“Exhale” Book Study Week 3 Our Personalities and Quirks

Happy Friday Friend! I hope you are learning to love who you are as much as I am this week . This is actually one of my favorite chapters. As I have mentioned a time or two, my word for this year is “Grow”. This chapter has been one that has lead me to deep learning and leaning in as I continue to work on “Loving Who I Am.”

I am a “Connector” which when I read the strengths list wasn’t a surprise to me. I love making people feel welcome, being the center of attention, telling stories, and I am upbeat and optimistic.

Most of my life I have been upbeat and optimistic, and I am sure many of my family members would tell you I enjoy being in the spot light. As I have grown older, the spotlight isn’t as important, and I see the strength of making people feel welcome more prominent.

How about you? What was your personality type? Have you always had these strengths or have they developed over time? (I do have a fabulous give away)

So we can really focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses, let’s start today by giving our weaknesses to God. Let’s start choosing to accept our God created gifts. I love Cheri’s words on page 121 of “Exhale”, “When you receive what is yours, you won’t “need” what is not. You won’t fall for the lie that it’s selfish to embrace and enjoy who God created you to be. You’ll stop trying to change who you are and -taking a big, brave breath- start being more of who you are. You’ll remember that you’re the beloved daughter of our creator King.”

Did you write key words about your personality strengths on Post-it Notes and place them where you will see them? Take a picture of your notes and post them in the comments!

Moving on to Chapter 11, Amy tells us that “When we look through our redeemer’s lens, our quirks become our strengths” (“Exhale” page 124)

Do you have a trait that you have hidden just to fit in?

How is or has God used your “quirks” in ways that you never expected?

How can you use your “quirks” in your community?

Amy tells us we need to:

“Abandon the Norm to Follow Jesus”

“Make a Ruckus to Make a Difference”

“Let Jesus join His Name with Ours”

Here are this weeks Extras for Diving Deeper into “Loving Who You Are”

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 88 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode88/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 123 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode123/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 137 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode137/

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 59 https://gritngracegirls.com/episode59/

Praying for you to have a wonderful weekend. Next week we will continue to learn to “Love Who We Are” in Chapters 12, 13, and 14!

“Exhale” Book Study Week 3 Loving Who You Are

Hi Friend! We are rolling on into Part 2, Loving Who You Are. I know for me I can look in the mirror and say there are parts of me that I love, but I know in my heart that Jesus wants me to love all of me. He wants you to love all of you too. During this section we are going to learn so much about ourselves with Amy and Cheri’s gentle guidance. But first, let’s take a few seconds to square breath:

Inhale: Love who you are, 2,3,4 Hold: 2,3,4, Exhale: Lose Who You Aren’t’, Hold: 2,3,4, Inhale: God’s Truth, 2,3,4, Hold: 2,3,4, Exhale: Lies you tell yourself, 2,3,4.

Let’s jump right in this week with a video from Cheri as she teaches a new lesson from the story of Mary and Martha!

I don’t know about you sweet friend, but as I was watching Cheri’s video so many scenarios from my past flashed in my mind of times I was listening to lies and didn’t even know they were lies. My senior year in college when my high school sweetheart broke off our engagement. I heard the lie: I’m not good enough. Then there was the time I missed passing my National Teacher Boards by one point. I heard the lie: You are a failure. And for way too long I listened to the lie alcohol whispered to me that it was the answer for everything.

How comforting, calming, and freeing it is to know I don’t have to listen to those lies. As Cheri so beautifully illustrated, when we know the truth of Jesus and His love for us that is all that matters.

Read the Truth in Ephesians 1:1-14 below. What words in these verses show you how God sees you? How does it make you feel?

Share your thoughts in the comments today. I will tell you it calmed my soul and filled my spirit with true JOY knowing that I am “chosen”, “loved”, “enough”, “blameless”, and “forgiven” by God.

This week we will be reading chapters 8, 9, 10, and 11. Get ready for some fun! I can’t wait to find out what your personality type you are. I’ll share mine with you later this week.

Until then, Remember to “Exhale”!

