It’s Time to Be Who You Really Are

anything more beautiful

In a world packed with coaches and consultants and career gurus, I’m learning how there really is no better life coach than God. No safer place to land, no one better equipped to take  the pain and disappointment of broken dreams and unmet expectations and recycle them into a life of purpose and meaning.

Are we willing to completely rely on God when nothing else makes sense?

For a long time I prayed for a total dependence on God—as a new Christian I didn’t realize the hard path that might actually require. While I now live totally dependent on him {often in more ways than I’m comfortable with}, and while I’m thankful for the intimacy we have developed, the journey here was hard won.

A group of us {amazing women that you are!} have been these last ten weeks on this healing journey, this finding our voices and learning to use our stories to make a difference. We’ve learned how releasing our pain and disappointment, allowing God to restore us, use us somehow, it’s a biblical mandate. And with that knowledge now comes responsibility. This is the place, the intersection of life’s hurts and God’s plan, this flash-point where God calls us, the broken, to become a vessel willing to pour out {under the power of His restoring, transforming Shadow} into the brokenness of others.

It’s time.

For years, you’ve kept me so small—made the opinions of others much bigger than me. You’ve walked about in anxious trepidation, running from my best for you, tolerating so much that you don’t deserve.

Are you ready to be free? Ready to discover your true purpose, your unique voice?  You must stop minimizing your value and worth. What I think about you is much more important than what any naysayers try to distract you with. If you cannot believe in yourself right now, allow Me. You believe in Me while I believe in you.

Let the hope rise in your heart even now. Let me help you become the woman I designed you to be, the woman I envisioned from the very beginning when I blew my holy breath into your being.

Partner with me. Open your heart and be willing to use your brokenness as motivation to serve others. Learn to live from this place of hope, so that you can stir that same hope in others who are seeking wholeness and freedom. For as you share your story, as others are allowed to trace my hand in your journey, a budding seed of courage presses right through—one that stirs a courage inside them to tell their own stories.

Do it for yourself. For them. For me. Release control. Trust me with these hurts. Lean back into me, fully dependent. I am here; I have  a plan.

Yes, it’s time. Time to be who you really are.

Love,
God

We’ve seen others do it, rise above fractured worlds, use their stories to make a difference. And now it falls to us. Will we move beyond our own hurts? Will we tell our stories? There is an extraordinary healing power tucked within.

The pledge contemporary

 

Click here for a free printable copy of The Pledge.

 

If you’ve walked this ten-week journey with us, we’d love to hear from your heart. What stood out to you the most about our time together? How will this help you find your voice? If you’re just joining us, we’d love to hear from you as well {and we hope you’ll stick around!} so we would ask you this, what have you felt pressed to do but haven’t yet done?

Leave us a comment below and be entered to win a framed printable of The Pledge.

 

{Find more encouragement with Jo Ann’s recently released book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Using Your Story to Make a Difference.}

 

Comments

  1. Karen De Armond-Gardner says

    What have I learned? I have a voice and God is bigger than my past so I can step out of the way, trust Him and allow Him to weave a story to draw hurting woman to His loving arms. The biggest surprise…He wants to use my story to bring glory to His Name; He sees the woman He designed me to be and will never stop working to bring her out; He loves me beyond anything I could ever imagine. FREEDOM is glorious! Thank you Jo Ann for providing this forum and bringing women together to find their voice.

    • JoAnnFore says

      Oh sweet friend, thank you for walking this journey with us. I LOVE that you have accepted the purpose God has in you, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what he does through you.

    • Marie Bride says

      Karen your words/Voice remind me of a saying: Every Saint has a past,

      every sinner has a Future!

      And enjoy your Glorious FREEDOM in claiming Christ’s Victory for you!
      Love, Prayers & Blessings Dear Karen

      • Karen De Armond-Gardner says

        I am sure you have been busy with teaching and I’ve meant to reach out to see how you are and the weeks have flow by. Been praying for you. Let’s keep in touch, so excited to see all God is doing in you!

