Online Study: Week One {When A Woman Finds Her Voice}

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What a beautiful time of heart-connecting last week! For those of you just finding us, don’t worry, you aren’t behind. Last week was simply the opportunity to say “hello” and connect. And wow, what a bunch of you beautiful women made your way to our new gathering place; what an honor to be with you! {By the way, there is still time to join us; it’s easy to catch up.}

One thing we learned last week is that we need a little more comfortable place to hang out, so please bear with us as we seek a better way to connect. For this week, we will continue to meet here in our comments section but watch for an announcement for when we {hopefully} move to a better forum that makes it easier to track our conversations. For now, if you are having a difficult time following everyone, look for the drop-down menu directly beneath the “comments” tab that allows you to select how you would like to view the conversations, by date or “popularity.”

Here’s a quick review of how our time together will run. On Mondays, we will host a discussion around the previous week’s topic, and that conversation will most likely run throughout the remainder of the week as folks come and go at their convenience. On Thursdays, we have a special treat: a blog hop. If you are a blogger, we invite you to join us around the week’s conversation by posting about that particular topic on your home blog, and then linking with us. If you are not a blogger, it’s simply another way to connect with others as you take the time to stop in on a few other blogs besides our main one here. And then on Fridays, I invite you to return to our community where we will further discuss our main takeaways for the week.

Before we get started, I want to address a couple of things that came up in our first week together.

1. As mentioned, we do hope to make it easier to communicate in a way that feels less disjointed and easier to follow. We’re working on that now, and beg grace in the meantime.

2. We are passionate about connecting with you on a heart level. We want to know your stories, and we want you to learn how to use those stories to encourage others. However, we have to remember that we are gathered in a group environment here with ladies on all levels of the healing journey. For this reason, we ask when you share your stories that you consider there may well be members of our group who simply cannot hear the more graphic details of the painful parts of your journey. It’s not that we discount those slices of your story, or try to push them aside in any way, for we don’t. It just that the graphic details of some stories are better suited for a close friend or counselor. As we progress in our time together we will work on how to govern the release of those emotions, how to tell the hard stories in a way that glorifies God and points others to Him as that is our ultimate goal.

If you have any questions on this at all, please do not hesitate to bring them forward in our discussion because I don’t want the enemy to use this statement to somehow quiet your ready hearts, okay? I don’t want confusion or discouragement in this area, but I do want to protect the tender hearts of everyone in the group from graphic details they may not be prepared for.

On to our discussion, now. Last week we started with the Introduction and Chapter One of When A Woman Finds Her Voice. We learned how fear and hurts often cloud our hope, and then we spent some time talking about the mask-wearing behaviors and faulty thinking traps that keep us from God’s best. {If your book has not yet arrived, let me know and I can send you Chapter one to read.}

Our central Focus: There is a healing power in the release of bound emotions.

There are these words that sit lodged in my throat, clutching at my heart, begging for release. This pain, it’s always on the verge of speaking, even when I try to silence it. These hopes and dreams for my future, I can remember them even now, though life has tried its best to stamp them out. But I’m afraid, Lord. It’s easier to be what I “should be”, say what I “should say”, hide away, lying to myself and trusting wrong feelings. 

Some new supporting Scriptures to consider:

  • “Our Lord, we belong to you. We tell you what worries us, and you won’t let us fall. . .  (Psalm 55:22 CEV).”
  • “God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart (1 Sam 16:7b).”

Today, I would love to hear your reactions. Did something in particular stand out for you from either the reading or the questions in the Voice Studio? Did something specific strike you as significant? Is there a place that was pivotal for you? Something that challenged your assumptions? Changed you in any way? Did you feel you needed more information/support in a particular area?

Please join us in conversation below about this week’s reading.

ACTION STEP: Next week, we will read Chapter Two: Outside the Garden as we discuss the importance of healing within community.

 

DEEPER STILL: This week, I challenge you to find an accountability partner to walk through this study with you. If you know someone who is already going through the study, consider grabbing her as your “book study buddy,” and agree to pray and encourage each other. Otherwise, pray that God would guide you to someone to come alongside you and support you as you journey to emotional wholeness.

 

 

  • Kaelynn Judd

    I loved this chapter. It was so full of hope and encouragement. I think the part that stood out to me the most, was when you said that moving beyond the hurt can sometimes feel like you are being disloyal or lessening what happened. That is exactly how I felt for so many years. It wasn’t until the past six months that I realized that I was even feeling that way. Thankfully, I have made a lot of process in moving past that.

    • Sarah Knepper

      That’s great Kaelynn! We often feel like speaking about our past may be exposing deep places that deserve all the protection we can give it. But when you choose to speak up and share you are allowing God to work through that pain with you.

      • Christine Plumley

        It really speaks to where I am when you say that choosing to speak and share begins the process of allowing God to work through the pain with me. I held back thinking I was protecting myself by keeping the silence I was taught to keep. Healing comes from letting God work in those inner painful places…like letting fresh water flow through a stream to clear away the debris that keeps it from running free!

        • Sarah Knepper

          Yes Christine, exactly!! Love that you are working things out and understanding more about what sharing can do for you.

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      Yay!!! I love the moving past it feeling. Although there have been many times I have invalidated my own experiences, although not in the sense JoAnn talks about, but in the sense of comparing it to others and saying it is not as bad as someone else’s

  • Sarah Knepper

    It’s scary to think about sharing our stories, our wounds. It’s even scarier to consider sharing them when our pain holds social stigma from our churches and culture. I read chapter 1 feeling a nervousness about really speaking up.

    • Donna

      Just wanted to tell you I have been encouraged by your blog posts. I can identify with your experiences. The post “Fly” is one of most touching to me so far. Thank you for sharing your life story! I have so identified with what you said about fearing what you had to say wouldn’t be valued because of dysfunctional circumstances. Sharing the power of God in weakness is one of the most powerful things I have witnessed. God bless you!

