Brokenness to Beauty

Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life


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Surprise!

God is always surprising me.

When I was asked a few weeks ago to present a workshop on prayer at a women’s retreat, I silently gulped and said, “Yes, Lord.” Then I responded (audibly) in the affirmative to the lady asking me if I would do the workshop.

It is humbling to have someone ask me if I’d do a presentation on the subject of prayer. I’m still a learner in that field. I always will be, of course. And to consider speaking publicly, well, that is nothing short of miraculous.

That I can say “yes” to speaking in front of people, and on the subject of prayer, is a wonder to me on two fronts:

1) I can physically do it and

2) I have material already compiled from which to draw to put together such a presentation.

A few years ago I never could have agreed to talk in front of people for an hour. I have MG (myasthenia gravis, a severe muscle weakness) and have been extremely weak for most of my life. The miracle is that I have been stronger for the past eight-plus years than I have been since I was thirteen years old, and I now can do public speaking!

Even though I planned this workshop to be an interactive Bible study time, not an hour-long lecture, I still had to do a lot of talking. My ability to speak this much is the gracious and miraculous work of God. It is the answer to many prayers prayed over the span of more than forty years.

I also had what I needed to present in the prayer workshop. A few years ago I had finally said “yes” to God about writing the book Brokenness to Beauty (and I’m now writing the Bible study guide to go with it; a work in progress), and I had already thought through and written much of the material I used for this workshop on prayer.

Though I wasn’t at a loss for what to say, I did earnestly pray for direction from the Lord to narrow it down. Volumes could be said about prayer (and volumes have been written on prayer), but it certainly wouldn’t fit within that one hour time frame. I needed to speak to what these ladies needed to hear. Only God has that information. He again answered prayer.

Most important to me when I speak or teach is to direct women into the Word of God. If they forget what I say but hear what God says in his Word, I will have been successful.

I initially thought I was going to the women’s retreat (hosted by our former church) in order to take it all in for myself, enjoy the beautiful mountains around the retreat center, and especially to see many dear friends I hadn’t seen since moving from Bakersfield to Colton last fall.

As it turned out, not only did I get to do those things, I ended up with the privilege of serving God by serving the women who came to the prayer workshop. What a great weekend we had!

 

Did I mention God is always surprising me?

I was mighty tired after driving the three hours it took to get to the retreat center, the busy weekend and the three hour drive home, but I give thanks to our great God for giving me the strength to do it. He truly “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV).

Photos of women’s retreat by Alayna Condon and Lindsay Long.

Scripture taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. https://www.biblegateway.com.

 


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The First Step to Building a Bible Study: Making a start

Not all the ladies who had been invited could attend, but we made a start. It was our first meeting to “build a Bible study” based on my book Brokenness to Beauty.

A few months earlier, when I first sat down to begin writing a Bible study for Brokenness to Beauty, I wondered how in the world I could write a Bible study for a chapter in a book that is rather like a portion of a memoir. That’s what the first chapter of Brokenness to Beauty is. It is “my story,” my life story in a nutshell. How do I make a Bible study to go with that?

About that time I’d been reading Psalm 145 in my daily Bible reading. I had camped out there for a week or so, reading and rereading that psalm every day. There was so much there, I just couldn’t move on.

Then I came to this question of developing a Bible study for the book’s first chapter about my life story.

When those two separate thoughts converged in my mind–my story and Psalm 145–it suddenly made perfect sense to develop a Bible study of Psalm 145 to go hand in hand with my life story. It would make perfect sense for every woman’s  story. I began writing.

This became the draft of a Bible study for Chapter One of Brokenness to Beauty that I used it at our women’s retreat in April. I did some rewriting on that first draft based on things I learned from the women as we worked through the study during the retreat.  This was exactly what I knew I needed: the contributions of differing perspectives, insights, comments and questions; and seeing the lesson in action. I learned so much in April.

It was this rewritten draft I handed to my friends gathered around my table on this first day of a “Bible study to build a Bible study.” As we also worked through the study, I made more margin notes as comments and insights were shared by my friends. Then followed more rewriting, adding and deleting as I considered the comments and suggestions given me that day.

This past Tuesday more ladies were around my table for our second Bible study to build a Bible study. Once again I handed out a rewritten draft of the study for Chapter One, plus a partial draft for chapters two, three and eight.

