk to my psych. and this Bible study cropped up. I haven’t gotten my book yet, but it is ordered. And the tears have already started.
    The more I think about really dealing with all that junk, the worse my head hurts. This is NOT going to be easy, is it? Things happened to me as a child that very few people know about. And I am afraid… if people that I am friends with now – that I go to church with – if they knew the some of the things that I have done in my life – – – I don’t know that they would want to be my friend.
    I feel kind of stupid sayin this to people that I don’t know, but I doubt that I am the only person my age that has things to deal with from their childhood – – as a matter of fact, I KNOW I am not – the person that wrote the book I was talking about is close to my age as well… At my age, I should have it more together – but I am a mess! Sorry for rambling…

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Dear W,

      I’m gonna repost a comment I’ve made during the past weekend: I’m no less sinner than you are. If it wasn’t for the blood of Jesus, the Word of God in my life, which I receive in daily doses and the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, my thoughts would scare you!
      No one here is better or worse! We all are sinners, we all need redemption, we all need the blood of Jesus to wash away our sin. And so do you!

      Of course some circumstances of our lives won’t be shared with everybody, but don’t be ashamed of your past. Jesus’ took ALL our sin at the cross.
      Try to talk to a close and mature christian friend. He or she will help you go through this unworthiness you are feeling.

      Think about Paul: He killed… he tracked christians… and God redeemed His life to a point where his life started to testify the Love of God for people. And today, He actually speaks to our hearts!
      God LOVES you W. And He wants you the way you are right now. He never told us: come to me after becoming a good person.
      He actually says: Come to me AS you are. And then, only then, the blood of Jesus will change your life, and forgive your sin, AND your past!

      You are beautiful to God.

      Blessings,
      Michele Caséca

    • Charlotte says:

      W, we all have that “junk” from our past and that is why there is so many of us here to work and learn together about letting go of the stuff that steals our joy and peace that God created us to have. You are not alone and don’t feel stupid (your word) about sharing.
      Stuff swept under the rug never sees the light and it takes the “light” of God to free it from the darkness we have put it in.
      By the way, I am 66 and I STILL do not have it altogether and I won’t have until the day I go HOME to live with Christ forever.
      Share with this group and never feel like you are alone in your feelings because you are not.

  16. Veronica H. says:

    I have to say that I decided to start a blog of my journey through this series but I had been meaning to keep it private but after visiting some of these other blogs, I keep feeling like I should let down my guard in this area too….not sure, going to pray on it….but the feeling is very strong that I need to let go. hmmmm

  17. Lord,
    I know that my emotions aren’t always as they should be but they are God given none the less. You understand them because you are my creator. I have screamed at you to take this all from me. Maybe I havent used the best methods to ask you but I am not you. I am only human and my emotions stop me from trusting you completely. You say I need to give it to you, only then will you take it. I don’t know if I can. I am trying to get closer to you but each time I think I have I become afraid and pull away. I am so tired of fighting a battle that I don’t always understand. I don’t want to fight you Lord. You have my best interest at heart always. Please keep reminding me of that. I try to tell you how to do your job image that, the creator of the universe. It only stands to reason why I feel so distant. My fear has robbed me of so much. I know I need to gain control over it. Please know that I am doing my best. Don’t let me fall Lord please don’t let me pull away. Amen

    • Jennifer says:

      This is an awesome prayer. Touched my heart…

    • Michele Caséca says:

      Lisa, it was such a sincere and beautiful prayer!

      Amen and Amen, dear sister.

      Love,
      Michele Caséca

    • Veronica H says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing!!! A very powerful and touching prayer. It’s amazing to me to see how many felt all the same emotions I have felt and yet I always felt so alone, like no one could possibly know what I was feeling and now I learn differently. Thank you again for sharing!

  18. Jennifer says:

    Dear Lord,
    You know my anxieties, my fears, my insecurities…You know what pulls me down and what keeps me there…and YOU are the ONE that can free me from all of this. Yet, I often act like I have to do it alone…and then I fall down, yet again, as I fail…yet again. You know my heart’s desire, my hopes, my deams… You know every tear I have cried and you also know that the tears these past couple of months have been more than ever…atleast from what I can remember. No matter how many, you hold them all…and you hold me. I know that you have blessings hidden in my brokenness and I know that healing is coming- yet I often get so scared that I likely miss beautiful things that you are trying to teach me and opprotunities for you to mold me. I can’t be all you call me to be when I am allowing anything but what is from you to consume me. The enemy wants to destroy, but you want to give life…so Lord, please take me by the hand and lead me through a journey out of destruction and into new life…throughout this journey, and beyond. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  19. Michele Caséca says:

    Dear ladies,

    It’s almost 1 am. I really didn’t have the time I wanted today, and I have to wake up at 5 tomorrow… or would I say today?

    I would like you to know I have NOT forgotten ANYONE of the names here.

    You are beaufiful! I’m so in love with this group!

