Archives for April 2012

Apr 18

Never Give Up…


 

 

 

“Never give up. Always find something to be thankful for. Have a positive attitude.”

Words of wisdom from an eleven year old girl, but not just any eleven year old. Alexa was a child whose life consisted of a lot of suffering. A lot of  having to try harder than most. Definitely having to endure hardships. She was diagnosed with cancer (neuroblastoma) when she was barely one year old. She fought for her life her entire life, yet she still lived her life fully and encouraged others to do the same. When the Lord decided Alexa had had enough, He brought her home, but not before she had the chance to impact her world.  These 3 short sentences, from Alexa’s heart, are 3 sentences I think we need to listen to.

Imagine if we took her advice.  Why don’t we give it a try?  Today.  Who’s with me?

This week in An Untroubled Heart, we are “Learning to Trust Again” and examining “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”   I can’t think of a better time to take sweet Alexa’s words to heart. If there was ever family who learned to trust God and lived through the worst that could happen, it is Alexa’s. If you were on our conference call this week, you got to hear from her mother, Robin. A powerful story with a powerful message:  “Never give up. Always find something to be thankful for. Have a positive attitude.”  That’s not too much to ask now is it?  Let’s get started today in memory and honor of Alexa Rohrbach, who is still reaching people for Christ today.  Living this way will not only honor God, but also help us reduce fear and increase our faith. Now this is all good news to me.

Blessings Ladies!

 

***If you would like to sign up for our conference call series, it’s not too late. Each call is recorded for later listening or download. You can sign up here. These calls are fabulous. I don’t say that as a pat on my own back, because I have very little to do with them. It’s God and the guests and messages He provides. It’s like attending an event without leaving your home.

Learn more about Robin Rohrbach’s passion, raising awareness and money for childhood cancer research at The Rally Foundation.

 

 

Melissa
Apr 16

Leaving the Grave & Learning to Trust

Today’s post is a testimony from our amazing friend, Online Bible Studies Leader, and professional counselor, Stephanie Clayton.  May her story bring you the encouragement you need to trust God and leave the fear behind.

As a survivor, as one healing, I had certain expectations. I expected to heal quickly. I expected my therapist to save me. I expected everyone to “get” what was going on with me. I expected God to bring me back to joy. I knew it wouldn’t be immediate in my head, but my heart expected it now. I had countless, un-admitted, un-acknowledged expectations of the bystanders.

Who are the bystanders you might ask? They are the people who are a part of our lives while the abuse, assault, or pain occurred. Often they are completely oblivious to what is going on. The question is asked over and over again, “How could someone not have known? Couldn’t they see what I was going through?” Our pain is so obvious to us that we think it should be written across our face like a scarlet letter and the bystanders should notice it. Why do we have these expectations? How could they really know?

Many of us developed a very convincing mask. The mask told everyone that we were just fine. The mask told us we were okay. We could carry this burden alone, on our own. We were survivors. And in that moment, survivor meant doing things on our own. A part of us desperately wanted someone to help, but we were too “strong” to ask for it. Too scared to let anyone see the turmoil. No, it was ours to bear…and bear alone. 

At the time, I did not see the pride that was motivating my actions. I was strongly bent towards doing life on my own. I wasn’t going to let anyone else share in what I had endured. I had endured it, it was my piece of hell to survive, not theirs. And I was angry. I was much too angry, hurt, and prideful to reach out.

Years were spent ensuring that my pride was validated. Years were spent proving to myself that he hadn’t hurt me. That no one needed to know what happened. That I would achieve regardless, and I would do it on my own. It was only when the valleys in the road got so deep that I could no longer pull myself out (10 plus years of ever deepening valleys) that I RELUCTANTLY went for help. God forced me to a place where I had no choice. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus that you force deliverance out of us. That was the only way my heart was going to move. It was time for me to learn to trust God.

I had to let God be God. To let the Savior do the saving. I had to make the decision to trust God and not do it all on my own. I needed to realize and accept that no amount of achievement on my part was going to change the past. The only thing that could “change” my past, redeem the awful circumstances, and make it something beautiful, was Jesus.

At the end of Chapter 6 I love the verse that Micca shares…

 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:44

It was time for me to remove the mask. It was time to stop living as the walking dead. It was time to let the past be the past, walk forward with Christ, and trust Him to turn my pain into purpose. It was time to stop looking for a bystander to blame…or a human to heal me…and start looking to Jesus. It was time to walk with Him and leave the grave and go. I chose to trust Jesus.