      • Sarah Knepper

        Thank you so much Donna! I am truly honored by your words. It’s been a long road for me and I share because I felt like God was saying to me, “If not now, when?” I always get nervous right before I hit the “publish” button but sharing is how He created us. I’m so thankful my words encourage you!

      • http://mariaegilsson.blogspot.ca/ Maria Egilsson

        After reading your post Donna I also went to read “Fly” and how touching, deep and heart stirring Sarah’s words are.

  • http://mystic-mom.blogspot.com/ Shanyn

    Anyone want a book buddy? :-)

    Reading my journalling from last week, and I’m understanding more deeply my reluctance to journal, and how to work around those feelings (and fears). This is a great journey to be on.

    • Sarah Knepper

      You know Shanyn, no one needs to see those words but you! Even if you never share them you are opening up your heart and just writing and seeing your thoughts on paper can help. And fear is normal when we begin to uncover things that the enemy would like us to leave blanketed. Great work!!

  • Donna

    When I was reading this first chapter the first time around I was holding my breath involuntarily with anticipation and excitement. Sentence after sentence was so beautifully articulating my own thoughts, feelings and questions. I just identified with so much of what was shared in these initial pages. The place in the introduction where it is described how we isolate ourselves, immerse ourselves in our roles, put off or give up on our dreams altogether and allow our boundaries to be dismissed so easily really stuck out with me. And once again realizing that I have spent most of my life avoiding pain and living in denial of the truth when the truth was the very thing that would set me free. The introduction and first chapter were very validating and confirming of how I felt God had been working with me. It clarified some important things for me and brought to my attention some things I had let fall through the cracks. I was very interested in the information regarding trauma. The questions really helped me trace the origin of some of my struggles that had been vague to me before. I felt like this book was written just for someone like me. I can’t thank you enough for sharing what God has laid on your heart.

    • Sarah Knepper

      Wow, Donna!! I am thrilled that the words allowed you to explore those deep places and helped you discover new things to be uncovered. It’s amazing how much pressure we can take off of ourselves once we understand the origin and how to be free. Great job!

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      I agree I identified so much with this book. In some ways that is great, in other ways, I had to look and question if I have dealt completely with things or if there was residual problems.

  • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

    What first stood out to me was the protective silence that you mentioned that fell on your earlier life. Oh how I can relate to that!!! My entire life was reshaped by that early silence.

    I also relate to being the people-pleaser, I am still recovering from that. And the lies we believe, as I often believe I am not enough. Also in my reading and your focus on lies, God was able to show me another lie I have fallen for lately.

    The questions you asked, many I have asked myself over time, many times. Especially the “Why am I not over this already?”

    As for an accountability partner, I do not have one….so if anyone would be interested in being my accountability partner let me know. :)

    • Sarah Knepper

      Deanna, it is excellent that you can relate to the material and see the places in your life right now that God is calling you to. People-pleasing is a big issue for many women and i think once we realize there can be healthy boundaries and still make others happy then we can move on. Some may not like those boundaries but God calls us to take care of ourselves too so we can serve others. Love your words!

    • disqus_suWyPEbzos

      You might consider me. Mary

      • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

        Sounds good Mary :)

  • Stacey Bengtsson

    I loved that you said to replace the lie with Gods truth. I learned this in my church 9 years ago and it has transformed my life and brought me a lot of freedom. I feel like it is easier to accept the lie and not God’s truth. Even though we hate the lie, it has somehow become comfortable in our life since we have learned to navigate through it with coping and numbing mechanisms. Sometimes the lie even becomes a friend to us as we accept it and all that goes with it. God’s truth can sometimes be harder to both hear and accept. Once we hear God’s truth we can then choose to accept it. Once we accept it then change needs to come to be free. Change is hard. It takes intentionality and it takes Work! We don’t like change even when the place the lie has positioned us in is yucky and gross. But this change that we hate is what brings the transformation in our lives that we desperately cry out for. God’s truth also brings accountability to let him heal our wounds, to look for the triggers that produce the negative behaviors. Changing the behaviors allows us to overcome life patterns and experience freedom like we never have before.
    The second thing I really loved was your gardening analogy. We spend so much time snapping off the weeds and then being frustrated that we can’t change. The enemy then comes to us and tells us more lies. That we didn’t do it right or that we don’t deserve to be free. That we will always be wounded and that we will never be free. The freedom key is really what JoAnn said, you have to pull the lie up completely by the root. It’s not enough to ask God to show you the lie in your last experience. My soft spot is rejection and after years of thinking that I had dealt with all of it and it would never totally go away, I asked God to show me the very first time I ever experienced rejection. It actually turned out to be when I was in my mother’s womb. I didn’t even know you could go back that far at the time. Going to the first time pulled rejection up by the root and then I could see my triggers and behaviors attached to it. Then the transformation that I wanted began to happen. I am now able to nip rejection in the bud when satan tries to put it back in me. If you’ve been struggling with pulling up the root, ask God to show the Very First time you experienced that negative emotion. Then you will begin to see the lasting change you crave.

    • Sarah Knepper

      Beautiful Stacey!! I love how God is speaking through you. You have a great understanding of Ch.1 and it does help to hear the Truth in other areas of our lives (church, home, etc.). You are moving right along and doing an excellent job. I love the garden analogy as well. Keep it up my friend!

