Just in case you’re wondering where I am

I’ve tried to start this post so many times. I’m not sure how many of you meet me here and also on Facebook where I’ve been sharing updates. But for those who might be wondering, I wanted to stop in to say hi and let you know where I’ve been.

Our family is going through some hard stuff, and I’ve needed to pull back and pull in close to the ones who need me most.

Three weeks ago, my father was hospitalized with kidney failure, we drove 20 hours round trip to Florida to be with him, and my newborn nephew was hospitalized and had emergency surgery while we were there. Two days after we returned home, Aster, our almost 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with a speech disorder.

School started, speech therapy started and my dad was transferred to hospice last week. A day later my mom started having severe breathing problems and we ended up in the Dr.’s office. She’s not been married to my dad for 43 years so this is all unrelated. We’re still waiting to figure out the cause of her health concerns.

Then, this Monday afternoon, my father took two deep breaths and was gone. His life ended and our walking through the valley of the shadow of death began.

We’re in Florida now. And the first thing I want to tell you is this: God keeps His promises. He’s been with us. His goodness and mercy is following us, His rod and staff are guiding and comforting us.

He’s met us here in our place of sadness and sorrow in ways I could not imagine. I’ve been asking Him to wrap His mercy around my heart and the hearts of my brothers as we grieve our loss – not only for the future we won’t have with Dad, but also the past we longed for but never had with him either.

But oh how our Heavenly Father has met us here… rushing to our sides and comforting our hurts, giving us courage to let go and perseverance to hold on – to Him and each other.

Dad’s memorial service is Friday so we’ll be here all week. But when life settles down and words come more easy, I’ll be back. To write and to announce the winners of my last two give-aways. Until then, let’s stay in touch on Facebook. Love you so!

Ps. I also wanted to let you know my friend Samantha has a Confident Heart give-away and Melissa Taylor with Proverbs  31 Ministries is leading an online Bible/Book study of A Confident Heart. We wanted to make sure you know that you are invited! For more information, click here.

 

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. Renee,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your whole family! When the times get too hard and you need to feel the arms of your Heavenly Father around you, remember to “Be Still and Know He Is God!”

    In His Calm ~ Mary

  2. I was wondering just last night about where you were. God’s timing is always perfect. I am sorry to hear about all your difficulties and pray that you and your family feel God’s presence, love, and comfort during your time of mourning, the days ahead of working through your mom’s health issue and Aster’s speech therapy. Blessings.

  3. Just joined your page lately, and had been wondering where you were. Then decided to go to your website and read you letter. I’m very sorry about the loss of your father, just know there are people praying for you. I pray the rest of your week is peaceful. Love and Prayers, Teresa

  4. Just wanted you to know that you and your family are in my prayers.

  5. I’m very sorry to hear about your loss, and about all of the stressful things that are going on in this season of your life, Renee. May God be with you and your family in your time of need and place of rest. Please, know that I’ll be sending thoughts of love and many prayers your way.

  6. Thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

  7. I am so sorry for your loss and send prayers for you through these difficult times.

  8. I am so sorry Renee. I am glad you are finding comfort from God. I know a lot of ladies are praying that for you and your family. For your mom we will pray also. Hope the new baby is doing well now after that surgery. Lots of love from all of us.

  9. Oh Dear Renee—I am so very sorry for your loss–wish I could give you a big hug. My prayers are with your Daddy and you and your whole family–Many Blessings, Barb wall

  10. Love floods my heart for you at this time! Renee just look at all of this love as a huge bank account in which you have been pouring into for years!I You’re now receiving the love you have shared with all of us multiplied by the number of people that God has helped in someway through the ministry HE has given you!! And even with that number of people just because HE loves you HE is multiplying each of us by 10 in what HE is pouring back into you at this time.

    I know our GOD is going to show out in how HE blesses you at this time.

    Please be sure to share some of those nuggets with us as time passes:-)

  11. I am sorry it sounds so overwhelming. praying for a calm heart for you in the midst of your sorrow and a peace that passes all understanding.

  12. Renee,
    My heart is with you and your family right now. I am so dearly sorry for your loss. And even as you face your challenges, you still minister…sweet sister, may God show you and your family grand favor and blessings as you face today and the many days ahead.

    Hugs and Love in Christ Jesus, our LORD,
    Kim

  13. Renee, I’ll be praying for you. Know that you are loved and there isn’t anything too hard for God. He’ll never put more on you than you can bear.