    Sweet blessings,
    Michele Caséca

  20. Alma Vazquez says:

    My prayer:
    Lord, I am scared, confused and often times discouraged spiritually. I don’t really know what to ask you for because I cannot pinpoint what is wrong. I thought I had gotten over my past, I thought I had forgiven those that hurt me, I thought I had healed. But I have come to realize that maybe I have not. I want to understand what am I hurting for still? My negativity and moodiness affects my marriage and my relationship with my step son. Its keeping me from being the wife of noble character you want me to be. I just cant pinpoint the “IT”. You know me Lord, what I have been through and what I need, being in my shoes is not easy (23, married, 17 year old step son living with us (aside from 2 other children 10 & 12 who are not), working and student. Touch my heart, help me heal from the hurt. In Jesus’ Name Amen!

  21. Donna C. says:

    It’s almost 4am and here I sit all alone in a quiet house. Everyone else is asleep. This is the time that gives me so much trouble because I am alone with only my thoughts to keep me company. I am feeling so alone right now and I know this is the time I should be turning to God for comfort. Why do I think so much and over analyze stuff. I feel so discoraged and defeated right now. Sometimes I wonder what God”s purpose for my life is, the one thing that keeps me going is being a good mother to my precious daughter. Why do I look for and desire the approval of certain friends in my life. Why do I desire their friendship so much when it is clear they dont desire mind. I try so hard to be a good friend to them but I feel sometimes they use me and only care when its convenient for them. I just want to be loved.

    • Veronica H says:

      Oh how I have felt that way during most of my life, until one day I decided the friends I was keeping were actually drawing my focus away from God. I spent many years afterwards without friends and it was hard but I was able to refocus and then God brought the most amazing group of friends into my life. I look back now and see the “friends” I was trying so hard to keep was the opening the devil used to bring lies to me. Kept me from a real personal relationship with my Savior. I love being the only one awake in the house now, now I get immersed in my Bible with no distractions and I can hear the message the LORD is sending me. Praying for you friend, we will get through this together :)

  22. Kathy in IN says:

    My prayer for this study feels huge to me, and I’m having trouble believing it is possible. Here it is:
    Help me find you, Lord, and find peace.

  23. Dear Co-Study Partners, I am just joining, I have followed Lysa T for quite some time and found my way here in the middle of the night. My hope is to connect, I have been isolating for quite some time. I have regained 57 pounds. Food has been my idol as it never says no to me and it is my friend when I am isolating. I also feel that I have a deep sadness that has been a problem for me. My hope is that as I study God’s word and as Lysa says “crave” Him, I will not only release the weight but become healthier body and as my soul connects with God perhaps I will be content. My doubt is that I will not finish the study. I start things and don’t finish. Recently not only do I isolate but I hibernate. Fears? I have been believing the lies and so I probably need to face the fears. My goal is to be who God designed me to be and do what he wants me to do. I have felt for a long time, I should be writing. I started a blog but have not written in the blog because of fear and no progress on my journey to blog about. Having said that, I do write many of my prayers so here is what is on my heart.

    Father God, Thank you for each person who is studying with Melissa. I come before you with no mask and no hiding, isolating or hibernating. I know that I am a temple of the Holy Spirit but I have been distant from You, I have been believing that because I have studied the Bible in the past, I do not need to study or read the Bible now. For this I am truly sorry. I have also turned to food with my anxiety, instead of casting my fears and anxiety on you. Lord, I do not pray for myself and I have to admit I sometimes think why pray because the pain returns and never completely goes away. Lord for those who suffer with emotional and physical pain, may we comfort each other as we turn to you and claim your word. The truth Lord is that my pain waxes and wanes and sometimes the physical pain is so much that I wonder if I will make it one more day and yet your grace is sufficient to meet my needs and so I go and do because you enable me. Lord, I do feel selfish Lord praying for myself. So I confess that to you because it is clear in John 17 that we can pray for ourselves. Lord you know my struggles with my fears, my fear that I will not lose this weight, my fears about my two sons not being the spiritual leaders in their families, my fears about not having enough money to be able to retire, and my fears about my pain limiting me from doing my job. So I give my fears to you and I thank you for Melissa who has asked the rpbing questions. “I love you Lord and I lift my voice to worship you oh my soul rejoice. Take joy my King in what you hear and may it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.” Thanks for being there for me when I am so foolish to think you do not care. Your daughter, Diana

    My goal will be to add to my story as I find answers to my life questions this summer. –)

    • Veronica H says:

      Wow, once again I see myself (my behaviors, my emotions, my fears, my wanting to be a writer but too afraid to try, the same here with starting a blog but never doing anything with it) in your prayer and it again amazes me how much more we are alike than different! God is so awesome to use Melissa and Wendy to bring all if us together. Praying for you friend!!!!

    • Donna Ladisheff says:

      Diane,

      My fear is manifested by overeating too. I feel with you. I often feel hopeless about this but I know that God’s Word says that nothing is impossible with Him. The other big word for the week, DECIDE, will be very important to us….I think we will learn how to decide to overcome that fear as the weeks progress.