  • http://mariaegilsson.blogspot.ca/ Maria Egilsson

    I really wasn’t sure what to expect as I began to read the first chapter but JoAnn’s story about her co-worker Karen grabbed me right from the start! I recognized myself ~ not wanting to be “found out” as it was too painful and I too, was taught from an early age that you “don’t tell secrets”. Then JoAnn went on to write “This is why we withdraw, refuse to dialogue the pain.” A light bulb moment for me as all of a sudden I could see this behaviour in myself. So along with being committed to working through this book and connecting on-line I also made an appointment with a Christian Counselor. Like Bill told JoAnn, “you have to make intentional choices..that bring your life into balance spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally.” I am choosing to be intentional.

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      Maria, can I say that I am proud of you for taking this step. It will be a powerful one. Seeing a Christian counselor helped me so much, and my life has changed because of it.

      Secrets can destroy you from the inside out, but our God he will restore!!!

      • http://mariaegilsson.blogspot.ca/ Maria Egilsson

        Thanks Deanna for the encouragement. I want to be the healthiest “me” and I didn’t fully realize some of the “unhealthy” pieces until reading chapter 1.

    • Sarah Knepper

      Way to go Maria, that is wonderful! There were so many “light-bulb” moments for me too. So glad you are on this journey with us!

  • Jill Ore

    “You aren’t defined by what has happened to you, or even your own wrong choices…”
    For a really long time I have felt that I am defined exactly that way– by the bad thing that happened to me and by the wrong choices I made over 20 years ago. These are my secrets yet I feel as though they mark me with a Scarlet letter that says “unworthy”. Unworthy of forgiveness…unworthy of a second chance…unworthy to be loved again…unworthy of friendship. Always wondering if these events/choices in my past came to light, how my friends/family/co-workers would reconcile that with the person they know me as today (the people pleasing, performing perfectionist). I do want to make it “through to the other side of the craziness in my life…to stand whole”.

    • http://mariaegilsson.blogspot.ca/ Maria Egilsson

      Jill, this is a brave start to sharing your feelings about past choices and recognizing the lie that whispers “unworthy” as well as the “people pleasing, performing perfectionist” behaviours because of past choices. Looking forward to seeing and hearing how each of us will grow throughout this book journey.

    • Kathy

      Jill, you are worthy of all those things you stated and honey you will make it through to the other side. You are in the midst of so many who are working so hard to overcome so we can stand whole. With God’s help we will be victorious!

    • Sarah Knepper

      Jill, you are taking the steps to stand whole and it’s a beautiful thing. I too wanted to keep my pain a secret but always felt like it needed to be said. And you are worthy of all the things you long for, God says so. Great work this week!

    • http://www.lisaeasterling.com/ Lisa Easterling

      We could all walk around with a Scarlet S (for Sinner) on our chests, because we are all imperfect. But what was done TO us does not make us less perfect, particularly in His sight. He grieves with us and longs to heal us if we will open up to Him. Sending you warm hugs from Florida.

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        so true. Crystal

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      Praise God that I am not defined by what happened to me or where I come from. God always restores if we are willing to allow Him.

  • Godsgirl4life2

    I can really relate to the lies we believe about ourselves. I am learning about this in another study and I know I need to believe what God says about me and not the lies of Satan or anything else.

    Sharing my story has been scary. I’m afraid if I do it too much here or on the blog, someone will figure out my true identity. I’ve been wounded in many ways…more recently with a church friend.

    • http://mariaegilsson.blogspot.ca/ Maria Egilsson

      Share what you can (without feeling exposed) as you allow God to come and minister into those deep wounds and as you bring those lies into the light of Truth.

      • http://www.lisaeasterling.com/ Lisa Easterling

        Honestly, I’ve been nervous about how the parts of my story included in this book would sit with family members who won’t appreciate me sharing those parts. Thus far no one has gotten angry, and when they do I am praying God’s sweet grace will cover it all–for them and for me. Praying blessings on you, my friend.

        • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

          That is exactly what I worry about in trying to share my story. The reactions of the family I know will not be great.

        • srvnGod

          I’m a little late as my kids were home for fall break, but I understand that completely. Thank God grace abounds.

    • Stacey Bengtsson

      I’m so sorry that you have been hurt. It’s always worse when a church friend hurts us because we have higher expectations of them. I want to encourage you to let God heal your relationship wounds. I am praying that God will bring some trustworthy friends into your life that will hold your heart tenderly. Letting God heal those wounds will allow you to take a risk and offer your heart when he brings the right people into your inner circle.

      • Godsgirl4life2

        It is harder when it is in the church. I believe that the church is to be a place of comfort and healing, and not a place of judgment. Jesus reached out to the hurting and to the outcasts of society. I just wish it was more like that in the church.

    • Sarah Knepper

      You are safe here but if there are things you do not feel comfortable sharing in a public space we understand. Jo Ann is working on a private forum for all of us. Thank you for sharing your heart tonight!

      • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

        Yay for a private forum. It makes sharing things so much easier when we don’t have to worry about others stumbling upon it.

      • Godsgirl4life2

        That would be great to have a private forum. I am really enjoying the book so far. I feel like it has my name written all over it and that I can really relate to a lot of the stuff in the book. While I’m an introvert by nature and feel like it is OK to be an introvert, I can so relate to what Jo Ann is saying about closing people out and not letting anyone close for fear of being hurt.

  • Janet

    My life is in a huge transition right now and I feel that this study was a gift from God. The first chapter seemed like it was written directly to me and was so powerful that I had to read it in small doses and then read it again. I am very thankful that the timing was so perfect.

    • http://mariaegilsson.blogspot.ca/ Maria Egilsson

      Janet, I had the same reaction to the first chapter as well. Had to put it down now and again to take a gulp of the fresh air that it brought as some truths hit home to my heart. Adding my thanks with yours.

      • http://www.lisaeasterling.com/ Lisa Easterling

        I can relate, Janet. Every time I read through the book I find new things God wants to address deep down, and every time it’s something I really need. Praying for you, girl!

