It seems as though everyone is sick these days!  Renee shared that she wasn't feeling well on her blog and my little family has the runny noses and scratchy throats as well.  Even though we've been a little under the weather, we have still been busy little bees.  The girls have had lots of activities this week and Raleigh/I have been working hard on the final touches of our free e-book, God's Love for Me (make sure to download it on Valentine's Day!).  I'm hoping to slow down sometime soon!

Speaking of the e-book, I'm offering a sneak peek into the cover design for truth-seekers signed up to receive e-mails from me.  Just fill out the "Sign Up for Blog Followers" form on the right side of the page to be added to the list.

How did y'all like this week's focus on God promising hope for my future despite the pain of my past?  I felt like Renee really shared her heart in this chapter.  In the beginning, she says:

God works all things together for good.

You were created for a purpose.

God has a plan for your life.

Having a purpose for my life has been a top priority of mine since college.  Some people, like my husband, choose a career path to study in college and find a job in that major right out of school.  That wasn't the case for me.  I wanted to take photography classes but could only do that if I majored in Art.  I liked the idea of marketing but hated the idea of a business degree.  I enjoyed human development classes but didn't see myself as a teacher.  I loved to write but I failed a pass/fail grammar class by two points.  Finally, I settled on Communications figuring that I didn't mind public speaking.  As graduation approached, I went on interviews of all sorts because I still wasn't sure what I actually wanted to do with my degree.  Many of my college days were spent asking God what his plan was for my life.

As Renee struggled to find her purpose, a friend suggested that she come up with a life verse.  Renee landed on Isaiah 61:1:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release darkness for the prisoners.

She says that verse made her heart fill with hope but then she got scared when she visioned herself sharing her story with other women.  On page 70 she says, "Then I started making a deal with God.  I said something like, "Lord, I will do anything for You. I will lead Bible studies.  I will tithe over 10 percent.  I will share the gospel with strangers.  I will move to Africa.  I'm willing to eat beans and rice for a long time, but please, please, please don't make me share my story.""

After that moment, she spent the next ten years of her life doing everything but sharing her story.

Has the pain of your past ever made it hard for you to believe God's promises and plans for your future?  What do you sense He wants to change in your perspective?

For Renee, she had to deal with forgiving her dad for the pain he brought upon her past in order for her to have hope for her future.  I've had to deal with forgiveness as well and I can honestly say it is something that has to be done in order to move forward in life.

Next week we will discuss Chapter Five.  See below for our words for the week.

Our Word for the week: HOPE (Download in a PDF or download in MSWord). Please print it and post it everywhere so you can remember that God’s love can satisfy the thirst of your soul!

HIS Word for us this week: “May the God of hope fill [me] with all joy and peace as [I] trust in him, so that [I] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13, NIV

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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