  2. says

    Our Father works in units of time and time is drawing near as I am feeling pressed to speak HIS words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen. I am compelled to create with the Princess keeper of we & me.

  3. Marie Bride says

    ~So much time wasted

    ~so many feelings of not measuring up
    ~not being accepted
    ~not fitting In

    ~not belonging anywhere

    ~not being adequate enough

    And on and on as I shared a mini list last week off the top of my head.
    I realize:
    ~when my heart is beyond broken because
    ~the marriage was not what I thought it was meant to be: What the Holy Scriptures tell me. I looked to You O my Lord & you were there. Holding me in Your Loving Embrace as I faced a Truth that sliced my soul & spirit.
    ~As I fell in love with a small child in a Sunday School class I taught & became engaged to his father. You were there when the wedding was called off & I could not look @ a child for years without running to hide because I could not take the time to cry my heart out.
    ~When I repeated this behavior some years later with the child of a friend I worked with. When I could no longer bake bread or cookies for my brothers because they did not understand how painful those memories were of not have the little one to do it with me.
    ~The pain that cuts to the depth of my being when women of the same faith only accept you when you are doing what they want you to do & not caring to listen to what the Spirit of our Lord whispers to your heart, mind & soul when you spend sleepless nights agonizing in prayerful reflection.

    Is this You Lord asking me to share our most intimate times that I only share @ the deep of my being with the very Lover of my Soul?

    • Karen De Armond-Gardner says

      Oh Marie, I can feel your sorrow as you are walking through grief. My heart hurts with you, yet…I know this journey is needed to get to the other side. And you will get to the other side. So excited to see what God is doing in you.

    • JoAnnFore says

      Marie, I pray His tender healing hand continues to lead you through the memories, the hurts that linger. And I pray your heart remain just as tender and open for His touch. Thank you my friend. You are beautiful. I’m continuing in prayer as you walk further in the journey He has for you.

  4. Debie Southern says

    I guess God is still working on me, as I haven’t quite got it down yet. But it’s not God’s end that is falling down, it’s mine. I have so much to learn. In reading Jo Ann’s book and everyone’s blogs and comments and responding to a few, I still haven’t quite gotten over my many hurdles. I don’t always have answers to the questions in the book. My thoughts and understanding of them, seem to come at different time. One moment my thoughts are clear as a bell and the next, I’m second guessing my wisdom. My writing is sporadic and a jumbled mess. And I think, how do I put these thoughts to words, words to sentence etc.. How do I organized them so they make sense for someone to follow? And then there is the question, do I have the courage to share them if I do? I’m not at that edge of confidence, to make the leap. I surmise, I’m still learning to be, what in my head, is a real God fearing Christian woman, before I do.

    • Marie Bride says

      Dear Debie,
      I need this to just be starting not ending so do not feel alone. Let us just keep hoping in the King of Glory for I must take courage & have Faith what He has started in us He will bring to fulfillment as we believe!

    • says

      Keep seeking, expressing, learning and writing Debie….God has a special plan for you. Remember the kind random acts of kindness and love are most valuable. Thanks for your honesty, transparency and vulnerability—we all have much to learn. God bless you richly with His Spirit of wisdom, power and strength!

    • JoAnnFore says

      Oh Debie, your transparency speaks what many others cannot yet. At this intersection, I would encourage you not to consider the journey complete. As it’s complete for none of us if we’re honest. But go back in, deeper still. Take the time with the questions that linger, honor the process. And God will honor your efforts, I can promise you that. <3

      • Debie Southern says

        Thank You Ladies for your encouragement. I know God is preparing me, for everyday there is a message waiting for me, that gives me wisdom to an answer, I haven’t even thought of yet. Their little “aha” moments or “I get it”. I just need to be patience and keep following his lead. Bless you Ladies for your support.

