When Finding Your Voice Becomes a Community Effort

chalkboard welcome
It’s finally here! Our time to connect and grow through our book study, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference. Grab your book, your Bible {if you have one}, your markers, and find a quiet corner where you can plug in with us online.

 

I’m so excited you are joining us. I can’t wait to see how God stirs in our time together as we dig deeper. {If you have already received a notice about our study in your email and you came here to get started, go ahead and scroll down now to the part about this week’s activities. If you need the full information, please read on.}

 

Here are some of the details:
  • Our study runs 11/18/13-1/27/14.
  • We will cover a chapter each week as we share encouragement and practical tools while engaging in authentic community.
  • Everything happens right here on JoAnnFore.com. All the discussions and our heart-connections start right here in our comments section.
  • The study is completed on your timetable. Connect with us here each week as your schedule allows.
  • We’ll also have a chance to connect outside of our online community  as we schedule a live conference call and smaller online groups.
  • We’ll be doing some giveaways during our time together. And every single time you participate in one of the options we share, you are entered to win!
Here’s what I’m going to assume:
  • You want more love and joy, peace and freedom in your life.
  • You want to matter; you want your life to count.
  • You’ve been hurt somehow, or you’re walking alongside someone who has been hurt.
  • You are a woman. {Sorry, guys, while I know the truths in this material are applicable to you as well, this particular study is geared towards women.}
  • You will guard your time during this study. This is for you, and it’s important that you protect this time.
Here’s what I won’t assume:
  • That anyone in this group is superior somehow. There is no one who has magically “arrived.” We are on this journey together as we learn to hope forward.
  • That we are all Christians. While I can’t share my story without sharing my love for Jesus {and my heart for you to know Him}, I welcome everyone.
Here’s an idea of how our weeks will roll:
{While I respect everyone is busy, busy, I want to leave our lines of communication open so I will grant more than a couple connection opportunities throughout the week. Please plug in as you are able for a more rewarding experience.}
  • Mondays start our time fresh, with a new Chapter focus and a discussion around our activities for the week.
  • On Thursdays, we have a special treat: a blog hop. We need you for this. If you’re a blogger, we will have suggested topics for you around the study and we’ll ask you to select one and then share on your blog how God is working in your heart around that topic. {If you aren’t a blogger, don’t worry because you can simply drop in on the blogs of others.}
  • On Fridays, we’ll ask you to return to the blog and discuss your weekly takeaway.

This week’s focus: Connection.

Online today will simply be a meet and greet. I want to know you. I want others to know you. If we’re going to go into those deep places with each other that others don’t normally reach, we’re going to have to start here, this knowing one another. Share with us in the comments section below where you are from {the State}, and what you hope to learn or how to you hope to grow from our time together.

{Don’t skip this part even if you are an introvert! It’s so important that I’m willing to bribe you to engage and connect. We’re giving away a really cool gift pack of two books this week, one When A Woman Finds Her Voice, and one of the Write Where It Hurts journals. Each time you participate in one of our activities, you get a chance to win!}

Our main activity for this week will be to read the Introduction and Chapter One. Then I’ll ask you to consider the Discussion Questions at the end of the chapter. I want to challenge you to complete at least five of those questions. And I don’t know if you are a journaler, but I also encourage you to write these things down. Record what God is doing as He does it–I can promise you we will return to harvest those nuggets later.

Our secondary activity for this week is to invite your friends. There’s still time. If anyone doesn’t have their copy of the book yet, email me and I’ll send you a link to the first Chapter. I’ve been away from my office for the last two weeks due to illness and honestly I have several unanswered emails. I know some of those are about our online study, so I want to give everyone a chance to be included. So, if you know a girlfriend who you want to join us, go grab her now and send her over here to sign up. {If you invite a friend, let us know that in the comments section and you will receive a chance to win some of our weekly prizes!}

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave those in the comments section.

I cannot wait to connect with you!

 

821 thoughts on “When Finding Your Voice Becomes a Community Effort

  1. Hi, ladies! I am Jill from Wisconsin. So excited to explore those parts of my past
    that have silenced my voice. I want to remove the masks and be
    known.

    • Ok, whoops, I see now it was you Jill who brought the mask-wearing issue forward first. It’s okay though, just proves how very much we need to reclaim our true selves and step out from behind these masks.

      Let’s do this together, ladies.

      Welcome, Jill.

      • Hey Jill! The masks were a big obstacle for me as well. But with each step you take you can remove them and find who you really are: God’s beautiful daughter! So glad you are here!!

        • Had a revelation today thinking about one secret from my past. I will term this revelation as a recognition of a self-imposed conspiracy of silence. I didn’t know how to talk about…tell anyone about my high school basketball coach (and guidance counselor) trying to take advantage of me and I think he counted on this. Which made it easy for him to do it again to someone else…a fellow teammate and friend. I didn’t find this out until a year later. I think he counted on her being silent as well…and he was right. We never did shine the light on his behavior but a year later he took a different job in a different state that had nothing to do with teaching (thankfully). I’m certain there had to be others but nobody talked about it. I wonder now if someone had been the first one to come forward, would any/all of us have had the courage to say “it happened to me too”? My closest girlfriends and no one in my family know this happened to me. I just buried it…never really gave it much thought until now as I try to put the pieces of my past together…to look at the whole picture. Jo Ann and Sarah…and all the ladies sharing in this venue thank you for helping me have the courage to examine it in a safe place.

          • Oh Jill, honey you are in the best place you can be. God does not want those hurts to go unchecked and continue to be buried. He longs for you to release them from the power they have over you and declare Him the healer in your life. I am praying for you, for this journey you are taking and for all the hurt to be broken apart and redeemed by our savior. You.are.loved.

          • Oh friend, one, I am sorry for what you have walked through and for the emotional fallout of such an experience, but two, what an honor to walk alongside you as you sort through these pieces. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for being on this journey together.

  2. Morning. My name is Karen and I am from Fort Worth, TX. For the last eight weeks I have been doing Mending the Soul (2 more to go). It has been a deep dive with 4 other women peeling back layers of hurt. As I am coming to the end of this journey, it is time to begin another and in the process find my voice to write. Like Jill, I want to keep that mask off and build relationships. Excited to begin and continue the healing process.

    • Hi Karen. Thrilled you are with us. And I know God will honor your desire, for it’s also one of His. I’m also excited that you are leaning towards writing–such a wonderful platform to use your story to make a difference.

      This mask-wearing is an obstacle for many of us. So glad you brought it forward right from the beginning.

      Welcome!

      • Karen, the learning and healing never stops, it’s a continual process of hope and exposure and I’m so glad you are taking the next step. Great to have you here!

  3. Morning from the Canadian Prairies. This Manitoba gal wants to learn how to find the words to share from those deep and, sometimes, dark places, in order to bring light, Maria.

  4. Hi! I’m Donna in Missouri. It’s my hope that God will continue to use this resource to further my healing and growth from traumatic experiences. I hope to learn to find my voice and encourage others through my story. Finding this book was a breakthrough for me, a wonderful answer to very specific prayers. I’m very excited!

    • Oh Donna, your post warms me to the core. This is exactly our prayers for this book. So thankful for your courage. God’s gonna honor that, just you wait and see.

      • Thank you Beth! I was amazed the day I saw the info. for this book come up in my newsfeed. It was huge! I saw you mentioned in another post here about recovering from infidelity. This is a big part of my struggles. I was in my first marriage for 23 years. There were addiction issues including porn, serial adultery, habitual lying, and severe financial and emotional neglect. I have experienced an incredible amount of healing and forgiveness towards my ex husband but the trust issues from the adulterous affairs and misuse of our money have haunted me. I work very hard on it but I still have triggers and symptoms of trauma in my relationships with others. My daughters do too and I have recommended this book to them. Also, our concept of our self-worth was very damaged, often manifesting in not feeling good enough no matter what we do or accomplish and so often choosing silence because we feel unworthy to be heard. So I’m checking out your blog and if you write that book I would love to hear how you have worked through recovering from the infidelity especially regarding trust and being at peace with yourself.

  5. Good Morning form Indiana! Some past wounds that I thought we healed have emerged as changes have come into my life. I hope to glean wisdom, discernment, growth and obtain another level of emotional healing from this study. I suspect that once these things are uprooted and discarded it will give room for creativity which is something I struggle with tapping into.

    • Exactly Stacy! Love how you worded that. It is these lingering hurts that often block us from God’s best. I think of Emily Freeman when you say this, her book about uncovering “the art you were made to live.” Meanwhile we trust while we take a temporary glance backward.

      So glad you are here.

    • Hi Stacy! My name is Sarah and I’m an encourager for this amazing study group. So glad you are here to heal and move on from the pain in your past. You will be blessed for your commitment!

    • I wonder some times if we will ever be able to completely uproot some of those things. One of my favorite quotes, from Celebrate Recovery, is “God never wastes a hurt.” Perhaps the reason those hurts rise back up is to allow us to learn new lessons and reach new levels of healing so that we can better understand, and comfort, others!

      • Yes Beth! I believe we can look back at past experiences during different seasons on our lives and see those situations with more clarity, maturity, and even a gratefulness. God has a way of healing our hurts so they don’t seem the same, they don’t overpower us like they once did.

      • Yes Beth! I believe we can look back at past experiences during different seasons on our lives and see those situations with more clarity, maturity, and even a gratefulness. God has a way of healing our hurts so they don’t seem the same, they don’t overpower us like they once did.

      • That’s a wonderful perspective Beth, thank you for sharing. There is definitely a social connotation that to be healthy you must be “over” past hurts or 100% healed from them in order to be productive and useful to others whether at work, church, within family or society in general. Great new perspective!

        • Ah . . . yes, another level of healing that I cannot wait to journey into together. Love the topics you ladies are bringing forward. My perspective? We can overcome, we can take spiritual authority over these lingering hurts. It’s not easy and we may never be completely healed but God does want us to strip away any false sense of power these hurts have over our lives and hearts.

          But goodness me, if I had to be 100% healed before pouring out to society, you ladies would probably never know me. Beth Moore taught me {through her words} how to teach and encourage from the very place we are ourselves. These lessons we ourselves are learning are often the healing balm that another needs.

          So yes, cannot wait to land here a little deeper in the study as well.

    • It’s awesome to meet you from one Stacey to another, lol. It’s amazing all the creativity that gets released when we allow God to root up all the lies we believe!

