I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


to walk or stay :: book club – week 6

I’ve already mentioned how Lara’s book, To Walk or Stay has had a huge impact on me {like everyone should read it!}, and today I’m honored to host this week’s book club discussion!

I started writing out a post for today, when I felt God lay it on my heart to speak directly to you through video. It’s a longie … but I pray you’ll take time to hear my heart.

And after you watch the video, I’d love to further our discussion in the comments! Discussion questions listed below.

{if you’re reading in an RSS feed, click here to view video}

“Leaving would mean I miss a blessing.”

Tell us in the comments, how do these thoughts on divorce challenge and/or encourage you?

As I mentioned in the video, I’m choosing to be obedient to God’s calling for me in my marriage. What choices can you personally make to reflect God’s design in your own marriage?

It’s all about love! Marriage — even in the most difficult seasons — is about choosing to love. I am a walking testimony to God’s love overflowing through me, allowing me to love someone who hurt me. Which aspect of love reveals your place of greatest challenge, and why?

If you haven’t read To Walk or Stay and this post has peaked your curiosity … hop over and grab a copy now!

Weekly discussion hosts!

April 18 – Chapter 1 :: Lara Williams at “To Overflowing

April 25Chapter 2 :: Crystal Stine

May 2Chapter 3 :: Katie Orr at “Hello Mornings

May 9Chapter 4 :: Kayse Pratt

May 16Chapter 5 :: Michele-Lyn Ault at “A Life Surrendered

May 23Chapter 6 :: Tracie Stier-Johnson

May 30Chapter 7 :: Francie Winslow at “Up, In, and Out

June 6Chapter 8 :: Joyce Moy

June 13Chapter 9 :: Erika Dawson

June 20Chapter 10 :: Stacey Thacker at “29 Lincoln Avenue

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Posted in marriage, resources, series

54 Responses to “to walk or stay :: book club – week 6”

  1. […] Click here to come over to Tracie’s blog and join the discussion of chapter 6. […]

  2. Crystal says:

    What joy to hear your story in your own voice today! Loved that :) My husband & I decided back when we were first dating that “taking a break” wasn’t going to be in our vocabulary. We were in a long distance relationship & decided it would either work, or it wouldn’t. Coming from a home with divorced parents, I didn’t realize how much that would change my perspective on marriage when we got to that road. “Taking a break” has been replaced with “divorce” as a word that isn’t an option for us, only by the constant and fresh grace of God every day. That does not mean I love perfectly. It does not mean we haven’t hurt one another, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I haven’t struggled with my thoughts, with being fully engaged, with supporting him 100%. Sometimes it’s just hard – but God has called us, in this season, to stick it out. The hardest aspect of love for me? (from the Message): Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
    Crystal recently posted..To Walk or Stay Book Club: Chapter 6

    • Emily P says:

      Crystal, “divorce” is a four-letter word in our home. Both of us come from parents that had 30plus years, but they were also second marriages. While their second marriage was a blessing…hence the hubby and I :), it had its fair share of trials….wives learning to be step-mothers to teenagers on both sides. I love the foundation that our parents paved for us. Marriage is hard enough. Our half-siblings are great, but rivalry is huge, and it’s difficult as a child to not compare your parents’ love. I pray my kids never experience that.

    • tracie says:

      love doesn’t want, what it doesn’t have! LOVE that!! i too, came from a home of divorce. you’d think i would’ve learned. it truly wasn’t until i was walking fully with the Lord that i understood what love really means. and that God really CAN help me through any situation! thanks for being here today crystal!!

    • Rachel D. says:

      Nice thoughts on love, Crystal!

  3. I realize the book is about marriage, but I’ve been applying the truths to other areas in my life (because, praise the Lord, my marriage hasn’t hit hard bumps yet.) I’m learning that obedience is always a choice, which means disobedience is the alternate choice. I’m learning that I will miss blessing after blessing if I choose disobedience…even when obedience doesn’t feel much like a blessing. I”m also learning how important it is to sit with the Lord in order to know what obedience looks like for me. Legalistic living rather than living by the Spirit would be much easier some days, but then the relationship God wants with us would suffer (or be non-existent).

    Thanks for hosting the book club today!
    Sarah (theGIRL) recently posted..Nine Years Later

    • Emily P says:

      Hey Sarah, I’m with you on applying this book to other areas….my marriage is not where I struggle. I have been battling major anxiety and depression for almost a year now, and this book has given me truths to cling on to. In the last year, I have learned that no one is going to grow my faith for me. I have to be obedient to Him, and keep my nose in His Word and my heart fixed on Him.
      Emily P recently posted..Pain

    • tracie says:

      i agree sarah! i’ve used the wisdom in the book in many areas of my life! and obeying even when it doesn’t feel like a blessing? it takes strength doesn’t it? and a lot of prayer!! but i’m so thankful He is true to His promises and we can rest in that! thank you for stopping by today!!