  5. says

    I have learned that my voice is important, and that I can’t express it in any other way that my unique way and that is perfectly fine, because it is my God given voice. I feel as though life is moving faster these days and time is shorter….as in I feel a great urgency to share His message. And I watch to see how He will work out His plans for my life with great anticipation.

    • JoAnnFore says

      And we love your uniqueness. Thank you Deanna. Just thank you for being you. And for being on this journey with us.

      • says

        Thank You Jo Ann for accepting me in all my uniqueness. I love your encouragement and the fact that you seem to understand me. I have enjoyed this journey, and I know you have seen some of the areas I struggled with on Facebook…but you have also seen some progress.

  6. Lisa Howard Colpo says

    I am finding that when I completely surrender my life to God have God’s peace and knowing that God is for me really makes it all worth it and knowing that God is right beside me through my life is how I am growing closer to God .

  7. says

    Thankful God uses my voice for His purpose and blessings! It is a daily act of obedience and trust for His voice to be my voice! I am also thankful for Jo Ann generous gift and especially her book for encouraging each of us as we overcome and make a difference by speaking up for the truth. We have hope in Jesus for our future. Let God use your story!

  8. GodsGirl4Life says

    Wow, it’s the end already? I’ll really miss this study. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. I think I’ve learned the importance of sharing, not living in isolation, and dropping the masks.

    • JoAnnFore says

      Hey friend, those are some emotionally expensive lessons. I’m thrilled for the progress you and God have made together over our weeks. <3 And stick around for something fun we're announcing within the next couple weeks. :)

      xo

  9. Amy says

    40+ years of painful memories have/are being replaced with the truth of His love. 40+ years of frightening memories have found a voice. 40+ years of trying to make myself small and quiet are coming to an end. As we have walked thru this study God has faithfully walked thru 40+ years of paralyzing memories with me. He has shown me truths, pointed out lies, dug so deeply into my heart my breath was taken away, and opened my heart in ways I never dared to dream possible. The beginning of this study and Gods urgings on my heart to finally address these memories with the help of a beloved friend and counselor are no coincidence; they are simply Godly orchestration! A voice that once spoke only of topics deemed “safe” by her heart is being replaced by a voice that understands it is those topics deemed “unsafe” that God wants to use. Thank you for walking along as God has pulled me from my safety zone and I have treaded the waters of the deep all while finding a voice willing to share pain and fear if it glorifies The Father!

    • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield says

      It’s a beautiful thing when the pain & lies are replaced with Gods’ restoration healing & truth. God is always found in deepest waters when we feel like we are drowning. We don’t need saving in the ankle deep of life it’s in the oceans that God is glorified & our voice is found. crystal

    • Sarah Knepper says

      It’s all a process my friend and with each step you take God will honor your efforts with more than you can imagine. It’s been great getting to see you here and watching as you have opened up learned to live in His fullness!

  10. Sarah Knepper says

    Through this journey I’ve learned that God is never done with us. Each time I’ve read through this book (3 to be exact!) God has revealed different parts of me that I need to let go, hang onto, and forgive. Discovering the voice I’m really supposed to use has been wonderful and scary. To fully trust God is one of the best things we can do but it’s also very hard. So thankful for community and support of women who step out in boldness and faith!

  11. Jerry N Crystal Mayfield says

    I have missed so many weeks of this study & have missed hearing from & sharing with you amazing ladies. My journey of physical healing from my accident in Sept. Has been a long & @ times a difficult one, but the soul healing that has taken place has only further enhanced the healing I received from the sexual abuse & sharing this healing journey with you has been such a blessing as you each begin to find & use your voice. It has helped mine to become stronger. God bless each of you. I am honored to know you. Crystal

  12. says

    This journey that I have been on since I was introduced to your book has taken me farther than I would have ever guessed. I am so very thankful for God leading me to you.

    The pledge is my pledge. As you know, it is hard to follow sometimes, however, I am so blessed and much more confident when I believe those things and live my life by them. Thank you for all you have done in my life and the lives of countless women.