  6. Good Morning Ladies! Victoria from Virginia. After years of gripping fear God has helped me slowly find my voice out of the darkness of that prison. Yet, there are times that fear wants to close back down as new trials come. However, I feel strongly that God wants to do a continued and new healing work. So I look forward to this journey, for his healing touch and for new words to be released as a result.

  7. Welcome ladies! My name is Sarah and I’m in the middle of the Buckeye State (Ohio). I’m so excited about this study. As part of the book launch team I had the honor of working closely with Jo Ann and other beautiful women and have found that using my voice is essential to God’s healing process. I am here to encourage you and learn more. Can’t wait to get started!!

  8. Good morning ladies. Michelle from New York City here! So glad to be here walking alongside all of you in our healing journey together for this season in our lives. So good to have a healthy, safe and soft place for us to come to in the process

  9. Hi, ladies. I am Deanna from North Carolina. I’m just beginning to find my voice, although peeking at Chapter 1 tells me that I still need work, because I do not generally talk about those parts of my life that had so many secrets. I have done some work to remove the masks, however I found that they are so easy to pick back up when I am stressed or feeling less than my best.

    • Deanna, seeing your face here just makes me smile. I love how God works, no?

      And sweet friend, we all need work. But yes, we will make it a goal to stop hiding those untold secrets that are worming their way into our heart each day.

      • JoAnn, you make me smile. Until I look at the questions at the end of the chapter…those will not be fun, but necessary.

        Wondering though, how can we begin to share those secrets, when others involved are not willing for us to discuss it? Currently trying to be more open on my blog, just to realize I am stumped in this area, because my mom would never be okay with me sharing.

        Oh, and I realize we have more in common than I thought we did. I had to refrain from trying to contact you earlier about that, although I am sure we will talk soon.

        • Deanna,
          There are many different ways to talk about things that others want silent. That is one thing we’ll discuss here! I suggest journaling for now and then praying about what should be shared.

          • Sarah, God has told me to be less guarded on the blog, so I know there are areas I need to share, and some areas where I will not be able to. I look forward to learning the different ways to talk about what others prefer that I would not. 🙂

        • My mother contacted me a couple of times to “correct” my memories. I finally told her that while I love her and her support of my writing … I wasn’t sure it was wise for her to read my blog. I also added a disclaimer to my “about” page that these are my stories from my point of view and I recognize that some might remember these events differently. My mother hasn’t commented on my blog since! Not sure if that is a good thing or not. I struggle with balance too! Wishing you blessings and prayers for wisdom!

        • I actually waited a long time before I could fully open up and share my stories but it is a great release and freedom. We are a safe confidential group…good place to begin letting go of “secrets” we all probably share much in common with our stories.

      • Hi Deanna! I am so happy to see you here and journeying through this study with us! Love connecting with you in so many different ways! I know God will bring both blessing and healing as you walk through this study. <3

    • I bought the book (on Kindle) last night but haven’t even peeked yet! =) I suspect that the “work” of healing and finding our voice will be a lifelong process. So glad we can do it together!

      • Beth, I can tell that we will become quick friends. 🙂 I am moving toward “imperfect progress” as Lysa Terkuerst calls it. I know the growth comes through the continual small steps in the right direction.

    • It’s so east to put our masks back on when we are stressed! I believe God is calling all of us into a deeper level of authenticity and when we are done with this study, we will want to destroy all of our masks for good! Nice to meet you Deanna!

  10. Hi Susan from Woodbridge VA here! I am so excited about this study. I am a holistic health coach still is the beginning phases of starting my home based business. I am a mom of 3 grown sons, nana to 5 grand babies, wife of 29 years to my hubby Mike. I am in a new season and really clarifying who I am and my purpose as God designed me. I love to learn and teach. I love to laugh and I love God passionately! I am evolving to stretch my world to find a few life long friends. I am an introvert and working within my boundaries to live,love and not be alone so much:)

    • Introverts unite. 🙂

      Susan, I love your story. And I love that you are about to use it in even bigger ways as you launch your business. I am passionate about healthy lifestyles; we are going to have to talk more.

      So glad you are here.

    • Sounds like we are in a similar place (in some ways) in our journey. I have 4 grown children and a 34+ year marriage that hit a really rough spot recently. I had to acknowledge that I was requiring my husband to fill more roles, in my life, than God had equipped him for. I’m very much an introvert and tend to cut myself off entirely from the outside world. I’ve been trying to break some of those boundaries recently and it can be a real challenge! =)

      • Beth, me and my hubby have been thru some major trails. But with God’s help and a great Christian marriage retreat &counseling over the years we are so much in love and on the same page today! I have learned to live for today however that looks. Looking forward to this study and getting to know you and others better. Sharing is growing…let’s begin shall we! Abundant blessings:)

  11. Hello from Durham, NC! I recently found this site and the book through another blogger/author that I love…Mary DeMuth! and I am really looking forward to the book study and to being in this group! I have places in my soul that need to break free and use my voice in new ways…I am a life coach and sexual assault/dv crisis companion and want to use my voice in new ways for those purposes in the faith community BUT also feel very stirred for new healing and new freedom to speak a new voice message as well…I have just been ‘hiding’ in pain recently…

  12. Hello everyone! I’m Melinda from central Virginia. I’m using my voice to write my story and I am excited to begin this study as I focus on my manuscript. I’m disabled, a minister, a blogger, Mom to four girls 6 to 16, wife to David, Womens biblical counselor, and Christian Care and Counseling student at ORU.

  13. Good morning! I am in Northern Nevada. I have some past wounds that I think are healed and then something happens and they come right back up. It’s affecting my marriage, my children, and other parts of my life. This could not have come at a better time for me. I am ready to find my voice and let these things go once and for all! I’ve also invited a friend to take this journey with me.

    • Hi Misty! Welcome!
      I am so happy that you are joining us on this journey. We are all ‘in process’ on this journey. Past hurts and wounds can run deep and just when we thing we are past them something happens to bring them up again. I am praying that God will use this study to help you find the healing from past wounds and the courage to walk forward in to the freedom and adventure that awaits you from the hand of God!!

    • Misty! You are in the right place for God has not brought you this message by accident. So glad you have joined us and want to move past the wounds. And that’s great you’ve invited a friend. Wonderful!

    • Misty, one, thank you for trusting us. I don’t take that lightly. And two, than you for trusting us enough to also invite a friend. What a compliment that is. Thank you.

      Together, we will learn to let go. If something still hurts when it’s touched, I believe it’s a sign that God still has some healing to do. And I applaud your willingness to address it. Trusting God to move mightily in these areas.

  14. Hello all, I’m Lucy from the SF Bay Area (Fremont)…yes, so far it looks like I’m representing the West Coast. 🙂 I am looking forward to using the voice and story that God has written into my life. Ready to start talking more openly about parts of my story that for too long have been in storage.

    • Hey Lucy! This is a safe place for you to open up that storage and find freedom! As we walk these next weeks together know there will be pain but also joy from healing and hope. So glad you are here!

      • Thanks Sarah. I visted your blog a couple of days ago and began reading your stuff. You feel like a friend already. I’m ready for whatever the Lord wants to do. He is a good Father.

        • Oh wow, that’s so nice Lucy! I’m praying for you and all the women here who will be touched by this book. God is so good!

    • West Coast represents! Welcome Lucy. And yes, we may well do some unpacking in here. But you are ready.

      So thankful you made your way here.

    • Welcome! I think I saw a lady from Oregon earlier. (Trying to work my way through and meet everyone. Quite an endeavor!) I’m delighted to meet you and look forward to chatting more as we walk through this study together!

  15. ‘Morning ladies, Jeannie from snowy Northern British Columbia in Canada just checking in. I’m hoping for an unveiling of anymore unhealed areas of hurt. I’m not afraid to use my voice and share my story, sometimes I am more afraid there will not be the places to share or the ears to hear it. So I want to learn to craft the story so others will want to listen.

    • Good morning Jeannie! Goodness you ladies are dropping that snow in on us from Canada already … love it. So glad you are here. And yes friend, there are many waiting to hear. I’m so glad you are willing to use your story. Can’t wait to grow deeper together.

    • I’ve never been particularly afraid to share my story either. But the last few years have been so hard … and those hard times have involved other peoples’ stories as well as my own … that I sometimes wonder how to move beyond “shock and awe” to the reality of God’s amazing grace in the middle of my struggles! =) Plus I wonder how to share my story without oversharing someone else’s life. Balance just isn’t easy!

      • I so relate…it seems hard to get out of the midst of chaotic circumstances and also to protect and respect the privacy of others I have been silent. My personality has evolved from the easy going free spirit to a withdrawn introvert. But I keep believing this too shall pass and that one day soon I will seize the opportunity to fulfill my passionate desire to speak, teach and write again! Hold on your time is coming for now I am thankful for the little moments…

    • God will give you a platform for your “voice” and the ears to hear and receive your grace filled words Jeannie. I know He will.

  16. Hello Ladies! My name is Kaelynn Judd. I am checking in with you from Virginia. My Littles are currently napping so Mommy has time to get online! I hope that this study helps me put my pain into words. I have felt burdened to share my story for so long, but I never know where to start!

    • Kaelynn!!! I am so glad to see you here sweet friend! You are welcome with open arms and I hope to encourage you more than ever before. Oh I am so happy to see that beautiful face!
      xoxo

      • I’m glad to be here! I got this book when it first came out, but I haven’t found the time to read it! This will be great motivation.

    • Oh Kaelynn, I used to know that feeling well. And I believe you are in the right place as we learn this together.

      Thank you for the gift of your time with us. I know with little ones how very hard it can be to even find a few minutes, and to know that you would spend them with us honors me. I pray God richly blesses your investment my new friend.

  17. My name is Lori and I live in the metro Atlanta area and I’m so thankful to be part of this study. Can’t wait to see what God wants to do! 🙂

  18. Good morning! I’m from Minnesota, currently in the process of relocating to Charlotte NC. I’m passionate about women finding their voice, telling their story, and then changing the world in beautiful and significant ways, especially women in the marketplace. I love that the beautiful JoAnn Fore has written this book and created this community. I believe that no matter where you are in the healing process, a small piece of that hurt still can rear it’s ugly head, especially when you are getting ready to take the next step of faith forward towards your purpose and your highest calling for the Kingdom. I am certainly a work in process, and look forward to hearing all your amazing stories!