  14. I will be seeing you in a few weeks at the RefresHER conference in Effingham, IL. I will have a huge hug waiting for you.

    My heart is so heavy for you, but I am also smiling because you just refuse to stop giving God the glory. Your Dad, your Mom, your nephew, Aster. This world is so ugly and sick and flawed, and yet the glory and beauty of God will just not be overshadowed, as long as you choose to look for it. And you are making the right choice.

    Hang in there. God has you. All of you.

    Shannon

  15. Praying for God’s comfort and strength to surround you and your family during this time.

  16. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time. I’m praying for God’s peace and comfort as you have the memorial service for your Dad on Friday. Asking for God’s guidance with the other issues you are also facing. You are a blessing to me and I look forward to your return.
    God Bless You!

  17. My best friend has just learned, with her family, that her mom has terminal cancer. Hearing of your struggles, really makes one wonder about what God is doing. At the same time, we acknowledge that God is good and is in control! Prayers for your family during this trial! Request you pray for my friend as well! Thanks!

  18. May God wrap his loving arms around you and your family and hold you close. As my Pastor always says…”It is not good-bye but until we meet again!” Praying for all that you have going on in your life right now. Thank you for taking time to update us…it means a lot.

    God’s Blessings,
    Nicole

  19. Renee,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. My extended weekend was stressful, too. My mother had to make the decision to move from assisted living to nursing home care, my sister needs to have heart surgery, one of my daughters is headed to a stomach specialist, and I had my last check-up with my neuro surgeon after having spine surgery earlier this summer (that appointment was good). My siblings and I did not all agree on what was best for mom. My brother-in-law wemt back to Rochester for his cancer and other health issues…. God has been good through all the stress and uncertainty. I am able to look at it all and count all of our blessings because of the stress. I hope God and time will grant you the same.
    Beth

  20. Renee,

    I know we have never met in person, but following your trials and triumphs via your blog and Facebook have made my heart overflow with love for you, my Christian Sister. That is why my heart breaks for you, as I read about your recent loss. May God continue to wrap His loving arms around you, and take your hand as you walk through this time.

    *Hugs.*

    Rhea

  21. Wrapping my arms around you in the Spirit and keeping you in my prayers.
    p

  22. Renee – I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad. It is a hard thing to lose a parent. Plus all the other health troubles in your family. You are in my prayers. May God bless you.

  23. May God bless you and your family throughout your time of need. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Warmest wishes from Nova Scotia.

  24. Renee, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father and all the other challenges you have been facing. I know you don’t know me. I met you at She Speaks and I am reading your book. Your talk was life changing to me.

    I am a speech pathologist and my son was also diagnosed with a speech disorder at age 3. I just want to encourage you that he is now 6 and doing great. I understand how hard that was as a mom, to not understand your son. Praying for you, for the Lord to comfort you and be your strength. Believing the Lord for good reports and health and healing for your family. -Sue

  25. Renee,
    My prayers are with you and your family during this time. I feel your pain for your loss as I still feel the pain of the loss of my Mother and re live over andover things I should have done differently during her illness, but God was with me as I know He will be for you. Praying for your Mom as well. Love to you and your family. Kelly

  26. Laura Burch says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your father and that you are having to deal with so much all at once. It is good to know that you sense God’s comforting presence through it all. My prayers are going up for you.

  27. I am so sorry for your loss and I feel your pain. My Father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer April 1st and we lost him May 8th of this year. My Mom struggled with coming to be with my brother or I in different states or remaining in Florida. She chose to stay in Florida – but the road has been a very hard one……

    Pryaing that the Lord will comfort you and your family through all that you are facing and that you come out ok on the other side.

  28. I am so sorry for your loss, and at the same time so encouraged by your testimony of how lovingly present God has been for you all. I am praying for all of you as you face today and for God’s comfort and peace to sustain you as you move forward from today and deal with the other issues that you spoke of. May His comfort and peace wash over you like rain.

  29. So very sorry for the loss of your father. Praying for you and your family as you all grieve and heal. Also, praying for your sweet baby nephew, his parents, and for your daughter and her speech issue. My son has a speech issue and just “graduated” from speech class. He is 12 years old. Prayers all around.

  30. I want to let you know that I am praying for you and your family. You are so right that God meets us right where we are. He alone knows every need and is capable of meeting them.