    I am so excited to see what He will continue to do in the lives of hurting women as He continues to use your book and the women who want to pass along the blessings that come from it. <3

  13. Diana R says

    During our journey, the nuggets of truth in When A Woman Finds Her Voice have been highlighted then underlined. I UNDERLINED in red for His blood and the truth of His word, lined in purple for the richness of walking in the truth, lined in green for action. I love my colored pens. I struggled in December first because of the holidays and this study kept me going much like a plumb line allows you to hang the wall paper straight. December was already hard because of this seasonal depression I endure, I had changed jobs in November and the dynamics changed when another person arrived in December. The hard part of this was we had been carpool budies but we were not good together sharing an office. This struggle
    at work with a coworker shook my world. I had a flare of chronic pain. My arms started hurting because of the amount of typing and not being able to be ergonomically correct. Then on December 23, I had to get a brace in my mouth which added to the pressure, that was the week we were off for Christmas, but I devoured the chapters I was behind. Determined the week after Christmas, refreshed because of the sayings in this book, like on 15. “We intended to hide our shortcomings and the fear inside our hearts, but instead, we hide beauty, our true selves, I found myself praing the prayers holding onto this rope, the veiw from behind this mask was powerful. The statement anger and confusion drove me into Satan’s plans. Although refreshed, I returned to work at the end of December to make this job change work. I wanted to be liked best, the opinions of others meant so much. But I felt compared and my fears were alive and well. On page 19, “like weeds in a garden, Satan loves planting lies that choke out truth.” I KEPT CLAIMING on page 25 that God was greater than my feelings, more powerful than my wandering mind (I could not shut my mind off) and my insecure heart. On page 30, “When emotional pain is left untreated, it mutates and ravages the soul.” The person I was struggling with encouraged me to seek counseling, I thinking she was still my carpool budy shared a secret she encouraged me to get into a couselor. In January, I had an appointment. I felt it was going to be better at work. But on Januart 9th, things started to deteriorate at work.

    On page 68, “if we can come to a right belief about God, we can face the really hard stuff, we can trust that sometime, even in this, he is working.” Then a nightmare occurred, I haven’t struggled at work for a long time, but I was struggling. Another misunderstanding, I was crushed. I tried to use my voice and I was shut down. When I get angry, And try to use my voice, it usually comes with tears of frustration. Chapter 5, A Purpose for the PAIN, the very first quote, “That thing that you want to hide is the very thing God wants to use” by Steven Furtick. I wanted to know what was the purpose of this pain of betrayal at work. I started saying on page 89, I don’t know why–I may never know why, and that is okay with me. I struggled to say these words. Jo Ann you are right, there is a poerful shifting that takes place as we abandon the right to understand and we yield to God working in our lives, page 89. It became evident through many tears, many pages in my journal that I needed to go back to my previuos position. Jo Ann, on page 91 you said if I was willing to step into the uncomfortable, willing to trust my unanswered questions to God, who cares, those are the real actions when God can move. He moved, I got my old job back and for two weeks, the joy of being a nurse and seeing patients has began a healing. In the Chapter, Dare To Be Brave, God anthem of Do Not Be Afraid, Trusting God takes courage, Satan wants me to be scared. Courage. The other good thing that happened is I found out my antidepressant was not at a correct dose. On page 153, “It does take courage to hold to truth when lies blur our vision.” My vision was blurred, I will always wondeer what happened. I know forgiveness is the key for my coworker and I am struggling. I just don’t understand how we coukd be such wonderful buddies and not be able to share an office. I have renounced the pride, I do have trust issues. But I have a God who is greater than all my concerns. He does give us strength and ciurage. This study has been truly God sent where would I be without the nuggets of truth that have kept me sane through another difficult time in my life. Thank you. I am asking God for the courage to start over, to do my job and not take the job for granted or complain I am asking God for the courage to accept His sovereignty. As you said on page 164, “What a beautiful bargain, trade all the lies we believe about ourselves for the truth of who God says we are.” On page 165, I want to fully gradp how much my redemptive God who is incredibly creative and poerful, governs my life, that He is soverign. I want to learn each day to let God lead me.

