May 7

SLL Week 5, Day 2 ~ Chapter 5

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zepheniah 3:17

I watched the story through tear filled eyes. What I had thought would be just another “training” went far beyond my expectations and touched my heart in places I had never known.

I went to this training so that I could learn more about the refugee population in my hometown of Amarillo, TX. We are one of the towns that refugees are sent to when they are resettled from persecution around the world. The trainer showed us portions of a movie called God Grew Tired of Us.  It was a documentary about 25,000 boys who traveled for 5 years, lost and orphaned in the dessert, as part of the Civil War in Sudan. They flollowed the boys from their time in the refugee camp to several years later as they were resettled in America. The clips captured my heart. When I came home that night, I had to learn more. I was quickly brought to tears again as I found an interview of one of the boys, John Dau, done by The 700 club. The link to the story is here…please take time to read it. 

His words still pierce my heart…

“Now I said, ‘This is when I have to put the Lord to the test, right now.  I have to see if I can survive this. Let me just do it.’  I ask, ‘Jesus Christ, You say that You are always everywhere. Wherever I go, You are with me.’  What can I do? I am now dying of thirst. I was just singing that song in my heart. I have no any other way, but that was just the last resort. And the last resort became the reality.”

“I think two hunters came, and they came with water in a gourd. I drank that water, and my life came back.”

To think of what this boy, now a man, had been through: starving – orphaned – and trekking through the war-torn famine filled Sahara, only to continue struggling in a refugee camp, and years later be resettled in the United States. When he got here, he didn’t even know how to use a toilet. And yet this man still praises God. He refused to let His circumstances dictate his trust in The Lord. And because He chose continued trust in Him, he was able to take back his life.

I can’t help but have my eyes filled with tears again and again as I think upon the greatness of our God. Oh how He is mighty to save…

Chapter 5 of Stressed Less Living is called Taking Back Your Life. I have read the entire book. This chapter is the one that impacted me the most. I know we are tempted to lose momentum in the middle part of the study, but sister do not lose heart. Keep on going. Read Chapter 5 with an open heart and mind. Prepare yourself to discover the depth of a God who rescues you from the grave…even when you feel lost and abandoned.

Also, take time to answer the questions in the back of the Chapter. The questions this week are challenging. You may not be able to answer them all today, and that’s okay. Just make sure you get through each one of them by the end of the week. And don’t forget to share your thoughts about this chapter in the comments section. This chapter is rich and loaded with scripture and Biblical wisdom. Share which parts resonated with you most, and how God is speaking to you and leading you to Take Back Your Life. 

I want to end this post with a few more words from John Dau…

“The Lord is always with you, and He is  watching  you. He’s listening to your next step. What are you going to do? If you praise Him, if you glorify His name, you will be completely rescued. You will live  forever. Your life will be better than before, like myself right now.” ~ John Dau

 

Melissa

Comments

  1. I have a hard time with the Hannah story and for some reason it kind of makes me a little angry about how she was treated by the other wife, the fact her husband allows it and then she gives up her first child. I know that is a lack of maturity on my part and selfishness too. I do admire Hannah’s perseverance and faith in God and should hang onto that but it still bothers me. I definitely know that means I need to change but I just can’t get rid of the anger. I will continue to pray and study and lift it up for God to heal.

  2. Jessica says:

    Mid-chapter I called my husband into our room and asked “What have I always wanted to name our girl, but didn’t really know why?”. “Hannah Grace” he replied. You can imagine our giggles when I told him the story from Chapter 5. I am in a waiting period right now, similar to Hannah. I’ve posted this on here before, but for YEARS I have dealt with panic and anxiety. The past 7-8months have been acceptionally difficult for me and my family. We pray, we cry, we cry out, we wait, we pray and wait some more…but alas, no change just yet. However,I have not made an important heart-change. I have not trusted that things would be ok even if He chooses never to take this from me. I struggle with this especially. I pray “Lord help me unbelief” but we aren’t quite there yet. I find myself frustrated in parts of the chapter when it seems so easily said “just trust, give your full heart over, pour out everything”, when some days I don’t even know how. I’m praying on this one.

    Anywho, Hannah Grace. Secondary to my anxiety, my husband and I were told this week that I have up to a 3% chance of conceiving on our own. We have been trying for years to have a child. So the story of Hannah became all the more meaningful to me today. Not only did she endure a very difficult and lengthy season of distress, but God did hear her cry, and gave her a child—a gift of his grace, “Hannah Grace”. One day, just not today. I pray for trust and patience as I try to turn my anxiety attacks and infertility over to him.

