Have you noticed any changes?

Thank you SO MUCH for all of your prayers, promises and notes to Kim. Her appointment went well and another CT scan was done today. For a detailed update, visit her CaringBridge page at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kimwhisenant

Okay, I’m switching gears and I have some very important questions for you: Have you noticed any changes God has made in your life – recently or in the past? Do you ever doubt that you will change?

Why do I ask? Well, I’m working on my book proposal, outlining the final chapters which are focused on the promise of what is possible when we live beyond the shadows of our doubts and find confidence in Christ!

I need to finish my “I can” chapters and I really, really want your input!!

I’m working on a chapter focused on the promise: I can change. In it, I share that when we become Christians – we become new creations. We live in Christ and Christ lives in us. Because He lives in us through the Holy Spirit, we have the hope of being transformed into His likeness. Therefore, we have hope for change! We don’t have to stay the same.

I think it’s easy to get bogged down in bad habits and day-to-day frustrations with ourselves and what we wish were different. Sometimes I don’t even notice what has changed about me. But God’s been encouraging me to see the difference He’s made in my life and celebrate the changes – even as little as they may seem, even if they only last for a day or a minute.

Like today when my Diet Dr.Pepper fell off the table and exploded in my kitchen – spraying dark brown, sugar-coated foam across the wall, chairs, table and floor. Without Christ, I would have exploded with it! I would have been so mad at myself a for making such a mess and frustrated that it was going to make me late as I tried to get ready to leave town.

But something in me, the Holy Spirit, reminded me that He’s in control and that the fruit of His Spirit in me is joy, patience and self-control. My natural response would have ruined all that fruit!

In that moment, I allowed Christ in me to come alive by submitting to His prompting to simply give myself some grace, get paper towels and wet rags and clean it up. The whole time I smiled and thanked God for the progress He’s made with my “inner control freak” not freaking out so much anymore.

I am also a different wife and mom than I was 10 years ago. I am more content with who I am, and I never thought that would happen. Oh, the list goes on and on.

So, I am wondering…

  • What difference has Jesus (in you) made in your life? What changes have you noticed (in your heart or in someone else)?
  • If you were describing to a friend the promise and possibility of change because of God’s transforming power available to those who believe, what examples of “hope-for-change” would you share from your own life?
  • In what areas do you think women long for change the most?

I don’t want only my story in this book; I want yours! So just in case you need some incentive, I’m going to bribe you :->. I’ll be drawing names from the comments under today’s post, and giving away 2 copies of The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson. One for you and one for a friend. You will both love it!

Ps. Leah and I are driving to Lavonia, Ga for an event tomorrow morning and then to Stony Point, NC for a Mother’s and Others Dinner tomorrow night. Would treasure your prayers for these eventes, the messages, the women coming and all our traveling adventures!

Happy weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite moms!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. The difference Jesus made in my life when I accepted Him as Lord when I was 7 was simply that I had peace, assurance and acceptance. As an adult seeking after His heart, I realize more and more that I am constantly failing Him, but the difference that He is making is that He keeps pursuing me and never gives up on me. I love Him so!

    I would have to point them the life-changing power of His Word and show them life after life that was one way one day and then completely different the next. Then I would have to tell them that his amazing grace, mercy and love did the same thing for me. Once I was lost — hopeless, joyless and desparing — and the next I had peace, joy and love. The world around me didn’t change. I still have problems, but I walk through them instead of standing still in terror. (Hab 3:19 Amplified) If He can do that for me, He will do that for anyone!

    I think every woman wants to feel loved, accepted and secure. If they have children they want God to make them better Moms. If they are wives, they want to be the kind of woman that their man cherishes. I think any woman who loves the Lord wants to know him more and more.

    Blessings,
    Dori

  2. ConnieH says:

    Hi Renee. There is one thing that sticks out to me that I wanted to comment on about your blog today. While I know that Christ has changed me from the inside out, I know I am more patient than I ever was before, more loving, more accepting, less selfish, but at times it seems I still struggle with those very things.