        • http://wwwtransformingfocus.com/ Carol J. Smith

          I agree…so many in depth insights just in the first pages and the first ten questions…just take your time and don’t rush through it. Great things are going to happen for all of us through this “Voice” process!

    • Sarah Knepper

      Reading in small doses is good when you are reading a lot about change. But you are taking the steps to make a difference and that’s wonderful. So glad you connected with Jo Ann’s words.

      • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

        Love that JoAnn designed it so we have time to read and soak it in, and process all that comes up.

    • Becky

      I can completely relate to you. I felt like I was reading bits of my personal journal. I also read the chapter and now want to reread it to process before answering all the questions. I’m excited to see where we go in this study!

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        Hi Becky! This is Crystal. I agree, I am excited to see where this study takes us. The timing of this study is absolutely God’s. I am @ one of those transition points & see God’s hand leading me & connecting with JoAnn & this study was no accident. Looking so forward to the journey. Crystal

  • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

    Hey everyone this is Crystal! I have been over on the other page wondering why no one was posting this week. LOL

    • Stacey Bengtsson

      Glad you found us!

    • Sarah Knepper

      Hey Crystal!! For updates you can always check the Write Where it Hurts Facebook page. Soon we will have a private forum. glad you made it over here!

      • http://www.lisaeasterling.com/ Lisa Easterling

        Did you follow the cookie crumb trail, Crystal? I tried to leave lots of sprinkles behind me. :)

        • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

          I tend to get lost when it comes to technology. I am starting to get the hang of how we connect for this study. Thanks for all your help those who lead us over to the right place. Crystal

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        Thanks Sarah.

    • http://wwwtransformingfocus.com/ Carol J. Smith

      me too!

  • Karen De Armond-Gardner

    There is an added twist I discovered in my own life, at some point the lies became so much a part of me I could not tell they weren’t me. My strengths were distorted and became counterfeits of who I really was. The result, I became a woman with many masks. It’s been a journey, identifying the lie and removing the masks one by one.

    • http://www.lisaeasterling.com/ Lisa Easterling

      This is a hard journey, to be sure, but oh, the freedom that comes when those masks finally break loose and allow us to breathe again. Blessings to you, dear Karen.

    • bethanylebedz

      I have masks, too. I’m sometimes not sure who I am anymore! I think I’m partly afraid no one, including myself, will like the real me, whoever she is.

      • Karen De Armond-Gardner

        Hi Bethany, do I have good news for you. Through this process God will begin identifying the lies and removing the masks one by one. What you will discover is the Holy Spirit revealing the real you, the you God created. She is crazy amazing. Looking forward to meeting her.

        • bethanylebedz

          Thanks for the encouragement, Karen!

    • Amy

      Karen,
      Four years ago a beautiful friend came into my life, she later asked me…”who is Amy? Who is she really deep down?”. I had to admit I don’t know, so many masks have been a part of me for over 45 years. Over the past few years they have slowly come off one by one, yet I still at times wonder who Amy is? Then once again my Father speaks loving words over me and reminds me who I truly am….”a child of the one true King”. Karen, no matter how many masks are there, no matter whether you think or feel you have or have not found you. Rest assured, your Father knows without a doubt who you are…..His Princess Daughter for whom His love never ends!!!

      • Karen De Armond-Gardner

        You are so right Amy. It has been a process and along the way discovered I like who I am. The enemy would have us believe no one would like the real us, not even ourselves. As usual it is a lie to keep us in bondage and switching out one mask for another. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

    I have struggled with this for several days. I can appreciate that in a public place such as this is currently, with extremely delicate issues, the moderators have to set boundaries. Some semblance of appropriate has to be maintained. However, as this was being prompted the premise was repeatedly stated that this is a SAFE, place to share. That we are all accepted here, that our stories MATTER. One dear soul mustarded up incredible courage, trembling as she bared her deepest pain & became raw & vulnerable, looking for spiritual & emotional healing & was met with rejection. I know, I know in our wounded extremely sensitive states, we can over-react or take things personally that maybe weren’t meant that way. I just want to say that.. yes we need to monitor the conversations so that others aren’t hurt by what we say, but isn’t that the whole point here? To FIND & USE our voices? Abuse is messy, healing from things that annihilate our tiny souls isn’t always flowery & is sometimes hard to swallow. But if we sugar coat the truth so that it’s easy for others to take, then where is the healing? We have to be careful not to become a stumbling block for others. I know from experience what it’s like to finally be brave enough to trust someone with your deepest wounds, then wait with baited breath to see if they will accept or reject you. The heaviness of that alone is crushing. I would just like to say for all those trying to find that stifled voice, that when I say I’m here for you no matter what. I mean it. I don’t care how messy it gets or how bitter it is to take. I am willing to get in the mud with you if that’s what it takes. If we say that we are a soft place to land, a place of acceptance & healing, then that is exactly what we need to be. To undergird each other, to pray for each other. To show others the restoration healing of Jesus. They need to be loved through it, not condemned. I have really prayed about this for days. Women are coming here looking for Jesus. We need to be examples of Christ’s love. If we are to share the good news of His healing & hope, then we first of all need to show them love. God’s truth is He love us & will heal us everywhere we hurt. We are good enough. We were worth dying for. I thank you for giving us this place to come together as a group for the soul purpose of sharing, finding our voices, & helping each other heal. We all need to feel we are not alone in our struggles. Jesus is there with us. We need to reach down & give each other a hand up. God bless all of you as you each find the courage to speak, to tell your stories. Others will find hope& healing in your words. Crystal

    • Ronnie

      Yes, thank you Crystal. This was eloquently and rightly put…the need to let others share their story without judgement. If others feel uncomfortable, then they can choose not to read, but standing beside each woman when they are brave enough to show their wounds and share their story is vital to their own healing, and it gives other women that might be struggling with similar issues, the courage to speak her truth.