  31. My home group is studying your book and last night we prayed for you and your family.

  32. My heart goes out to you and your family. I’ve been praying for you. You are correct about the faithful love of our Father God. Continue to hold fast to Him and He will see you through. Much love to you and yours. Php 1:2 “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”

  33. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Janet
    gatorgirl66@hotmail.com

    Live Oak, Florida

  34. Renee, So sorry for the waves of sorrow coming so closely, and I am so thankful that God is near you, holding and carrying you revealing His strength in your time of need.
    Bless you as you walk through this…holding His hand.
    Love, Kathy

  35. Renee, I am praying for you and your family. It sounds like Satan is trying to bring you down…I think he’s afraid of all the wonderful ways you are touching women’s lives with your new book and all of your hard work with P31 Ministries.

    Stay strong and continue to rely on the strength, love and comfort of God.

  36. Wilma Metcalf says:

    May God continue to hold you & give you comfort in this difficult time.
    Many prayers are going up for you & your family.

  37. blessings to you and your family. My heart breaks for the pain you must be feeling, but God is faithful and will see you thru this time.

  38. Sheri Hanson says:

    You have been had some hard times lately and I am sorry for your loss. I want you to know that you are reaching all the way to South St Paul, Minnesota and are helping me with your wonderful words. I hope that can give you some comfort to know you are reaching all this way and you are wonderful and God is using you do great things and I know he will be with you and your family through these hard times. Thanks for everything and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  39. Satan was hoping to have a field day with you. Not a chance.Too much Jesus in you… Too many prayers surrounding you. Corrie TemBoon said “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” (She was digging in a Nazi prison camp at the time). Proud of you for putting first things first.
    Love and prayers
    <Kelly

  40. Berlinda Owens says:

    Renee,
    I pray that God of all comfort, comfort yours and your family’s heart. For God promises that He is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a crushed spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers [you and your family] out of them all (Psalm 34:18-19 NJKV).

    You are in HIS care.

    Blessings,

    Berlinda

  41. Praying for you right now! May the LORD wrap His loving arms around you and your family.

    Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

  42. Nicole Shaffer says:

    Good morning Renee, My name is Nicole and I just wanted to thank you for opening your heart to the Lord and being willing to share it with us as we study A Confident Heart.
    Lord, please bless Renee with wisdom, love and guidance as we do this study. Bless her spiritually, emotionally, and physically and meet her needs and the women doing this study all over the world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

  43. Renee-I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s death and the other trials you are facing right now! May you feel the love of friends, and the love and comfort and peace of God at this time.

  44. You and your family are in my prayers.

  45. Renee, when I read this, I thought of you.
    When Facing Loss
    Lord, I have such grief over what I have lost. You promised to comfort me as I mourn. Comfort me during this time and give me strength to navigate life through this time. Give me courage to do the difficult things that are ahead. Help me to remember that Your mercy is new every morning. Help me to take the time I need to step back and allow you to put the pieces of my heart back together again.

    Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Psalm 34:17-18

  46. Praying for you and your family!

  47. Terri Whitfield Blair says:

    I am joining this Bible Study because I am in a new place and I am finding my value and identity in God and God alone.

  48. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  49. My sweet friend,

    I am so sorry that you are in the middle of so many different emtional journeys right now. Know that you are being covered in prayer today and everyday. I love you.

    My give-away for your book was posted today! I sent you a note on Facebook. I hope that many new women hear of your words and are drawn closer to God by reading them.

    Praying,
    Tammy

  50. Renee, this is such a difficult time for you and your whole family. I’m so thankful that already you’re seeing and feeling God’s presence. You will still most certainly grieve the loss of your dad, but like my mom said before she passed away, “When you cry, remember that it’s not me you’re crying for. I’ll be happy, celebrating my new home with Jesus!” I certainly did cry when she died, but not as one who had no hope. I’ll be praying for you as God brings you to my mind.

  51. Carolyn from Lake McQueeney, TX
    I joined A Confident Heart b/c I have always struggled with self-confidence and don’t have time to physically join a Bible Study right now so I joined this one on-line.

  52. susan rupert says:

    Dear Renee,
    Your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Know that through our Lord Jesus Christ he will carry you. Please know I will be praying while you are in a time of need.

  53. My heart is breaking for you and your family.Im sorry for your loss. I know the Holy Spirit will give you all you need in this time. Im praying for you and your family.I love you Renee!Your sister in Christ.