    It is your last question that struck a cord with me and I just wanted to share what God shared with me recently. Times have been tough with the economy. It has affected our family financially in a big way. You see, my husband is a home builder, and over the past couple of years we have had to go back to practices we did when we first got married. Counting pennies when I grocery shop, cutting out extra clothes shopping (or in my case, cutting it out pretty much completely), no extra money for anything. And while it’s been tough monetarily, it’s been even tougher mentally and emotionally. It has hurt my husband, not being able to provide in the way he wanted to. And it has,in turn, hurt our communication, our intimacy, our relationship. While I understand and try to be supportive, sometimes, as a woman, I just really need to hear that I am treasured. I need someone to sit and listen to me, to want to know what I’m going through, and that’s been missing the past few years.

    The other day I was crying out to God, telling him just what I have written above. I told him it’s just not enough for me to know that He loves me, I really need to “see it in writting”. And Renee, you know what he reminded me? That He has written it. That his Word is His love letter to me. That there I will find just how much I am treasured. I’ve known this since I was a little girl, but the other day it hit me as a brand new concept. He told me that if I would just look, seek, and read his word daily he would let me know how much I am loved….in writing. And you know what? He has. He is true to His word. He is faithful.

    I think a lot of women feel this same way. They are lonely, feel unloved, unwanted, and long to know that they are treasured. But they look to worldly acknowledgement. The want husbands, fathers, boyfriends, children, friends, jobs, and a myraid of other people and things to validate them. But we can’t count on a fallen world to fill that need in us. Only our Father can fill that need. And we don’t have to just guess, blindly believe, or imagine it. We can read it in His word! But a blessing! What a wonderful reminder.

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us, and giving us a place to share ours with you.

    God bless you,
    Connie

  3. # 1 I am thankful for an opportunity for self-reflection. I have been a believer since my teenage years. When I was a new believer I felt I had to act a certain way and do just the “right” things (bible study, prayer, witness, etc.) in order to be a “good Christian” and please God. I was always striving and feeling I fell short of expectations. When I became a wife and then a mother, the same thing happened …I put unrealistic expectations on myself. (I think today’s culture really helps us buy into this – “be the best you can be”; “climb the ladder of success”; “How to ….(fill in the blank)”; follow these steps/principles and your life will be wonderful.) I was caught in a performance trap for over 30 years and it is only in the past few years that I have realized it.
    I believe that for me the changes began when I started focusing on and understanding who God is (His character and attributes – reading about them in His word) and took the focus off of me (and my “performance” earning points for me). Along with that, I began to realize that I could do NOTHING that would make God love me more. He loved me before I became a believer, in that horrible state that I was. He loved me for ME, because I was His creation, not for my performance. There was nothing I could do (performance-wise) that would increase His love for me.
    When I became a believer, the emphasis was on “letting Jesus into your heart and life”. It hasn’t been until the last few years that I have understood how much it actually COST Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins…the pain and agony that were His companions in the transaction. This knowledge has also brought about changes in my life. I take my faith much more seriously.
    # 2 I would share about the struggle I had parenting. For many years, we struggled with infertility in our marriage and I felt “second class”. We adopted our son as an infant (a miracle story in itself) and parenting him has been a huge learning experience. His personality and nature is VERY different from mine. I wanted him to “turn out right” and felt it was my job to do and say all the right things in order for this to happen. I laughingly say that parenting has been more for my benefit than my son’s. God has so lovingly shaped me through the experiences I have had parenting my son. I have learned grace, patience, unconditional love, and letting go of what is not mine to control. I have also had a glimpse into how God loves and forgives us as our Father.
    Our culture is so “comparison” oriented, and I fell into this trap. It took God some time to show me, through many parenting experiences, that His love doesn’t depend on my performance just as my love for my son doesn’t depend on his performance.
    # 3 I think that in our culture, women are encouraged to be super-stars, to handle everything and anything that comes our way in an effective manner. Our worth is based on our performance. We always have to worry if we are being “graded” or “judged” and feel constantly under pressure.