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        I appreciate that. We absolutely need to stand with others until they can stand on their own. Beautiful Christian women stood in the gap for me & held me up speaking God’s truth to me until I could get it deep in my soul that God loved me & would heal me everywhere I hurt. I am a living testament to the restoration healing of God. Crystal

      • JoAnnFore

        Hey sweet friend, I so agree with the need to stand beside each woman, no matter the details of her story. I understand darkness, pain, and betrayal on countless levels and am aware of the fallout of that on our hearts. I want no woman to endure that alone. That’s my heart-passion is to help women voice these stories that keep them bound and to lead them to the Truth that has the power to transform lives.

        It is the graphic details, the explicit visual replay, of some of these experiences that would sometimes be better suited in a private conversation with one of our moderators or supporting team {Lisa Easterling, Sarah Knepper, or myself, as well as some other ladies who have expressed a desire to walk this journey with anyone in need like Catherine Darnell and others}, or a trusted friend or counselor so that we can pray through it together. Especially when, as in this particular case, there are far-reaching legal ramifications.

        We are here. We love every woman who finds her way to this community. And every story matters. Every. Single. Word. And oh that we would indeed not judge anyone’s circumstances, having never walked their shoes.

        Love your passion to defend the hurting heart. Beautiful.

    • http://www.lisaeasterling.com/ Lisa Easterling

      It is no easy task as a ministry leader to find that place where we are inviting openness–realness–and yet at the same time protecting the sensitivities of all the beautiful hearts present here. Please know our heart (for we who facilitate here all share the same heartbeat for healing and hope) is for each and every beautiful woman here, whether she is struggling wildly and needing to vent or she is weeping in the quiet place too tender to even express her own pain much less grapple with the soul-shrieks of those who fight a hard battle behind curtains of triage. Know that we love you, and we are prayerfully doing our very best to love you in His name and offer you His hope as effectively as possible. Much love to you, my friend.

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        I appreciate your sentiments, however, they are not for me. The one who was hurt has pulled away, retreated back into the silence. I pray with a little time God will bring her back to see that she is loved, & this is a safe place. I know that pain however. I know what a delicate balance you who facilitate this study have to find. I appreciate your position. I just want to be aware myself, so that I don’t cause anyone to retreat from the pain they felt once they gained courage enough to speak, & then perceived rejection. I want them to see the healing Jesus can bring if they only let him. Pray that God may direct her back, where He can use this like minded community to heal his precious child. God is going to accomplish much through this group. Crystal

        • Sarah Knepper

          Crystal, I agree that this was said to be a safe place to share. I’ve read through all of the comments on this particular thread and did read the comment posted last week. I agree with both you and Jo Ann about the legal ramifications when stories are shared that include such graphic nature and that they need to be removed. A safe place for everyone involves us choosing our words carefully so we do not trigger someone else’s pain. Your friend emailed me her comment for I had not seen it on here yet. I am praying for her and her heart. She was very brave to speak out. Again, we are all accountable to one another and we want you to share your pain. But some more deeply personal details need to be discussed through different channels. Thank you for being honest about your feelings and concerns. It’s very difficult to do this online where we cannot hear a person’s tone of voice or speak in a different way. We as moderators are praying through this and doing the very best we can for all of you here.

          • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

            Good Morning Sarah! I appreciate your words. I agree you have to have that balance. I have only met this person on this page, but my heart went out to her. Understand, I am not trying to come down on anyone, I’m just saying it takes tremendous courage & perhaps it was explained to her that yes your story matters, we just need to say it delicately & I felt that she received it as one more time she wasn’t good enough. Which just caused me to pause & realize how impactful our words can be. As I said abuse is messy & unfortunately healing from isn’t always the flowery journey that some would like it to be. All I am trying to say is it made me more aware how accountable I myself need to be & I appreciate this place where others an help me be accountable. Trust is such a HUGE issue with so many who come to this study & I just want to make sure we as a group are being to them what we claim we will be. I was just expressing what was so heavy on my heart. Thank you all for listening. My intension was not to hurt anyone. Crystal

          • Sarah Knepper

            You did not hurt my feelings Crystal :) We are all learning and growing here. I wanted to voice my heart on the matter and hoped to keep my emotions in check. Thank you again for caring and for your voice. We are not trying to silence any of you beautiful ladies but we are trying to be sensitive to ALL. Thank you for being here.

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        Lisa, love what you said, however: weeping in the quiet place too tender to even express her own pain much less grapple with the soul-shrieks of those who fight a hard battle behind curtains of triage. This reminds me of Matt Redman’s new song~~your grace finds me. The line that says ( in the darkest night of the soul.) I think many of us have been there. If you haven’t heard it go to youtube & listen to it. It will bless you. Crystal

    • JoAnnFore

      Oh Crystal how heavy your words lay on my heart. To think one would feel rejection from such open hearts as this environment offers would cross our very purpose.

      A woman’s heart and voice are highly respected and valued and worthy here. This is why we are here. There is a delicate balance on this healing journey though when several hundred are journeying together. A thin line between perceived judgement and actual legal obligation as was the case with your friend if we are speaking of the same instance. There is a time when a woman’s hurts impact the legal responsibility of all who hear her story. Those times are better suited for a trusted counselor who can guide someone through. And that particular protection is for both the story-teller and the listener.