    • I’m so glad you have joined us Kristi. What a joy to have you here. And I didn’t realize you were relocating to Charlotte? You are so very close to me now. Awesome.

    • Kristi, you speak so much truth! We can forgive our past but not forget so easily. And when that hurt does come up we all need the tools to handle the situation and learn how to put it where it belongs! So glad to have you here!

  19. Hi There, Debie Southern from WI (Go Badgers!). I was also
    included on JoAnn’s launch team. While reviewing the book, I became stuck, near
    the end of chapter eight (Dare to Be Brave), so I skipped to chapter nine,
    about speaking up for others. One of my reasons to be here is to learn to “Be
    Brave” and release myself, fully to God, to use my voice. Another is overcome my fear of commitment and stepping out, so God may show me, where to volunteer my life. Hugs

      • Hi Debie!! I am so excited you are joining us here. You have been so brave during this process and I’m so glad you are continuing to move forward! We all continually learn to be brave so you are in the right place.

      • Hi Debie!! I am so excited you are joining us here. You have been so brave during this process and I’m so glad you are continuing to move forward! We all continually learn to be brave so you are in the right place.

  20. Hi, It’s Mary from Boise, Idaho! It’s crisp this morning to say the least, but my fire is great! I am a late bloomer in many areas. So I take on way more than I can manage and never complete anything! Trying to learn to manage and prioritize. Grew up outside Nashville, worked in the city downtown when I was young. Because of sin and dysfunction I have made some wrong choices but God has been by my side through the processes. I want to heal further and help others understand more of God’s grace, too. Glad to know you all and look forward to more~~~~

  21. Hello! My name is Betty Mullaney and I’m from Brown City, Michigan. Like many of you, I have plenty of devastation in my background but by the grace of God, I am finally understanding and receiving His designation of me as a conqueror and overcomer! God has been impressing on my spirit, for well over a year now, to “write”. I have struggled to know exactly what I am to write and how to say it. So my objective from this study is to figure that out and then walk it out. I have made a feeble attempt at a blog that I will share later. Can’t wait to get to know all of you!

    • We. are. overcomers.

      Yes, we will learn how to tell those heart-stories in a way to encourage others. Yes, we will come to know God’s grace in an even sweeter way. And yes, we will figure it out as we go.

      Welcome, friend.

    • Betty,
      There is no wrong way to share your story when you are giving God the glory! So happy to have you here and it’s wonderful to see your bravery.

    • I have really struggled with which part of my story to share and how and where to share it! I think God is prompting me to write a book about surviving, and overcoming, infidelity BUT … Not everyone knows and if I write the book … everyone will. I can keep her anonymous but I’m not sure how to write this story without dishonoring my husband. Does that make sense? I think I need to just write the story … give it to him to read … and THEN figure out whether or not to try to publish it! None of us live in a vacuum and telling my story while respecting “your” write to privacy is always such a balancing act!

    • Hello, Betty! So glad to meet you. I’m right there with you on the blog. I have mine “under construction” because I just can’t seem to get started.

  22. Good morning Ladies!! My name is Gay and I’m so excited to be joining your from Northern Nevada! I am also one who had the privilege to be on the launch team and what an adventure this has proved to be. I am here to dig deep to make sure I am no longer carrying any wounds from my past…to make sure that the scars that have remained only serve to remind me of the healing and wholeness that is available through Jesus Christ and to use my experiences to encourage other women to find hope and healing in the one who makes us complete..to help them walk forward in their journey healed and ready to help others. I find that the timing is providential in being one more step to prepare me for a new ministry I am about to step into…ministering to the women in the brothels here in my area. I want to use my voice to show the love and light of Christ to these women.

  23. Hi! I am Daniella from Canada. I have a busy home with three little ones under the age of 4! I am learning to allow God into a difficult childhood I had; with a bipolar and at times suicidal father. I don’t want this to have any negitive affect on my current mothering. Wow…already going deep for me! Very few people in my life are aware of this as part of my past.

    • I just love seeing our Canadian ladies here. Warms my heart.

      And Daniella, it’s in those deep places the soil is sometimes most fertile for growth. You are ready for growth. And your heart is tender to escape the fallout of generational impact. I believe God will honor that.

      I’m thrilled you made your way here!

      • Daniella,
        I’m so happy you are joining us. When I first began this process just saying some very private statements out loud gave me strength. You will get support and love here!

    • Welcome Daniella! You certainly sound like a busy lady! I’m so looking forward to getting to know you … and all these other ladies … as we shine light into our dark places together!

  24. Hi my name is Carole and I’m from Canada. I’m a mom of one and have been married for 20 yrs. I’m not very sure if I belong here…never belong anywhere really. I was sexually abused by 11 different people in my life. About 4 yrs ago I tried to end my life…since then I’ve tried to heal but I’m still struggling today. I was heavy medicated and now they are lowering my dosage and I’m living the real pain now. I have a real hard time trusting people. Many friends have told me that I have too many baggage and they left… so being accepted anywhere is not easy for me. I’m not positive like most of you are…I’m actually a mess right now. I’ve been working on very hard issues these past few weeks and I really don’t know who I am anymore…I’m sorry ;( Maybe it was wrong for me to write here.

    • Carole! Thank you for showing up. For joining us here, even when you were uncertain. You will find freedom here to grow at your own pace. We are on this healing journey. Yes, some at different places, but all on the journey.

      My prayer is that we will somehow be an encouragement to you as God gets in deep and does the restoration that only He can do in our willing hearts. Thank you for your willingness. And may I add that I am very very sorry for the hurts you have experienced.

    • I’m sorry.. I so don’t belong here…I shouldn’t of wrote anything. I’m so sorry.. I’m just too much of a mess to be here. Please forgive me ;(

    • Oh Carole … I am so sorry that life, and people, have hurt you so badly! I hope that you will find a warm, welcoming, and nonjudgmental community here! Please contact me if there is anything I can do to bless you!

    • I love you Carole. I feel so honoured to have been able to walk alongside you in this journey. You are one of the most beautiful, resilient people I have ever met! Thank you for sharing your precious hurt heart. We aren’t gathered here to judge, or compare where we are in the journey to find our voice. We are here to support, love and encourage one another. It’s ok to come just as you are. Hugs n love…

    • You belong here Carol.period. God wants to heal you and use your life to glorify His redemptive work. Hang on sweet sister, you are not alone!

    • Hello, Carole! I am so glad you have joined us and you most certainly do belong here! I am praying for you.

      You are Jesus’s Beloved Princess Bride, even though you don’t feel that way right now. He will help you realize that over time.

  25. Hi everyone! My name is Eileen and I am recently relocated back to my home state of Texas after being away 23 years. Like the rest of you…I have experienced some deep emotional trauma that have left me wounded and broken. I work hard at keeping up “appearances” but inside my world is crumbling. I have often felt that the Lord wanted me to use my story to help other women, but that would mean confronting the pain. Ugh. I know this is necessary for complete healing and looking forward to having a safe place to let God do His work.

    • Eileen, you have just encapsulated the premise of our entire time together. Excellent work. <3

      I pray God richly blesses you're linking hearts with us. I trust that you will not walk away unchanged. None of us will.

      So glad you are here.

      • Hi Jo Ann, Yes, I am expecting BIG changes because I have a BIG God who has BIG dreams for me! And for each one of us here. Thank you for putting this together. Blessings to you!

    • Confronting our pain is so hard! But when we do it, through the power of God’s grace, we take away the enemy’s ability to continue using it against us! One more place where the truth sets us free!

    • Oh my Eileen, this is exactly what we are focusing on here! You’re half way there friend, admitting the appearances are not worth it any longer is so important. I pray your time here is blessed and God rewards your efforts for wanting to be your true self. So glad you are here!

      • Hi Sarah, Thank you for your encouragement! It has taken me a lot of years to get to this place. But, God’s timing is perfect and while I wish that I had arrived a little sooner…I know that He will redeem and restore all the those years enemy has stolen from me!

      • Hi Stacey! Great to meet you! I am definitely looking forward to sharing this journey with everyone and watching transformations take place!

      • Hi Lacinda! So nice to meet you as well! Thank you for your prayers and for being on this journey together. God bless you sister!

  26. I’m Lori from Indiana. I’m finding that writing has been very healing for me. I’ve been through many hurts…some past, some recent. I’m looking how I can really delve in and share me story. This study seems to have my name written all over it :).

    • Hi Lori. I love how God connects us at just the right time. Thrilled you are here. And I happen to love your profile pic, love lighthouses! Let’s go deeper together these next few weeks. 🙂

    • I find so much healing in writing too! It amazes me … though it probably shouldn’t! God SPOKE everything into existence. Jesus used parables (stories) to teach! Listening to an audio Bible (which I have done 3 times in the past year) … much of it reads like a story! I think that is one of God’s truths that we have too often missed. The power in story! To heal our own hearts and to give courage and hope to others!

  27. Hello I’m Vashti and I live in WA state. I’m hoping to gain confidence in utilizing my voice. For far too long I’ve believed the lie that no ones interested in what I have to say. So i desire to break free from that lie. Thank you for what you do here.

    • Vashti,

      I think we all have heard those lies and believed it to be true. So glad you are here and looking for the Truth. Breaking free is amazing!

    • Welcome Vashti! And yes, what you say matters. It’s valuable, and needed. I’m thrilled that you are willing to confront that lie publically within our community because that is what will lead you to the freedom that waits.

      • Thank you for saying that!! It’s odd being on the receiving end. I’ve spoken those EXACT same words to other women but you are the first to speak them to me & my eyes are filled with tears & my heart overwhelmed with joy!!

    • I have been so amazed, as I have blogged about my struggles with so many things, to find people coming out of hiding to thank me for writing it down because they thought they were alone! Your story is so important!

  28. Hi Jo Ann, I am Dawn in Wisconsin. I am looking forward to diving into this book! I ordered the journal on 10/30 and it isn’t here yet. I hope to get it soon.

  29. Good Afternoon! I’m Beth from Tulsa, Oklahoma where the weather can’t make up it’s mind! We had temps ranging from low 20s to high 80s last week. Today is starting off warm but who knows what it will do! I blog over at Butterfly Masterpiece (http://butterflymasterpiece.com) and I’m delighted to join y’all!

    God has allowed many opportunities for growth and healing in my life over the past few years. I’ve always been quite open about those struggles (on my blog) but want to learn how to do so in ways that focus more on hope and joy rather than depression and pain. Both have their place in my story but I want that story to point hurting people to Jesus.