  4. It’s so easy to let Jesus take the physical, outward stuff. For example, I’ve been delivered from alcohol addiction and credit card addiction. Those seemed easy. It’s a mental change I’m having trouble with. I need deliverance from anger and my temper. I pray daily for Him to help me hold my tongue but somewhere in every 24 hour period I lose it. I read scripture after scripture and devotional after devotional but somewhere throughout the day a child or husband just sets me off. Why do we take our frustrations out on those we love the most?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sad to say, but I think I’m more in the place of Wrinkled Shirts today. The past 2-3 years have been really hard, and I feel as though I’ve had my feet knocked out from under me. I know GOD is real, HE is good and HE is true, but it’s as though blinders have been put on me. It’s so hard to see anything HE is doing right now. Have I changed any these past few years? I don’t know. I can sure see my failures. I have asked the LORD to show me today anything that has changed in me for the better. I need HIS reassurance that all is well and HE is still there.

    Julie
    sweettea.n.ice@gmail.com

  6. Oh, Renee…I had a soda explosion incident a few weeks ago — diet coke all over a fairly new family room rug. Despite hubby’s best attempt to scrub it, the stain is still there. However, while the explosion and volcanic eruption of the soda took me by surprise (eek!) I was thanking the Lord that I didn’t explode, too. Only by His grace.

    Spending generous time in His Word each day and getting His truth into my heart and mind is what is transforming me. I do notice changes in myself because of Him, and I immediately throw crowns at His feet for His work. I am thankful when He shows me how He has grown me. And yet I know there is still so much growing to do! He is good.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you!
    Praying for safe travels for you this weekend and fruit for His glory!

  7. I started working at a christian preschool 13 yrs. ago when my youngest son started attending. I was an aide in the 3 yr. old class. I didn’t know Jesus at the time and felt so uncomfortable when they were singing about Jesus. We didn’t talk about Jesus when I was growing up. I see how so many children already knew songs like Jesus loves Me. We started the class with prayer and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, what if the teacher is gone and I have to lead these children in prayer? I was petrified. Fast forward… I now have been teaching for the past 4 yrs. and loving to teach children about Jesus. I was thinking just this past weekend about how far I had come when I was in charge of the Children’s Mission Festival this past Saturday and then the following Monday I was up on stage in front of all the pre-school classes demonstrating to them how when we confess our sins, God doesn’t remember them no more. I feel so blessed with how far I have come with my relationship with Jesus. God definitely knew what he was doing when he brought me to this pre-school so long ago – learn to see things through the eyes of children.
    Blessings
    Shirley (phil. 4:13)

  8. Just a year ago, as I was doing Beth Moores Get out of the Pit book (aka the Pit book!) I had cried out to God please tell me what you want me to do with my life. I was climbing out of the pits in my life, and I literally felt my husband pulling me back. It was such a weird sense that I had…I was firmly planted on the rock…that is higher than I, and I had my husband pulling me down. We have been through much as a couple. From suicide of my husbands dear sister, to disease diagnosis of my husband. (non fatal, “just” dibilitating) Then July of last year I got my answer from crying out to God, through Focus on the Family. I heard about a organization in Texas called Rio Bend. The Delays built homes for married couples to do foster care. After looking into what they are doing, my husband, parents and I decided to make our own Rio Bend called Hope Blooms. http://www.hopebloomsmn.org We are actually to the fundraising part right now. In less than a month of sending in our tax exempt paperwork, the IRS stamped it as accepted!!!! That is all God! We were told to expect up to a years time, and for sure three months. We also landed an interview with our local CBS news station with a Christian reporter, and adoptive parent. Which is set to air next week….Our budget to get started is huge, but I have such a peace about it that only God can bring. I know somewhere God is setting the plans into place for our 5.5million dollar budget. He brought us to this task of building homes for children to live with a mom and dad. There are over 650 children in Minnesota waiting to be adopted. It is so sad. If they are not adopted by age 9, chances are they will stay in the foster care system and age out to a life of crime, divorce, prostitution, and even their own children in foster care. IT is such a vicious cycle~! Through God…His Peace, His Victory, His Grace, His compassion…we are in the process of making a difference in the lives of many young children. He is making this possible. It is only because of my complete trust in Him…I do still doubt at the end of a long day…but He has shown me numerous times how great He is!