      Again a delicate balance. And if I have somehow erred I beg grace. This is a safe loving environment without judgement or rejection. Your sin is no worse than my own, but if either of our sin holds possible legal ramifications the

      • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

        JoAnn, I do know where you are coming from as I have run support group for many years. We are advocates & work with the legal system. I know & appreciate your position. Yes we are speaking of the same one. I’m just saying, this makes me so mindful of how our words can impact others. How important it is for us to bear witness & hold space for those who are hurting. I know that God is going to bring amazing things to pass through this group. I agree it is a place of healing. I just don’t want to become a stumbling block for anyone. I expect to be held accountable to these ladies same as I would hold them accountable. That is a benefit of being in a group setting. I appreciate your words.
        I have had 2 other ladies ask me about getting your book. I gave one of my copies away. I may need to order more. It is going to be a good study. Can’t wati till next week!

        • JoAnnFore

          I love that . . . The mutual accountability. Yes friend let us all pray that we choose our words carefully as we journey together. And may I never cause someone to stumble.

          Again thank you for bringing this perspective forward. This is good dialogue.

          You are a rich blessing to many and I am so very thankful for your heart!

      • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

        I will admit I must have missed the comment that sparked this conversation…but the earlier warning about sharing the details of our pain, have silenced me a bit, even though I know it was not your intention. Because I don’t want to cause anyone else to stumble. I know that tender hearts can be easily hurt by sharing details at times. At the same time it makes me wonder if we are indeed an open enough community that can help heal, if we are constantly second guessing the things we are able to share. Not worried for myself because I feel that I am in a good spot, more concerned for others who may need to share some things and may feel stifled by that warning.

        • JoAnnFore

          I appreciate that concern and I’m thankful that you voiced it for if you may have represented others who have not yet found the ability to type those words Deanna.

          I have to admit, it concerns me the way this situation has wormed it’s way into our community to cause doubts and division. In my attempt to respect the original commenter, I was probably more vague than I should have been. But this commenter made me re-evaluate the capability of our online community here. Truth is, we are not licensed professional counselors, and while we can {and will} come along a sister and pray you through any situation and help you find healing as God has designed healthy community to do {because we have been there!}, this community is not equipped to handle situations that might involve the crossing of legal boundaries nor should it expose others in the community to potential liabilities.

          In order for this to be the safe community we promised, I had to set that boundary for you.

          Those of you who made your way here, I feel responsible for you. I take your trust seriously, and to the best of my ability I want to protect and shepherd you, individually and as a group, God’s way.

          I believe God WOULD have you share that story you have kept silent, that pain that has robbed you of God’s best. That abortion, that rape, that abuse, or that other unfathomable pain that blocks you from God’s healing, I believe it must come to light. And my heart’s desire is to stir you towards that freedom. My consistent cry to God is that we would break these silences for it is in the breaking that healing stirs.

          However if that pain holds some very explicit details that potentially cross over into criminal activity as in the case of this commenter, than unfortunately that type of pain should be reserved for a private conversation. It does not mean we love you less. It does not mean we are judging. And it certainly does not mean our intent is to silence. We are here. We are available. We are willing and ready to join you on this journey. The post this week was simply our attempt to establish healthy boundaries and explain our capabilities within our healing community here online.

          I’m so sorry for any confusion the post may have caused. We do not want you silenced! We want you to find full expression and complete healing through the One who has the ability to heal us as nothing else can.

          Again, thank you for your comment, for your heart.

          I’m honored you are on the journey with us. I said from the beginning we would be learning together, and this is surely proof of that. As always, I ask for grace on the times I err.

          • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

            JoAnn, I love your precious heart, and I am glad to see that it appears that you have taken the comment in the nature I had hoped you would.

            It is essential that we realize that your boundaries may cause others to pause before posting in ways you did not intend, as in my comment I made. At the same time Satan is attacking this group and trying to prevent the healing that could come as a result of this message, as a group we must stand united, and not let Satan cause division among us.

            Honestly there are times when therapy has to be the method for healing, such as when legal boundaries are crossed. Or when hurts are too deep and we just need that professional help.

            That we all would pray for one another on this journey and prevent Satan from keeping us from finding our voices. This will be most essential. Looking forward to seeing the new forum when it arrives. Also perhaps with the privacy the forum affords, we could have a list of clearly stated boundaries as to what we can share and what should not be shared openly, so that we can help others with our stories, yet not hurt others in the sharing of details. That is always a concern I have when I begin to open up, that somehow others will be hurt, because of tender hearts or similar circumstances.

  • Jerry N Crystal Mayfield

    I am going to call t a night. Enjoy the study tonight ladies. I thought the chapter was awesome. Catch everyone next week. Blessings Crystal

  • http://wwwtransformingfocus.com/ Carol J. Smith

    Hi! I don’t seem to know most people so I am looking forward to connecting on a deeper level. I am open to being a “book study buddy” –I am on the west coast and tend to post in the late evening–PST. I’ve been on a healing journey for most of my life–going through cycles of afflictions, healing and renewal in Christ. This year Romans 8 has been speaking to me over and over. All 10 questions were insightful so I am not sure where to begin. Childhood secrets, shame and movement beyond to receiving help and serving others through Biblical counseling and life coaching. One of my graduate studies focus was on the power of small groups and accountability. This format is new for me although I’ve been doing group studies for many years. I love the Scriptures and encourage you to let God’s voice speak to your heart and minds…a continue to allow Him to be your voice! Trusting the Holy Spirit to give us the words to speak in the hour needed…Luke 12:12

    • Sarah Knepper

      Beautiful Carol! The cycles will come as life happens and we move through different phases and seasons. You have some wonderful insight already and I am praying as you make your way through this book, page by page.

      • http://wwwtransformingfocus.com/ Carol J. Smith

        Thank you Sarah you are definitely a strong encourager! I diligently made my way through Write Where It Hurts journaling and find this book study another great resource and tool for healing and growth. Truly my whole life has been a healing journey…thankful for Christian faith and God’s grace! Happy Thanksgiving to all be grateful for daily blessings!

