Captivating – Introduction

Opening PrayerWe pray that God will accomplish all he desires in each woman through this study. We pray that God will reign in every aspect and that the women come to know Jesus more truly and deeply.We invite the Holy Spirit to guide and reign over us in this time together. God, help us to silently lay all our concerns at Jesus’ feet.Introduction:The messages in the book, Captivating, are to be pondered and considered. Some embraced. Some practiced. Some messages are to be set-aside for a later time.The invitation is from God. And it is ever before you to come more fully into his presence and know him. Know yourself. And become ever more you, ever more his.God loves his church, the Bride of Christ, more than most of us have yet grasped. And He loves each one of us personally, intimately. Always has. Always will. During this study we will look at our lives through his eyes and we will receive the healing, the comfort, the embrace, the encouragement, the dignity and the calling that he longs to bestow upon each one of us.Now I don’t like when others are hurting. I don’t want to leave them in it. I don’t like to feel powerless to help. I want to help. Most women do. But we don’t want to “fix them”. I really do like to help. If you see me “fixing”, offering unwanted advice or empty platitudes, please tell me.The way to help in small group is to listen, to empathize, to acknowledge the woman’s legitimate sorrow and let her feel heard and understood. Praying for her is absolutely valid when she is finished. We do not to want interrupt her.We want to have safety and confidentiality in our group time. So we will be quick to listen and slow to offer advice. We will let everyone take his or her time.This week’s thoughts:We are all brokenhearted.We wake in the middle of the night to sorrow, loneliness, and an ache for something more. This goes mostly unexplained. We are women. We think no one really understands. We tend to believe there is something deeply wrong with us. We think that if we were better somehow, then life wouldn’t be so hard, painful, lonely, fill in the blank. So, what is at the core of a woman’s heart? What are her desires? What did we long for as little girls? What do we still long for as women? And, how does a woman begin to be healed from the wounds and tragedies of her life?What are your comments?God has set within us a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring.What if the truest thing about us is that we are magnificent and meant to be the heroine of the story? Really.You are captivating. We are captivating.This will be a journey of discovery and healing. Our hearts are the prizes of God’s Kingdom. Jesus has come to win us back for himself – all of us, our whole being.We are on a journey of becoming. Henri Nouwen writes in The Life of the Beloved that, “the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming.” May God use this book in our lives to aid us in becoming the women we truly are. May he draw near to each of us as we draw near to him. Ask him to come. And rest assured that he will for, indeed, he has promised to do so: he delights in coming. He will bring healing, restoration, joy and life!These words and thoughts are taken from Captivating By John and Stasi Eldredge, the book, the study guide, the leader’s study guide and the journal.Click here for more information on Henri Nouwen

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