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There are seasons that are hard. I just don’t feel right. Discouragement comes easy. The dark cloud looms and lingers.

I begin searching for what’s missing. Maybe if I start running, or eat better I will feel better about myself? Or, am I lonely and just need to find a new friend? Get more sleep? A better schedule? Time alone? A date night?

I’ll try a few things, and when the newness wears off I turn to what energize me. Teaching the Word, blogging, time with good friends, time alone to plan. While they do help recharge me, they will never be enough.

bible verses discouragement

9 Bible verses for discouragement

Only God’s word brings me life.

  • My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! Psalm 119:25
  • Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:37

In uncertainty, His word alone is my good counsel.

  • Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. Psalm 119:24
  • Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

When my soul cries out, His promises alone bring comfort.

  • This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:50
  • Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165

Though there are moments of overwhelming sorrow, His word under-girds with strength.

  • My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! Psalm 119:28

His mercy and grace is what I truly need. Not a smaller jeans size, or a better organized house. Not a new friendship or time to myself. He is my missing piece.

  • Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. Psalm 119:77
  • Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Psalm 119:132

Which verses do you cling to when the dark cloud looms?

Advent is right around the corner and this is a great time for us to set our minds on Jesus, you know, the reason for the season! I’ve collected many advent plans and studies along the years. Here’s a list of studies I’ve done—or have wanted to do!

If you’re like me, and do better with accountability and community, don’t miss the online bible study group going through the new 12-day Adore Him reading plan. This plan is geared toward busy women (I mean, who isn’t busy this time of the year!). Starts December 1. All the details are at the end of this post. Join us!

Advent Bible studies for women

Love Comes Near Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

  • 25-day Bible study from Jenni Keller
  • Includes a bonus Family Advent Experience
  • Learn more about Love Comes Near Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

He Is Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

  • An Advent Bible study from Becky Kiser
  • 20 Bible Study days on the attributes of God written by 20 guest writers (including me!)
  • Includes a 5 Advent Candle Bible Study and Instruction days
  • Learn more about He Is Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

Then Came Jesus Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

  • A 4-week Bible study by Lara Williams
  • Each week organized into a 5-day study plan
  • Suggested Scripture memory passages for each week
  • Each day includes an optional “Family Idea”
  • Learn more about Then Came Jesus Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

advent bible studies for women

free advent reading plans for women

Adore Him Reading Plan

Advent Reading Plan

Born Is The King

  • A free 28 Day reading plan from She Reads Truth
  • Starts on the first Sunday of Advent
  • Learn more

Christ Was Born for This 

  • A free 29 Day reading plan from She Reads Truth
  • Starts on the first Sunday of Advent
  • Learn more

Joy to the World

  • A free 29 Day reading plan from She Reads Truth
  • Starts on the first Sunday of Advent
  • Learn more

advent reading plans free

kids advent calendars

Kid’s Advent Calendar and Reading Plan

  • This looks like a load of fun!
  • A 24 day reading plan and activity guide for families from Not Consumed
  • Learn more

Advent with the Jesus Storybook Bible

  • A 24 day plan through the Jesus Storybook Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! (our fav!!)
  • Includes Bible verses to read alongside the Jesus Storybook Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!
  • Simply grab your copy of  Jesus Storybook Bible Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! and download her free reading plan!

The Littlest Watchman – Advent Calendar Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

  • Includes an Advent Calendar and Devotional Booklet Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!
  • Gives suggestions on how to make your own “Jesse tree”
  • Has an accompanying book: The Littlest Watchman: Watching and Waiting for the Very First Christmas Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!
  • We used this last year and enjoyed it!
  • Order your copy here Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

kids advent calendars


Looking for online bible studies for women?online bible studies for women

I’ve long said that we need to stop “trying harder” and focus our efforts on “believing better.” For years, I tried and tried and tried to be good—sure I was going to get it right this time. Yet when I failed (and I always did), I was surprised and disappointed in myself. I looked around, and it seemed like everyone else had it all figured out … they must know something I don’t. Or maybe they are simply working harder at being good. I need to try harder. Then I’ll quit messing up so much.

Finally, I heard about grace and I stopped trying so hard to be good, and I began to rest in His goodness. And the more time I spent with Him, the more I desired more. I started actually reading Bible verses about God and realized that my view of God was way off from what His Word tells us.

“It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate” — A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

I believe the greatest measure of spiritual growth is not how good we’ve become. The most accurate marker of our maturity in Christ is the way we see our God. If our view of Him is small, so will be our faith. When our mind’s eye sees God as small and indifferent, our heart’s cry for Him will be the same.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” — A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

These quotes are from a gem of a book— a small yet deep survey of who God is Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! . This is one of those books that would be fruitful to read yearly. There is so much that we can learn from this classic.