  • Amanda

    I realized that for as long as I can remember I’ve had secrets and shame. But I was never told by my abusers not to say anything, I just somehow knew I couldn’t say anything. It lead to feeling that way about others areas in my life. I couldn’t share because of the shame that came with all of it. I’m seeing now how strong this still is in my life with smaller things. I share some with certain people but I can’t share deeper down. I still feel like my voice isn’t important enough. If people don’t listen or hear me when I talk about smaller things, then they wouldn’t about bigger things. It just happened today. I started talking about something and got ignored and interrupted. Satan uses that so much to keep me quiet and it’s so hard to try again because of fear of being ignored again. It’s a constant struggle for me.

    • Sarah Knepper

      Amanda, my heart goes out to you. I have also hidden certain things from different people and feared my words were not important. But you are brave for just being here and working trough the shame you have felt for so long. Identifying the issues is half the battle. Pray for discernment and ask God to lead you to those you can share fully with. Some people lack the spiritual maturity to fully understand certain situations. Our words are powerful and when we begin to speak others sometimes get confused or nervous. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share but it does mean to ask for wisdom when sharing. So glad you are here!!

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      Amanda, I spent years in toxic shame, letting my shame define me. Sharing over time releases some of the shame, but I would start by only sharing with God and trusted friends.

  • Tinika Nicole

    Hello everyone! My name is Tinika and I live in Garfield Heights Ohio. I am just joining today. I got my book and I am sooo excited to get started. The book seems amazing already and I know God will stretch me during this time. Many blessings ladies;)

    • Sarah Knepper

      Welcome Tinika! We are so glad you are here. If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

      • Tinika Nicole

        Thank you so much Sarah!

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      Welcome!! This is going to be an incredibly awesome book.

      • Tinika Nicole

        Yes it is! Thank you Deanna;)

  • Newbeginning Forbes

    I think this book was written just for me as i transition myself to what God is leading me through.Awesome read and very inspiring.My name is Shamara and I want more.

    • Sarah Knepper

      Hi Shamara! It’s amazing what happens when we find someone else we can relate to. I’m so glad you are here and wanting to learn more. Letting God lead you is so important!

    • JoAnnFore

      Oh Shamara, we’re so glad you are here. We want more of you! <3

  • Carole

    When I read Chapter one…I did really good…saw myself so much in there. The thing that hit me the most I think was the part about perfectionist, and people pleaser…that is soooooooooo me. With all the abuse that I have suffered this has been my way to feel love and be accepted…even if people didn’t know my past and just saw my perfectionist…that is good for me. When I got to the last couple of questions I have to be honest that I didn’t write much for those because I really don’t know how I feel about God at the moment. Like I said before I thought I was ok but then started reading all the post last week and all of you saying God is good etc… something came over me and I really don’t know how I feel about Him anymore. I want to know Him as most of you all do. It’s hard work. My psychiatrist one time asked me when I was young..what dreams of my future that I had… what was I wishing for. I didn’t have any fairy tales to say. My dreams were dying…dreaming of ending my life. I just wanted to have the courage to end everything..I just wanted the hurt to go away. I was too chicken to end my life. So when I was praying to God…that is what my prayers were. After I became an adult I started pleasing people more and more…doing anything and everything for them even if I had to change my plans. It’s funny where you look for acceptance and love sometimes.

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      Carole, precious Carole. I have been there sweet friend. Just cling to what you know is true and right, and trust Him to get you through. I also am a people pleaser and perfectionist (in certain areas). This was my way of feeling loved. I am in recovery from my people pleasing ways. But it takes constant redirection from God. I’ve battled depression and suicidal thoughts for years, and have finally come out to the other side. As a result of clinging to God desperately through my struggles, I have a stronger faith now than I ever did, and I can say with confidence that I know that God is good. But like you, there was a time that I wasn’t so sure.

      • Carole

        Thank you Deanna. It is very hard at times to not give up on life. I’m glad that you have come out to the other side. I just hope to learn to have faith. Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed when I think of God. I was heavy medicated for a few years and in the last few months the dr have been lowering my dosage so now the feelings feels so real…there’s nothing masking the pain like before. The pain is so painful sometimes…the memories… the nightmares started again. I just wish I would have a better relationship with God today. I get confused of how I feel.

  • bethanylebedz

    The Voice Studio reached into my soul and pulled out a mess! I feel a lot of shame for things I know God has already forgiven me. I’m trying to figure out how to forgive myself. Those pesky, negative voices in my head were fueled for 20 years by my (almost) ex husband. I wish That I had been aware of what emotional abuse and manipulation are earlier in my marriage. I’m not sure whether it would have changed the outcome or not. I really wish that churches would talk about destructive emotions in marriages more; and I really, really wish that churches realized that emotional wounds are just as damaging as physical wounds. I would sometimes with that my husband would slug me, just once, so I could be justified (in the church’s eyes) for leaving him.
    My default thinking patterns: I’ll never heal. Why aren’t I better now? I’m a burden to everyone. I’m a reject. I’m not ok.
    And, I’m looking for a book buddy. Anyone??

    • Karen De Armond-Gardner

      Bethany, I would love to be your book buddy. I too was in an abusive marriage. God loves you more than he hates divorce. Verbal and emotional abuse are a bad or worse than being hit. The pain from physical abuse goes away, the pain from the emotional and verbal was much more difficult to get over. Praying for you my new friend.

      • bethanylebedz

        Thank you, Karen. We can be book buddies! I’m sorry you, too, were in an abusive relationship. I’ll be praying for you, too.

