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About Renee

But I Don’t Like Being Told I Can’t

20160524_ReneeSwope_WithinGodsBoundaries

I’m not a natural rule follower or a limit-liker. I love last-minute plans and just-because adventures.

If you let me stay up as late as I want, and sleep in as long as I can, I will be in heaven.

God gave me a soul that craves freedom and a creative heart that thrives on spontaneity.

Budgets and boundaries are not my friends. Feeling like I might suffocate during discussions about either, or both, have taught me it’s good to go into those kinds of conversations with the right mindset and lots of chocolate.

I feel like a child admitting this, but if someone tells me I can’t do something, it brings on a sense of both sadness and a determination to change their mind. Hearing “you can’t…” makes me feel locked out, at least until my heart understands the good within my guardrails.

So years ago when my husband, J.J, put child locks on our kitchen drawers and cabinets because our baby girl could reach inside them, I should have been grateful. But I felt sad instead.

You see, when I saw J.J. drilling little screws into the wood to secure the white plastic locks, all I could think about was the joy in Aster’s eyes when she discovered her little hands could open the drawer that held colorful pens and countless paperclips.

Quite pleased with herself, she smiled at me with a handful of shiny silver treasures and sprinkled them on the floor. She had no idea how quickly she would lose access to her sparkly new friends, and it broke my freedom-loving heart.

Yet I knew it was for her good. I knew those paperclips weren’t safe and drawers that held more dangerous objects like scissors and matches needed to be off-limits. It was love that motivated her daddy to put boundaries in place to protect her.

I’ve needed to remember that lately, as I sense God setting some new and needed boundaries for me in a place where I have loved roaming free…. {keep reading here}

Do you like boundaries or, like me, do you resist them?

Are there any boundaries you sense God wants you to set to help your heart experience His best for you? What would it look like if you set those boundaries? What could be the benefits?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and pray for you. Join me at (in)Courage today. 

 

When You Need Prayer But Feel Hesitant to Ask { & a prayer journal giveaway}

Today, I’m talking with my friend Kathi Lipp on her podcast about the topic of prayer and I wanted to invite you to join us! As one of my regular readers, you may notice today’s post is familiar – half of it was shared here in April. Today I’m sharing the whole thing, in case you didn’t get to read it last month, and for new friends visiting from Kathi’s podcast. Welcome if you’re visiting from Kathi’s page. I’m so glad you’re here!

I would love to pray for you today, and have us all pray for each other. I’m also giving away my new favorite prayer journal. Keep reading to find out more.

Asking for prayer

It was supposed to be a prayer request, but my email started out more like an apology. I needed friends to pray, yet I was hesitant to ask. I didn’t want my burdens to burden them.

They already had so many problems of their own: illnesses, a job loss, death of a loved one,  relationship strains, overwhelming stress, and overloaded schedules.

I questioned whether my need rated high enough on the urgency “Richter scale.”

Was it really bad enough to ask for prayer, or should I wait to see how things turned out?

The first sentence in my email went something like this: “I hate to add to your list of burdens, but I need prayer for JJ.”

A few years ago, my husband had a routine check-up and blood test results that caused his doctor to be concerned about his liver, which led to a biopsy that week. We didn’t know whether it would be anything serious in the end. I just knew I didn’t want to walk through it alone in fear, denial, or my own strength.

Within fifteen minutes of me hitting “send,” friends who were on their computers started telling me they were praying. And not only did they pray, they thanked me for sharing what was going on and for letting them be there for me.

One friend shared how someone she knew had been through a similar situation. Another asked questions and made some great suggestions. Then another cracked a funny joke that made me laugh, which I really needed to do!

The night before we went to the hospital, my friend Amy sent an email saying, “I’ve been lifting prayers heavenward for your family since your last email. Know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow. Let us know as soon as you hear results. We’re all in this with you, friend.”

As I read her last sentence, I could almost feel the softness of her hands gently squeeze my shoulders and hear her saying, “We’re all in this with you, friend.”

And then it hit me, what if I had not shared our need?

I would’ve missed the comfort of having friends “with me” and peace that came through the power of their prayers.

They would’ve missed out on a chance to be the “body of Christ” by guarding our hearts and minds with God’s promises and the power of prayer. And they would have missed being part of what God was doing, the joy that came when medical tests went well, and the recovery that was quick. And as we waited that week for biopsy results that ended up coming back normal, their prayers and God’s peace were constant companions.

Are you are carrying a burden today? Don’t listen to doubts that make you question the validity of your need. Even if, like me, you hate to impose on others.

Asking for prayer isn’t about putting burdens on our friends.
It’s about letting them walk by our side down a path we were
never intended to walk alone.

Lord, thank You for never seeing my prayers as a burden. Help me remember the power and purpose of prayer in my life and in my friendships. 

Let’s walk together and carry each other’s burdens this week by sharing a prayer request and praying for each other in the comments by clicking “Share Your Thoughts.” I’ll be praying for each of you! And would love if you could leave a short prayer for the person who shares their need in the comment above yours!!!


ComeToMe_CoverEnter to WIN
I’m giving away my favorite prayer journal! Leave a comment or prayer, you’ll be entered to win. 

Come to Me {journal} by Renee Swope
Jesus invites us to come to Him: to receive, rest, be renewed, and remain in His love. Experience the power of God’s presences and rejuvenate your soul with the living water of His word as you are reminded with the truth of who God is and who you are in Him.Filled with inspirational quotes and prayers, this journal will help you position your heart to receive God’s peace, plans, perspective and purpose for you each day. 6×8 Hardcover, 144 Pages

Order a journal for yourself, or a friend, by clicking the image below to order on Amazon

If Amazon runs out of journals when you try to order it, send an email to connect@reneeswope.com with your name and email. We’ll contact you to get your order taken care of!