    Thanks for the opportunity to tell this story….just going through it I am amazed. Hope Blooms isn’t about us the people that started it….it is about God’s love through us to hundreds of children! The hard part…not helping them all right now!~

    Shannon

  9. I am living proof that God can change a life; he won’t do it without our consent. We must be willing to yield our flesh to a different path; shift our focus in purposeful intent in another direction. For example, music. I’m a huge country music fan. A few years ago, I began to deliberately change the channel on my radio and began listening to more Christian music.

    Now, three years or so down the road, I don’t often return to that music; not because it’s all bad, but rather because it “leads” my mind to places I don’t wish to go.

    When you’re immersed in a constant stream of “yuck”, you’re dulled to its noise. When you purposefully remove yourself from it, upon returning you are better able to notice the difference. Does that make sense? It could be anything … any addiction. I just knew that I needed a mind-makeover, and this is one way in which I began to treat my symptoms.

    I don’t miss country at all friend!

    Happy Mother’s Day to you also.

    peace~elaine

  10. “Do you ever doubt that you will change?” ALL THE TIME!!!

    I hate that many of the same things…fear, insecurity etc..still plague my life. It’s not due to not knowing truth, but all due to not living truth. Is that because I don’t believe enough? My life in many ways says that God can’t…yet I KNOW that’s not true. So, why am I still fearful? Why am I still insecure etc.?

    Just this past Friday I read this verse: “Is this the one who relies on the Lord?” Psalm 22:8

    To me relying on God means I will quit my incessant worry and trust my life in His hands. It means calling on Him first before running to friends to supply for my need. It means giving Him fear, doubt, worry and anxiety and knowing that He is working for my best and His glory.

    I think often the Lord looks down on this little Much Afraid and asks, “Is this the one who ‘says’ she relies on Me?” He must shake His head at all my worries and anxieties, thinking, ‘Child, if you would only place yourself in My hands and let Me carry you. You seem to have more faith in fretting than in letting go.’

    I want to declare with David in Psalm 26:1, “I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.”

    (You can read the post I wrote about it on Friday here: http://ponderinginhispresence.blogspot.com/2009/05/ill-be-back.html)

    Renee, I have to sadly say, I don’t see the changes my heart longs to see. I believe the transforming power IS available, but it involves steps of faith that my feeble frame has yet to embrace. I’ve been hit lately by the reality of the legacy of faith I am truly leaving my son. Does he see me trusting God without reservation or is my life displaying only words while my actions speak loudly of trying to live without claiming His promises.

    Our biggest obstacle is ourself. We are capable people. We are smart. We have been provided with many resources. We think we can do it on our own. We must learn that no matter how confident we seem, we can only have victory through Christ.

    Praying I will allow the Lord to do His changing work in me, and that I will step out in faith and trust Him completely,
    Joy

  11. Just thought of a song that “His Season” sings called “See a Change”. The chorus says, “If you see a change in me, And if I’m changing positively, Let me tell you what you see, It’s Jesus rubbing off on me.”