        • Karen De Armond-Gardner

          Bethany, My email is karen.dearmondgardner@gmail.com. I saw your comment about making simple decisions. I walked out of an abusive marriage 9 years ago. When I first left I could barely choose an outfit. I understand all the struggles you are dealing with right now. It is so hard, but you will come through the fog, it will get better.
          Praying…

  • http://www.livinglifeholistic.com/ Susan Orehowsky

    I joined this study because of the title of the book. I was a facilitator of Theophostic ministry for many years helping hurt people find the root issue and then healing that allows the truth and love to come to light. I realized that I still have some triggers around my verbally abusive alcoholic father during my childhood years. He is no longer an alcoholic and we have a good relationship today. Some very long forgotten memories came forth and it helped me to speak them forth, repent and ask for healing. I have an accountability partner that I see every other week and we barter our services of coaching/counseling to each other. I think your book is right on and I look forward to next week. Blessings!

  • Lindsay

    I think this book is great. There were a LOT of amazing points in this book. One specific thing that hit home was the question about whether or not I feel like I should just be ‘over it’ and why? For me personally, there was a situation that happened and the way I looked at it was not the way it was taken when I stepped out and shared it with a non believer friend. That in turn made me feel like i should just get over it already. i felt as though maybe it didnt happen the way I thought it did because even though the fear inside at the time was real, I ended up giving in after MANY times of saying no, so really it was my fault. Also, the shame of admitting the place i was in during that incident can be overwhelming when I think about it. I liked the part that the way people judge is NOT the wat God judges…and even though I mentally know that, its a good heart reminder that just because the one time i shared wasnt accepted or received the way (possible judged incorrectly) I wanted or thought it would be, doesnt mean that it didnt happen and that God doesnt see it the way I do. I also want to find the root issue of the areas in my life that are broken. I dont want to just remember the specific incidents, but also the WHY. I know that it will be painful, but I am SO ready to commit to this and to move into the reward of healing and wholness.

    • http://thepuresacrifice.wordpress.com/ Deanna Wiseburn

      I understand that need, but I have also found that sometimes the why causes more problems if we don’t get an acceptable answer. Sometimes the question I go to next is, now what? What is the purpose of this? How can God use this? Where do I need to grow through this?

    • Amy

      Lindsay,
      We all have or have had skeletons in our closets; real or perceived (by us or others). Personally I don’t believe we ever really get over them. I believe we can work through them, we can receive deep healing and ultimately be free of the bondages they have caused but I don’t think we ever get over them. If we were to completely get over them it would in essence deny they were part of who we were/are and this would be a denial of oneself. The reward that is received when we commit to walk through these areas can be amazing while at the same time the journey can be incredibly painful.

      I would encourage you to find someone in your life to walk through this with you. Someone non judgmental, who bases their own life on the grace of Jesus Christ and with whom you can feel completely safe. It can take time for this person to come into your life, in the meantime pray for God to bring you someone, listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and be prepared to obey. A true sister in Christ who walks beside us is priceless. May God bless you Lindsay and bring you a beautiful sister!

  • Amy

    “A healing power in the release of bound up emotions”. I don’t think there could be a much better description than that to what has occurred over the past few years for me. I’ve always been one to write and journal occasionally but four years ago an amazing friend came into my life who challenged my faith to its very depths, who has walked through fire with me and who encouraged my writing for release like never before. She showed me through example what it means to lament to God, to write psalms of praise and to use my writing time as a means of prayer and communication with my loving Father. Since that time I have filled nearly a dozen journals, written chapters of a book, started blogging, filled numerous email inboxes AND walked through many dark places within my heart, more than I ever realized was possible. God took that writing, that praying, and Used the words as balm for the broken places in my heart. Now when I feel that inside knowing that something is off, that he wants me to delve further, to obtain more healing the first thing I do is turn pen to paper and let Him fill pages upon pages. Writing is like a soothing ointment when my heart hurts, like a balloon bursting at its seams when my heart is joyful, but more importantly it’s a way for my heart to express itself in ways my mind cannot fathom, in a way only brought forth by my loving Father.

    • Stacey Bengtsson

      Amy, this is such a beautiful picture of God’s healing and redemption. The way he has used your writing to heal your heart is truly amazing and inspiring. I have heard so many say that writing is a way to get the hurt off their heart and physically out of their body. Writing is a release that brings healing and God has certainly do e that in you through your obedience. Thanks for sharing!

      • Amy

        Thank you Stacey and I love your description of getting the hurt off the heart and physically out of the body……such an accurate description of how I feel after a good long writing session:-). Bless you Stacey for the beautiful words!!

  • Rebecca Prince Sherfey

    I think the thing that stood out to me the most was the descriptions of the attitudes or behaviors, or masks. I saw myself in the people pleaser and the approval addict. I knew previously in my life that was a “fault” of mine, but I began realizing that was something I am continuing to do in my life. I have found that even in ministry I want to make everyone happy, when in all reality I can’t please everyone.

  • Becky

    I am so thankful that I somehow came upon this Bible Study. The book seems to be written for me. Reading chapter one was like reading my journal at times. It is helpful to know others feel the same way and there is a way to get past it. I desire to go back and read it again and answer each question after processing it again. I want to see where I start and where I finish in this study. My heart is open for whatever God has for me!

  • Diana Rockwell

    The questions cut deep into my heart. My youth haunts me. I walked through forgiveness and my life, but often I am filled with sadness. I know in my heart to not ask the question s what if? And if only? Blessings from staying in my marriage are two sons, five grandchildren. I learned to put one foot in front of the other. I never have really written about the pain both physically and emotionally I have suffered, so when I wrote, my feelings were raw and I had to turn to God with the memories and my choices, I know I am forgiven. The prayer was so special at the end of Chapter One. My life is in God’s hands. I need a book buddy. Blessings Diana