Here are 10 of my favs from A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! .

knowledge of the holy

Knowledge of the Holy

“When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean ‘in the exact image.’ To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all. It is to break down the wall, infinitely high, that separates That-which-is-God from that-which-is-not-God” (p. 7).

“We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is. For this reason the self-existence of God is not a wisp of dry doctrine, academic and remote; it is in fact as near as our breath and as practical as the latest surgical technique” (p. 28).

“Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator” (p. 32).

“There is no reason for us to try to discover what has not been revealed. It is enough to know that God is God” (p. 46).

“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none” (p. 47).

“The immutability of God appears in its most perfect beauty when viewed against the mutability of men. In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape” (p. 50).

“God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell” (p.56).

“All God’s acts are done in perfect wisdom, first for His own glory, and then for the highest good of the greatest number for the longest time” (p.60)

“God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine” (p. 104).

“God is said to be absolutely free because no one and no thing can hinder Him or compel Him or stop Him. He is able to do as He pleases always, everywhere, forever” (p. 109)


knowledge of the holy

Want to study more about God? I’ve put together a reading plan with Bible verses about God. This reading plan bookmark includes 12 different truths about God put into an easy-to-use reading plan bookmark. Perfect to help you BELIEVE BETTER!

HOW TO ACCESS THE READING PLAN:

  1. Click the button below to head to the resource library.
  2. Follow the instructions to create a Resource Library account—it only takes about 30 seconds.
  3. Download the plan, print, and enjoy!

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” —A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

When our view of God is off, it affects everything about us. As I look back on my early days as a Christian, hindsight clearly shows this reality at work. I saw God as holy and powerful, but I didn’t see Him as near and engaged. I was terrified of the idea of surrender because I didn’t really believe that God knew me. I figured He could know me well if He wanted to, but I wasn’t convinced that He did.

Once I began to understand not only the power and holiness of God, but the love and mercy of God as well, my attitude and actions toward God changed. I started running to God instead of drifting away. I desired to learn more and more about this God who knew me completely and perfectly—and loved me still.

So, yes. What we think about God is the most important thing about us. Because it is the main factor that either fuels or dampens our desire to be with Him.

With this in mind, let’s set our minds on the GREATNESS of God!

bible verses about god

7 Bible verses about God

Isaiah 55:8–9 

  • For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

John 1:1-4 

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Isaiah 40:28

  • Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Daniel 4:34–35

  • At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Psalm 147:5

  • Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Romans 11:33–36

  • Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Isaiah 46:8–9

  • Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

Bible verses about God

Want to read more about the greatness of God? I’ve got just the thing for you. This reading plan bookmark includes 12 different characteristics of God put into an easy-to-use reading plan bookmark. You can use it for 12 days of Bible reading, or take one characteristic per month for a year-round resource.

For a limited time, this reading plan is FREE.

​Here’s how to access the Adore Him reading plan.

  1. Click the button below to head to the resource library.
  2. Follow the instructions to create a Resource Library account—it only takes about 30 seconds.
  3. Download the plan, print, and enjoy!

My everyday peace is easily stolen. It takes only a simple glance at the latest world news or my mounting to-do list for uncertainty and restlessness to rise up and overwhelm my heart with anxiety. Yet another look at the success and joys of those around me can lure my soul into a never-ending longing for the possessions, personality traits, and positions in life I do not have. Just one encounter with a difficult person or a sticky exchange can quickly rob my days of peace.

Everyday peace is something I have to fight for.

I expect you might be knee-deep in this fight as well. In fact, you might feel as if you are battered and bruised, defeated by the thieves of peace. Anxiety fills your moments. Dissension defines your relationships. Discontentment rules your days.

If you find yourself lacking peace, be encouraged. You are not alone. In fact, the minute I began to write this Bible study, my anxiety levels seemed to triple, my lack of contentment incredibly evident, and (after years of peace-filled friendships) multiple relational wildfires popped up out of nowhere. Opportunities to engage in the fight for everyday peace were abundant.

As we’ll see in our study together, everyday peace is ushered in or shut out of our lives through the choices we make. Anxiety, dissension, and discontentment stare us in the face daily (if not hourly!) and these peace-robbers will continue to trail us and attempt to invade our hearts as long as we live on this sin-stained earth. Though we cannot always avoid these enemies of peace, we do have a choice when we encounter them. And the actions needed to fight for peace may not be what you think.