Progress.

I value these times with these women, and the perspectives and suggestions given me to ponder and pray about as I craft this Bible study. I wrote my book alone. I cannot write this Bible study alone. I need other women’s input.

Photo by Gaborfromhungary

Photo by Gaborfromhungary

 

My desire and goal in writing a Bible study to accompany Brokenness to Beauty is to provide women with the tools to help them grasp truths from God’s Word that will give them the strength to go through their tough times.

It won’t be my words that help them so much as my pointing them to the Words of God, who alone is our “very present help in trouble.”

 

 

Are you struggling with a burden that seems too heavy to bear, a trial that threatens to drown you? Do you wonder how you can make it through these dark days?

front cover

 

Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life was written for you.

Pick up your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or WestBow Press Bookstore today.

Send me your comments or questions and I will prayerfully consider them as I craft a Bible study companion to the book.

 


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How to Build a Bible Study

“Do you have a Bible study for your book?” “Is there a Bible study guide to go with Brokenness to Beauty?” “You should write a Bible study for your book.”

After hearing these kinds of questions and comments a number of times since Brokenness to Beauty was published in January, I decided I did indeed need to write a Bible study guide to accompany the book. A start has already been made on Chapter One which I used at a women’s retreat in April. That weekend I got valuable feedback from my friends and learned a good bit about writing a Bible study (and we had a good time in the process, in the beautiful mountains near Bakersfield!).

Not wanting to wait until I wrote a Bible study, two groups of women have, on their own, begun studies based on Brokenness to Beauty. One group is in Georgia and one in a town near Bakersfield, CA. Pretty exciting!

front cover

And next week Tuesday a small group of women and I get serious about diving into a full-fledged Bible study based on Brokenness to Beauty. These women have agreed to work through each chapter with me, giving me their questions, comments, perspectives and insights. Obviously, this will not be your run of the mill Bible study!

This will be a Bible study “formation” group, that is, we will be taking what I’ve written in Brokenness to Beauty, and with the material generated from the input of these women, I will further develop topics and concepts I wrote about, delving deeper into the Scriptures, to form and shape it into a usable study for other women to use in the future.

Have you read Brokenness to Beauty? Do you have questions, comments, insights and perspectives you’d like to share with me to consider as I write this Bible study?[1] I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at Jacqueline@brokennesstobeauty.com.

Brokenness to Beauty may be purchased online at Amazon books, Barnes and Noble and WestBow Press Bookstore.

[1] Submission of questions, comments, perspectives, insights, etc., is no guarantee these will be incorporated into the Bible study but I promise I will read and prayerfully consider all sent to me.

“As a result of this (the hard words of Jesus) many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.’” (John 6:66-68, context John 6:26-68)

 

Recently I was asked to write the weekly blog for our women’s Abide prayer group. The women’s Bible study at church is going through the book of Hebrews and several of the women who receive the Abide blog also attend the Bible study. Hmmm. I decided to go for a walk in the garden, God’s Let-us garden.

Remember the Cabbage Patch kids? Yeah, a big fad of funny looking baby dolls. They were popular for a while, but didn’t endure.

Well, I believe we should be Let-us Ladies (and Men; remember this was originally addressed to women, but applies just as much to the guys). But unlike the quickly fading Cabbage Kids, we should endure. Not a flash in the pan but for the long haul.

What is a Let-us Lady (or Man), you ask? If you’ve ever studied the book of Hebrews you know; Hebrews is God’s Let-us garden.

There are twelve Let-us patches we should walk through and carefully observe. Observe-to-do the Let-us’s.

Ready? Then let us go for a walk in God’s Let-us garden.

Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.”

Hebrews 4:11 “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”

Hebrews 4:14  “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

Hebrews 4:16  “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”

Hebrews 10:22 “… let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful …”

Hebrews 10:24 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds”

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …”

Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe …”

Hebrews 13:13 “So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”

Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

The Let-us patches are, of course, nestled within a larger garden. Notice all the “Therefore’s”? Yeah. What went before is there for a reason. Reading the context is crucial.

Food for life is to be found in God’s garden and his Let-us’s are extremely beneficial. For now and forever.

“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).

Scriptures used are from the NASB http://www.lockman.org/