Welcome to The 2020 Spoonie Study! The Spoonie Study is a Bible study group intended for women with chronic illnesses who are over the age of 16.
Alright friends, if you couldn’t attend live that’s okay!
You can either continue reading for the written version of our discussion or watch the videos on IGTV! If the links below do not lead you to anything more than a blank screen on instagram you can click here or head to @officialcassiemnolin on instagram and all of these videos are in the IGTV 2020 Spoonie Study Series.
SPOONIE STUDY- INSTBTW CHP 8
Welcome Everyone! For those who does not know I am leading a Bible study for women with chronic illnesses, and each week we read a chapter, answer chapter questions, and do a life group meeting on zoom about the book It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst. Please note that this blog post is essentially the written version of the live stream that took place and is also available on IGTV (links above.)
We start this chapter off with a bold, powerful truth:
Weak moments don’t make weak faith. Weak moments make us even more aware of our need to press in to faith.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 128). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
When my instant reaction is to cry or yell or kick into control mode or freak out in whatever way I feel is so very justifiable, I know there’s more to this story than passing hormones. There are unattended wounds.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 128). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q How did the reminder that weak moments don’t make weak faith encourage you and remind you that when we are upset we need to make sure we are looking inwards for a deeper reason?
For me it brings freedom to my mind to know that my “weak” moments can turn into deeper faith. I also love practical advice and when I am overwhelmed and frustrated it challenges me to take a breath and evaluate. It’s a good heart check, as I do a body check when I am feeling those ways to make sure my blood sugar is stable, but I need to remember to also do a heart check
I had forgiven this person for the facts of what they’d done. I had said the words. But I had refused to let go of the labels I put on this person. Uncaring. Irresponsible. Cold Hearted. Somethings these labels protect us from toxic people. But sometimes they prevent us from truly forgiving and moving forward with even our healthy relationships. There’s wisdom in knowing the difference.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 130). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I’ve got some perspectives hindering me. I’ve got some unresolved hurts holding me back. There are still files in my mind that need to be cleaned out and cleared away. Otherwise, my efforts to move forward will have cords of attachment to my past hurt that are always threatening to pull me back and take me down. But here’s the gift of my very messy moments like these. They make me aware that there are some things to address. It’s when I stop pretending I’m fine when I’m really not fine. It’s when I stop to face what’s really holding me back from moving forward. And not just limp forward or crawl forward burdened down from what I’ve been through but to run forward with great freedom.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 130). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Q Do you tend to pretend you’re fine when you’re really not fine? If so, why do you fall into this?
I think I just not only don’t want to get into my life because I feel like the person doesn’t want to hear it (as most “how are you’s” are just a polite gesture) but I also don’t want to admit that things aren’t fine. I fall into this because I feel like by saying not great over and over again can evoke unauthentic sympathy and judgement. It’s like at the hospital I rarely ever say I’m in a 10/10 pain because I save that 10. I do the same with my “not great” responses.
Q What is holding you back from this? What would “running forward with freedom” look like for you?
I think the things that hold me back are the emotional pain and time it takes to address all the problems. Running forward with freedom would look like forgiveness, grace, and hope.
Sometimes hardship happens not because of what you’ve done but because of something God is doing and will eventually make right.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 132). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
This man’s blindness- his own form of hardship and longsuffering- wasn’t because of choices he made or ones his parents made. This suffering was placed on Him. But it was for a reason. He was handpicked to display the works of God. Through his story Jesus would shine the light of truth and hope for others’ lives to not be so dark. And then Jesus brought healing out of the man’s brokenness.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 133). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What if you have been “handpicked to display the works of God”? What if through your story Jesus will “shine the light of truth and hope for others’ lives not to be so dark”? What are your thoughts on this potential?
It’s not a space I ever wanted to be in, but am grateful that if this is going on that I can help others and share His hope.
While his story and his blessings are unique to him, rest assured when you are chosen for suffering, you are chosen for the blessing of displaying the works of God as well. What if the worst parts of your life were actually gateways to the very best parts you’d never want to do without? Okay. I very much realize some of you want to throw this book across the room right now. Because being chosen for suffering feels like God is causing bad things to happen to you. It’s a lot of pain with no up-front reward. But remember, God isn’t causing this; He’s allowing it. God isn’t picking on us. He’s handpicked us to be a display of His good works here on earth. And trust me, in eternity you will want to be chosen for this… If only we could see the full picture God sees. If only we could see all the good God will surely do through us and for us… If we could even catch a glimpse of God’s perspective, I don’t think we would want to throw the book… I think we would simply say, “okay God chose me for this. And I can trust Him to lead me to it, through it, and past it. What feels horrible this day will be so very honorable that day.”TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 133-134). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q How do you feel about the statement What if the worst parts of your life were actually gateways to the very best parts you’d never want to do without?
I think it is SUPER important for us to remember that the best parts of our lives have nothing to do with wealth or health. I would not have been enlightened from the book of Numbers or know any of you if I hadn’t been through some horrible times.
We go onto read about hardships that are caused by our sin, and how both hardships we caused or hardships that hand nothing to do with our decisions all need to be surrendered to God. We look at the story of David, “the man after God’s own heart” who was very much human. He made terrible mistakes but God used them! Not just to help David but to help others. David still had a purpose in God despite all the sin. In Psalm 51 we see how God used him.