Everyday peace can be cultivated. Not by managing your emotions or self-helping your way to a status of serenity. Everyday peace is within reach because it has been granted to us by our faithful, generous God. He has fought and won the battle for peace. Our job is to stand firm in the provision He’s already given us.

Through the presence of God, the strength of the Spirit, and the example of Christ, our every moment can be saturated with the peace that surpasses understanding. He is working in and around you to establish this promised peace for you. God’s plan for you is everyday peace. 

God, bring your peace into my moments. I long to experience the peace that passes all understanding in my everyday life. I confess my need for you to reveal to me the role I play in everyday peace. Holy Spirit, I open every nook and cranny of my heart and mind for you to carefully inspect, gently correct, and powerfully transform.


This is an excerpt from the Everyday Peace Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support! , a 4-week Bible study for women. 

This study was ground breaking… I left from this study knowing how to find true lasting peace in my everyday and how to study my Bible more effectively! This is a must do study!

Kristin

Used this as book for women’s Bible study for women of all ages. It was well received by all. Would highly recommend this for personal or group study.

E. Teacher

I wish there were 10 stars for Everyday Peace!!! A book that says ‘me too’ AND points you to the Bible is a must read/study for Christians!

Melissa

Click here to check it out! Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!

If you follow me on social media (here, here, and here), you know I’ve been writing a book proposal for Secrets of the Happy Soul. It will be a journey through several Psalms to see what the Bible has to say about happiness and the God in whom we find it. This is the first step in many towards (hopefully!) seeing this book on the shelves. I thought I’d share with you one of the more put-together pieces of this crazy puzzle I’m working on. 🙂


My degree is in Medical Technology. It’s a bit of an obscure field. In fact, it’s been renamed since I graduated. Essentially, it’s lab work. If you’ve had your blood drawn or peed in a cup to have it sent off to the lab, the Med Techs (now called Clinical Laboratory Scientists … because I know you really wanted to know) are the ones that analyze it.

Right out of college, I worked full time in a huge hospital. My time was split between the Chemistry lab and Blood Bank. I enjoyed Blood Bank so much more because it was all manual work, whereas Chemistry was mostly run by machines. I also had a very competent co-worker in Blood Bank (we’ll call her Sally). She already had tons of experience and, since I was the newbie, that was a great comfort to me. Blood Bank is serious business. When a patient needs a blood transfusion, we received the orders for a type and cross-match. We would figure out what blood type the patient is (A+, B-, etc.), then cross-match the bags of blood ordered with the patients own blood to ensure there would be no life-threatening incompatibility reactions. Yeah, so the whole “this patient will die if you mess this up” pressure was pretty scary for me. Thus, why I really liked working with Sally.

On the nights where we didn’t have many orders to fill, I would attempt to get to know Sally a bit through small talk. I learned that she had been in the military and wasn’t originally from Florida, but that was about all I could get out of her. I could tell she would rather be lost in her book than talk to me, so I defaulted to bringing something to keep me occupied for those slow evenings. Since that part of the lab was small, I often would move into our supervisor’s office to read, as she had previously told me I was welcome to use the space on her desk if needed.

After working about several months together, I noticed Sally had progressively become even more quiet and grumpy around me. She’d become impatient with my questions about work and stuck to as little interaction as possible. I could tell something was up.

One evening (I can’t even remember exactly what set her off), Sally lit into me about being disrespectful to our supervisor. She went on and on about how inappropriate it was that I sat at our boss’ desk night after night. Sally proceed to tell me how much trouble she would have been in if she did that while in the military, and how it was utterly despicable behavior. Then she went back into her shell in the opposite corner by the Fresh Frozen Plasma freezer and returned to pretending I didn’t exist.

Well, then.

Looking back, her lack of receptiveness to my attempts to get to know her, and the fact that she spoke to me only when necessary to get our job done made a whole lot of sense now. She was utterly annoyed by my presence and couldn’t stand to be in the same room as me! I was a constant offense to her protocol. She was furious, I was frustrated, and our work hours together incredibly frigid.

Maybe you, too, have had a situation where you could tell you’ve offended someone but you didn’t know exactly what you did wrong. You had been held unfairly to an unspoken code of conduct—leaving you in a continual state of violation. Disheartening, isn’t it?

As frustrated, annoyed, and even embarrassed I was to find out that I had been unintentionally offending Sally for months and months,it would be much more so to find out that I’d unintentionally offended the holy, powerful God of the universe. Gratefully, He has not left us in darkness. His Word has given us very clear directions for most areas of our lives. The original hearers of these opening words from Psalm 1 would have known that the instruction mentioned in verse 2 was in regards to the Old Testament Law. This includes the famous 10 Commandments as well as many very specific guidelines for how to worship God, how to treat His people, and how to interact with the nations around them.