      I was 125 lbs overweight…..I have lost 15 lbs so I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m believing for this study to help. You can do this too…
      “forgetting what is behind, I press on….” The Bible. I will be praying for you.

  24. My Monday prayer assignment… Father God, I’m learning how I am no longer defined by my past experiences & thank you for your amazing love that has lifted me, held me, covered me, and draws me closer to You. Through all the healing power that you’ve revealed to me, I believe that I will yet be further amazed at the depths of peace & freedom in Christ that is to come. Lord, I pray for your abundant blessing & understanding as I tread thru this study. Deeper corners of my heart. Deeper places that will be filled by a new spirit in You. From deep & dark to deep & strong. Deep calls to Deep (psalm 46:7) A heart softened in your lavish love. Help to guide me – help me to surrender those places of my heart to You & your will, not my own. Lord, I open my heart to you ~ ALL my heart. My WHOLE heart… bring it to focus on all of you! Undivided & wholehearted & purified. Speak to me Lord, show me the way to go in this, the depths for you to shine. In Jesus name, Amen

  25. I have not received the book, so I am having trouble getting into the study, but your email today prompted me. Thankyou.
    A prayer I would have for myself, would probably be the same one I would have for other women in this study.
    Heavenly Father ~ I thank you for this day you have given us and pray that we will honor you in our thoughts, prayers and actions.
    I pray for myself and the other ladies here in this study, that you would help us to focus on you, Lord. I ask that you would fill us with your Spirit, Lord and empower us to walk ahead, bravely acknowledging our pain. You promise that you will be there with us; we must ‘go through’ in order to reach the other side. There is no other way. But the good news is that there is healing in the ‘going through’, as tough as it is, that is the recipe for our growth. This growth not only helps me, or us, but you will use it in our lives to help others along the way. Thank you Lord, for seeing us as ones so valuable; for using us to grow your kingdom. I praise you for the love you have for us. In Your Holy and precious name I pray these things. Amen.

  26. Bernadette says:

    I am also doing this Bible study with great resistance. I do not have the book. I am planning to order today. I want to put it off but I feel the Lord drawing me everyday. I hope I can overcome the feeling I have to run the other way. I appreciate the prayers that have been shared. They are so similar to mine. My childhood was a long drawn out date with a preditor. I always believed he loved me and that the rest of my family also loved me. Now, all I think about is “Oh, what a fool you are.” I remember things that were said and realize now how tricked I was. I trusted. I loved. I still do. I recall it daily and try to fit it into my life but it hurts and I don’t know how to stop the saddness. I never really let myself be angry about it. So, I am angry and sad most of the time. I call on Jesus and I am relieved and then bam, it is back. I forgave him and I am so glad I did because I don’t know what I would be like otherwise. I know the Holy Spirit prompted me to forgive and now He is prompting me to move on. It has been almost 26 years ago that I forgave for the first time. I have to forgive daily. I pray that You, God will free me from my thoughts of doubt and fear ,anger and saddness. I want to completely die to myself so that You can live in me. Make me a new vessel. Search my heart of any evil and remove it. I know I can do nothing without You. I am willing to let You take over and make me new. I do not want to live in pain anymore. Please, Lord put in me new thoughts and free me from the past. Help me to love freely and to be a loving person and for my children to see me happy. In the name of Jesus, Your Son, Amen.

  27. I’ve posted a response and a prayer on my blog, but I will share the prayer here as well.

    Dear God in Heaven, what can I say? The brutality that can be inflicted on women sometimes seems to have no measure. Even some women close to me have endured this type of pain. It’s hard not to shake a fist to the sky and scream at You, “Why! Why would you let this happen to me!?” It breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes to think of women going through this type of trial. It never seems like anything good could come out of this type of thing. I know there are women who are in this study who have been through this type of thing. I can only imagine the fear they felt as they read through those pages. I can imagine the heartache and renewed distress that is coming over them now.

    But Lord, You are in control. Do not let the enemy suck them into that fear. You are with them; let them now feel Your loving arms around them. Remind them that You were there every step of the way; through every moment of that traumatic event they endured. Holy Spirit, fill them with a warmth that they will know could only come from our Heavenly Father. Remind them that the point of this study is that there is hope. That what the enemy, who controls these assailants, means for harm, You can turn to good.

    Bless all the women in this study, Lord, bless Melissa for bringing us all together, and Wendy for sharing her story.

    Thank You Lord, that You never leave us or forsake us. Thank You that You care for us like the daughters we are.

    May each woman in this study take away what You have to teach her.

    In the name of Your precious Son, Jesus.