    • Sweet Jessica, first of all thank you so much for sharing with all of us so powerfully and honestly from you heart. You sound like one amazing woman! I’m betting your husband is mighty blessed to have you around. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I cannot identify with the infertility issues, but with the panic attacks for sure. That prayer of help me overcome my unbelief was my constant cry for a couple of years…I can’t say that at any one moment it was look boom and I overcame it…but looking back now…God moved. I couldn’t tell you when or how…he just did…and I find it much easier to trust Him now. So I guess what I am saying is perservere. I think if Satan can just wear down our patience…he thinks we might give up and stop asking. But we don’t give up around here….no we don’t! So keep praying and crying out. I have NOOOO doubts you are going to look back at this season in a year or so and be absolutely amazed at how God has blessed you and grown your faith in Him.

  3. Tracey Knafel says:

    I am so thankful that our God is SO much bigger than anything we are going through. There were so many visuals in this chapter that simply brought tears to my eyes and my heart. From Tracie’s story about sitting in God’s lap to visualizing angel armies, talk about being surrounded by the perfect hedge of protection… wow! I am also making myself a reminder card that faith is active, not passive.

  4. As many others have said, this chapter was right on time!!!! Patience is not something I am very good at. It has gotten better since I have started this study, but I still have a ways to go. Reading about Hannah tonight made me realize that even though we pray or ask God for something, we must WAIT for his timing and not our own. As an ER nurse I am wide open all the time and think things should be ready at all times, never a delay in anything. So as many of us do, when I pray or ask God for help or for guidance I expect an answer pretty quickly. When I don’t get my anwer in a “timely manner” I get frustrated, but tonight has made me realize that I need to slow down in all areas of my life, including work. Slowing down would rid me of ALOT of unnecessary stress tht I bring upon myself. I also realized that maybe I am not praying for the “right” thing or I am going about it all wrong. I need to pray for God to change ME and not the ones surrounding me. AH! How enlightening! I just pray that I can learn to pray for the right things in the right way and that God will continue to help me on this journey!

  5. Faith changes things!!!!! I have full confidence that no matter how low the valley no matter how high the mountain, I live by faith and not by sight. Liken to the story of Hannah, my daughter came into my life by faith, I lived to see the days by faith and I encountered wonder family such as the partners in this bible study by faith. Faith indeed changes all things!!!!!! Our God has given us the spirit of Victors and conquerors, the key to moving mountains and valleys, F A I T H!!!!

  6. Nancy Dye says:

    I feel the Holy Spirit with me every time I read the book, Tracie. When I decided to join the OBS, I didn’t know that I had breast cancer and found out soon after we started. I know now that God wanted me to participate since the diagnosis was forthcoming.

    I was just sharing with my awesome husband today that one goal I have as I get older is to find peace (and minimize stress). I know that here’s no better way to accomplish this other than to “give it to the Lord.” I have to learn to do that completely.

    I’m past the martyrdom of thinking that God has others to take care of besides me. I know that He’s with me on this journey, brought me to this wonderful OBS, and wants me to succeed in finding peace.

  7. It was a touching chapter yet difficult, as others have said to read. Let’s face it, life can be hard and when we are in the thick of it, down on our knees, sobbing, clueless of where to turn and pleading for relief. It can be so very tough to remember, even as believers that God doesn’t withhold from us to see us suffering, he gets no pleasure from that and in fact it breaks his heart. He knows what’s best for us and will come through at his own perfect pace, providing exactly what we need. Easy to say but hard to grasp, I too have uttered “help my unbelief” many times this past year. He always does, always.

  8. Roseanne says:

    This chapter is something else! It really repeats the message, I cannot change others only myself. I really can’t change myself until I let God have control.

  9. Tracie B says:

    “Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it’s a matter of the heart” (page 93). I love this. How often do I think I would be happy if….would happen, or if….would change, or if only I could….? When really PEACE and JOY in Christ, which far exceeds any momentary happiness, is right there waiting!!

    “Although we fail, God is enough to make up for our human-ness. God offers us the exact portion of Him that we need to get through life — if we are hungry enough to ask for it and seek it out” (page 112). Once again, He is right there waiting to give me what I need, waiting on me to seek it out!!