The Psalms start out with a parallel comparison and contrast between those who walk/stand/sit with the wicked/sinners/mockers, and those who don’t. The contrast is especially seen in verse 2, with the mention of the Lord’s instruction. Without it, these verses would not make sense. Because in order for there to be a wrong, there must be a right. For something to be out of bounds, there must be a boundary.

God has been so good to us to give us instructions, and you and I have much more than the OT to go off of. We now have the full counsel of God at our fingertips. Not only that, but we live in an age of information in which commentaries and many other tools are easily accessible to us. There is no excuse for not knowing what God’s plan is for us. From how we spend our money, conduct our days, and manage our thought-life, to how we worship, talk to, and tell others about Him. His will has been made clear to us in the pages of Scripture.

This is not to say that understanding everything in the Bible is easy. It’s not. But it is available, accessible, and approachable. He is not a distant, grumpy co-worker grumbling behind our backs about how offended He is by our actions. He is a clear communicator, a gracious guide, and a merciful master. And every one of His commands is for our good. Each truth is there to light our way.

I get all fired up when I hear “preachers” saying God wants me to be happy, healthy, and wealthy. “You deserve more, better,” they say. “Just set your mind to something and go for it. God is for you. He will give you what you desire if you love and obey Him enough. Have faith, and life will go well for you.”

Problem is, these are half-truths—shadows of Scripture. Sound bites that are close enough to sound right and are highly motivational, but in actuality, hold devastating implications. When life doesn’t go our way we wonder what we did wrong or what we didn’t do enough of to get God to act on our behalf. And when life is peachy-keen, our need for God dissipates. We turn Christianity into a formula to be figured out and followed.

Fact is, we are not promised smooth sailing. We are not guaranteed to bypass the difficult storms of life just because we are Christians. And the presence of a squall does not mean God is upset with us. I’ve found the opposite to be true in my life. The trials I’ve faced have proved God to be lovingly present, tenderly purposeful, and powerfully able to use all things for my good. I’ve learned that being a Christian doesn’t give me some force-field bubble that protects me from harm. But having the hope of Christ within me—knowing and holding onto all He has done for me and all that He will do—brings a deep-down peace that no positive-thinking prosperity message can provide.

I’ll say it again: walking with God is not a formula to be found out and followed. Abundant life with Jesus is a journey of continually drawing near to His presence while holding fast to the gospel—our anchor of truth. All who are in Christ possess the treasure of hope. It’s a noun, not a verb. But don’t always experience the hope-filled abundant life because we either don’t truly know the gospel or we forget.

We often want to measure growth with external charts and checkboxes, but I believe true spiritual growth cannot be evaluated simply by our deeds. Actions can be modified. Attitudes can be mimicked. But holding fast to hope cannot be faked.

If our view of God is big, the reality of our hope will be big, too.

God, I confess the places where I have not trusted in Your promises. Help me to see that You are steadfast and sure. Open my eyes to see You more and more each day.

hope in god


This is an excerpt from my Everyday Hope Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!  study, an easy to use, four-week Bible study. Designed for women who are pressed for time, yet crave depth from their Bible study, Everyday Hope Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!  offers a relevant and lasting approach for reading and understanding Scripture. In as few as 15 minutes a day, discover how to hold fast to His promises amidst feelings of hopelessness.

Ready or not, Christmas is right around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re still trying to get your feet on the ground from all the back-to-school madness.

I love the holiday season for many obvious reasons, but it can also be a stressful, unsettling time. Between all the extra activities, gift shopping, and traveling to celebrate with family, my time with the Lord often falls to the wayside. If this sounds like you, you’re in good company.

Busyness may be our reality but it doesn’t have to be our excuse. I invite you to join me through my Bible study, Everyday Hope, this Christmas season. If you can carve out 15 minutes, 5 days a week, you can do this!! Simply grab a few friends to study alongside of you and maybe even text one another in the mornings to add a layer of accountability.

This is a great study to set your heart and mind on the realities of all Christ came to bring us.

To jump in, all you need is a copy of Everyday Hope and to grab a few friends.

Are you in?! Who will you be studying with?

There are two needed ways to study the Bible, and it’s important for us to engage in both types of study.

  1. The Bird’s Eye View – This is where we get a quick yet needed lay of the land. This “arial” view grants us the big picture of the Bible. The goal here to enjoy the book as a whole. It is NOT time to glean everything out of it that we can.
  2. The Bug’s Life – This is where we can dig in and dissect the parts, notice the details, and begin to process what it all means.