    Amen

  28. I seen this Bible study and have been very excited to start this. This study has truly been a God send in my life at this time. I am a survivor of chlildhood sexual abuse by my step-father from the time I was 5 years old till I was 12 at which time I finally was able to tell my mother. At the time I was taken from my home and put into foster care for several months until my mother divorced my step-father. But my mother ended up taking him back and he continued to do things to me into my teenage years, but my family just pushed me aside and told me to forgive and forget. My life began to become out of control as I became very rebellious and promiscuous, I was getting myself into very bad situations and realationships. I spent most of my adult life partying, doing cocaine and meth and drinking. I had bad marriages that turned into divorce because of abuse on both sides. Finally in 2003 I turned my life around and moved away from where I had grown up, stopped the drinking and drugs and met my wonderful husband who has been such an understanding and encouraging man. In 2007 I turned my life over to Jesus and I was in love with Jesus but I struggled because I could not forgive and let go of my past, I still had a very low self esteem and felt that I was not worthy of being forgiven because I held such grudges and had so many walls built up in my life and looking at my past was just despicable. Jesus has been softening my heart and giving my understanding but I still have my struggles with my past and the what-ifs and forgiveness is so hard. I see my step-father pretty much on a daily basis and I cringe when I see him and I do not like the thought of my kids being with their grandma and grandpa without me and I just have no respect for him. How am I suppose to forgive him, respect him and love him? I look at my mother and think “how could you be with him?” “how could you love him for what he did to your daughter?” I am suppose to forgive him and respect my parents but how do I do this? I am so hoping that this study and the friends that I meet can help me understand. I want to be able to knock down these walls and understand my feelings.

    • Veronica H says:

      I will pray for your journey, I pray you can let down your walls and I pray the LORD will give you an answer to your questions. I wanted to also tell you congratulations for making that decision to accept Jesus!!!!

    • Mindy, Hey girl, thanks for being willing to share. Your situation is on my heart tonight and I will be praying for you. Have you ever read the book Boundries by Townsend and Cloud? I think it may be a great resource for you in your situation. I know for me it was a life changing type of book. Blessings! G

      • G,
        No I have never read that book, I will have to look into getting it. I got counseling on and off through out my life but I always felt like it was hopeless so I would quit. I always tried to handle and deal with things my way, it is just now I have found the truth out that my way is not God’s way and I really need help to resolve these feelings in my life so that I can grow in my walk with the Lord. Like I said in my post, my mother is still with him and my family seems to think he is an all around great guy and I was told to forgive, forget and not dwell on the past so that is what I have done is bottled up all my feelings and emotions and built walls to protect myself and self destructed myself.

        • Mindy, I’ve continued to pray for you. I read Titus 3:10-11 today and thought of you. For me this verse was permission for me to stand up for myself and separate from the person hurting me. For a time it also meant a separation from parents but God has brought the relationship back around minus the person who was so hurtful! Healthy boundaries are ok! I pray that for you!

    • Donna Ladisheff says:

      Mindy

      Your story sounds much like mine except that it was my cousins who sexually molested me. I, too, had to see them all of the time, even when I got older. I was sexually promiscuous and partied and drugged through my teens and early 20’s. I then got into two bad marriages and finally gave my heart to the Lord in 1987. The Lord brought me through this abusive marriage and protected me all the time he was stalking me. The Lord then brought the most wonderful man into my life and we were married in 1994. I have struggled with obesity (morbid) and fear and was drawn to this study.

      I know we can walk free of this….I will pray for you and keep you in my thoughts.

  29. joeanna says:

    I am very excited, this bible study came at a very trying time in my life. I am believing that God is using what the devil meant for bad and turning it into something
    amazing.
    I am beliving that God is going to help me finally break free from my exboyfriend who is trying to be in my life after 17ys. He was my first boyfriend and was in my life 3 yrs. It was a time where i was so alone, depressed, no family love. He is emotional abusive and i cant seem to stop all contact. I just dont know what kind of hold he has on me. He is not anyone I would like to have a relationship with, he plays many mind games and never takes blame for anything he does. i feel so foolish.
    Dear Father please heal what is in me that would allow to put myself in this position again. Lord help me to fall deeper and deeper in love with You, In Jesus Name Amen

  30. Needed some time – but this is the prayer for myself I wrote in my journal yesterday:

    Heavenly Father, these words are easily written – but not yet safe in my heart. I know for sure that you are my rock and my hope and above all the One who heals. But right now things aren’t that good – even more, they are really bad. After 30 years of sleepless nights, nightmares and all that running I really need you to give me your promised holy and peaceful sleep I need, to do my daily things properly. No attacks, no demons, no more waking up that much. Less dreaming – more sleeping – true healing.
    And if this is not your will, if you have other plans – please let my heart know and love you as a father, so that I don’t have the need to ask “why” that often. I then need to be the child that knows :Daddy knows best. Please see me and hear me. Be near me and be with me. All this I pray in Jesus’ precious name.
    Amen

  31. Veronica H says:

    Just finished chapter 1, oh I can’t even describe what I am feeling now, my heart is pounding, I feel sick, I feel sad, angry and wanting to run away!!! But if Wendy can live through it and write about I can at least read it. Sometimes I think it’s good that I blocked out my childhood abuse only certain smells, touches and places bring it into detail. Interesting is I can’t remember much but all Wendy’s behavior I have had ally life: fear if dark, not ever being alone, never taking a shower if I was alone and the last paragraph of the chapter could have been wrote by me!!! I have had nightmares my whole life, waking up screaming but once I am awake I just remember the fear–I can’t recall the dream!