    Needing to be closer to Him,
    Joy

  12. Jesus’s presence in my life has made an incredible difference. It can be difficult to pinpoint one thing, but the first thing that comes to mind is – He’s taken away that feeling that I need to do it all. As a child, teen and young adult I really struggled with failure, I felt like I disappointed others with my mistakes and especially myself. As I get to know Him more and more, I’m still driven to do well, but the motivation is different and through Him I’m able to give myself some grace, which is freeing. And I don’t have to do it all, He wants me to do my best and trust Him to do the rest. And as a mother, that is a very important promise. He will fill in the gaps when we’re walking with Him.

    Currently I think the area He’s trying to help me with most and assure me of His promises is to trust. Through the years I’ve also been a bit of a worrier, well at times more than a bit, but when I just lay it down and let Him carry it there is peace. His burden truly is light and I’m working more and more to stay in His light and let Him carry the heavy load.

    I think the remarkable thing with walking with Christ is the possibility of change is a constant. We never fully arrive and He is always making us a little more like Him. At times the process is painful, but the end results are beautiful.

    Thanks for the thought provoking questions Renee!! I pray you had a blessed Mother’s Day!!
    Blessings,
    Jill

  13. I am so encouraged by your daily blog. It brigthens my day every day to read about moms having the same issues that I have every day!

    I too “explode” and have learned to let the Holy Spirit calm me and keep me sane.

  14. How did the trip to Georgia go? You were in my prayers 🙂 Hope your Mother’s day was wonderful.

    These stories that the bloggers have shared are great! Such encouragement! I can’t wait to read you new book!!

    One of the changes that Jesus has made in my life is the peace and calmness that can ONLY come from Him. I’m emotional and sensitive by myself. With Him, I am calm, cool, and collective(not necessarily in that order!!) in extreme situations. Like the coyote situation! He is there with me-Praise Him!!

    Hugs,
    Susan

  15. Serenity Now! says:

    Like many, I don’t see the changes. But back when I was a full time horse trainer we used to have a saying “if a horse improved by just 1% each day, you’d have a perfect horse in 100 days”. We knew that wouldn’t happen so we knew it was ok to go through a few days when we could see no discernible change. I think that’s the way it is with me. As a mom, if I can get through just five minutes of struggle with my kids without losing my temper and yelling, that’s a big win. I still fail, but hopefully I’m getting a bit better every day.

    The biggest change I see in myself is a willingness to admit that I can’t WILL myself into change. In fact I have to spend more time saying “I can’t” than “I can”. Admitting that I can’t win my own salvation through effort was a huge wake up call for me.

    If I were describing this to a friend I’d try explain the difference between knowing that you don’t have to feel guilty any more. It’s ok, you weren’t designed to pay for your own sins. That makes me feel SO hopeful that change is possible because I can move forward without the baggage.

    Where do we long for change the most? I think for many of us we wrongly long for change in others. Like, say, our husbands and kids! But ‘motherly guilt’ and ‘womanly guilt’ is where we long for the most change. We need to be able to shed that guilt to live in Christ fully.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So, I am wondering…

    What difference has Jesus (in you) made in your life? What changes have you noticed (in you or in someone else)? Jesus means I don’t have to go it alone and that I have the Holy Spirit right along side of me as I go through every day. My recent revelation is that I have the opportunity every day to turn each situation into something good or bad sctrictly just by my reaction to it.

    If you were describing to a friend the promise and possibility of Christ making their lives different, what examples of “hope-for-change” would you share from your own life? The peace I have in knowing his unconditional love me and desire to be with me. He is there.

    In what areas do you think women long for change the most? I really struggle with working full time and taking care of home and kids (like every one else). I want there to be joy in it instead of drudgery (the home) and not feel like me time is so infringed upon by others. I would also like for me husband to assume the role of our spiritual leader.

    Does that help? I need some summer reading!
    Kim

    kmorton6575@yahoo.com

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wanted to share a change that I have noticed in my life.

