This is the first chapter of the study Guide for my book Grace to Grow currently being written. Hot of the press!
What am I becoming?
Grace to Grow study guide
By Laura Grace
Grace to Grow Study Guide (with Testimonies) is for people on the go; for people who are seriously tired of bible studies that don’t seem to help them Grow and become what God intended.
Listen; I fully intend to be so honest and so candid at times it may make your hair curl. No more hiding in the dark shadows or corners “confessing” things that everyone is afraid to say or talk about in church. Okay? This is going to be eye popping serious and fun! So are you ready? Let’s grow! -Laura Grace
I come from a really unique perspective because I’ve been a self-righteous goody two shoes, a women’s libber and finally an abused woman. After I got delivered, I later became a loved and cherished woman by my husband Tim. I have been a Lutheran, a Pentecostal and a Baptist. I’d like to think I’m all three with a little Methodist now mixed in.
The truth is; it’s not your denomination that’s going to save you. That Bible study won’t do you any good if you don’t apply it or if it’s not timely for you personally. The truth is none of us fit into the neat little boxes or packages people think; therefore Jesus was really smart when He said to us: “I’m going away, and it’s good I do as I will send you a helper.”
That is, the Holy Spirit our teacher. The trouble is being Holy Spirit taught has gotten a bad rap because a lot of people don’t really understand how to let him be your teaching IN combination with the others God will send into your life to help you. We miss the forest looking for the trees and we often miss the fact the road God wants us on is right before us; if only we will accept it.
1 Love God yourself and others (the Royal law) God first, then you, then others (that order).
You may be asking yourself why you should listen to me. Who is this Laura anyway? “I never heard of her.” I never heard of Paul either until he wrote several chapters in a book we called: the bible. I am a Holy Spirit filled woman full of love and power. I am anointed, chosen, called, sanctified and justified by God himself. He sent me to talk to you, yes, he surely did.
As I described in my previous books I was saved (born again) in late 1986. I was pregnant with my son and I was running from God just like Jonah did. I may as well have been singing that song “run, run as fast as you can; you can’t catch me I’m the hater of man.” See I hated people I really did. I am sorry to tell you this; but for the most part; I really did. I know it sounds bad.
I didn’t have a nice time in high school or in school period. I got made fun of for my clothing and shoes and I just did not fit in. School dances were awful until the boys caught up with me in height; and until then I was taller than most of the boys were. I had to wear glasses and I wasn’t getting passes.
So no people; I do not believe a person just makes a decision to love God. I was mad at him and scared of him yes very much so. As I always said when I did talk to him; “You could wipe me off the planet!” I had dreams just like anyone else but I was drawn to the things of God at the same time and wanted to know “what’ this God person was all about. When I fell in love with Jesus was when he became real to me; establishing testimonies in my life that proved to me he was real, he was true, he was the person the singer crones about: Faithful and True!
I don’t think God meant for us to listen to a song and say; “Oh wow, that song is so true” without having our own personal experiences with God and Jesus. I believe that we come to love God because he first loves us; and I do believe also that God knows exactly how to convince us that his love is real. The secret (in case you are wanting to know) to having God come closer to you is to “draw near to him.” He says if you draw near to him, he will in turn; draw near to you. The thing is we have to draw near to who he really is and not just who we suspect him to be.
Sound like a mouthful? Oh, I know everyone who writes a book or tells a story claims to really know “what God is like.” The truth is many have a glimpse but they try to describe him without going back and looking at him again. And Again. And Again. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that in order to know him “look in his word.” Why do you suppose Jesus said to his disciples; “Many have wanted to see what you see and could not see it?” (Paraphrased). I mean; how can that be? Knowing God, my friends is not for sale.
You can’t buy it with money and you cannot get it magically just by sitting under the right preacher. How you learn to be a person of God is the same way you learn as a kid; you grow by doing, stretching, learning, trying, failing and asking your heavenly Father for help. Before that happens you do have to agree to let him adopt you, which is what becoming born-again, is all about.
I have to tell you; I do not know your story; I only know mine and a few others friends have shared with me. I’ve read a lot of testimonies and I have noticed they are all different; yet the same in that God gets the glory. He is very creative and your testimony will be as unique as you are.
I know people will say if you have problem with a certain area in your life; just go look up the scripture that helps in that area. Not a bad idea. I have looked up passages on fear to overcome fear and I’ve looked up passages on healing to believe for healing. Yes faith does come by hearing the word of God; that is certainly true. We are given a measure of faith and we are expected to use it and increase it as time goes by.
