You have to choose to be brave enough to believe that a uniquely beautiful life is still yours to have. And you have to choose to be bold enough to grab hold of the hope you have for the girl inside. The girl who’s still there. The girl who dreamed of — and deserves — her beautiful life. ~ Chrystal Evans Hurst
Carmen started college with hope and excitement overflowing in her heart She had grown up in a loving church family and had a solid footing in God’s Word. Through high school her faith had been strong and real, and most of the students respected her for it. She felt confident as she continued her educational journey at a state university. But in a matter of weeks, her entire world changed. Her professors challenged her faith, her roommates had lifestyles that were dramatically different than her own, and no one seemed to respect her faith commitments the way they had back home. Early one Sunday morning, Carmen found herself walking a desolate and quiet campus as she went to a local church. She felt alone and feared a dark cloud of depression was beginning to settle on her life.
Margaret and Carlos were celebrating their ten-year anniversary in the delivery room. What a serendipitous surprise! It looked as if their third child would be born on the same day they had said, “I do!” They both knew what to expect. The pregnancy had gone without a hitch But something took a shocking turn in the delivery room. The couple could see it on the doctor’s face. They could feel it in the nurses’ strained voices. When their son was finally delivered, they entered a season that would include two months of visiting him in the hospital every day, six more months of special care with nurses visiting their home, and a lifetime of challenges due to physical limitations they had never anticipated.
Theresa sat at the kitchen table looking out the window. This was the table where she, Ty, and their children had eaten countess meals, laughed until it hurt, argued about the little stuff of life, prayed, and become a family together. As she sat there, she could see the kids and Ty on the screen of her mind. Toddlers, children, teens each scene a precious memory. Now the kids were all grown and gone. The table was empty it was now just her. After forty-six years of marriage, with all of its highs and lows, Ty had gone home to be with Jesus. The funeral was over, the guests had gone, and the fridge was packed full of food and desserts brought by family, neighbors, and church members.
Every stage of life provides opportunities for inexpressible joy but also heart-numbing pain. Every person who walks on this planet discovers that the landmines of sorrow, loss, struggle, and heartache are plentiful — and it is never certain exactly where they are. The question is not whether we will experience pain on this earth. Rather, the question is, will we be committed to fight for our lives and hold on to Jesus when the hard times come?
Talk About It
Welcome to the first session of She’s Still There If you or any of your fellow group members do not know one another, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Next, to get things started, discuss one of the following questions:
- What is something you’ve asked God to do in a moment of frustration or doubt, and now, looking back, you are glad He didn’t do it? or
- What are some things that you are committed to fight for in this life and hold on to even in tough times?
Watch the Session One Video
Video Teaching Notes
Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
When you feel lost in life, you have to be willing to fight for change to occur. Are you willing to cooperate and participate with God in what He wants to do within you?
The Bible states what you are: God’s workmanship or masterpiece (see Ephesians 2:10). You need to believe this truth about yourself even when you don’t feel that it is true.
The disconnect often occurs because you are a work in progress. You are transforming into a masterpiece — and things can get messy in the middle of the process.
The Bible is filled with stories of people who had “messy” times as they grew to become God’s masterpieces.
The Bible says how you are God’s masterpiece: because you have been created in Christ Jesus. You are God’s masterpiece when you are physically born, and you are God’s masterpiece when you are spiritually reborn in Christ.
The Bible says why you are God’s masterpiece: you were created for good works. You are a physical creature who has a spiritual purpose. The temptation is to quit when you get into the messy middle, but you have to believe God has a finished work in mind for you.
The love of God that saves your soul will also change your life.
As you receive God’s love and participate with Him in the process of transformation, He takes you from where you are to where He wants you to be. You just accept His love and participate in the process.
If you are going to believe you are spiritually wealthy, it should affect your spiritual walk. If you believe how God sees you in Christ, it should change how the world sees Christ in you. It’s not enough to just accept you are a masterpiece without taking action on it.
Feeling lost does not equal lifelessness. You have the ability to partner with God and change your life’s course — to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).
Bible Study and Group Discussion
Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts in Scripture.
- There’s a difference between just living life and really living the best life that God has intended for us. What does it look like when we are just “living life”? How can this change when we start to experience the fullness of the life God has for us?
- Think about a time you entered a situation that looked good and positive but ended up being difficult and painful. How did that season impact your spiritual life, particularly your prayers?
Think about a time you found yourself crying out to God, “Help me, I need you!” What was happening in your life that caused you to want to hit the reset button?
3.Many situations can cause us to feel the need to fight for our life, whether it’s sorrow in our soul, sickness in our body, or struggles with our spouse to name just a few. What is a situation you are facing in which you need to fight for the best life God wants you to have? How have you been wrestling in this area?
Where are you seeing victory? Where are you feeling the battle is still raging?
4.There may be times when we feel like crumpling up in a ball, crying, and saying, “God, fix it for me!” Why do you think God often calls you to stay in the fight instead of just resolving the situation for you?
How does God want us to fight, wrestle, and participate with Him in the journey toward a better life?
5.Read Ephesians 2:8–10. What does Paul say in these verses about who we are and what God thinks about us?
What do you think and do that reflects you agree with God? What do you think and do that indicates you don’t really believe these things God says about you?
6.The word in Ephesians 2:10 translated as handiwork (NIV) or workmanship (NKJV) carries the sense of a beautiful and elegant work of art fashioned by a master craftsman. Why is it often challenging to see ourselves the way that God does? What helps you believe and even declare that you are God’s “masterpiece”?
7.As we walk through life, it always gets messy in the middle. We will all face times of pain, loss, and struggle. When this happens, we need to be ready to fight and wrestle our way through. What are you in the “middle” of right now?
How can your group members pray for you as you walk through this season?
8.Read 1 Peter 4:12–16 and James 1:2–3 The Bible is clear that living for Jesus does not guarantee a life free of struggle and pain What are some appropriate ways we should respond when facing difficult, challenging times?
9.Read Romans 1:20; Psalm 139:13–14; and Genesis 1:27. In what ways were each of us made a masterpiece of God? Personally, how did this masterful work of God become even more amazing when you placed your faith in Jesus Christ?
10.Just as Joni Eareckson Tada went through the laborious process of learning how to paint using her teeth to hold a brush, we have to take risks, wrestle, and press on as God does His work within us. What is one way you need to “paint in a new way” even if it’s not easy, simple, or quick? How can you begin to take a step of following Jesus today?
Use any of the following prompts to guide your group in a time of prayer:
- Thank God that His dreams and desires for your life are even better than what you can imagine.
- Praise God that when you are tired, weary, and ready to give up, He never gives up on you.
- Ask God to give you courage and strength to wrestle and fight for the life He wants to give you.
- Acknowledge to God that you understand (or long to understand) that you are His beautiful masterpiece. Thank Him for the good things He is growing in you.
- Lift up other members of your group and ask God to give them the strength they need to grow into the women of faith that He wants them to be.
Ask God to help you talk with Him, sing His praises, and hold His hand tightly as you wrestle and face hard times in life.
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Come and share your thoughts about being God’s masterpiece with us on our blog. We would love to hear from your heart!