    For years I have been praying that my husband would change, that God would become #1 in his life and that his family would come next. My husband is a hard worker, works most weeks 70 hours or more, doesn’t leave for much quality time with the rest of us. We have been married for 18 years and have built a beautiful family and life together. I was feeling very frustrated with handling most of the parenting, housework, yard work and working outside the home myself for 30 plus hours a week. As I prayed for God to change my husband, I was noticing changes in myself. I was searching His word for comfort and a way out. As the week and months went by, I was finding myself moving my prayer requests from my husband to myself. I would pray He would give me a full heart, one that didn’t ache for attention. A heart that was totally filled with knowing this was the right place for me and that I would find contentment in my marriage. Soon I was looking at my husband in a different way. No, he didn’t change, but I had. The resentment had disappeared, the restlessness had disappeared and I was looking at my husband through different eyes. I realized how precious my family is. How blessed we are and how God was just going to provide each and everyone of our needs in his timing. I empathized with my husband for the struggles he goes through on a daily basis. Now years later, I still find myself resting in Gods arms. Feeling content and blessed with the family He has intrusted me with. I pray His love with touch another struggling mom just as it has mine.

    Lisa V.
    dafodyl@verizon.net

  18. Two years ago God brought a storm into my life. At the time I did not understand… I went home and immediately tore open my bible. I cried as I read through Job and prayed like I had never prayed before. You see my bible was only opened on Sunday mornings and then put back up. I prayed each night and thought I was living and doing what God had wanted me to do (read once a week). On this night I realized that I needed him more than I had ever thought I did. Two years ago I was on the phone with Kevin Stringham who said, :Serenity pray for your enemies.. this is what God would want you to do.” Luke 6: 27-28.. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you, Pray for those who hurt you.” I thought this man was crazy and could not even think of uttering the persons name who hurt me let alone in prayer. I think i might of prayed once or maybe twice for this person and then stopped. For the next 2 years this person was everywhere I went. I had never even known this person before everything happened let alone seen their face. I literally bumped into them at the grocery store, in a group of 70 teachers we drew the same number and placed in a group together, this person was the first and only person in the office the morning of our schools visit from the board, I saw them EVERYWHERE. When my daughter broke her arm this person had to approve the conditions in which the CRCT would be administered since it was her writing hand, and last but not least… they were right smack in front of me at a school meeting. I remember coming home and saying to my husband….” God is trying to do a divine intervention with me and ______.” Within the past year and especially the past 8 weeks i have devoted myself to the word of GOD and changing the way I think and act. (Hebrews 12:1.. check it out…my life verse.) I began to feel his power within me, and a couple of weeks later he showed it again. I remember praying that night before i read that God would show me what I needed in my life. Immediately he had me turn to Mark 11:22-25.. “Have faith in God, I assure you that you can say to this mountain, may God life you up and throw you into the sea, and your command will be obeyed. All that is required is that you really believe, and do not doubt in your heart, listen to me, you can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. But when you are praying first forgive anyone you hold a grudge against so that your father can forgive you.” I started crying that night and knew that for 2 years I had held such a grudge against this person. I prayed that God would give me instruction on what to do. Well he did! That morning as I pulled up to school I almost could not get out of my car. My stomach felt sick and I though I was going to puke…. he was telling me to talk to that person. So i followed God’s voice instead of my own and set up an appointment to meet with this person. The whole way over I prayed that even if this person did not accept what I was going to say that at least God will forgive me, and I will know I followed his voice. To make a long story short.. this person got teary-eyed… we laughed, we even gave each other a REAL hug and agreed to work on the same team and not against each other. I could not have felt better leaving that office after almost an hour of talking. I remember praying that God would give me the words to say and boy did he ever! I don’t think they ever stopped! That day I realized why this CRCT ordeal had gone on for 2 years. I had not followed God… I followed me. I did not listen to his voice but to my own and held onto something that was my fault for 2 years! You see Jesus will bring us storms in our life.. but after every storm is sunshine. Its his way I saying I am here, I need you to be my child and “obey God rather than human authority (meaning ourselves sometimes.)” Acts 7:33… I put aside the voice in my head that week gave it all to him… not half of it, not all of it but the grudge, but ALL OF IT! I was freed that day of a weight that held me down…. now I have more “endurance to run that race that God has set before me” because I know he is truly with me.