 

If YOU are a survivor (and if you are here then you are!)…please don’t be too afraid to ask for help. It’s your time, and yes, you, are worth God’s time and healing. You are worth getting help. You weren’t meant to bear this alone. It’s time to make some beauty from ashes. Your life is a praiseworthy testimony of His amazing grace and power. It is time for the redemption songs begin! Leave the grave sweet sister and walk forward. Learn to trust Jesus. I’m so glad I did.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message):

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; 
   don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; 
   he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. 

 

Can you relate to living like the walking dead?  Are you ready to take that leap of faith and begin to trust God with it all?  Share your thoughts with us today.

***To read more from Stephanie Clayton, click here.

Melissa
Apr 14

An Untroubled Heart~Week 4

First a quick recap of weeks 1-3:

Week 1:  Words of the Week:  Power, Love, Self-Discipline.  Memory Verse:  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.   2 Timothy 1:7  (NIV 1984)

Week 2:  Word of the Week: Faith. Memory Verse:  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   Psalm 23:6  (NKJV)

Week 3:  Word of the Week: Obedience. Memory Verse:  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Psalm 37:5-6  (NIV 1984)

Hopefully this week gave some of you a chance to catch up. For those of you who are not caught up and you’ve had your book since the beginning, I have a few words I’d like to hopefully encourage you with.  (If you were late in receiving your book or have not received it yet, these words are not specifically for you, but you may benefit from them.)  :)

 

No More Excuses

I know life is busy.  I know there are circumstances out of your control. Believe me, I have them too. Signing up for a Bible study is a commitment. I think many people think that just by signing up and purchasing a book, their lives will change, after all they are making an effort.  I wish it was that easy. I know it takes work, and it is a time commitment. Instead of thinking of it as a commitment, try thinking of it as an investment. You are investing your time into something that will change your life, God’s Word.  I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty…no way…not me.  I just want to empower and encourage you to devote time to God and this Bible study. Now if you decided this isn’t the study for you or it’s not the time for you, that’s okay. I understand. But, and this is big but 😉   if you find that you are wasting time during your day or not devoting time that you know you should be, then I just want to try to light a fire under you to change your priorities. I don’t want anyone to miss out because of laziness, other time suckers, lack of dedication, Facebook, thinking you can’t do it or you aren’t worth it, putting unimportant tasks ahead of Bible study, believing the lie that change is not possible, or being stuck in a rut or stuck in the past. As your Bible study leader, I feel it’s my responsibility to say this to you. Again, no guilt…that’s not from me or God. I want your life to be lived to the fullest. I don’t want the thief to kill, steal, and destroy what Jesus has for you (John 10:10). I’m praying for each of you that you continue to move forward from wherever you are right now. Don’t quit. Don’t stop. God has plans for you. I believe this study came into your life for a reason.

Beginning today, instead of coming up with excuses NOT to do your Bible study, how about coming up with a few reasons TO DO your Bible study.  In the comment section of my blog, list your reasons TO DO this Bible study. If you haven’t been making the time, share your plan of how you will start making time beginning now.  You can do this. God’s Word will not return void in your life, I promise! Start where you are. You can access my older blog posts in the Online Bible Studies Archives section in the right column of this blog if needed. Let’s go girls! God has His hand stretched down to meet you just where you are. Reach up, grab it, and move forward…towards An Untroubled Heart.

 

Week 4

This week we will work on Chapters 6 & 7.

Word of the Week

 

Trust

 

Memory Verse of the Week

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17  (NIV)

 

 

I consider the next 2 chapters to be the most important chapters of this entire study. So far we’ve talked a lot about moving from fear to faith, but in my opinion, it’s in Chapters 6 & 7 where this becomes a reality for you and me. These are not the pages to skim, but to read, highlight, take notes, and take heart!  Because I really want you to soak in the depth and messages in these chapters, the suggested assignments are changing a bit this week, so read carefully.  I can’t wait to hear how you are impacted by these chapters! It’s all I can do to not share with you how I am impacted, but I want your reception of these messages to be fresh and uninfluenced by me.

 

Sunday– Prepare your heart for this week of study. Ask God to examine your heart (O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.~ Psalm 139:1, NLT) and open you up to receive the truth He has for you.