Here are the links you will need for this week:

Record Keeping sheet: https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_8_pg_98_Record_Keeping_Sheet.pdf

“Love Who You Are Personality Quiz” https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_10_pg_115_Personality_Quiz-compressed.pdf

“Exhale” Book Study Week 3 One You with One God

Well now, didn’t Cheri bring a whole new meaning to the word “disappoint” or should I say “dis-appoint”.

I could so relate with Cheri when she wrote on page 90, “many people who do not matter have had too much authority over my life.” The highly sensitive me has done this most of my life. These people that I have listened to because I thought they really cared or had my best interest in mind, when in reality they didn’t know me at all and their main objective was more for their gain. It’s exhausting, trying to please so many people that I have never needed to please.

I have taken a picture of Cheri’s text to herself on page 90 so I have it with me all the time. When I feel I am letting someone have unnecessary authority over my life, I can easily pop it up on my phone and read through the script.

Cheri’s Text page 90 “Exhale”

Also as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) I am a reactor, a people pleaser. I have worked all my life not to disappoint people, but this is exactly what Cheri is teaching us to do. Brilliant! I love this concept of “Dis-Appointing” people in my life that have no real authority over me. I no longer have to react, I can “dis-appoint”. I can because the only true authority over my live is Jesus. And with his strength I can have the courage to “dis-appoint” these faux authorities.

Just like the man born blind, we can now see with Jesus and we can set boundaries we are comfortable living in for ourselves. Not anyone else, just us. Let’s “embrace our limits”. This week and moving forward to love who we really are, let’s turn to the only one without limits, God. We are “free to focus on our one-of-a-kind-specialty” (“Exhale” page96)

Who’s with me this week to take the “Faux-pologies Challenge”? Here is a fun record sheet link to keep track of which apologies you make should stay and which need to go bye-bye! https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_8_pg_98_Record_Keeping_Sheet.pdf

Here is a quick reminder of when to apologize and when not to:

Who do you need to dis-appoint in your life? Feel free to share in the comments this week. I have a great give away!

Now taking the lesson from Ephesians 2:10, that each of us has been uniquely created by our Heavenly Father to go out and do good works. Then why is it then, as Amy’s friend Debbie describes in Chapter Nine, that “Women spend the first half of their lives not living fulling because they don’t think they are enough- not old enough, not experienced enough, not skilled enough. Women spend the second half of their lives not living fully because they think they’re too much- too old, too irrelevant, too out-of-touch.”

Hey, I don’t want to be this gal either! And I am in the second half of my life now. Breath with me sisters!

I love how Amy breaks down for us the story of the Canaanite Woman. She was one women of faith and I want to be like her.

I am writing this post just as Hurricane Dorian has absolutely taken everything from thousands of people in the Bahamas in its path. The pictures we see on the news of the devastation is heart wrenching. You too at one point may have been a victim of a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. You may have lost everything in a fire as many of my friends did one spring day when their college dormitory burnt to the ground. Your story may include a devastating illness like Amy’s friend Jackie, or maybe you have survived abuse, rape.or overcome addiction. We all have our own story, unique to us, with circumstances that have been out of our control.

My friend, there is purpose in the pain. God uses these agonizing times in our lives to draw us into him, just like the Canaanite women was drawn to Jesus.

My favorite part of the Canaanite Women’s encounter with Jesus was when after he had appeared to respond quite harsh to her, she replies, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Amy does a beautiful job on page 104 to break this down for us:

“What a quick response and a tremendous statement of faith! She was saying, “Even your crumbs would be enough for me.”

Zip on over to page 105. I was so excited to see Amy use the Greek word “agape”. It is one of my favorite Greek words. It is a HUGE love or as Amy tells us a “feast.” Sister don’t ever think that God is keeping the feast for someone else just because you have had a tough time or because you think your story has more bad endings than hers.

This is where I feel as women we get in trouble with Comparisons, and Social Media is the worst. I think we have seen plenty of blog posts about the dangers of comparing ourselves with what we are “seeing” on Social Media. We have to be real friend, most of us, me too, only post the good stuff. I have a childhood friend that now lives in California. Now she is one of the most real gals I know when it comes to posting on Social Media. She posts the good, bad, ugly, and in-between! As her late husband was going through cancer treatments, she posted real truth, hard truth. After he passed, she did the same, it was raw, from her aching heart. She posts the joy of her four children as they are living on now and the love and support they have from family, friends, and community. My friend will tell you how blessed she is today. You see, she has a huge faith in God! She knows that God doesn’t hold back crumbs but he has a feast for us all.