    Sorry this is so long, thanks for helping me in my journey. Blessings
    Diana

    • JoAnnFore says

      Diana, we hope to archive the online study here on the site within the next little bit. We are going to be offering some coaching experiences which have evolved from the needs and requests of women going through the group — so stay tuned. :)

  14. bethanylebedz says

    I was silent for many, many years (20 years too long, to be specific!), and even in the midst of the ugliest storms of my life, I felt a stay in my spirit that it was still not time for me to speak out. But since starting JoAnne’s book, I really feel that my time has come to speak out! I am continually amazed that God can and will use my story.

    • Karen De Armond-Gardner says

      Yay! Psalm 107 says, “Has The Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!” Silence is the tool of the enemy, as long as he can keep us quiet the bondage continues. Yours is a story of hope. Keep on speaking.

      • JoAnnFore says

        Love that scripture, Karen. How have I missed it? And yes, what an awesome encourager you are, my friend. May HOPE reign. <3

    • JoAnnFore says

      Yes, Bethany. God will use this. In His way, His timing. And I am thrilled for your obedient, willing heart. May God richly bless your oversized heart that wants redemption to shine. LOVE knowing you.

  15. says

    SO many thoughts stirred by this discussion, question & Journey. SO much to be thankful for. Thankful for a Voice in His Kingdom Thankful for a Place beside His Throne. Thansful for the reminder from on High ” For years, you’ve kept me so small—made the opinions of others much bigger than me. You’ve walked about in anxious trepidation, running from my best for you, tolerating so much that you don’t deserve.” What I thought I ‘deserved’ (& was destined for) ? What was offered & expected in the earthly realm, is so much less than what HE has in store.His purpose. His Blessings. HIS Best. Open. Honest. Forthright. End of Story. Confidence & Resolve to Walk on. Thankful for you. Ladies. xox

  16. Jymi Wilson says

    Found your book, by “accident” last week. Just… thank you. Who silenced me?

    It began with family beliefs that children did as they were told, regardless.
    A church that preached down to women, men ruled over them, subservient in every way. No voice, unless you were singing or teaching Sunday school to children.
    A family of women who didn’t talk about their hurts. Sealed lips. Held breath. Tight-fisted. Even now.
    A trusted “man of the church” and family leader quietly sexually abusing and “Shh, don’t tell anyone.”
    Abuse swept under the family rug. He will apologize to you and this never leaves this house. This from the gathered adults deciding my silence and his so-called punishment.

    For many years I told my story with a victim’s voice. For years I made one bad decision after another with men. Years of never trusting men or women. Years of believing: worthless, unlovable, broken, dirty, guilty, ashamed. I struggle still.

    http://jymiwilson.blogspot.com/2014/02/who-told-you-to-be-silent.html

    • JoAnnFore says

      Jymi, I replied on your blog. You are amazing. And I thank God that you are stepping into your “true voice.” I’m praying you through the struggles, even now.

  17. Connie Farrar says

    I work with ladies who are struggling to overcome life-controlling issues. Not surprisingly, most of these issues stem from some tragedy that happened to them prior to them picking up the bottle/needle/etc. Your honesty and straightforward approach at dealing with these situations and showing how we can all be overcomers is empowering!

    I, myself, was delivered out of a verbally abusive marriage. I was very good at stifling everything and wound up in therapy and on medication to deal with the resulting depression. I thank God for allowing me to get out of that marriage and for bringing me healing and hope. I continue to battle residual garbage that was left behind, but at least now I see it for what it is when it makes an appearance. I have written a book, too, about how my faith in God got me through the battles I have faced over the years. It really is something when you get to the “other side” to be able to share your story and help others. God bless you!

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