  19. The difference that God has made in my life over the last two years is AMAZING. The comment I posted was due to a storm or should I say category 5 hurricane sent my way. In a short glimpse… I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was little. I had a playroom set up like a classroom, won a speech contest about the teacher I would become one day in 3rd grade. I could not wait to have a classroom of my own one day. In my 6th year of teaching everything I knew in my little classroom stopped. It was the last day of CRCT testing (a state standardized test) , the last hour of testing (it last 2 hrs each day) in first grade. I repeated a question more than two times and a testing coordinator was outside my door. I never denied the charges against me. I remember crying, being treated like a criminal and wanting to throw up I was so sick to my stomach. I did this with out realizing it and was not told i did it until 4 hours later. That day I went home tore open the bible and immediately went to Job. I cried and prayed like never before. Since this event I have appealed my suspension 3 times, and now am at the point of a trial … through all of this I have realized the real reason why this huge storm came about… I needed him everyday, all day and not just on Sunday. This event has made a profound impact on me and my walk as a christian. You see all athletes practice strict self control and they do it to win a prize that will fade away. We must train our bodies for an eternal prize. It was then and there that I decided that I would run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I would discipline my body in the word of God, like an athlete in training would do to win. 1 Corinthians 9:24… you see my faith is bigger than the storm he sent, and that is what has changed me!

  20. Two years ago God brought a storm into my life. At the time I did not understand… I went home and immediately tore open my bible. I cried as I read through Job and prayed like I had never prayed before. You see my bible was only opened on Sunday mornings and then put back up. I prayed each night and thought I was living and doing what God had wanted me to do (read once a week). On this night I realized that I needed him more than I had ever thought I did. Two years ago I was on the phone with Kevin Stringham who said, :Serenity pray for your enemies.. this is what God would want you to do.” Luke 6: 27-28.. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you, Pray for those who hurt you.” I thought this man was crazy and could not even think of uttering the persons name who hurt me let alone in prayer. I think i might of prayed once or maybe twice for this person and then stopped. For the next 2 years this person was everywhere I went. I had never even known this person before everything happened let alone seen their face. I literally bumped into them at the grocery store, in a group of 70 teachers we drew the same number and placed in a group together, this person was the first and only person in the office the morning of our schools visit from the board, I saw them EVERYWHERE. When my daughter broke her arm this person had to approve the conditions in which the CRCT would be administered since it was her writing hand, and last but not least… they were right smack in front of me at a school meeting. I remember coming home and saying to my husband….” God is trying to do a divine intervention with me and ______.” Within the past year and especially the past 8 weeks i have devoted myself to the word of GOD and changing the way I think and act. (Hebrews 12:1.. check it out…my life verse.) I began to feel his power within me, and a couple of weeks later he showed it again. I remember praying that night before i read that God would show me what I needed in my life. Immediately he had me turn to Mark 11:22-25.. “Have faith in God, I assure you that you can say to this mountain, may God life you up and throw you into the sea, and your command will be obeyed. All that is required is that you really believe, and do not doubt in your heart, listen to me, you can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. But when you are praying first forgive anyone you hold a grudge against so that your father can forgive you.” I started crying that night and knew that for 2 years I had held such a grudge against this person. I prayed that God would give me instruction on what to do. Well he did! That morning as I pulled up to school I almost could not get out of my car. My stomach felt sick and I though I was going to puke…. he was telling me to talk to that person. So i followed God’s voice instead of my own and set up an appointment to meet with this person. The whole way over I prayed that even if this person did not accept what I was going to say that at least God will forgive me, and I will know I followed his voice. To make a long story short.. this person got teary-eyed… we laughed, we even gave each other a REAL hug and agreed to work on the same team and not against each other. I could not have felt better leaving that office after almost an hour of talking. I remember praying that God would give me the words to say and boy did he ever! I don’t think they ever stopped! That day I realized why this CRCT ordeal had gone on for 2 years. I had not followed God… I followed me. I did not listen to his voice but to my own and held onto something that was my fault for 2 years! You see Jesus will bring us storms in our life.. but after every storm is sunshine. Its his way I saying I am here, I need you to be my child and “obey God rather than human authority (meaning ourselves sometimes.)” Acts 7:33… I put aside the voice in my head that week gave it all to him… not half of it, not all of it but the grudge, but ALL OF IT! I was freed that day of a weight that held me down…. now I have more “endurance to run that race that God has set before me” because I know he is truly with me.

