I know it is taking me a long time to read this book but much is going on in my life right now and I read it when I can. Now it is time for Reflection and Discussion Questions for Chapter 4.
1. Has the pain of your past ever made it hard for you to believe God's promises and plans for your future? What do you sense He wants to change in your perspective?
I do not remember much of my childhood. My parents had a nasty divorce when I was 11. I have always been close to my dad. So the separation was horrible for me. My mom cried all the time. My mom's family talked about how rotten my dad was all the time. My mission was to get my family back together and it was my prayer for most of my life. I fought for it. I screamed for it. When my dad and mom remarried I was devastated. My step-mom is a wonderful lady whom I love to death; I believe God placed her in our family. I never got along with my step dad. He told me he was my dad after he married my mom and I should address him as such. I never did. We argued; we fought; and really never got along. When I moved away from home I tolerated him because he was my mom's husband and my brother's father. I moved out of my mother's house before I was 18 and moved in with my dad. (My wonderful husband drove me across town back and forth to school until I graduated.) While staying with my dad after I moved out I lost touch with my grandparents. Did not see them for over 6 months. (We were used to seeing them once a week) Christmas day 1979 my grandfather went into the hospital; he died on Jan 5,1980. I had not seen him before he got sick. (I was not a christian at the time) I prayed and prayed for him to get better. He did not! One night before he died he called out my name. (the nurses ask my mom and grandmother who Becky was). I was devastated and turned my back from God. I just knew he did not love or care for me if I prayed for my grandfather to live and he died.
He did change my perspective. years later after becoming a christian. My dad's father lived in a nursing home and I saw him periodically. I got a very strong sense to go see him so I did. I took my kids about 2 at the time to see him also. He died a week later. I think God was letting me know that he had always been there for me and did not want me to suffer with the guilt I carried form my m,om's dad dying years before.
2. Can you think of a time when you asked if God loved me then why...? If so what happened that led you to that question?
The above situation with my mom's dad was such a situation. I remember praying and crying my heart out asking God to please spare my grandfather's life. When he died I felt alone and betrayed by God for not answering my prayers.
3. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. How has God comforted you in your troubles so that you can comfort others with the same hope He has given you?
I believe when years later I felt like I should go to see my dad's father it was God speaking to my heart letting me know I needed to go now because He was going to call him home. his comforted me immensely. It was God was lifting me out of my lonely pit of guilt and letting me know. He knew my pain. I am a nurse now I believe this helps me in every way as I encounter families who are suffering and feeling guilty.
4. How have past hurts robbed you of hope and affected your relationships today.
I do not open myself up to many. I do not allow people to get close to me. I think it is because of feelings of insecurity and feeling like they would leave me when I open up.
5. Read Isaiah 61:1-3. What are some things God promises in these verses that you are asking him to fulfill in your life?
To give me joy, gladness, and a song of praise in my heart.
6. Describe how forgiveness can hold you hostage and keep you from moving forward in hope. Is there someone you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from?
I was raised mostly hanging around with my mom's family. My grandmother was Italian and we were raise that way. In this culture family is family; if you go against the family you are out. I watched the family be torn apart by grudges. It is ugly and hurtful to all involved; and to those stuck in the middle. I realized something last year after my beloved grandmother died. There was animosity between my mom and her sister; which trickled to my sisters, brothers and I also. Someone said something that really made me rethink the situation. By holding a grudge and being angry with my aunt and her family I was choosing every day to hate and be angry with them and spending all my energy on that while they were just living their lives. I prayed for her, my aunt, I do not hate her but I can't say I still love her like I did when I was a child. Maybe I need to pray some more about this one.
7. Have you ever run from the story God has written for your life? Do you sense Him inviting you, like Sam, (the woman at the well) to share from "broken to beautiful" pieces with someone who needs hope? Will you?
I have to be honest at this point I am not really sure where the story of my life is going. I am at a cross road now with the new move and new job. I do sense God around me and guiding me and nudging me from time to time to do this or that. When the time comes I think I will share what He has done for me and my story.