    • Joyce says:

      No, obedience isn’t always easy, and doesn’t always feel like a blessing. It is sometimes such a hard choice. I wish I could choose the obedient path every single time. And I know I have missed blessings before. But I love that so many times, when I look back at what has happened because of my obedience, it really and truly all worked out for the Lord’s glory in His timing and His plans.
      Joyce recently posted..“To Walk or Stay” Book Club :: Chapter 6 Discussion {Divorce}

  4. Michelle E. says:

    I really loved this chapter! One of my favorite parts is when Lara talks about having a choice. “We can choose to reflect God’s design, regardless of our spouse’s choices.” Wow!!! What great truth! God really spoke to me through those words. I’m so thankful for the work God is doing in me and in my marriage and that I chose to stay!

    Thank you Tracie for hosting today and for your story!
    Michelle E. recently posted..Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

  5. Emily P says:

    I, too, enjoyed this chapter…to me, it was an easy read. My hubby and I have had hard times, but none that have warranted as difficult a decision to stay or leave. I am thankful for parents who weathered major storms so that my husband and I can learn from their trials and choose a life-giving marriage. Hopefully, we will be able to set an example for our kiddos. The blessings that God gives are immeasurable, and we are a living testimony for that….for HIM!
    We went to a marriage retreat a few weekends ago that changed our relationship for the better…it was based on the book “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerich. God has given him such rich insight, Biblical truths that I wished I had heard 9 years ago…but then again, not sure if my young heart would have been receptive. We also learned some communication exercises that have whipped our days into shape! We feel like a poster-couple for this dude!
    Emily P recently posted..Pain

  6. Lara says:

    It’s good to have “no divorce” be our heart mantra in the good or easy times so that when the fiery hard times come we will hopefully more readily remember. Emotions are real. Pain is real. But God really can restore. Praying for those who “have every right” to leave or those who are at their end with their spouse that we would have a fresh view of marriage. It really isn’t about us. It’s about Him being glorified through us. And the crazy thing is, glorifying Him is life to us.

  7. Jenn says:

    I have not read this book — but I had to watch the video, as I could relate to this topic. I have not been divorced (thank you, Lord — we have made it 14 years, thus far!). But, i come from a family where my parents divorced when I was 9 years old. So I have always had the heart to do everything I can to make my marriage work for my kids’ sake.

    My husband is not a believer. He is verbally & emotionally abusive, so the “world” (and some of my Christian family & friends) says I should leave… or at least separate. They don’t understand why I stay. But I choose to stay because God has already promised me that He’s got my back, and He is working things out for His glory. He has good plans for me — hope & a future (Jer.29:11). I pray that, by my staying, I’ll see a wild miracle (as Tracie said in her video). ;)
    Jenn recently posted..Making It Personal

  8. Heather S. says:

    My Husband and I have been through a lot in the eight years we have been married. After reading this chapter, I want my marriage to thrive, because In doing so I represent Christ and honoring Him. Wow! Marriage is very difficult because we are both sinners living in a fallen world. And at times both self- pleasing. Lisa, it was precious hearing your story and your struggle with divorce. The “D” word has crept up in my thoughts whenever my emotions get carried away. The scripture you have have brought to my attention, want to hide in my heart for the tough times.

    • Rachel D. says:

      Hi Heather! Praying for you today, sister!

    • tracie says:

      heather, marriage is a struggle. it just is. but God … it all goes back to His love, grace, and model for us. He really can perform a crazy wild miracle for all of us! trust and lean on Him. He knows each and every one of our struggles and He’ll meet us right where we’re at and help us through them. i’m proof of that! praying for you my friend!

  9. […] chapter 6 of “To Walk or Stay, and it is taking place at Tracie Stier-Johnson’s blog. Click here to visit. But before you go, I want to share a little about the chapter in the author of “To […]

  10. Rachel D. says:

    Good afternoon!
    Tracie, thanks for you vlog! I was wondering if you heard that you had a right to leave from any Christians? I know you said that many people did, but that they weren’t saying that in the context of the gospel.

    How do these thoughts on divorce challenge and/or encourage you?
    >> “Marriage serves as the context for transformation.” It encourages me to keep working at my marriage & gives me a deeper understanding of what our marriage is suppose to look like.