  21. Renee…
    this was such a good question…and it was eye-opening to me how hard I found it to answer. I tend to always focus on where I still haven’t changed. Disappointment in myself is a constant battle…which shows that it’s really probably me trying to change me instead of fully surrendering myself to God. This life is a pilgrimage…but I seem to want to just “arrive.” I need to trust Him more as He brings about changes in me in His ways and in His timing…I just need to keep surrendering.

    Thanks for making me think. 🙂 I need to praise Him for where I HAVE changed and trust Him and praise Him now for where I WILL change. He has promised He will complete the good work He began in me. What a relief! 😉

    Love to you! Praying for you as you write,
    K

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been a “Christian” since I was 7, but when my parents divorced 3 years ago, I couldn’t do anything but cry out to God. Why did He let this happen? Why did my mom leave the church 20 years ago (around the time my father started his affair), so that she had limited support and wouldn’t turn to God? What is reality, if not what I grew up knowing?
    The answer was what changed me. I was given a promise in a P31 Devotional- “When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.” When I realized that every human being in my life will eventually let me down, whether on purpose or by accident, and the only One I can rely on all the time for every need is God, I quit crying out to Him. He was there all along, holding me until I quit struggling to figure everything out and just be His.
    Since I have become a true follower of Christ, He has given me amazing witnessing opportunities, including taking my nephew to Sabbath School and then taking over the class. He has healed me from the pain of infertility (His will for us is to be childless for now). I see less of me and pray for more of Him every day, and others see Him in me!

    I think most women just want to be what God wants them to be, when you “bottom line” it. As long as I surrender my will for His plan, I know I will eventually be just exactly who He had in mind when He created me.

    God bless your ministry!
    Jenn
    (jennifer_doering@ahni.com)

  23. Dear Renee,

    I’m humbled by the wonderful women who have openly and honestly posted the burdens and delights of their hearts and how God has interceeded in their lives. What a blessing we can be to each other when we remove the masks we wear to reveal our most genuine, even though flawed, selves. That is true beauty.

    In my late 40’s I gained an unhealthy amount of weight after a lifetime of being slim. I’d given up on ever marrying and decided that I might as well do as I pleased, so I ate and ate and ATE! Food became my comfort and my refuge.

    As I neared 50 I came to a point where I’d reached the “end of myself” … I realized I needed to change, but didn’t know how or where to start. So as a last resort, I prayed to the God I knew from childhood, the God I believed loved me … that loved the little girl who hid herself and only showed people who she thought they wanted her to be so she would be loved and accepted and have her needs met. The little girl who thought if she were just pretty enough or as pretty as so-and-so, she would be loved.

    And He answered.

    That was several years ago. I’m so different today than I was then. Yes, I’m still a work-in-progress, but He has made me aware of my own worth and value independent of the people in my life.

    Smiles,
    Stella
    stelladollies@juno.com

    P.S.–As of my last checkup, I’ve lost a little over 100 pounds.

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