Take some time this week and “pray-cess” on how God has used His “creative power through you.” (“Exhale” page 109)

You never know who you will help by sharing your story. Feel free to share in the comments. What are you thankful this week?

“Exhale” Book Study Week 2 Labels and Borders

Hi Friend, I hope you are loving this week’s reading! In chapter 4 Cheri breaks down the story of “The Women at The Well” . I don’t know about you, but for me, Cheri brought a whole new meaning of this story to me.

I used to read this story and just see a women who would have been rejected by people because of her past. Then Jesus speaks to her, which she knows is weird, right, she is a Samaritan woman why would this man give her the time of day. But Jesus sees so much more in her. She is a human being, created by the Father, to be loved and accepted. Not a wrong interpretation, but Cheri takes it further and I love it!

Check out page 53, “What would it be like to be a woman who leaves her jar at the well?’

When Jesus tells the women to run back to her town to tell everyone who she has met and to come meet him too, she leaves her jar at the well. Now friend, this isn’t a little old Ball jar she has carried to get water. Take a look at what she was carrying. And it was probably much bigger than the jar pictured here, but you get the idea.

Cheri goes on to say, “So you carry that heavy jar full of fears from your past all by yourself. You’ve carried it for so long, you know just how to balance it; how to hold your head up, how to tighten your grip, how to suck in your gut, now to throw your shoulders back, how to take your next step.”

Boy can I relate! Can you?

I love the next thing she writes, “To encounter Jesus and leave it all with Him. It’s not that the past doesn’t matter, but now something new matters more,”

“She is no longer a girl gripped by fear, she is a women held by faith.” (Cheri Gregory)

And so are we! We can leave our jars at the well! Leave it all with Jesus. When I got sober over eight years ago, I literally left my “jug” at the well with Jesus. I no longer had to be a girl gripped by fear, I could be a woman held in faith. Now, it wasn’t an over night thing, and I am still a work in progress, but today I know that whatever comes my way I don’t need to take a drink to get through it, I can take it to Jesus! He will get me through today, tomorrow, and the next.

Here is a link to a picture frame you can print of and put your picture in. https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/EXHALE_Ch_4_pg_56_for_3X5_pic.pdf

https://exhalebook.com/resources/

This is for a 3×5. If you would like a larger frame that can be found at the second link.

Now let’s jump into Chapter 5 with Amy.

Amy introduces us to “The Principal of Intention”.

She defines “The Principal of Intention” as ” We say the words our Father is telling us to say and not one word more”. “We do the things our Father is telling us to do and not one iota more.”

When I first read this I was so glad Amy threw in a “Mercy” there, because I was thinking to myself, “Are you kidding me!” Say and do ONLY what the Father tells me to! I’m in BIG TROUBLE!

But seriously, this concept is something I have been “pray-cessing” on since I read the book for the first time. Yes, I am on my third read as I am sharing the study with you. And I am sure it won’t be my last.

I know, though, in my heart, “The Principle of Intention” is how God wants me to live, it’s how I need to live. It’s how Jesus lived.

Amy explains that “God’s directions become our boundaries.” And heaven only knows I need to set up some boundaries with a few people in my life, one being my adult child.

I love how she sums it up on pg. 64, “We can let go of worrying that God’s boundary lines won’t be for our good, or that they will leave our family, friends, or co-workers adrift. Jesus shows us that faithful following, even when it clashes with someone else’s agenda, sets us in a place to enjoy God’s glorious work.”

Well, this has been a big check in, I’d love to hear your thoughts on becoming a “Woman held by Faith” or how you are living out the “Principle of Intention” and setting boundaries in your life. Remember you will be entered in this weeks drawing.

I am praying for you this week. Remember to “Exhale”!