    • I love that Beth. We were just having that discussion within a smaller group this weekend. How we want to use the struggles as a resume of sorts, to let folks know “we get it,” but that we also want them to know the HOPE that calls them forward.

      Great topic to bring forward, can’t wait to delve in. Such truth — i’s all got to point to Jesus. <3

    • Beth, my friend! I am so happy to be doing this study with you!! I know that God is doing a great work in you now and will continue to show you His path for your journey and how to more effectively use your voice for His kingdom as you find hope and healing through this study! Love you!

    • Hey Beth! I too have been open about pain and tragedy but writing about the hope is where I struggled too. I am slowly learning how to see the silver lining and rejoice in the good that ha come from the brokenness. So blessed to have you here!!

  30. Good Afternoon/Morning Ladies! I’m here on the island of Guam and it’s already Tuesday morning. I couldn’t wait for this book study! I have already started reading When A Woman Finds Her Voice and let me tell you, I am already feeling the healing coming on! Jo Ann, thank you for creating this environment and helping others to heal!

  31. Hello! My name is Susan and I just want to say welcome! I have found this website such a wonderful place to learn, grow and build community with other women. I have been so blessed by all those who write and share and pray and know God is using this to help me move forward in being more honest with Him and others and more vulnerable and more real and connected with others and with Him.
    Bless you all,
    Susan

  32. Thanks JoAnn. Never done anything like this before. Read the first chapter. Good stuff. Keeping my heart postured for more healing and progress. I’m normally a pretty connecty person but this online stuff is a whole other experience. I’d rather sit down and have coffee. :0)

    • Oh friend, I wish we could all simply run off to a lodge for the next ten weeks and do this together over coffee, cocoa, or tea. And lots of hugs. But this at least gives us the chance to connect at some level. We will be doing a conference call and breaking into some smaller groups {for those who are interested} so we will have a few deeper levels of connecting available.

      And I LOVE that your heart is postured. That is the beginning of something absolutely amazing about to happen.

      • Thanks Beth. Oddly, I feel better now. I can easily think I’m the only who is feels this way. I’d rather see your eyes, your smile and connect spirit to spirit. I’m sure this will be a life changing experience. Here we go! 🙂

  33. Hello Ladies! Marissa from North Carolina. I am here because I’ve been on a journey the last two years, but I’ve hit an emotional wall. I hope to find freedom and peace in the midst of this journey, and I pray that this study opens the door to that freedom and peace. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Marissa, this study will give you all the keys to freedom. We have to allow God to work and be ready for what comes but the result is so beautiful that the work is so worth it. Glad you are here!

    • I went through a 12 Step Study (Celebrate Recovery) a few years ago and discovered that overcoming is more of a life journey rather than a one time trip! We get through something that we felt was overwhelming and then God shows us another mountain! Maybe what you are facing is a new wall rather than an old one that you are struggling to get through? Wishing blessings on your journey!

      • Thank you Beth. I agree that this is probably a new wall. I’m excited about this study and what God will show me. Blessings to you too!

    • Hi Marissa, sometimes we hit plateaus in our freedom journey. I’m looking forward to seeing you experience more freedom in this journey.

  34. Journalling, I should have to write about why I can’t journal. 🙁 I’m reading, and highlighting, Notes flow. Ideas too. Questions – and I’m frozen. Write it down? Uh gulp. Uh oh no. My heart actually starts to race. Breathe. Pray. Breathe. Pray. Try again.

    • Write your heart out Shanyn!! Even if no other human eyes see your words, God will bless your efforts. Do not be afraid for He is with you and so are we!

    • Journalling overwhelms you? I’m completely the opposite! I can write so much easier than I can talk! This kind of group study/support group is perfect for me! I hope that you will find yourself enjoying it too! Holler if you need help getting the words onto a page! =)

    • Just talk to the journal…don’t be concerned about what you write let your heart flow and express yourself! I have come to love journaling but always preferred to just say it! Keep breathing,, praying and talk to the God as a friend as you journal. Get a special unique journal just for you!

    • Actually, you are in exactly the right place. <3

      Next time you find yourself here, I encourage you to write that very thing. Yes, start with why you cannot journal. Time yourself for twenty minutes to start. I don't care if you start with "Jo Ann told me to journal and I don't know why I'm even doing this, because there's nothing coming …" Go with that to start.

      I promise you if you do not quit before that 20-minute timer goes off that God will stir.

    • I understand fully Jesus’ dearest Shanyn, if I write this it becomes more real and I can not shut out the horrible truth of what happened and the strangling fear and terror. Poetry for me was a way to express myself, But when I attempt writing my autobiography I literally feel I am being strangled, suffocated and can not breathe. Dear Shanyn allow yourself some quiet time and prayer before hand and think of this instead of journaling as whispering a prayer to Jesus in the form of a letter. I hope this helps a little.

      • Alma,
        I don’t know if you will join us this week, but I just love what you wrote here : think of journaling as whispering a prayer to Jesus. That is so inspiring. I see so much healing in your writing. You will help so many if they choose to open themselves up. Love you my dear northern ally.
        Don’t allow the enemy to cause you to retreat into that silence, back into that secret.

    • Hello, Shanyn! Maybe you could start by recording your prayers, just write them as you pray. Also, you could start by just writing key words that stand out to you as you read (i.e. Pray – wait – Rejoice -Wait – etc.). Then you can look back over them and see if there is a pattern or a consistent word being spoken to you. Just a thought. I will be praying for you.

      • Yes, Lacinda! That is how my writing started: just letting my soul gush out onto the pages in lament and confusion and fear to God!

    • Yes, Shanyn, what JoAnn said! I used to think I was losing my mind, with some of what would come out in my writing, especially after the tragic death of my best friend and learning how to deal with the new.and.more.than.a.little.scary version of myself that emerged in the grieving process. BUT I discovered that getting it out into the light (in a safe place!) stripped it of the power it held as long as it lurked deep in the shadows of my soul. The process was excruciating at first but whether you have ever had to push through “the wall” in a workout, or learned a new skill, language, etc….or gone through childbirth??? There has probably been something in your life to teach you the lesson of facing the fear or impossibility, and finding Possible on the other side! YOU CAN DO THIS!)

  35. Good afternoon ladies!! So excited to start the book study tonight. It has been an amazing journey with the launch team. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have a continued connection with all of you. God is freeing so many stifled voices. What a chorus it makes!! Thank you for giving us this safe place to lay our baggage down & pick up our voices. See you all tonight!! Crystal

  36. Hello, beautiful ladies! I’m Lisa and I’m waving wildly from down here in the Tampa Bay area in the Sunshine State of Florida where our high today was 85. *grin*

    I’m looking forward to connection and community and the growth and beauty of life that comes from healing alongside other women who are longing for the same. So picture me offering you a cup of coffee (I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I make some GREAT coffee!) and a streusel muffin (did I mention I love baking, too?) and a warm hug (I did say I’m in the land of Sunshine). I love you already.

  37. Hi ladies! My name is Lindsay and im from California. This book and community group was shared with me by an awesome friend and I am excited to do this with her as well as all of you ladies. 🙂 I am really looking forward to moving through brokeness, into healing and to turn it into something the Lord can use…making my mess, message. 🙂

    • Move through the brokenness and into the healing. Lindsay you are spot on with where we will go in this study. I am so glad you are here!!

      • Thank you Sarah! I am interested to see what kinds of things God brings to the surface for healing. I know it can be painful but the reward will be worth it.

    • I love the thought of a mess being transformed into a message! The day that I called our pastor and told him that I had just discovered that my husband was seeing another woman … he told me that God had the power to do that in our situation if we would allow Him to do so. We’re still working on that! Blessings to you as you pursue beauty from brokenness!

      • thank you beth!! i will be praying for you and your husband! i believe wholeheartedly that God CAN restore marriages and make them into a beautiful story of reconciliation…a beautiful MESSAGE. Blessings to you on this journey as well!

  38. Hello, Sweet Girlfriends! What a wonderful, sacred place for all of us to heal and grow together. Thank you, JoAnn!
    I am in Austin, Texas, and I am the Founder of Flourish Over 50, with coaching programs, resources and speaking to inspire and equip women to flourish, inside and out.
    After searching for my birth mother for over 23 years, and doing some DNA testing a few months ago, I believe I have found my birth mother. Long story of course, but last Friday, I went by her house in Arlington and left a beautiful blooming plant on her doorstep, with a letter introducing myself and asking for a connection. I have not had a response yet, but am praying constantly that I will have the opportunity to share my gratitude and love in person soon. I don’t know where this journey is leading–heartache from rejection or rejoicing from a new relationship–but I am so thankful to have a group of friends to support me as I go through this very emotional time. I know that God has been with me all the way, and am trusting Him to open the door at the right time.
    By the way, I believe she married my birth father, and I have three full siblings. I was raised as an only child, so having brothers and sisters has been a lifelong dream as well.
    Otherwise, I have a rich, full life with my husband of 34 years, and our three grown children and one precious granddaughter. God is so good!
    Hugs to each of you, and I look forward to the next few weeks together!

    • Wow Susan!! What a touching story you have. You are brave and I know this place is the right one for you. Cannot wait to get to know you more!!

    • Praying for a new relationship for you & your birth mom. We adopted our daughter 26 years ago & have been able to spend time with her birth mom & family over the years. Coming from the adopted mom, it has been such a blessing to be able to thank this woman for having the courage to give our daughter life. From an adopted child’s perspective, it has been wonderful completion for her to be able to share pieces of her life with her birth mom. We have all been so blessed by God’s provision of a much desired child for us, & the knowing she had a good family & now being able to be a part of her daughter’s life (for her birth mom). We stand witness to the amazing grace of God in our lives. That our daughter would come from one vessel & sail with another. I pray that you find this blessing as you reach out to your birth mom. Crystal

    • My beautiful friend with much soul and an even bigger heart. I am so glad you are with us on this journey. And wow, I love where your journey has you. Such heart-courage! Thank you for inspiring those of us watching, friend. Please keep us posted. Praying you through.

    • Praying that God grants you all of the desires of your heart Susan! Can’t wait to hear the outcome. Thank you for sharing!