Monday-Wednesday– Read Chapters 6 & 7.  No, this is NOT a misprint. You have 3 days to read.  Don’t waste them, this isn’t to make it easy on you. It’s because these chapters are so jam packed with life-changing truth and application. I’m hoping you will read, reread, and take notes. Look up the scriptures listed in these pages. Pray as you read. Soak it up, it’s for you!  All this week, I’ll have messages on my blog to go along with what you are reading. My suggestion would be to read Chapter 6 on Monday, Chapter 7 on Tuesday, then repeat and skim both chapters on Wednesday. It’s up to you how you do it, that’s just how I did it.

Tuesday– Conference Call, bring tissues and be prepared to leave this call different than the way you began it.  It’s still not too late to sign up. By signing up now, you will receive the recording information for our first 2 calls and access to our next 2 calls. You have the option to be on the call live or listen to the recording at your convenience. The calls are an excellent supplement to the actual study. They actually lend audible words and real life testimonies to the material in the book. Plus I get the awesome privilege to connect with you by phone. If you are interested in signing up, please call our office toll free, 877-731-4663, and I will get you all signed up! (M-F, 8:30-5:00pm EST).

April 17, 8 pm EST

Robin Rohrbach (seen here with her daughter, Alexa)

As Grassroots Consultant for Rally Foundation, Robin combines her  passion for children with her own daughter’s diagnosis of cancer to educate and inspire others to become involved in raising funds for childhood cancer research. Robin assists schools and community organizations in developing easy fundraising activities and events that are unique to each group she works with. After the loss of her 11-year-old daughter, Alexa, Robin is committed to helping in any way possible to further the mission of Rally and advocating for kids with cancer and their families. Before she joined Rally, Robin was involved with the National Childhood Cancer Foundation (now known as CureSearch) as an advocate and Team Leader for the state of Georgia. She has lobbied Congress many years to increase funding for childhood cancer research. Robin and her team of advocates helped to increase federal financing of childhood cancer from $0 dollars in 2002 to $750,000 in 2003 and $2.5 million in 2004. Prior to her cancer advocacy, Robin was employed as Assistant Director of Education and classroom teacher at a non-profit residential treatment center for at-risk youth. She was responsible for hiring, evaluating, and mentoring other teachers, as well as providing individual and group counseling to students. She has facilitated several professional workshops during her time as an educator. Robin has a Masters Degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology and holds three teaching certificates in Elementary Education, Special Education/Behavior Disorders and School Counseling. She also has a BS Degree in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University. Robin and her husband Chris live in Acworth, GA with their daughter, Jenna and dear memories of their sweet daughter Alexa. The entire Rohrbach family is dedicated to helping makes a difference in the lives of children with cancer.

Lelia Chealey

Lelia is a wife, mom of 3 and became a {very young} grandma of 2 before she turned 40 in 2010. She is a woman who has an ugly past that only God can handle all the details of and she will tell you He still finds her usable. His grace enables her to write and speak of His greatness despite all she’s been through. Most in Lelia’s shoes would keep her secrets to herself, yet God is using her story (which includes abortion and adultery) in a most amazing way. Above saying “I do” to Gene Chealey, having his babies and becoming a Grandma, trusting God has been the best thing this woman in Nebraska has ever done. She loves Jesus, family, friends, reading, exercise and a cup of cappuccino with cool whip on top.

 

Thursday-Saturday– Bible Study: Know It—Stow It—Show It, Chapter 6 & Chapter 7.  Complete the questions at the end of each chapter in your notebook or journal.

All During the Week– Visit my blog for encouragement, messages from my heart, to share with others, to pray with and for others, and to tell us how God is working in your life. You can also share prayer requests here. There are many prayer warriors in our Online Bible Study group. When you share, we all benefit.

Don’t forget to comment today about No More Excuses (see below for reminder). If you have received this message in your email, you can click here to leave a comment on my blog.

Beginning today, instead of coming up with excuses NOT to do your Bible study, how about coming up with a few reasons TO DO your Bible study.  In the comment section of my blog, list your reasons TO DO this Bible study. If you haven’t been making the time, share your plan of how you will start making time beginning now.  You can do this. God’s Word will not return void in your life, I promise! Start where you are. You can access my older blog posts in the Online Bible Studies Archives section in the right column of this blog if needed. Let’s go girls! God has His hand stretched down to meet you just where you are. Reach up, grab it, and move forward…towards An Untroubled Heart. 

Blessings to each of you!  I love for you, I’m praying for you, and I consider it a joy to be in Bible study with you.  Have a wonderful week!

 

Melissa