    What choices can you personally make to reflect God’s design in your own marriage?
    >>Like I said above, I know I have to keep working at it. Our pastor’s wife gave me a little notebook at my bridal shower and asked me to write down things that I appreciate and love about my husband on a weekly basis. This has really helped me to love him more!

    Which aspect of love reveals your place of greatest challenge, and why?
    >> Love doesn’t always mean my happiness. It’s about our good and His glory.


  11. tracie says:

    hi rachel! yes, i’ve heard it from christians too and i’ve lost friends over my decisions as well.

    love your thoughts today rachel! thanks for stopping by!

  12. Carolyn says:

    I am praying for more “wildly miraculous” moments for you-soon! Your story is not over yet, Tracie.. It is an incredible miracle already that your husband is a believer now, and God won’t let this be the ending to the story… there has to be more!
    Two verses I am praying for you…..promises…
    Joel 2:25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.
    Hosea 6:1 for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
    your praying friend

  13. Joyce says:

    Tracie, thank you for sharing your heart with us today.

    How do these thoughts on divorce challenge and/or encourage you? Knowing that others have walked through difficult storms in their marriage, but have stayed, gotten through it, and have been blessed by it, encourages me to trust in Him to keep my husband and I together through whatever trials might come. It also gives me hope to encourage others around me to be challenged to stay.

    What choices can you personally make to reflect God’s design in your own marriage? I think choosing to not make small things into big things when times are hard is something I need to work on. I get upset over things that are trivial, and I’m sure that is not in God’s design for my marriage. I can choose to love my husband as my brother in Christ as Lara talked about in the book.

    Which aspect of love reveals your place of greatest challenge, and why? I think not being easily angered and insisting on my own way is the greatest challenge for me. My way isn’t always the only way.
    Joyce recently posted..“To Walk or Stay” Book Club :: Chapter 6 Discussion {Divorce}

    • tracie says:

      hi joyce! thank you for stopping by today! i can easily relate to your struggle of getting upset over small things and wanting your way. struggle with those same things! it makes me even more thankful for women like lara who write from their experiences to encourage us and point us to Christ-like marriages and relationships! blessings to you today!

  14. Katie says:

    How do these thoughts challenge/encourage you?
    Reading this chapter of Lara’s book really affirmed the stand I’ve taken for my own marriage, which has been hanging on by a thread for almost 2 years now. I really appreciated your post Tracie, because I know God has called me to stay, but so many people don’t understand or agree. I am praying for wildly miraculous things for my home, family, and marriage. I knew from the day our marriage unraveled that God has a big blessing in store, and I don’t want to miss out. Getting there isn’t easy though!
    What choices can you personally make to reflect God’s design in your own marriage?
    I feel like being called to stay is living out the Gospel. I’m faithful to a husband that hasn’t been faithful to me. God keeps showing me how my husband relates to me the way I often relate to God–hesitant to trust, aloof, ashamed. Loving my husband and remaining faithful when I have every right to leave is letting God love him through me and living out God’s unconditional love and forgiveness through us. It’s a miracle, and I take no credit for it.
    Which aspect of love reveals your place of greatest challenge?
    Being faithful to a spouse who is uncommitted is absolutely exhausting. God has met me every step of the way and He encourages me daily, but I’m just plain tired! I trust His promise of a redemptive miracle for our marriage, but I often wonder how long I will have to wait. Forgiveness is hard when the wounds are so deep.

    • tracie says:

      oh katie! i hear your cry!! and if i hear it, i know God hears it! it’s exhausting, isn’t it? but it carries me through knowing He sees, hears, loves, and is praying for me! and that blessing? truth is, it may not come this side of the veil, i’m prepared for that. but if we remain faithful? oh the chills i get knowing we WILL see a blessing one day!! stay strong my friend and know we are binding together through Christ! praying and believing in a wild miracle in your home katie!

    • tracie says:

      katie — also, i wrote a book 31 days of forgiveness, out of my journey … i’ve heard beautiful stories come from those who’ve read it. i would love to send you a copy if you feel comfortable sending me your address …

  15. cyndi says:

    I adore everything about this – seeing you, hearing you, and being inspired by your words. God is working within you and I know, absolutely KNOW, that wildly miraculous things are in the works for you! Love you friend!
    cyndi recently posted..emotional