If you would like to dig deeper this week, here are two more resources for you:

Grit ‘N’ Grace Episode 10 “Overcoming Error Terror” https://gritngracegirls.com/episode10/

And

Amy Carroll’s Blog “Why You Should Think Of Yourself When You Give” https://amycarroll.org/why-you-should-think-of-yourself-when-you-give/

“Exhale” Book Study Week 2: What Will You Do With Your Leftovers?

Welcome back for another amazing week of “Exhale” Book Study! Amy and Cheri have an amazing week of reading for us that at least for me have had me “pray-cessing” quite a bit!

Chapters 4-7 are chalk full of practical ways, backed by Biblical principals, and of course Amy and Cheri’s life experiences to help us see that change is possible.

This week we will be reading about two amazing women of the bible, one only known as, “The Woman at The Well” and Rebekah. Hold on tight friend, these two women are going to teach us a thing or two (maybe three or four!)

But first, we have Amy on the video this week telling a story about her grandmother who grew up during the Great Depression.

God uses our left overs, just like he did with the loaves and fishes when he fed the Five-thousand.

Comment today how do you think or how do you see God using your leftovers?

I’ll go first. Talk about some left over pieces, I have left a trail behind me, enough that even Hansel and Gretel could find me. (And I have moved a lot over the years!) Slowly but surely with the Grace and Forgiveness of my Savior, Jesus, I am picking up those leftover pieces to make positive changes in my life that affect everyone around me. God is using those pieces today to show me that I am more than the names I have given myself in the past as we discussed last week. He is my strength. He is my guide today. Today I know that I no longer have to drink alcohol to hide my fears. I can cling to the Truth of His Word, His power, His love. I can do His will. I can, I just have to be willing. You and me friend, we just have to be willing to “Exhale”!

Let’s do it! “Exhale”!

I’ll be checking back in with you on Wednesday. Until then I’ll leave with you “Breath Prayers” from Amy and Cheri. They are amazing prayer starters when you need to breathe.

https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/Breathe-a-Prayer_final.pdf

Don’t forget to leave your comments to be entered into this weeks drawing. Also, if you feel comfortable to leave your prayer requests in the comments, I will pray for you. You can also pray for the person who commented above you.

“How Your Story Changes”

“Exhale Book” Study Week 1

What an incredible launch party Amy and Cheri threw last week. If you missed it you can jump over to the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls Facebook page to watch!

I am so excited to “Exhale” with you starting this week and through the next five weeks. We are going to jump right in today with a video from Cheri Gregory. She has an amazing personal story to share along with a story that appears in three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke about a women who is changed.

Click on the video below to watch, then we can discuss some questions from Amy and Cheri’s “Study Guide”.

What are some names you have given yourself that you need to give up to take your God given name, “Daughter”?’

I’ll go first. “Quitter”, “Not Enough”, “Dumb Girl”, “Fool”. Just to name a few. Daughter sounds so much better, doesn’t it!

Let’s get the discussions going: Each post I will share a question or two based on the “Exhale Study Guide” Feel free to comment on 1 or all. Also You can reply to other’s comments as well. You can feel free to share your thoughts on your reading and pray-cessing too. Encourage each other as we learn to “Lose Who We’re Not, Love Who We Are, and Live our ONE Live Well!

What is Something you would like less of?

What is Something You would like more of?

After completing “Exhale” what is one thing you desire to learn, benefit, or change?

Comment below to be entered in this weeks drawing. I can’t wait to “Exhale” with you, my fellow “Daughters in Christ”.

Here is the link to find the Bible Verse Comparisons Cheri referenced in the video https://exhalebook.com/wp-content/uploads/Bleeding-Woman-parallel-accounts.pdf

Who Doesn’t Love A Party!

Friends, You are invited to a Facebook Live Party to kick off

“Exhale”

Click on the link below for all of the details for the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls Exhale Small Group Virtual Launch Party!

Wednesday, August 26th at 7:30 CST

https://www.facebook.com/events/355729702029429/

Our study here will actually begin Monday, September 2nd!!

It’s not too late if you haven’t order your book or study guide, you can do that right here. https://exhalebook.com/

See you at the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls Facebook Page Wednesday!

Let’s Party!!