  39. Howdy from Bismarck, North Dakota. I am searching for the truth. The truth about and of Jesus Christ. I am a new Christian, true believer and follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I need some strong mentors and amazing Christian women that I can learn from, grow spiritually with, and walk down a road to peace, calm, transformation, and healing with. Every time I attempt to compose my bio. I face road block, dead ends, frustrations, need I go on. I am looking, searching for hope and inspiration. I am trying to find out who I really am. Not what the past and others said I was or that I would be. I am looking to find who Jesus meant for me to be.

    • Has any body else had to face the necessary pain of disconnecting from your bio./birth “family” group? I was tired of their hate, lies, and abuse. I had run to all ends of the earth to disconnect. Now I run to the heart of Jesus to protect and connect. My therapist and pastor said there was no other choice, that I made the right choice. I just wish they would respect my limits and boundaries????

      • Ama, I am so glad you are here in this safe place. We will explore all the things you are sharing and more. I personally experienced some of the hurts you have and hope to connect more through the study. Know and believe God brought you here for a time such as this. We love you sister!!

        • When I grew up and where I knew no love, none. I cried out to Jesus in my heart. Inside was the only place I could ever show and feel any and all the pain. I became numb on the outside, plus to show a sign of even a solitary tear meant extreme danger. I am looking so much to crossing this bridge and finding my voice. The fear of death has also kept me from opening up and writing, yes, I did say death. Also is forgiveness giving those who have hurt you beyond measure and do not even know or believe in the one true Jesus Christ to our Father God?

          • Yes! Forgiveness is a very sensitive subject for many of us and the best thing we can do to unburden our own hearts is to give that pain over to God. He can cultivate our spirits to forgive and help us move on. That doesn’t mean we are giving a free pass to those who hurt us. It means we are not allowing them to control our thought and actions. We are saying “no more” to the pain and letting God deal with the justice. I hope that helps. We don’t easily forget but when we give each thought to God and walk moment by moment with Him our lives begin to change. Keep going sweet sister!

            • Thanks Miss Sarah, I feel this community is going to challenge me to let go and let God. Many of my issues are so very sensitive and extremely difficult to speak of. It is quite difficult for me to journal, but, poetry that is another thing. Christian women and yes, even men are moved to tears when I share any of my poetry. I began composing at age 7, as a way to write the darkness out of my life. Once I exited what I had grown up to and accepted Jesus and became a true believer and follower of Jesus my writing went from dark and diabolical to writing about the LIGHT of JESUS. I could use some prayers sent to Heaven to our Jesus if any one has a spare moment. Thanks much and Jesus Bless all Soul Survivors.

              • Poetry can be journaling Alma! God doesn’t put labels on our declarations, he just gives us the courage to share. Keep writing and letting Him lead you. xoxo

                • Thank you Miss Sarah, it is something different not putting labels on things and just being, letting things come out the way, how, and when they come out and just being with it, not masking it. There are extremely very few people and situations where I feel safe being myself. I think this may be one. I will be eternally grateful to our Jesus for bringing you all to me and so many others and for the tremendous blessings you, all of you, are bestowing onto me and bringing into my life.

      • Thank you and nice to meet you Miss Beth. You, and all other Soul Survivors are carried in my heart and whispered for in my prayers.

  40. Wow you ladies are rocking this book study, I finally got a moment to drop by and I am in awe of the awesomeness happening here! I am Amanda from Missouri!

  41. Just read this by Ann Voskamp, and almost literally wept.

    “You breathe different in a room when you know it’s not about the good you can accomplish but about the grace you can accept. You breathe different through a season when you begin it by breathing in grace — when you begin it in a place just to be real. Only then can we begin to be changed . . . ”

    This is what I want for us, ladies. This breathing different. Let us connect our hearts and learn to breathe differently so that we may be changed.

  42. Greetings Sister Voices! I am Carol from Pennsylvania currently living in Springfield, Oregon. I’ve been longing to get back into a “small group” for fellowship and study. Although this may not be your “typical” group nor a small gathering nor a local group face to face; I know we will all be blessed as we share in this grace community. Looking forward to giving and receiving as we begin this exciting journey. I am a courageous overcomer so ready and willing to use my “Voice” and make a difference….

    • Carol!! I love how God can unite his daughters no matter where we are on the globe. I am so excited you are here to encourage and receive love and support. You are beautiful!

    • I actually find small groups online easier for emerging from my shell. Groups of people overwhelm my introvert self and yet I love interaction. Here I get the best of both! I’m looking forward to getting to know you through this study!

    • You are a courageous overcomer, indeed. And I simply cannot wait for these beautiful women to connect with your beautiful heart, Carol.

  43. Hey Sisters, Dolores E. Torres-Green showing up later in the day here from Richmond, VA! Forgive me for this very eventful day that prevented me form getting online. It is my pleasure and honor to walk beside all of you on this true healing journey. Thank you for having me. 🙂 Healing Love, Hugs, and Prayers sent to all. <3

      • Hi Beth..Likewise to you Sister. Yes, I am expecting to share probably more than I have ever allowed myself to do before. 🙂

    • Hey Dolores, so glad you could join us! It doesn’t matter what time you get here as long as you arrive ready to grow 🙂 Hope your evening is a restful one.

    • Oh sweet friend … I’m so very glad you made your way here. I know you have much going on and I pray God blesses your time with us. You are a blessing, indeed.

      • Thank You sweet Jo Ann. This means so very much to me coming from YOU especially with this day’s challenges. I am so glad God gets it, and we all “get it.” I pray I can be a true blessing here. Thank You for the encouragement. You are pretty special to me too. HUGS. <3

      • Thank You sweet Jo Ann. This means so very much to me coming from YOU especially with this day’s challenges. I am so glad God gets it, and we all “get it.” I pray I can be a true blessing here. Thank You for the encouragement. You are pretty special to me too. HUGS. <3

    • I commented above, in reply to another comment, that I asked my mother to stop reading my blog because she kept “correcting” my perception of history. I love her dearly but I know that she and I see my childhood from entirely different angles and we might see, and feel, the same set of facts in completely different ways. I need the freedom to tell my story … my way! Perhaps I needed to learn that, as the story teller, so that I will be more gentle with the way my children remember their childhoods.

      I put this disclaimer on my blog: These are my stories told from my point of view. Some might remember these events differently.

    • This is very true in my opinion. I do not let anyone edit my work..well, except you 🙂 and want my story told how I remember it. Others may hold different view points and want to add their opinions but in the end, the author is the one recalling the information. When we try to change how people share and fit them into a certain category we are taking away the authenticity of their words.

  44. Hi everyone! Rebecca from Johnson City, TN here. I am looking forward to this journey with everyone. I am excited about what God will do with this study.

  45. Hi everyone my name is ….well it’s Maria, but people call me Joy. The story behind that is an interesting and hopefully inspirational one 😉 and I’m from London, United Kingdom. I’m really excited to be here as I believe God is going to do great things in and through our lives and experiences and I’m honoured and truly privileged to be a part of it with you all

    • Welcome Joy! Glad to have London representing here this evening. And I love that folks call you Joy. God has pressed my heart for much more joy in these last couple years, so you are an inspiration to me from the beginning. I want to know the story.

      Thrilled to connect.

      • Hi JoAnn 🙂 Ahh the story!! Well, I had always struggled with my identity, which was something that gnawed at me all the more after I became a Christian and I began to feel that I had no identity. I didn’t even have my mothers surname or my fathers surname but my eldest brothers fathers surname! I didnt have a voice as things in my past had take that away from me at a very early age, so it was like I didn’t exist. No one paid attention to me when I did pluck up the courage to speak in class and because I was so quite it was generally assumed that I was dumb. At home if I dared to be heard it was often an open door to being treated with verbal or physical aggression. Other than that I was ignored. Even when I achieved high grades or some other achievement it was met with a negative response mainly from my dad that if I had not achieved a 100% full mark grade then it was not good enough.

        I felt invisible, nameless, unattached, unloved, unheard and insignificant but God has said to me that I am blessed and highly favored and my future is bright. The two experiences just didn’t marry up!!

        So I cried to God to tell me who I am, show me my identity, who did He make me to be and what is my name. God eventually answered with a passage in Isaiah which talks about being given beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for the spirit of mourning. I understood He was going to turn my life around as it had been nothing but mourning, trials and hardships throughout my then 19 years of life. I was grateful, but still didn’t understand what this meant with regards to my identity.

        It was during a theology lesson that we covered the story of Naomi who said to not call her Naomi but Mara and something inside stirred me to look up the meaning of her name. Well I didn’t even realise until that lesson that names had meanings!

        I looked it up and it hit home that, as with Mara and Mary and other similar names, Maria meant bitterness!! This was what my mother had unknowingly named me and on top of that the only name that I inherited from either of my parents was my middle name, Loraine, for which one definition is “sorrowful”. Well! I said to God, this is not what You have said about me so please give me a new name that reflects what You have said.

        I pleaded with God for some time, nagged Him even, but He kept drawing me back to that scripture in Isaiah. It was Easter around 2 years ago when He finally clarified and said that He is turning my sorrow into Joy not just in my life but in my identity also and so no longer will I be called bitter and sorrowful but Joy.

        So i declared this at my Church and from then onwards I answer to the name Joy.

        • I love this story, Joy! While I am so very sorry for the many years of pain, I love it for the redemptive power. And you will see why as we move a little deeper into the book together. Thank you for sharing!

        • Joy, thank you for sharing your story! I loved it. I agree that names are significant. I never liked my name growing up and often thought about using my middle name instead. I wasn’t supposed to have this name. My mom had planned to name her first born daughter Eileen, but since my parents were devout Catholics, and since my older sister was born on the feast of the Virgin Mary…that is what they felt they had to name her. So, I got Eileen. One day the Lord showed me the meaning of the name, which is “light” or “sunlight” and gave me Isaiah 58 as my life verse to go with it. Since then I have embraced my name and realized that it was part of God’s plan for me. I think Joy was part of His plan for you!

    • Welcome Joy! Glad to have London representing here this evening. And I love that folks call you Joy. God has pressed my heart for much more joy in these last couple years, so you are an inspiration to me from the beginning. I want to know the story.

      Thrilled to connect.

      • Hey Lacinda, thank you. I’m glad we will be sharing this journey together to see how God will work in all of us through this all

  46. Hey ladies! I’m Stephanie, and I’m from the land of Oz. I’ve worn mask for so long that I have no idea what lies beneath. Not sure I know who I am anymore, or even what I’m supposed to be. So, here’s to finding out!

    • We are happy to have you here Steph. This is the place for you to discover who God really made you to be. So thankful for His grace and your willingness to grow!