  16. Sara J says:

    Both my husbands parents and my parents are still together and during our marriage counseling we had heard that there is no back door to marriage. we agreed that in our marriage once we went into the front door there is no going out. Like the door knob idea that Tracie talked about. It was very easy to say there wouldn’t be a back door option when we were young and all we wanted to do was get married cause we knew that our marriage would be different than all other marriages cause we could do it right! Boy were we wrong!! I find myself now after 11 years daydreaming of how I wanted my marriage to look and the only way to get THAT marriage is to get out of this one and start over again. That is when I always remember that we said there was no back door and I try to focus on God’s word and staying focused on helping our marriage. I can totally relate to the part in this chapter where Lara says ” I was physically present in my home, but my heart lived far from my husband…….And over time, my heart grew hard. That is were we are now. And with 3 young kids it is very hard to try to put my husbands needs first and think of him in the midst of the craziness. I am praying that we make it to God’s blessing because most days are extremely hard and lonely!!

    • Laurina says:

      Sara, I could have written what you posted! I’ve been married 9 years and have 3 little kids and I too completely related to Lara’s words about being physically present but my heart is elsewhere! Like you said, with all that’s required of mommy, it’s just so hard to factor in daddy’s very real needs! I have the books Tracie mentioned and I really recommend “Love and Respect”. I have been so wanting my husband to read it but that hasn’t happened. This has been a particularly difficult week and I am in a low place at the moment thinking of my attitudes that surfaced. It’s so hard to forgive oneself and move forward sometimes. But my children motivate me towards change. My husband tends to diagnose me alot (he’s a doctor so I guess it comes naturally), but the knowledge that I need to be a good model for my children drives me to my knees to beg Him for the courage to be intentional about change. I long to give up my self-focus and put my husbands needs before my own. I loved Lara’s description of marriage as an “evangelistic” experience! It does indeed model Christ’s love for us. I want to internalize that love and model it for my children. Thank you Lara for this chapter, I just read it this morning! Thanks Tracie for hosting and for bravely sharing your testimony on video! I was truly blessed. Also, reading the experiences of the wonderful women who have posted on this blog has normalized my marriage struggles for me and helped me to not feel so alone. Feeling truly grateful tonight.

  17. tracie says:

    sara, my heart hurts for you. i’ve been there … i’m still there at times! marriage is downright difficult! i’ve heard great things about the book emily {above} mentioned, “love & respect.” i know with 3 little ones there’s hardly time to read, but it could be worth it. maybe you could both read it? the love dare is a book that helped me tremendously. i didn’t focus on the actual dares {who has time for that extra work!?}, but it gave me a HUGE understanding of what love is. and from there i continued to grow. i’m praying for you today sara!!

  18. Sara J says:

    Thanks Tracie! I will check those books out! If anything thing to understand love better!!

  19. […] Each week a different blogger will host a discussion on one of the chapters. We are half way through To Walk or Stay but there is still lots of great stuff to discuss. Discussion on chapter 6 over at Tracie’s blog this week. I’ve only known of Tracie through this book club, but I realized that I had stumbled upon her blog before. She has a great post about Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. I’m all about random acts of kindness. Anyhow, head on over to the book club post and join in on the discussion: http://www.traciestierjohnson.com/to-walk-or-stay-book-club-week-6/ […]

  20. […] 4 :: Kayse Pratt May 16, Chapter 5 :: Michele-Lyn Ault at “A Life Surrendered” May 23, Chapter 6 :: Tracie Stier-Johnson May 30, Chapter 7 :: Francie Winslow at “Up, In, and Out” June 6, […]

  21. […] the book club discussion of Chapter 6 of To Walk or Stay over at Tracie Stier-Johnson’s blog […]

  22. […] 4 :: Kayse Pratt May 16, Chapter 5 :: Michele-Lyn Ault at “A Life Surrendered” May 23, Chapter 6 :: Tracie Stier-Johnson May 30, Chapter 7 :: Francie Winslow at “Up, In, and Out” June 6, […]

  23. […] 4 :: Kayse Pratt May 16, Chapter 5 :: Michele-Lyn Ault at “A Life Surrendered” May 23, Chapter 6 :: Tracie Stier-Johnson May 30, Chapter 7 :: Francie Winslow at “Up, In, and Out” June 6, […]

  24. […] 4 :: Kayse Pratt May 16, Chapter 5 :: Michele-Lyn Ault at “A Life Surrendered” May 23, Chapter 6 :: Tracie Stier-Johnson May 30, Chapter 7 :: Francie Winslow at “Up, In, and Out” June 6, […]

  25. Jeanne says:

    What an encouraging video. I’ve just found your’s and Lara’s blogs and finding such hope reading both. I’m going through a very difficult time in my marriage (for the 2nd time) and just needing help in seeing how to stand strong again.

Leave a Reply

share your last post?