  54. Lynda Levatino says:

    Hello Renee and all my new friends who are sharing in A Confident Heart. First of all I would like to tell
    Renee that I am so sorry about the loss of your Dad. I lost both parents many years ago, so I know where you are, girlfiend. I did have the wonderful blessing of Christian, but dysfuntional parents, so I was never without a parent to go to, and now am I blessed with Christian In Laws. So know that I feel your pain. I am so looking forward to the online study right NOW because I am being robbed of my joy for life by letting other strip away my confidence and self esteem. I am standing firm in the Lord and have told Satan to get behind me, I have NO use for him. That’s all for now. By the way, I live in Denham Springs, Louisiana and will welcome any feedback as we share this study together. I am still tring to get a copy of th book, so pray that one will come available to me in a timely manner. In His Love, Lynda

  55. I pray that you and your family will experience more of God at this time in your life.

  56. Renee,
    Just a month ago I lost my father under similar circumstances. It was such a powerful loss in the midst of two other medical crisis by people close to my heart while I had just welcomed a newborn daughter. My father and I were sadly estranged for the last six years of his life and had a rocky relationship at best while I was growing up. But in those final days Jesus gave me the sweet peace of knowing my dad loved me and would see me in heaven. It is so hard to process the finality of his life here but I know our story isn’t over and we will have all the hugs, dances and laughter I longed for on earth together in God’s kindgom. I pray you and your family can find comfort and peace as well. I will be saying prayers for you! Michelle

  57. Renee,

    I am so sorry for all you are going through right now.

    I just wanted to thank you for the Encouragement for Today Devotion. I sometimes struggle with feelings of hopelessness and today’s devotion has given me renewed hope.

    A little over 2 years ago, my husband of 14 years left me. He left me with 3 adopted children and over $600,000 of debt. For the last 2 years, we get by 1 day at a time. We have been though so much and we are still struggling, some days are so very hard. I know that God has a plan for us in the middle of this horrible mess, but some days are harder than others and this week has been very hard.

    Again, thank you for today’s encouragement.. “God works all things together for good.” “I was created for a purpose” “God has a plan for our lives.”

    I know that we will get through this dark valley and God has something so much better waiting for us on the other side.

    Blessings..Karen

  58. I am sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers this day.

  59. First and foremost, I send you and your family my sypathy and prayers for the loss of your father. I want to thank you for todays devotion. It was as if God was speaking directly to me. ( I am sure He was ). You are truely gifted in and through the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sharing, I truely needed it ! You reminded me of the hope and peace of the future.

  60. I pray that God will wrap His arms around you and your family especially you. May His grace, mercies and comfort abound in your life as you walk through this season.

    Thanks for today’s devotion. So practical.

  61. Renee,

    I too am sorry for the circumstance you now find yourself in.

    In response to the P31 devotion, I was listening to Dr. David Jeremiah the other morning on my way to work. He said he had a conversation with someone who had asked the question, “If God loves us so much why does He let bad people do bad things to others?” His reply was that He loves us so much that He allows it to happen because He gives everyone a choice.

    It brings to mind 3 different type of parents: 1)controlling, vengeful parents, 2)ones who don’t care or are overwhelmed and so they are like the old saying about the Ostrich burying his head in the sand (which btw is a myth) or 3) caring but strict parents who provide opportunities for training.

    I’m so glad we serve a loving God! Aren’t you?

  62. Kathy Quinn says:

    Renee,
    My prayers are with you and your family at this time. My life has been filled with trials in the last year and Jeremiah 29:11 has been my lifeline. I really identified with what you wrote today and thank you so much for taking the time to write today’s devotional, with all else that you are going through. You have helped me, and I’m sure many others as well. God Bless You.

  63. Hello Renee,
    I know from my own experience you will be lifted up and held and surrounded by God through this ongoing grief. It is truly a wondrous thing to live through. God is so good. Currently, I’m lviing with a few worries of my own. My brother, not a Christian and whose salvation I’ve been praying for for some time, is currently (again) in the hospital (he’s 71) with legs filled with fluid and the doctors are looking for clots. He was taken to the hospital because he had trouble breathing. He’s been in and out of the hospital for most of this year. Doubts? Oh yes, I have doubts constantly about why I can’t get beyond this point to put all my trust in God. I absolutely believe Jesus is my Savior and I trust in His Word, but putting my whole life and trust in God is very hard–it’s the letting go, and how-in-the-world-do-I-do-this? part that I have such a struggle with. I do know that God is with you through all your struggles, though, and I admire you that you continue to think of others during this time.
    Stephanie

  64. Connie Moore says:

    Renee ~ May our Father God comfort you and your family during this season of sadness. I, too, know the loss of an absent earthly father and have felt the sting of knowing that any future opportunity of a relationship with him was irrevocably lost. Sadly, my children experienced the same thing when their absent earthly father passed away two months ago at 56 years of age. What I can share with you is that our heavently Father can and will comfort you and encourages you to lean in to his promises and hope for the future. Thank you Father God for allowing us to love each other through our pain and grief, may you bless Renee and her family with a very special measure of your grace and mercy as they travel through the shadows of the valley of death. Amen

  65. I am so very sad to hear of the loss of your dad : ( Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” HIS word always comforts and encourages me when nothing else will do. Blessings and prayers to you and your family as you walk this path of loss in the days and weeks ahead.