    I will be back with my prayer for my sisters in Christ I just need to take a break right now.

  32. Thank you angela for sharing cause i thought I was the only one that was scared ..I am glad that i not alone. Satan is really playing with my mind right now I am fighting hard on not listen to him telling me that I dersever all the things that has happen to me in the past and that I am no good that God dosent love me that I am unworthy SHUT UP satan. Am I the only one that is fighting all these lies that satan is telling me???

    • joeanna says:

      I am too Sharon. I keep talking back to the lies but it does get tiering. These lies were told to me through my whole childhood by my mom, so they were hard to recognize. But God has already won and being His Daughters so have we. Look up what God says about you in the bible and say them to yourself everyday. I will be praying for you, He has great plans for you who were made in His image. :)

  33. Dear Father, we all need your healing touch. We hurt so deeply. The walls are high. Our insecurities are many. Help us, Father. Please let us feel Your love and Your power so that we can go on in Your name. In the precious name of Jesus! Amen

  34. Bernadette says:

    Mindy, thank you for sharing your story. I needed to hear some of the things you said. I know I am not alone. I am so grateful to have this Bible Study. I will pray for us in this study to recieve all the promises of God and the realization of His Love. You are valuable to God. He uses your story to encourage others and bring light to a dark place for someone who does not have any words. You will break free from the past and He will show you Himself. I have already cried knowing that I know God spoke to me through these womens stories.

    • Bernadette,
      Thank you! I know it is a scary feeling to feel alone and like you are the only one that it has ever happened, I felt that way most of my life and never told anyone because no one would ever understand (so I thought) and then I was always worried at how I would be looked at by others but I am overcoming those feelings thanks to me finding God and some wonderful ladies in church. Tonight was the first night that I have sat down with my husband and told him everything about my step-father and what he did to me without leaving anything out and we have been together for 7 years, it was such a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders to tell him everything and how I truly feel inside…and you know what…he still loves me! I know God is working in my life and I have signed up for counseling at our church along with this Bible study, so I am really hoping for some breakthroughs with my feelings and all the questions that I have.

  35. WOW! I am praying for all of us to overcome fear, depression, low self-esteem, etc. all of the things the devil uses to keep us down and discouraged. I first realized this was a common situation among women during a bible study with the book Beautiful. So many beautiful women, so much hurt, so much fear. Through the comments here I can see God brought us together for the purpose of healing. I am looking forward to the days ahead and to hearing about what God is doing in each and every life. Prayers are going up for you all.

  36. Harvest Sunrise says:

    Abba, I pray for the other women doing this study at this time with me. I pray that you give them peace and comfort of some kind when the struggles creep up inside them during this study. I pray you will make yourself manifest in ways that speak to each individual woman in a way that is easy for her to understand. I pray that their hearts would be open and even when their hearts are closed you would still find a crack to penetrate and find a way in to their hearts. I pray that the things the women learn in this study will sink in and have a lasting, healing effect on their lives and the lives of their loved ones and friends. I pray that the women will have or find a support system of good friends who care and want to be involved in their lives to support them on their journey through this study. I pray that the women would be able to be open and honest with their support system about the feelings and thoughts and struggles that arise during this study and afterwards. Please make yourself known to these women and let them experience you in a real and tangible way. Amen.

  37. Shannon J. says:

    wow…that was a very hard chapter to read. i was encouraged by Wendy to go thru this study because I was raped in college some 18 years ago. Very similiar story but I allowed fear to win and I never reported the rape nor did I ever talk about it. I chose ways to try and run from the pain, I tried to wear masks to cover the pain, I built walls around myself as a means to try and protect myself. All it did was just allow me to bury all of those mixed emotions that i had and still have if i was to be honest about it. Because of the built up anger and frustration I have gotten to the point to where I am considering suicide. I feel like it is the only way to end the pain and hurt that I have inside.

    • Shannon-it is definitely not the only way! Please stick with the study and reach out to others through this online support network. Do you have any supports in your life that you can turn to when you start to feel this kind of desperation? I am doing this study not because of any type of sexual abuse or assault but due to some other types of childhood pain. My father committed suicide after years of struggling with depression. Believe me-this is not your only option. You have a lot of online support through this study if no other supports are available. Please stick with it-I can never imagine what you must have gone through but just know that I will say a prayer for you that things will get easier for you as you go through this process.
      Staci

      • Shannon,
        I just emailed you. Please read your email. Suicide is not the only way out. Sure it is a way. But it’s not God’s way. You are so loved and valued, even if you don’t feel it. You were created with a purpose. God needs you or He wouldn’t have you here.

        Please seek help. I did when I needed it. And I’m so thankful I did. So are my kids. So is my husband. So are my family and friends. I love you. I hope to hear from you via phone or email soon.