Reading plans are designed to provide us with The Bird’s Eye View. Both perspectives are needed over time, but it is important that we keep the goal of each in mind.

Many of you are already a part of the online Bible study group for women, a private group for those wanting extra accountability and encouragement to get (and STAY!) in the Word on a regular basis. I’ve been mapping out opportunities for BOTH of these ways to study the Bible. As one who tends towards The Bug’s Life, I’ve really enjoyed the addition of these smaller Bird’s Eye View reading plans to my study time.

Ephesians Reading Plan

I’m excited for this new study tool! The 12 Days in Ephesians reading plan is simple, flexible, and geared toward helping us get a quick overview study of the book of Ephesians.

This reading plan is part of a bundle of reading plans, all which are laid out on a printable bookmark for easy reference.

ephesians reading plan

Have you studied Ephesians before? What do you enjoy the most, The Bug’s Life or The Bird’s Eye view? Share with us in the comments!

I’m excited to share about the next online study for the Bible Study Hub—a thriving online community of women encouraging one another to get in the Word! This study is written by my good friend and ministry partner, Lara Williams. I would probably not be writing Bible studies today if it were not for Lara. Back in 2011, I asked her if she would co-author a book I had on my heart but felt unable to write myself (I had a LOT of learning to do about the craft of writing). She said yes and 8 months later, we published Savoring Living Water (affiliate link). About a month after that, we finally met in person. Crazy how the internet connects.

Lara is an incredibly gifted writer, but she also walks with intimately with Jesus and this is evident in all her projects. All that to say, I’m super-excited to dive into Life Giver next week and I would LOVE for you to join me. In this 4-week Bible study, Lara teaches us how we can be life givers in our relationships. Below is an excerpt from this study.


We can probably all agree that forgiveness is best. Forgiveness, even of those who wrong us deeply, proves to be freedom for us. But there’s one little thing that often gets in the way: our feelings.

I’m a girl. And let me tell you. As a girl, I’ve got lots and lots of feelings. And I’ve got feelings about those feelings and feelings about those feelings. Ad infinitum. So, when someone wrongs me, lots of feelings come to the surface and beg my attention. They typically insist that I act vengeful with fingers pointing and a few “how dare you(s)” thrown in for added drama.

But the thing about feelings is that even though they are very real, and often justified, they don’t always lead us to the right action. Remember what Jeremiah said about our hearts? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). In fact, I don’t think my feelings have ever told me to forgive my enemies. Ever.

Yet Jesus commands forgiveness, for our good and His glory. And He means for it to be an act of our will, not necessarily an act of our emotions.

Forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. — Colossians 3:13

We have a choice. Regardless of our feelings, in Christ we have the choice to forgive even when we’re desperately hurting. And that choice will bring soul-blessing.

God gives us boundaries and commands to protect us. He loves us – perfectly and fully. He knows us – perfectly and fully. And because He designed us, He knows what will lead us to our most blessed existence. When it comes to relationships, we will give life to others when we choose to forgive, regardless.

How Do I Forgive?

The question becomes, “How do I forgive, especially when I’m hurting?” The answer? We turn to the One who forgives out of His amazing grace. We pray. We press hard into our Lord — the Forgiver of all sin. We seek refuge in Him and trust His covering. We meditate on what He says about forgiveness. We live authentic lives, allowing others to walk with us down the tearful road of releasing the debt we want another to pay. And then we believe God to do the heart-healing work that only He can do.

Feelings take time to line up with the willful forgiveness. But feelings eventually come. They will come. But until they do we command our soul towards obedience.

Forgiveness sets us free to love. It sets us free to give of ourselves without the need for others to do anything in return, because we’ve found fulness in our Lord. We see that everyone is the same — needy for a Healer and Redeemer. And when we see people through the lens of grace, unforgiveness has no place.

Moving Forward

Spend some time in honest conversation with the Lord. Confess any harbored unforgiveness. Tell God your honest feelings – He already knows. Then speak truth over those feelings. Declare the verses we meditated upon this week regarding forgiveness. You may want to seek out a trusted friend to pray for you and with you as you walk the road of forgiving another. But however you get there, release others from a debt that’s already been paid. Grace is the only road to becoming a life giver.


Join the 4-week Life Giver online study group!

  • WHEN: 9/10/2017 – 10/6/2017
  • WHERE: Bible Study Hub
  • HOW TO JOIN: Purchase your study for as little as $4.99, join the Facebook group, and dive into the conversation beginning next week!
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want the physical workbook, order your copy ASAP so you can get it before the study starts on Monday!

Who’s in? Who’s excited?!