  10. Along with the sermon on fear by Clayton King on Sunday, chapter 5 has shown me how fear causes me stress. I fear not having enough money and I know my husband and I can do better with saving money for my son’s college tuition. I wish we didn’t have the most expensive cable package, I wish we didn’t eat out at expensive restaurants so much, I wish my son didn’t have to use college loans. I am facing my fears and finally talking to my husband about this. It isn’t easy having conflict over money but I am facing my fear and praying for God to show me what changes can be made in my life and budget and hopefully my husband will understand.

    • Kristy says:

      Fran, my husband and I had the same type of issues with money, and it caused a lot of stress in our marriage. We participated in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and it made a huge difference in our budget and our discussions about money. We are finally on the same page, which makes life so much easier. I highly recommend that you find a class in your area and check it out!

  11. Denise says:

    This chapter made me think of many things, I am like Hanna, I’ve. Been praying and praying for God’s to restore my relationships with my girls, I too have the thoughts of is He hearing me, why cant I feel him. What can I do to change that? Then I go to Scriptures I read and start to see He does hear me He will never leave me, Its all in His time. I am thankful for that, I just need to give more of myself and seek Him more in every direction I go at all times.
    I just love all you ladies and all the guidance and support you all are giving it truly is a blessing <3

  12. kim in ma says:

    Wow….As I’m making my way through the chapter, I am stuck on the section about your marriage…I am there and have been there for quite some time now. I KNOW that Satan is at work here, wanting me to only see all the negative, and of course I can’t possibly find the positive anymore. I feel so discouraged when it comes to my marriage, because I feel as though there is no desire anymore to please the other. We had a ‘marriage weekend’ recently, and of course it was great. We came away with some great information on how to get on track & not let Satan have a stronghold in our marriage. I think it stayed fresh about 3 days. The main problem is we don’t put God first in our marriage. My husband seems to refuse to take his role as spiritual head, and I become annoyed as I try to do it all, including trying to make my grown kids put God first…seems a little hypocritical to say and not do. I am very encouraged, though. Maybe I haven’t come to the point of Hannah to REALLY pour my heart out to my Heavenly Father and trust that he has my back. He wants our marriages to succeed.
    I thank you all for this outlet to share. I am so glad I chose to do this online study.
    Many blessings to you all!

  13. Katrina says:

    In doing the reflection questions, just like when doing verse mapping, there’s always initial hesitation because I know it’s not going to be a quick and easy thing, but then once I’m in motion, the hesitation disolves away and is slowly replaced with awe and praise as the Lord begins to pour his truths and wisdom into me. Chapter five was so great because it takes you beyond just recognizing there’s a problem and leads you to begin seeking out the change that is so desperately needed in your life to overcome those problems. This is always the most difficult part – application, but in reading Tracie’s story, I’m filled with hope and motivation. What stands out to me the most, is that what needs to change the most is my heart and that only God can do that. “Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it’s a matter of the heart.” (pg. 93) “If our hearts are not in the right place, the amount of time we spend trying to do all the right things will be pointless.” (pg. 109) “I released my pain into the hands of the only One who has the power to heal all things…I put my full trust in him.” (pg. 107) In working through the reflection questions, my eyes have been opened to so many things. Though all of them are helping to grab hold of tangible things to begin focusing on changing, I found questions #1 and #5 to be particulary helpful.

  14. There was so much in this chapter that I could relate to. I am not suffering from infertility, as Hannah was, but I am in a dry season in my life. I have had to endure chronic illness for 8 long years. I have prayed, and prayed some more about healing and what plan that God has for my life. I too have cried out in anguish and despair, not knowing how I could go another day with the life that God had chosen for me. I know that God in His power could change my circumstances today, but yet He has chosen not to! I loved the part that said.
    ” But He is more interested in changing US through our circumstances, that changing the circumstances themselves.”
    I truly have become closer to God through my circumstances, I still have a long way to go, but I am seeking Him ever so closely and just like Hannah I am tired of feeling ashamed, broken, empty-hearted, and empty-handed, but here is where I just need to trust that God sees me and knows my deepest desires, His desire might be so different than mine, for He desires to change my heart!

  15. Wow today was a low day for me. So I remembered the our Bonus Activity on page 116-118. I typed them out. Got in my closet and read each one . WOW WOW WOW .

    I am sharing them with two of my bible study group. One meets tonight and one next Monday. (I did put the resource on the paper I typed).