        • Shannon J. says:

          thanks for the email melissa. I will try to email you back. you say that suicide is not “God’s way”. then what is? I feel totally worthless and hopeless. God doesnt love me and doesn’t care about me. I feel full of shame, anger, and guilt. I dont feel that life has a purpose or meaning.

      • Oh dear sweet princess, please realize that even though you may not have someone right beside you, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE! God created you for a purpose. Please seek help before making decisions. There are people who love you and would be affected by your loss! Hugs from me. You are in my prayers!

    • Shannon…I just emailed you too, please read your email.

      • Loretta says:

        Shannon,
        My dear sister, Shannon. I think I may have missed your first post. However this is what is on my heart from what I gathered at the post above
        Please hear us! My dear sister suicide is a “permanent solution” to a “temporary problem or problems”. There is help for you and what you are experiencing and feeling. I don’t remember the exact place in the Scriptures off hand but God says that “there is nothing, new underneath the sun”. What you are experiencing, someone else has or is also Shannon, so please seek God and trust God. He loves you just as you are.

        He also says , that it is NOT his desire that any shall perish. God tells us to seek “wise counsel.” I am begging you to do this immediately. Please!

        I am not a professional counselor, however I am a Registered Nurse of almost 30 years still full time, and a Christian who has been through some ugly things I want to pretend that didn’t happen. I made some very embarrassing mistakes (and some public ones unfortunately). However, only the Grace of God has gotten me through. Personally I felt like I couldn’t get any lower in my life. I also “toyed with the idea of what my family would be like without me here”. I too was full of shame, guilt, embarrassement, anger, hatred, and humilation. Oh my gosh the list could go on.

        Well, my son saw me staying in bed all day not eating, not praying, not going to church or Bible Study which I love, not thriving, just sinking into a dark depression for weeks turned into months into almost 2 years.

        One day he literally came into my room and opened up the curtains and windows and told me maybe demanded is a better word, to get up and shower and get outside and stay out of the dark , because satan wanted to devour me and by me “hiding and trying to pretend that the “issue” (*me losing my job -wrongfully –but nevertheless lost it like in terminated) didn’t happen” was hurting me and helping satan win me to himself. He told me to fight back with God.
        He told me I have to get up and live and get on with things. He begged me to go see our Pastor who needed his filing system re-done. I thought “how menial” to myself, “I would rather stay in the house and do nothing”. But for 3 days in a row I went to church faithfully filing. During those three days, I think it was the last day, 3 women, faithful prayer warriors I know from church were there also for other reasons. We met on a joining sidewalk as we were leaving different exits from the church.

        They started talking to me, I was to ashamed to tell anyone what happened, but before I knew it I was crying and I told them everything–the truth of what was going on. They prayed right there in the parking lot and petitioned God on my behalf for what seemed like 1/2 or more.

        Three days later I had 3 job offers! This is the event “my losing my job” is what catipulted me to God. I had it wrong, I had my identity wrapped up in my job, not who I am in Christ. If I haden’t had that event happen I may not have the relationship I have now with the Lord, or be on this blog writing you and praying for God to send people to help you and for you to reach out for help. I wouldn’t change it for anything. If he can help me piece me back together Shannon he can and will do the same fo you.
        Call on the powerfull name of Jesus.

        ou are love so much. Do you know you are the “apple of God’s eye”? Yes, you! Regardless of the mistakes, shame, embarrassments, successes, etc… He loves YOU .

        May I request that you look up my life verse? … meditate on it day and night. See It, Believe it, Declare it & Receive It . It is Jeremiah 29:11.
        I like the New King James Version Study Bible by John MacAurther. I understand what I am reading much better.

        Shannon, every now and again a patient will mention suicide to me, and I listen, and they listen I ask if I can pray and they all say yes please. I will pray for you as well. There are local crises line telephone numbers for you to call to seek help, you can even call 911 for help, there are counselors, clergy, and all of us here Proverbs 31 blogging reaching out to you….please reach back.

        Don’t be embarrassed. that is a lie of satan, he wants you to think suicide is the only answer he is a liar and the father of lies and there is NO TRUTH in him.
        Please email back. Blog back. I care genuinely
        God Bless You Shannon
        Your siser in Christ
        Loretta

        • Shannon J. says:

          thanks. i dont know why anyone here cares about me or what happens to me. it doesnt make a difference what happens to me me. i dont even feel like writing. i’m exhausted and tired of life

          • Loretta says:

            Dear Shannon
            No need for thanks. It’s sometimes hard to explain why people care. Sometimes there is “something in it” for the other person to gain, like money, or material gain, etc.
            I don’t know you personally or what is or has happened to you for you to have reached your state of exhaustion.

            I do know that by you knowing that you’re exhausted, the next logical thing is to do nothing…expecially in exhaustion , which then confusion comes, and haste, and or illogical thinking.

            Try talking things through with someone who has “nothing to gain” by being by your side, listening and caring.

            Believe it or not, there are people who genuinely care. I am one of them.

            I care.