I want you to know that I believe “how we grow’ is so similar to what we think is a well-rounded adult; you are going to be surprised. Do you want your children to have and develop their talents? Sure you do! Do you want them to know how to balance a budget; do the dishes, vacuum the floor and curb their appetites?
You want them to go to bed early so they can get up for school; have them learn how to comb their hair, brush their teeth, be nice to others, tie their shoes and so on and so forth. Why do we think growing up in our spiritual life is any different?
Children under great parents will learn what they are good at and help out with “chores’ and will be a productive part of the family. Everyone has a part to play and nobody is left out. I am getting ahead of myself here; so now that I painted a bit of a picture on where we are going with this, let’s address the subject of love and loving God; Shall we?
Have trouble loving yourself? I think Christians probably struggle with the idea of loving themselves more than anyone else. I am not talking about self-esteem or thinking you are just fine the way you are; I am talking about loving yourself the way you are next going to love your neighbor. If you are not patient with you (yourself) you are not going to be patient with others. If you are not kind to yourself you are likely not going to be kind to others very consistently.
I want you to write down five things you don’t like about yourself. (Go ahead.) And then ask God to show you how he views or sees the situation after you’re done. I am assuming of course you already gave your life and heart To Jesus and accepted his great gift of salvation. If you didn’t you are probably not going to get much out of this study because the Holy Spirit was sent to help Gods children, who have given themselves over to him and his offer of adoption.
Okay have you written them down? Let’s pray: “Father in the name of Jesus I ask you; please show me how you feel about these five things I’ve written down. Is my view of this skewed, please show me. Are these the areas you are concerned with changing, or things that bother me because someone else does not like these traits about me? Father please guide me by your Holy Spirit and teach me what you want me to know “in the light.” I do thank and praise you that you love me so and I pray you would help me be convinced of your love (for me) In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Feel free to say more to the Father in heaven okay? There is no right or wrong way to pray to him. He has big shoulders and he already knows your thoughts anyway. He can handle whatever it is you have to say and, be assured, he is listening.
Why we have trouble loving ourselves
One of the reasons we have trouble loving ourselves; is we are taught almost right away after becoming saved (born again) that we are to die to ourselves and basically God thinks everything about us is just yukky. Why? Well, here’s the thing; the scriptures do talk about dying to self, and even Paul talked about beating himself into submission.
I don’t know how you can read the book of James without feeling like a worm as he charges: “Adulterers” and “don’t you know friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” I mean really, be honest. Did you ever read the bible and just get flat scared out of your wits almost? I did!
If we soak in God’s love more than just a tiny bit; chances are someone in church is going to say our grace is greasy or it’s sloppy agape. Everyone has advice to give when it comes to the things of God and the Kingdom of God; because we all have this duty to watch out for each other right?
I want you now to think of 5 things you LIKE about yourself and write them down. Five things that you see you have the potential or the beginning of something. Let me help; “IF” you are faithful to go to church or pray most of the time; consider writing “Faithful” as one of the five things you believe is good about yourself. Go ahead; write them down.
Now let’s pray: “Dear Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus we pray; “help me to see’ Father what other areas I have potential in or am already growing. Show me what you like about and in what areas you are cheering me on and smiling. Help me Father; to find the balance between what I need to work on and what areas I am already doing good. Help me Father to grow up and become more and more like you and help me to reach my full potential. Thank you Father, Amen. (Feel free to add more and pray your own prayer; this is just an example of how I did it.)
Why do you suppose I had you do that? I wanted you to see there are at least five areas you are doing good and five areas you probably would like to improve in your life. Guess what? If you would like to improve it God would love to help you with it! He loves you already he is madly in love with you. What greater proof could he give you sending his only son to die for you on the cross so you might live and be reconciled to him? I think we all know the price he paid; but do we really let it sink in deep how very much God loves us? His love in unconditional and that never changes. When you had a child (if you did) the first time they were naughty did you stop loving them? What about when they flat out rebelled? See; this is what God meant when he said; “If you being evil know how to give your children good things, how much more will I?
Chapter and verse that is not what it says but that is what it is saying. How do I know? Because I asked the Holy Spirit to teach me and renew me in the Spirit of my mind so I could understand what God is saying in his Word. And you can too. It’s your birthright. Did you hear me? I said it’s your birthright.