    This was a much need timing today. Thank you so so so so so much

  16. I am so thankful I kept reading to catch up in this study. Tears came to my eyes as i read about Hannah. I was never able to have a child of my own. I was blessed with a step daughter who has remained in my life since her dad divorced me. She has made me mamaw to 3 wonderful boys. I so wish that I had been saved and baptized back when I was hurting so much through trying to conceive and thinking I was pregnant an wasn’t. And especially on August 5,2002 when I had had enough of the pain and had a complete hysterectomy. Probably the worst day of my life. I wasn’t saved when he told me he wanted a divorce on June 21, 2006 either. Second worst day of my life. On October 11, 2009 when I got saved I finally started to heal. I am so thankful for this study and everyone who has supportive of my struggling with issues. Most of all I am so thankful for finally listening to God

  17. Stephanie L says:

    The part that spoke to me this week was, “Hannah did not find peace because she left a stressful situation- she found peace because she had learned to depend on God’s strength to rise above her stress.

    I went through a really stressful time after the birth of my second son and I wanted nothing more than for God to just take me out of the stress right then, but God spoke to me and said that it would be a long road. It wasn’t easy and I still struggle with my thyroid disease and adrenal fatigue but God has walked with me through it.

  18. Sheila says:

    Very good chapter. Thought provoking and a little scary tying to answer the questions at the end of the chapter. I have to admit I cannot, at this time, answer the second part of question #1; I just can’t go there right now. Perhaps God will open my heart in the next few days and I can think about it, pray about it, but not sure I could write it on paper.

  19. Virginia Lopez says:

    This chapter hit home! I need to let go of trying to make certain outcomes happen in my life and let God do His job. Why is that so hard to do??

  20. Lee Roberts says:

    This week has been a difficult one to work through on the questions. Right now I am still visiting my sister who is also a strong christian. I had a hard time remembering a peaceful time when I was younger so I asked my sister about it and we talked until 2:00 am about what we remembered our lives to be like as little girls. We finally came up with a peaceful special time which happened to be about a year before our daddy died. We remember living on a white sand bottom lake in FL it was special and was very peaceful. Although I haven’t thought that we had a bad childhood we weren’t really in a peaceful situation. But I feel so blessed because those memories finally came through. I feel even more blessed that i have a sister to share my spiritual walk with. I have many things going on in my life today that would normally stress me out but today I have a peace about them. Thanks for this study it is changing my life.

  21. Dawn H. says:

    I absolutely LOVE the treasure box idea! I am going to do the same thing for a dear friend who lives 9 hours away from me. I feel desperately like I need to go to her, but don’t feel as though I can leave right now my own children and husband behind for an extended stay with her. This is a great way to send a bit of me and show her the encouragment of the Lord, too! I am so excited to send her this gift!!! There were two parts of the Hannah story that I circled and loved. “she found peace because she had learned to depend on God’s strength to rise above her stress.” Wow! When she finally got there in her faith and trust with God, then the other phrase I circled, “He remembered her…” Oh My…how that verse just touches my heart! For me, that phrase He remembered is the most touching, loving and caring of words. He enveloped her in His arms and loved her with all HIs might. She could have been walking on fire and Hannah could have handled it! She know the Lord was with her and took every bit of stress away and she was fine, totally and competely fine! Ahhhh….just reading it brought me comfort and a sigh of relief.

  22. DebbieK says:

    I loved what Tracie says on page 93 – “Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it’s a matter of the heart. God could change our circumstances at any time, if he chose to do so, but he is always more interested in changing us through our circumstances than changing our circumstances themselves. Everything is possible with God, because he said so.” I have to keep reminding myself when I can’t figure out why God isn’t answering my persistent prayer for a difficult situation to change, that He is always and foremost interested in my heart and the person I am becoming. Also that it doesn’t matter whether the situation is placed in my life by God or if it is the enemy trying to defeat me – My God is always working everything out for my good because I love Him and I am called according to His purpose. He has great plans for me and He will fulfill them.

  23. Loved the verse study today. I had such a blessed morning!

  24. uncteal says:

    I can identify with the Hannah story. There is a situation in my life that I am trying so hard to be patient with and wait on God’s timing for his answer. I want God’s will for my life. I continue to pray for patience and to accept what God feels is right for me, not what I think is right. I think this chapter was really good with how it explained that we sometimes have to wait on God’s perfect timing and be faithful in the meantime. :)

  25. I loved the part where Tracie puts all the pieces of paper with scripture on the bed and sits in the middle. what a great picture of sitting on our Father’s lap. Sometimes I feel just like that, needing to curl up on Abba’s lap and just soak up His love.