    • Yes, Steph . . . to finding out who you are. Who we are.

      Can you imagine what life would be like? If the life on the outside actually lined up with the person on the inside?

      Yes, to finding out.

      Great to have you here.

  47. Hello my name is Shari. I live in Seattle. I have had a lifetime of abuse. Just a few years ago my ex-husband and his family turned my 6 children against me and took custody of our baby. The pain I feel will be lessened if I could find my voice and learn to get past all the loss I have experienced. Where do we get the first chapter of the book?

    • Shari, you can head on over to Amazon and order a paperback version or Kindle. Then you can join in on this amazing journey!

    • Shari, if you will email me through the contact button on the website here, we can send you the introduction and the first chapter.

      And such unfathomable pain. I’m so sorry. But there is Truth tucked somewhere beneath this pain that will help us start to lead you to the other side of this situation. That’s my prayer for you!

    • Shari, if you will email me through the contact button on the website here, we can send you the introduction and the first chapter.

      And such unfathomable pain. I’m so sorry. But there is Truth tucked somewhere beneath this pain that will help us start to lead you to the other side of this situation. That’s my prayer for you!

  48. Hi Ladies, I’m Terri Wood from Fernley, NV. I have never done an online bible study before, so this should be interesting. I am hoping to learn more about shame. It seems to pop up at the most inopportune times, even when you think that you’ve already overcome those issues from your past that are linked to it.

    • Terri, shame can cause such a wall between us and others. I’m so glad you are brave enough to come in this space and participate. You are not alone!!

    • Yes, Terri. Another great topic to bring forward. Thank you for your courage in doing so.

      And yes, freedom from this shame and it’s false sense of power over our lives!

    • Yes, Terri. Another great topic to bring forward. Thank you for your courage in doing so.

      And yes, freedom from this shame and it’s false sense of power over our lives!

    • Hello, Terry! So glad to meet you. The evil one certainly likes to taunt us with shame. Cling to 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

  49. Hello ladies! I’m Becky from Lexington, KY. I’m very excited about this study and to grow together with you all. I have a very hard time sharing my story. However, I do love to journal, and with your encouragement, I hope to get to that place where I can share more and know it is a safe place to do so! 🙂

    • Becky! Journaling is a fantastic way of getting your feelings out. Even if no one else ever reads your words you are releasing pain and allowing God to work. This is a safe place and Jo Ann has given us some amazing tools to help us all find our voices. Glad you are here!

    • You are in just the right place, Becky. I just know God’s going to stir.

      Thank you for being here. I pray encouragement, authentic connection, and restoration for you as we gather together.

    • You are in just the right place, Becky. I just know God’s going to stir.

      Thank you for being here. I pray encouragement, authentic connection, and restoration for you as we gather together.

  50. Angie from Texas. I have been married since I was 18 and my husband was 16. We have had many challenges from three family members suicides as well as the murder of my grandmother by grandfather. Life challenges of normal everyday life. We have stood together but life has hurt me at times beyond belief. I wonder sometimes how I survived..Iam looking forward to the study.

    • Hi Angie! Wow, my heart aches for all that you have lost! You are a survivor and I can’t wait to see how many lives you impact by sharing your story! It’s the only way for God to redeem what’s been lost to you and your family! Many will be able to learn from your strength and courage!

    • Angie, those are some powerful hurts. I am so very sorry for what you have endured.

      I’m glad you are connected with us here in community so that we can walk through some of these things together. God wants more than for you to survive friend, He wants you to live a life of joy.

      Yes, so very glad you are here. I know you know this, but we are so much more than survivors; we are overcomers, Angie. And I’m thrilled to learn how to overcome alongside you as we move beyond these painful hurts.

    • Angie, those are some powerful hurts. I am so very sorry for what you have endured.

      I’m glad you are connected with us here in community so that we can walk through some of these things together. God wants more than for you to survive friend, He wants you to live a life of joy.

      Yes, so very glad you are here. I know you know this, but we are so much more than survivors; we are overcomers, Angie. And I’m thrilled to learn how to overcome alongside you as we move beyond these painful hurts.

    • Angie, as we all carry our own burdens and tragedies we also know from reading others comments that healing begins when we share and let the pain out. You have been through so much and I am praying for you. I pray for God to begin opening your heart to the healing process. Things that happened in my past made me question my survival many times. But you are here and God is not finished with you!

    • Angie, as we all carry our own burdens and tragedies we also know from reading others comments that healing begins when we share and let the pain out. You have been through so much and I am praying for you. I pray for God to begin opening your heart to the healing process. Things that happened in my past made me question my survival many times. But you are here and God is not finished with you!

  51. Hi dear ladies. My name is Julie and I hail from beautiful northeast Iowa (a state park near Dundee to be exact). I’m so excited to be walking with you on this journey of hope. Community is an important tool for healing, and Jo Ann is a master at creating a comforting, encouraging space for us to be as we learn to breathe in grace and step out in faith. Over the next two months, may you be empowered to find your voice and embrace freedom.

  52. Hello. I am here to do this study, hoping to find that I can be loved by God. I am in a lot of emotional pain, and have never believed God loved me,I have never felt “Christian enough.” I need some peace and rest in my mind..a break from the fear. So, I will do whatever it takes…pray for me..

    • Lindsey, none of us are Christian enough. It is only through God’s unconditional love for us that we are set free. Please know you are loved by the one who created you. We are here to support you and to help break those mental chains. You are prayed for!

    • Hi Lindsey! I’m sorry that you are in so much pain! All of us on here are broken vessels and all of us feel unloved sometimes. God Loves you so much! There isn’t anything bad you can do for God to love you less and there isn’t anything good you have to do for him to love you more! You only have to be yourself. You are a treasure to a God and He values everything about you! You are perfect in His sight! Praying for peace and rest in your mind, body, and spirit sweet girl!

      • Thank you..I come from a very traumatic childhood..lots of abuse. Sexual(several men), and it went on for many years.Severe verbal abuse, suicides, &violence. I was told daily that I was garbage, and had no worth, that I was a piece of s**t. Now I fear that I am a rejected by God, and a reprobate. This is causing extreme fear..So yes, please pray for peace in my mind..Also where can I get the book?

    • Hello, Lindsey! So glad to meet you. I am praying for you. It took me over 45 years to realize God loves me just the way I am. And, He loves you just as you are. You are His Beloved Princess Bride.

  53. Hi. I’m Lynn in Dallas, TX. My story isn’t difficult to tell anymore because I’ve shared it many times. But it’s difficult for for many people to hear because it involves my abusive mother. Not many people will talk about abuse committed by mothers–but abuse by fathers is not a problem. I want to help change that and tell my story to make a difference.

    • You are brave Lynn and I am so glad you are here. Bless you for wanting to help others and uncover things that our culture doesn’t want to hear. Welcome!!

    • Hi fellow Texan Lynn! I too had an abusive mother and since she is still alive I struggle to write a lot of what happened down even though I have already been healed from it. Our stories are important!

    • Hello, Lynn! So glad to meet you. You are very brave and your story needs to be heard. God will use you to heal others.

  54. Rhonda from Smithville, Mo. I am so excited to be here with all of you amazing women. I have been searching for quite a while for God to show me what He wants me to do & I believe that He has guided me here. My entire life I have kept to myself. Never knowing what to say or how to say it when I did have something to say. I never believed that I had anything to say that mattered or that anyone wanted to hear it. I have struggled my entire life with this. I am looking forward to finding my voice.

    • So excited for you to begin your journey. As you begin to find your voice, you will grow in so many unimaginable ways. What you say does matter & we want to hear it. Crystal

    • Rhonda, I’m glad that God led you here. This longing you have, this is exactly where we want to go in our time together. Welcome my new friend.

    • Rhonda, I’m glad that God led you here. This longing you have, this is exactly where we want to go in our time together. Welcome my new friend.

    • Hi Sis Your voice does matter and I’m thankful God guided you here and for you letting me know about this. I’m thankful we can do this together. God has something very special for you !! We have had are mask on for to long. It is time to find are voice !

    • Hello, Rhonda! So glad to meet you. You do matter! What you have to say does matter. People do want to hear what you have to say. I want to hear what you have to say. 🙂

  55. Hi, I’m Stacey from Fort Worth, Tx. Four years ago, God told me to write a book. I have messed around with it a little but have not been able to fully commit. I have done ALOT of healing in my journey but a few weeks ago, a friend suggested that maybe I couldn’t write because God needed to do more healing as I write. I didn’t like that observation at all but knew she was speaking truth. I am in this group to make new friends, learn from each if you and have accountability. I look forward to being on this journey with all of you.

    • Hi Stacey, I too began a book many years ago. I first started it to help me get all those feelings out. Writing was a safe place to say all those things I as afraid to say. Then it was sort of to hurt the one who molested me. To say “I didn’t do anything wrong & I have nothing to be ashamed of & I don’t care who knows it.” Then God showed me that it was very healing & that the motive & heart behind it had to change. That I needed to give him the Glory for his restoration healing. When I got that, my writing changed & I just wanted to help others along my same journey. I put it on a shelf so to speak for yrs because a lot of people told me writing was a nice hobby, but I needed a real job. I have since asked God to reignite my passion for writing & for my ministry Daily Grace, which helps victims of sexual abuse. That’s when I found JoAnn & her writings. I am so thankful & so excited to journey with all of you. Crytal

    • Stacey, there are indeed times when we write for publication, but there are also those times we write simply to heal. The ironic part, a lot of our published words are rooted in those earlier words of healing.

      Praying for your writing, but most of all for your heart. Great to connect!

    • Stacey, there are indeed times when we write for publication, but there are also those times we write simply to heal. The ironic part, a lot of our published words are rooted in those earlier words of healing.

      Praying for your writing, but most of all for your heart. Great to connect!

    • Stacey, there are indeed times when we write for publication, but there are also those times we write simply to heal. The ironic part, a lot of our published words are rooted in those earlier words of healing.

      Praying for your writing, but most of all for your heart. Great to connect!