  66. Renee,

    Please know that many of us are praying for you and your entire family. God’s love is with you always. You are an amazing woman and have encouraged me many times through KLOVE and proverbs31. My thoughts are with you during this difficult season.

    Thank you for all you do.
    Mandy Blake

  67. Dear Renee,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you right now at this difficult time. It seems like that when it rains it pours! I read your post at p31 about healing our past and looking forward to our future. When my precious son died eight years ago at the age of 20, from an unknown congenital heart defect; my whole world went totally crazy!

    I ranted and raved at God. I was angry that God didn’t take me and let him live. I moved to CA to stay with my daughter whom I had a rocky relationship with. I started drinking and hanging out at bars. I was waking up in strange places and not remembering how I got there.

    During this time I met my now husband. He invited me to church and helped led me to God. I learned of a great many things coming from that time. One of the things I learned was that the whole time I was angry, hurt, and doing those harmful things to myself, was that God was protecting me and with me the whole time. He loved me that much! Another thing I learned was the price God paid when he sacrificed his son for our sins. He loves us enough to sacrifice the thing that meant the most to him! That is a powerful love! I still marvel at that everyday! What I am trying to say is that while everything is a ball of pain right now, that it will pass and God’s presence will stay with you, like he did with me and that I hope that this brings you measure of comfort and peace to you. I want you to know that things will eventually get better and my prayer is for you and your family to find comfort at this difficult time.

  68. Praying for you and your family .I’m confident that our Heavenly Father is watching over you, and giving you comfort.
    In His all abundant love,
    Grace:)

  69. A friend’s been sending me your emails & today’s (9-23) really hit home. I’ve had a not very good childhood-drinking, abuse etc. My husband, the love of my life, passed away 6 1/2 yrs. ago & I’m nowhere near over it. I’m so sad and lonely and I hate the way I’m (not) living my life now. I’m so tired of being sad & alone- just living day to day in a fog. Nothing interests me. I’ve recently gone back to Church & I’m meeting with my pastor regularly and that was helping but not so much anymore. The sadness and loneliness are just there all the time. I can’t wait until it’s finally my turn to die & no I’m not suicidal but I haven’t found anything that makes me happy anymore. I really don’t see God doing much for me but I suppose I have to do for myself. Good luck.

  70. Dear Renee,

    I am sorry for your loss and pray that God will shower you with comfort.

    I just picked up your book A Confident Heart because I was looking to gain back my confidence since I lost my job. I am on chapter three now and have not answered the questions at the end of chapters 1 & 2 because the memories are too painful to revisit at this time.

    I have been a Christian for four years now and I do not feel as if I am growing in Christ. I am hopeful and also praying that your book will do that for me – just get me out of my own way so God can fully envelop my life.

    I read a lot of self help books and they seem to have the answers when I am reading but then I revert to my old patterns and get stuck. Do you have any suggestions on how I can incorporate these lessons into my life?

    I read my Bible and pray every night but something is missing. As you stated about “Sam”, maybe it is only a surface thing right now. But I so desperately want it to be more…

    Thank you for listening and God bless!!

  71. I am so sorry to hear about your father’s death, mother’s illness and daughter’s speech disorder. I am praying for you and your loved ones!

  72. thoughts & prayers are with you Renee, I’ve called for all prayer wariors on my blog
    http://sittingathisfeetministry.blogspot.com/2011/09/prayer-request.html

    Helen

  73. Hi Renee i’ve been thinking about you and just wanted you to know that even though this post was from mid-September i am still praying for you and your family. love from a sister in Christ

  74. Oct.5/11. Wow! Your family has had a tough go of it.. Hope this finds you with some rest now. May God bless you and yours. I will pray for you that your strength may stay strong. DARLENE CANADA

  75. Janis Bennett says:

    Hi Renee, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I have been praying for you and for your family. Your book and bible study has been a blessing to me. I will keep praying for you and your team.

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