            You are any one or all of these: a sister, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, etc… Your life is connected to others just by you being alive . You have been born for a reason.
            You have touched many lives…a whole community or communities of people have been touched by your life and will be affected by your being here or not being here.

            Please get help. Please don’t take your life, you are God’s child. Please call on Him for help. Reach out. I see other sisters here have also written you–reach back

            Love in the Name of Christ
            Loretta

        • Shannon J. says:

          Smile, make ‘em think you’re happy
          Lie, and say that things are fine
          And hide that empty longing that you feel
          Don’t ever show it
          Just keep your heart concealed
          Why, are the days so lonely
          Where can a heart go free
          And who will dry the tears that no one’s seen
          There must be someone
          To share your silent dreams
          Caught like a leaf in the wind
          Lookin for a friend, where can you turn
          Whisper the words of a prayer
          And you’ll find Him there
          Arms open wide, love in His eyes
          Jesus, He meets you where you are
          Jesus, he heals your secret scars
          All the love you’re longing for is jesus
          The friend of a wounded heart

          This pretty much sums up how I tried to get thru the rape. I just havent found this jesus who supposedly loves us. i have offered up prayers but feel nothing.

          • Loretta says:

            Hello Shannon,
            I just read your post. Will you take a moment and email me? I would like to communicate with you privately if you would allow me to do so.
            Please know you have many women, here on this blog and elsewhere (in my church for one) praying, interceding on your behalf. I got a devotion tonight, I would love to send it to you. It speaks to the very words you wrote above.
            Shannon, my thoughts and prayers are with you. More than that Jesus Christ Himself is with you, whether you think He is or not.He promises He’ll NEVER

          • Loretta says:

            I am sorry Shannon, my little finger slipped and sent the blog before I was done. As I was typing….Jesus promises He’ll NEVER leave us or foresake us.
            He’s there with you. Please email me and let me send you this devotion and the comments from one of the ladies who works at this same Proverbs 31 Ministry. It is powerful.
            My email is Loretta CKBF@aol.com

            God Bless You my sister,
            Loretta

          • Loretta says:

            ok not liking the email address that printed it is my first name with ckbf@aol.com…lorettackbf@aol.com

            Ugg I don’t like typos but truthfully I make lots when it is so late at night, but I wanted you to know I am here …

            Loretta

          • Shannon J. says:
          • Shannon J. says:

            loretta

            i sent you an email this evening..hopefully you got it

  38. I also “stumbled” upon this study tonight. I just bought the eBook and so excited to get going.

  39. Joanna c says:

    “And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”” – Revelation 21: 2-4

  40. I am getting started a little late because I just got a copy of the book today. My circumstances are a little different but I have some serious hurts from my childhood that lasted into my early adulthood in dealing with my father’s major depression all throughout my growing up and eventual suicide when I was 21 years old. I think it has shaped who I have become and influenced many of my decisions-both good and bad. I feel that I have a serious disconnect in my life spiritually and I am not sure how to get over those feelings of being disconnected. I think I have made decisions throughout my adulthood that have been based on feelings of being abandoned and needing someone to love me enough to make me feel better. I know that I need to find that joy within myself and I cannot rely on other people or things to give me that joy. I am married to wonderful man and have four wonderful children but at times I still feel that I am missing something and at times I feel like I am chasing it and may never find it. I look at what I have and I feel terrible because what I have is amazing and anyone on the outside would think I am crazy to feel like I am missing anything. I hope that from this online study I can gain some of the things I feel are missing in my life and I hope to regain that connection that somewhere along the way I have lost.

    • Staci,
      Thank you for joining this study! I am praying for that connection to happen for you! I am praying that you will fill in all the blanks and not feel like you are missing anything! God is ready for you :)

      • Thanks so much for the reply and for your prayers, Melissa! I am looking forward to going through this process in this type of setting.
        Staci

  41. Suzanne says:

    Oh my goodness! I just had to hop over here and say how GOOD those questions in the back of the book for Chapter One are!!! I honestly didn’t even know there were questions back there until about an hour ago. I think I might have to head over to Wendy’s blog and give her a personal thank you for the depth and the clarity of purpose they provide. I hope everyone is doing well. That was a tough chapter to read and process through, especially when relating it to personal circumstances. Blessings to you all!

  42. The last two days have been extremely difficult for me, and I almost quit this bible study. I knew today that I had to continue and am glad that I did. The study questions for chapter one were good. I’ve answered them in the past, but I’ve never felt like it was really okay to be angry at God. This part really helped me get rid of some guilt.
    I’ve have hit a real super low with my panic attacks. I’m almost completely unable to leave my house right now and I am feeling so angry and hopeless. Yet, I still feel Gods hope inside of me. It’s a little spark, that I can’t wait until it turns into a flame! My mind is an emotional mess!!!
    I’m so glad to be a part of a group of praying, understanding women. God is going to heal, ladies!