Isn’t it amazing? Do you see the progression of how God took the dust of David’s sin and remolded him? David confessed. He asked God to cleanse him. He asked God to create within him a new heart. And then a calling was formed. David’s deepest desperation led to a great revelation from God. And the same can be true for us when we surrender to the Lord. David’s temptation and deception by the evil one turned into a testimony and declaration about the goodness of our God. And the same is true for us when we surrender to the Lord. David’s season of confession, cleansing, and having a new heart created within him couldn’t be skipped or rushed. Every step was necessary for this to eventually become a season of restoration and the fulfilling of his calling. and, again, the same is true for us when we surrender to the Lord.”TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 138). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q Right now are you more identifying with David or with the blind man?
This is a very personal question and I challenge you to just think on this and reflect later on in prayer on your own.
Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
I love the Eugene gives us the secret of being a person who keeps going. Let’s call it the secret of being steadfast. Jesus lived it so we could know it. Let’s look again at one specific part of the passage: “because [Jesus] never lost sight of where He was headed.. He could put up with anything along the way.” That’s why we must keep our eyes on Him and go over His story- the Bible- again and again. This is how we get through life between the two gardens. This is how we make sense of things that don’t make sense. This is how we can believe God is good when life isn’t good. This is how we can face hurt upon hurt, disappointment upon disappointment, long suffering upon longsuffering, and still run the race with oxygen filling our lungs, peace filling our minds, and joy filling our hearts. This is how we can accept reality but live reassured. This is how we wrestle well between our faith and our feelings. Don’t lose sight of where we are headed. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus who will show us how to put up with anything along the way.”TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 140-141). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q There are good things on the other side of your suffering as well. How does this help you endure what you’re going through now?
It gives me hope that there is purpose in the waiting.
She goes on to talk about the vision she had of a flower and how the clay was the perfect tool for it. She was speaking at a conference about dust and hadn’t mentioned the flower vision, but God gave her so much peace in a way only He could. Each person at the conference in her audience had some clay, and one woman up front made a flower that looked just like the one in her vision.
God was comforting this woman with the same comfort He’d given me. My heart was filled with joy. I felt a sense of redemption. A renewed purpose rose up in me. My circumstances hadn’t changed, but my certainty in God’s plan being good had. I could see with my own eyes that none of my tears would be wasted. It wasn’t the full picture- it didn’t give me all the answers- but it was just enough to help me keep going…I saw one woman being helped by my story. I saw one person’s tears ease and hope rise. Yes, because I had dared to break my own secrecy, she could break hers. What a gift.. I made a difference and what a difference that made in me. Wallowing in my suffering produces nothing but red eyes, bedhead, and a heart full of despair. But walking out the good things God purposes from my suffering produces eyes of hope, clear headed thoughts, and a heart full of real joy.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 143-144). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What is one thing you can do with your hardship or disappointment to make a difference in someone else’s life? If necessary, keep this question with you until you find something and/or someone. Using your pain to make a difference will make an enormous difference for you and the person you’re helping
That one thing can be just praying for people in a different way or encouraging someone who feels no one understands what she is battling.
Whether our hardships and disappointments are because of things we’ve done, like David, or things placed on us, like the blind man, God’s perspective is that it will all be for good. He will allow us to suffer sometimes, but He won’t let that suffering be wasted. And He will use that suffering to shape us, mold us, and make us even better prepared for our purpose if we throw off what hinders us, stay free of the entanglements of sin, and persevere by keeping our eyes on Jesus. When we are afflicted, we are being made more effective!TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 144). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Romans 5:1-4 NIV
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c]also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Q Do you see how your suffering is producing perseverance? What is one sign of perseverance you see in yourself?
One way I see a sign of perseverance is that when things get hard I tend to go to Him running rather than as an afterthought.
Isn’t it a beautiful thing that keeping our eyes on the Lord makes our burden light? And then He takes our burden and uses it as light? In the end, not only will our suffering produce perseverance- insurance for our race- but it will bring forth hope. Glorious, glorious hope for all.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 144). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Here are some points to remember from this chapter:
-sometimes hardship happens not because of what you’ve done but because of something God is doing
-When you are chosen for suffering, you are chosen for the blessing of displaying the works of God
-God isn’t causing this pain and suffering- He is allowing it
-sin entangles and strangles our ability to run this race of life well
-my deepest desperation can lead to a great revelation from God
-God will use suffering to shape us, mold us, and make us even better prepared for our purpose
-when we are afflicted, we are being made more effective
-In the end, not only will our suffering produce perseverance- endurance for our race- but it will bring forth hopeTerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 145). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Prayer from Lysa:
Father, This is what I want: to run with perseverance the race you have set before me. To keep moving forward even when the enemy’s taunts are deafening and my own flesh is demanding that I give up and turn back. Open my eyes to see anything and everything that is hindering me. Search my heart. Examine my life. And help me grab firmly onto the truth that You are for me and not against me. You are not a God who picks on me. You are a God who has handpicked me. Ans I want to live a life that brings You glory. help me catch my breath today, Lord. I’m ready to get moving once again. In Jesus’ name, amen