  56. Finally I think I am in the right place. Hi Ladies! This is Crystal from Fullerton, NE. So excited be this journey with you as you each begin to find your voice. I had found my voice, but over the years have allowed others to stifle it somewhat. I have begun to dust it off, water it a little & let it grow. I am overjoyed about regaining my voice & allowing God to use it to help others along the way Crystal

  57. Good evening ladies, sorry for the late arrival. I begin this journey a bit anxious. First, I have never done an online book study, second I am just recovering from a two week period of anxiety as I have never before experienced. I feel like I am coming out of a two week battle with the flu. My God has been with me every step, and I need to stop and remind myself frequently of that! Father I believe, help my unbelief. That being said I love to write, prayer and journaling have helped me deal with a lot of the pain in my life. I don’t mind sharing my story most of the time, though so much of it is still being written in regards to pain and finding my voice.

    My greetings come to you from rural Northwest Ohio. I have three sons, one married, one in college and a ten year old. My husband and I have been married 25 years…..but before you go thinking it’s just one happy family let me assure you that is simply not true, although we are blessed we have a lot of struggles.

    I feel like Everytime God reveals a new hurt to me and we work through it, another eventually rears it’s ugly head, but I have learned He will not forsake me and though my valley may be deep and dark, the sun will shine again. There I days I cling to this promise like a moss to rock and other days I bask in the Glory. The past several weeks have been clinging weeks and I hope this study will be part of the healing that God uses to bring me out of the valley and into His luscious meadows once again. May He bless this time together for each and every one of us!

    • Oh Amy . . . that all our weeks would be clinging weeks but with hope and joy rather than the panic-filled anxiety that drives us to our knees.

      I know this panic well. Walked it for years. As you will see when we dig in, this same panic walked me through not just a failed marriage, but a re-marriage to a godly man. This is not God’s plan, this panic that sucks our very breath. It is here we must learn to breathe differently.

      I’m so very glad you are here.

      • JoAnn,
        Breathe differently, oh how I long for that. For two weeks my breathing has consisted of enough to get by. I long for the deep breaths that in the past have brought me closer to my God: reading, scripture and pages upon pages of writing. It feels as if a damn has been erected in my heart, I cannot read for any length of time and have not picked up my pen and journal in days, so very unlike me. I long for the free flowing conversation that seems to occur between God and my pen, it’s like missing a good friend. Yet I fear deep down that a conversation right now would bring more pain, so frustrating and confusing to me to desire the conversation and writing, yet fear it at the same time.

    • Amy, I am so glad you found this place to share and have the desire to move away from anxiety. I suffer with anxiety at times as well and that is not part of God’s plan for us. When we haven’t practiced given control to God it takes a while to reprogram our thought process. It will happen and you will gain more freedom then you ever thought possible. Grateful to have you here!

    • Amy, I am so glad you found this place to share and have the desire to move away from anxiety. I suffer with anxiety at times as well and that is not part of God’s plan for us. When we haven’t practiced given control to God it takes a while to reprogram our thought process. It will happen and you will gain more freedom then you ever thought possible. Grateful to have you here!

      • Sarah, thank you for the welcome,I think what can be so frustrating to me is I have walked through a lot with God and thought I was well on the way to that reprogrammed thought process. But this anxiety reminded me that though my walk has come a long way, it is so easy to be distractedby the enemy when my focus strays from my Jesus. My mind tells me, turn to God…..my heart however just cries in sadness, fear and frustration.

    • Hello, Amy! So glad to meet you. Although I don’t know how you feel exactly, I can sympathize with prolonged feelings of anxiety. I am praying for you.

  58. I have never done this before but I am sharing an item I wrote. May you all find hope in these simple but powerful words. Please pray for me as I write straight from the heart.

    Never Alone
    You are never alone when the tears
    come,
    Jesus sees them as He gently holds out
    His hand
    And catches each one as it silently
    falls,
    You are never alone when praying on
    your knees
    And your spirit is cast down,
    He is kneeling beside you drying your
    eyes.
    Whispering in your ear do not despair
    my child
    I am right here.
    You are never alone on the long weary road
    of life.
    You are never alone for your Savior is
    walking by your side.
    You are never alone with the shame you
    hold inside.
    You are never alone drowning in your
    fears.
    You are never alone for Jesus is
    always near.
    You are never alone in the pain you
    bear as
    You see the greatest of all survivors
    Died on the cross to save you and me,
    You are not alone when you draw your
    last breath
    As our Lord lifts you up and carries
    you home.
    You are never alone.
    Psalm 68:6
    God sets the lonely in families; he
    leads out the prisoners with singing;
    You have all I am blessed to say have become part of my family so therefore I am so greatly Blessed.

    • Alma, thank you so much for sharing. What a touching piece. I am so blessed to read these words. God is using you in a mighty way. Crystal

      • My road and my story has been one of excruciating pain, more than mere words can ever express. When I was a little child and going through something that is more than horrific, Jesus gave me a gift. He gave me the gift of writing poetry. With many, many prayers maybe just may be, I can write my autobiography. It will shock a nation no a world of what I just one person survived and my knowledge of the inner workings of what I was raised in. I have been advised when it comes out that I will need the toughest of all security 24/7. I love Jesus beyond words for when I had no one, He, Jesus still had me.

        • I pray for you that you can finally write your autobiography. Praises to a God who stands with us through those atrocities & the gift of writing as a means of release. Are your poems available somewhere? I would love to read them all. We are here to support you. This is a soft place to land. I feel in my spirit a sense of where you have walked. It feels when I read your words, an unmentionable familiarity Love & Blessings to a kindred spirit. Crystal

          • I am working on publishing my 1st book “Miracle In The Making”. It is comprised of a short autobiography and a list of poems and ends with a statement of hope and healing.

            • Congratulations! I will be anxious to get a copy. Jot down my email & send out a quick notice when & where it becomes available. (dailygrace@yahoo.com) Your words bring healing energy. God Bless.
              Crystal

  59. The suffering we have all endured on this earth no matter how little or great will be all washed away the moment we come face to face with our Healing Savior Jesus Christ.
    Home
    There I lay so still,
    My life was just beginning,
    As I walked towards this amazing light,
    I knew I was….
    I was finally home,
    As I fell at Jesus’ feet crying
    grateful tears,
    Gently He put His hand upon my shoulder,
    Whispered “Daughter I know all you
    suffered”
    “Don’t you know I was there watching?”
    “I never left you; you have fought a
    hard fight.”
    “I never left you alone; I never left
    your side.”
    “I took on all your suffering and
    pain, when they hurt you, they hurt Me.”
    “For you are one of my little ones,”
    He then oh so gently took my hand and
    raised me up from humble adoration,
    Wrapped me in His healing embrace,
    I felt His healing tears fall upon my
    head,
    Then He took my face in His hands,
    Raised my face,
    And,
    Ever so gently kissed my brow,
    His face was filled with splendor,
    A beauty I could never have imagined,
    His radiance was like the warmth of
    the sun at dawn,
    He said “I love you my child, welcome
    home.”

    2 Timothy 4:18

    The Lord will rescue me from every evil
    attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for
    ever and ever. Amen.

    • This touches right to my soul, how beautiful. The words “daughter I know all you have suffered” cut deep within, bringing my Jesus to my side!

      • Rhonda, I agree. That statement makes it so personal. We don’t have to be alone anymore. Jesus was there all along & is with us know. What a healing statement Alma. Thanks for sharing. Crystal

        • I am so very humbled and moved to tears. I love Jesus more than my simple words could ever say. I have a little saying “Tears are Prayers in Disguise” for when I am up night after night zoning and dissociating, I cry out to Jesus. He is there for all of us, all of us, all the time. He, Jesus, is the greatest of all survivors. We more than the average person understand more fully what He suffered and that He gave is ALL, That each one of us, that includes you And I might be Saved. What greater Love can there ever be? WoW I so much needed this community this evening to get me back on track and to shine some of Jesus Light into my Life. Thank all of you, All of you.

          • “Tears are Prayers in Disguise”. Thank you for that Alma.
            I just pictured you weeping before the Lord as He watched over you soothing you in the night hours. God bless you and continue to keep you and comfort you.

            • I have a beautiful big picture on the wall in my bedroom of Jesus knocking at the door that comforts me at night when every thing sets in. I can see it with out my glasses. I leave a light on out in the kitchen at night and once in a while all the lights to comfort my little ones inside. Life has been no easy street for me but now if I were to count love as an amount of wealth I would be richer than the U.S. federal deficit. For now I know Jesus loves me, forgives me, and He alone can heal and protect me. I have been Blessed with the most Amazing, Patient, and Strongest Therapist. She is the one who told me about Jesus, His Love, and His forgiveness. Without her I literally would not be alive. Once I accepted Jesus on 12/21/2011, the tide of my life began to change. I commenced attending a Christian church 3 days later on 12/24/2011. I was baptized in the saving and healing Spirit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on 8/25/2012. I have been Blessed with the most amazing and caring pastors who truly carry Jesus and His Amazing Love in their hearts. I have been blessed with friends there who will not let me isolate and are filling me with the courage to come out of my shell and existence and to share and be ALIVE.

      • Dearest Rhonda, you too have been hurt more than words can ever say. I will pray for you and all of us on this journey tonight. I have found hope and healing tonight in a place I never expected to. I never open up and share with the average person. I am so touched and much humbled by your kind words, out pouring of love, and by the hope I am finding.. Jesus Bless you. Jesus’ dearest Rhonda.

      • Thank you kindly Jesus’ Miss Tracey, I pray for you and all Soul Survivors, healing, peace, calm, and the LOVE and MERCY of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. Jesus loves all His SOUL SURVIVORS.

    • “He then, oh so gently, took my hand and raised me up from humble adoration…” What a beautiful expression of his tender love to us as His children, His adopted heirs, His saved ones, His called to His side….
      This poem has blown my mind today. ThankYou!

  60. Hi I’m Shaunna from Ohio. For a while I’ve said I want to be free – free to live, love, forgive, heal, embrace who I am, etc. however, I haven’t positioned myself to experience/receive it. From this study I hope to rediscover me; to stop hiding from myself. I want to embrace lessons learned from experiences and stop allowing them to define me. I want my hardened heart to soften again. I want to love again. I want to live again – without judgment, condemnation, fear, guilt and shame.

    • Shaunna, that is life-changing revelation my new friend. “I’ve said I want to be free . . . but I haven’t positioned myself.”

      You have just taken that most critical first step on the path to genuine healing. God’s going to honor this, just you wait and see.

    • Speaking these things is more powerful than any of us can really understand. Removing the masks and pretenses we’ve developed over the years can take time but being here is a great first step. Welcome!!