  43. My prayer for myself in this study (little late): Dear Father, please reveal Yourself – and Your will – to me throughout this study. Help me to sense Your love and presence every step of the way. May I accept the love, strength, mercy, and healing grace that You have in store for me. Lord, I anticipate great things from You – if only I allow you the freedom to work through the difficult circumstances of my life. I submit myself to Your will and vow to follow You in obedience. I thank you in advance for healing and restoring me, knowing that I only need ask and You will answer me. I love You, thank You, and praise You! In Jesus’ great Name. Amen.

  44. Loretta says:

    Shannon J.

    Will you please respond to me via email. I posted my email address for you.
    I am praying for you. Please email me. Thank you
    Your sister in Christ,
    Loretta

  45. I just started reading and have to share that my prayer is that God gives me the strength to continue, to face the giants, to pull them down and to be finally free and whole again. I have spent the last 24 hours reacting in ways that are foreign to me as I read Wendy’s story and the feelings that are so similar. It has been the most painful week for me and I have just started – I have not yet answered the questions yet. I shared with my friend there is such a strange disconnection – like factually looking at it, but refusing to allow the emotions any place – because when I was a child I just went someplace else in my head. When raped as an adult, I kept thinking since it was someone I knew, I had to have been at fault again, just like when I was a child. It is going to be a long road, but so very thankful to be surrounded by such wonderful women who all have their own story willing to help each other.

  46. Mary Wingard says:

    Hi Ladies! I have been following along on the blog, but am waiting to get my book, so I’m hoping I will be able to catch up and get involved with you all. I am praying for you all this week. I know this process we are going through is probably one that is filled with resistance, fear, and many other feelings, but I’m so excited, blessed, and encouraged to know that we aren’t alone in this! That we have each other to lean on and seek out!
    SO MUCH LOVE!!!
    ~Mary

  47. Ladies:
    This is a journey and a path we embark upon together. There is no person on this earth that is meant to be an island alone as we are all placed here to be help mates to one another in LOVE. As Corninthains tells us Love conquereth all things and out of all the gifts LOVE is the greatest.
    There is none of us that do not have trials or burdens placed into our lives. There have been many in mine which includes the death of my mother in an auto accident, followed by my father dying of lung cancer, my sister being murdered and this year my husband being taken from me by heart failure. Just prior to his passing I lost 3 close friends to deaths and a good friend moved away. I never felt more alone, lost and in despair left with an insurmountable amount of debts and two special needs grandchildren to raise on my own due to their mother being on drugs. I’ve been through floods, tornadoes, earth quakes, fires and auto accident injuries and work injuries. I lost 50 lbs. and my blood pressure went to 186/101 which made me terribly fearful. But, I held on and kept praying for God to keep me in his blessing plan. And through it all I know that the Lord has chosen me and called me to come through all this and be purified through his process. I know that he allows me to go through these life crisis to have the compassion, wisdom and understanding to counsel others and to be able to pray for them from my inner heart, mind and soul from the voice of experience.
    I know that the Lord has me still here despite all the devils attempts to destroy me to keep on helping others and to stand ready to pray at the drop of a hat. I prayed for one young lady this week across the counter at the Post Office because she looked ill and I inquired if she was okay…she tearfully told me she packed her bags to go to the hospital as she was so tired of being in pain she wanted to die…I grabbed her hands in mine and prayed for her to be healed. That is what I mean when we must all stand ready to be prepared to pray for ourselves and for others as we never know when that one needing prayer will be placed before us. All of us need to know how wonderfully well equipped we are and how powerful and effective we are as prayer warriors. So, when we are lied to by the devil that we are mere nothings and that life’s events has rendered us worthless that is just what it is a lie from the pits of hell. Recognize it and dismiss it! Dust off your feet, put on the full armour of God daily and become the women of God that he has called you to be! Let God heal your hearts, minds and spirits and do not permit the devil to lie to you and allow you to pick back up what you have laid on God’s alter for you must always remember that the devil will always throw the past in your face for he deals in the PAST and God will show you a new future and beginning and reason to live for TODAY AND TOMORROW through scripture and prayer.
    I know that all of us who have joined Melissa’s on line study have not done so by mere circumstance but by God’s design to heal us and deliver us and to bring his children WOMEN OF GOD closer together to help one another. So as we embark upon this journey in time together we do so in LOVE to gain wisdom and to experience God touching our lives as we allow him to heal our hearts of our burdens and continue to ask him to pour out his holy spirit and keep blessing us daily.

    • This is the most inspirational blog I have read and will do a “copy and past” and keep it with my other thoughts I am keeping with this study. You are an incredible person and pray God continues to bless you in his bountiful ways. this part just blew me away and will put it right next to my computer as a constant reminder.
      “the devil will always throw the past in your face for he deals in the PAST and God will show you a new future and beginning and reason to live for TODAY AND TOMORROW through scripture and prayer.”
      This says it all.
      Love & God Bless
      Carol

Trackbacks

  1. […] Hidden Joy – Week 1 post on Melissa’s blog. […]

  2. […] Hidden Joy – Week 1 post on Melissa’s blog. […]

  3. […] Hidden Joy – Week 1 post on Melissa’s blog. […]