      • Becoming your authentic self is so worth it ladies. We spent too man years in the shadow of our perceived shame, that was not ours to bear. Step into the light of who God created you to be. It’s glorious here!!
        Crystal

    • Speaking these things is more powerful than any of us can really understand. Removing the masks and pretenses we’ve developed over the years can take time but being here is a great first step. Welcome!!

    • Shaunna, your post was one I wanted to say “ditto” to! Thanks for sharing! I live in Columbus, what part of the state are you in? It’s nice to meet you.

  61. Wow, I’ve never done a study like this before. Kind of lost in the technology. I’m Deb Sandoval from Columbus Ohio. I guess I haven’t really taken this seriously until just now. I hope God through this study and book can begin the healing process on my heart due to a lot of years of just being silent. Lots of layers to peal away and touch. Thanks JoAnne for introducing me to something that may help.

    • Deb!!!! My sweet in-real-life bible study sister. So very glad to see you in this place. you will not be disappointed and I truly believe God brought you here for very specific reasons. Hang on for the amazing ride, we’ll help you with all of the technology insight you need!! xoxox

    • Deb!!!! My sweet in-real-life bible study sister. So very glad to see you in this place. you will not be disappointed and I truly believe God brought you here for very specific reasons. Hang on for the amazing ride, we’ll help you with all of the technology insight you need!! xoxox

    • Deb, I’m excited to see all the healing that God will reveal to you. I love that in his mercy, he heals us in layers as we can handle it! It will be exciting to see you find your voice!

    • Hi Deb, I’m from Columbus, too and I think Sarah is? Maybe even some others from this area? It would be awesome if we could get together and meet for lunch or coffee and have that personal connection while doing this study. Let me know if any of you mid Ohioans would want to do that. It’s nice to meet you!

  62. Thanks to all of you for the warm support. God has led me on this very long journey, and I always knew His timing would not be mine! In the past two weeks, I have found 10 DNA connections that tie me to the woman I considered to be my birth mother over 20 years ago. It is amazing what spitting in a test tube can reveal! I have prayed constantly through this adventure, and I know God will reveal more answers in His time. Thank you for joining me in prayer, and for being part of my support team along the way.
    I am looking forward to finding a new voice as a daughter who has a “real” birth family! XOXOXO

  63. Happy Monday, Ladies! Dawn fron the Northwest corner of NJ (where farms still abound ;)! I am very thankful to be sharing this space with you all as we anticipate a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit together. Looking forward to time shared as we experience and grow in His abounding grace.
    Now off to read my freshly downloaded copy of the book.

    • Welcome Dawn! So happy you’ve decided to make this journey with us. A fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit is what we are all counting on! As you dive into Chapter 1 please let us know how we can support you and pray for your specific needs.

    • Welcome Dawn! So happy you’ve decided to make this journey with us. A fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit is what we are all counting on! As you dive into Chapter 1 please let us know how we can support you and pray for your specific needs.

      • Thank you, Sarah…and vice versa! So far ive only had the pleasure of reading a few pages (the down side to reading before bed :), however my heart was at peace as I began to dig in- a sweet ” you-are-right-where-you-need-to-be” flood over my spirit type of peace.
        Ahhhh… Jehovah Jireh – yes, our Jesus… He is the consummate provider!
        So I look forward to journeying together and sharing with you all!
        As for specific prayer needs: right now strength, endurance and wisdom / discernment as I navigate some pretty horrific “life waters”. How can I pray for you?

  64. Happy Monday, Ladies! Dawn fron the Northwest corner of NJ (where farms still abound ;)! I am very thankful to be sharing this space with you all as we anticipate a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit together. Looking forward to time shared as we experience and grow in His abounding grace.
    Now off to read my freshly downloaded copy of the book.

  65. This is the last line of my book I am working on publishing:
    Have faith in our Lord Jesus, walk in His
    ways, accept Him this day, and then every little struggle and trial will
    possess in it a miracle in the making.

    My dear friends you and I are all Miracles in the Making.

    • What a beautiful & hopeful way to end your book. I am currently in the middle of one of the greatest struggles of my life & in the midst of it has truly been miraculous. Truer words were never spoken. You are such a blessing to this group. So glad to have met you. Crystal

    • What a beautiful & hopeful way to end your book. I am currently in the middle of one of the greatest struggles of my life & in the midst of it has truly been miraculous. Truer words were never spoken. You are such a blessing to this group. So glad to have met you. Crystal

      • Any time, any place, any where any of you need a friend, a prayer or a long distance (cyber) shoulder to cry on I will always be here. I will probably let many tears fall too. I have plenty in reserves for when I could never cry. I was all alone(except for our Jesus) for 47 yrs., I am 50, and I don’t think I will ever be alone again.

        • Just may take you up on that. I am moved to tears often when I listen to &pray with others, but those tears are healing & set you free. I just let them flow. I know they are washing things away that no longer serve me & all the neg. energy washes out with them.
          I am 51 & I never stop stretching my faith & growing. I would just love to sit & have a cup of tea with you! Let’s have a (cyber) tea party, shall we. LOL Crystal

        • Just may take you up on that. I am moved to tears often when I listen to &pray with others, but those tears are healing & set you free. I just let them flow. I know they are washing things away that no longer serve me & all the neg. energy washes out with them.
          I am 51 & I never stop stretching my faith & growing. I would just love to sit & have a cup of tea with you! Let’s have a (cyber) tea party, shall we. LOL Crystal

          • You name the time and place, can always do live chat on Facebook. I am there with In a picture of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ embracing a young woman. I enjoy tea also the English Breakfast tea with a little fat free 1/2 & 1/2 and a bit of stevia to sweeten it up. It sounds like we may have a chat date. Jesus’ Blessings to you my southern ally. 🙂

      • Any time, any place, any where any of you need a friend, a prayer or a long distance (cyber) shoulder to cry on I will always be here. I will probably let many tears fall too. I have plenty in reserves for when I could never cry. I was all alone(except for our Jesus) for 47 yrs., I am 50, and I don’t think I will ever be alone again.

  66. This is the last line of my book I am working on publishing:
    Have faith in our Lord Jesus, walk in His
    ways, accept Him this day, and then every little struggle and trial will
    possess in it a miracle in the making.

    My dear friends you and I are all Miracles in the Making.

  67. Hi ladies. I’m so glad to be on here with you all. My Guardian would be my husband that passed away. It will be 1 year tomorrow that he went home to the Father. There has been a lot of hurts in my life from when I was small to now. I
    write a lot it has always got me though. So grateful to you Jo Ann for doing this. God Bless you and everyone on here.

    • Oh friend, we are here praying over you, asking God to be with you as you walk through tomorrow. It seems timely for you to be here now. So thankful you found Jo Ann’s book!

    • Oh friend, we are here praying over you, asking God to be with you as you walk through tomorrow. It seems timely for you to be here now. So thankful you found Jo Ann’s book!

    • Hi Beckie. A gentle cyber-hug straight to your hurting heart, my friend. I am sorry for your losses and your pain. I am, however, grateful to you for being here. I suspect God’s got something in store for us that will make us so very thankful for this vein of community.

  68. Hi ladies. I’m so glad to be on here with you all. My Guardian would be my husband that passed away. It will be 1 year tomorrow that he went home to the Father. There has been a lot of hurts in my life from when I was small to now. I
    write a lot it has always got me though. So grateful to you Jo Ann for doing this. God Bless you and everyone on here.

  69. What an inspired night of sharing. So thankful for this chance to connect & begin our journey together. It is 10pm where I am so I am going to call it a night. I count it a privilege to be among you. Can’t wait for the next hook up. God bless you all.
    Crystal

      • So glad to meet you as well. Let me just clear up quick, Jerry & I share the page as it is part of our business & he is the angel God sent to be my husband, but I am the one making these posts. My Name is Crystal so happy to e doing this study with all of you.

  70. Hi all. I am Lesley from Long Beach, CA. I am excited to dig into this amazing book one more time….as I had the express privilege of being able to review. It is juicy and full of nuggets of truth and revelation that you will be using it as a go to tool for years to come. I think releasing our voices is a life long process and I for one am in it for the long haul. Blessed to be here.

    • Oh Mabel, you aren’t late. I just explained in another comment how this study is designed “come as you can” and we will pick right up from when you were last here.

      Welcome!

  71. I feel like i”m coming in late.. I clicked over last night but didn’t want to be the first to comment. (Insecurity much?) Worked today and this is the first chance i”ve had to comment. I’m Kathryn from Washington state (I see I”m not alone here! I am in the part of the state closer to Idaho). I feel like finding my voice is somewhat synonomous with finding my purpose and i”m in a stage of life (raising kids, working part time) where I feel a little stalled-out, if that makes sense. Very much looking forward to this journey with all of you!

    • Kathryn, I believe finding your voice and discovering who you really are go hand-in-hand. Welcome! And don’t ever be afraid to comment first, everyone is a little nervous 😉 So glad you are here!

    • Hey Kathryn, I hope there is no time-table or I’m in much trouble. I’m just now getting through to some of the commenters from when we first started almost 36 hours ago. 🙂 That’s the joy of the online element of this community and our study together. It is “come as you can,” and hopefully we will all pick up right where we left off the last time we connected, like great friends do.

      And YES! finding your voice is directly linked to the purpose God has for you. The cool thing is this second half of life is often where we have the time, resources, and desire to fully connect with and walk into that purpose, so you aren’t really “stalled” at all. You are just getting ready to come full circle. And I cannot wait to see how God plays that out in your life.

      Welcome!

  72. Hello! My name is Raelene Osborn and I am from Alberta, Canada! I am so excites to start this study and {find my voice} I also can’t wait to grow deeper and deeper into my relationship with God. 🙂

  73. Good evening, ladies. Cindy (that’s what my friends call me) from West Tennessee here. God has me in a cocoon stage at the moment. I’m so excited about discovering the voice God has given me and what He wants to do with it! I am looking forward to some MUCH NEEDED fellowship.

    • Well you are in the right place for fellowship Lacinda! So happy you have joined us. God can do tremendous things in our lives and soon you will out of that cocoon and soaring just like the beautiful butterflies He creates!

    • Oh girl, I can do some cocooning. It is that struggle in the cocoon that produces the most beautiful of butterflies. I see your beauty emerging already . . .

      • Awe… thank you, Jo Ann! I must confess I do not feel beautiful at the moment. But, the Lord continues to reassure me He is working and for me to wait on Him. This book study has come at the perfect time (of course His timing is always perfect) and I can’t wait to see what the Lord put on your heart to share!