In the Shadow of the Cross

“If we want to live beyond the shadow of our doubts, we need to position our thoughts and our hearts to dwell in the shadow of the cross, each and every day.”  A Confident Heart, Chpt 11

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

***

Every time doubt threatens to cast a shadow over our hearts, let’s run back to Jesus, turn toward the Light of His Truth, and stand in the shadow of the Cross.   In the shadow of the Cross – everything changes:

When you feel inadequate, God says: You are CHOSEN.
“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he’” (Isa. 43:10).

When you feel afraid, God says: You are REDEEMED.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isa. 43:1).

When you feel unloved, God says: You are LOVED.
“You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you” (Isa. 43:4).

When you feel forgotten, God says: You are REMEMBERED.
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isa. 49:16).

When you feel insecure, God says: You are SECURE.
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders” (Deut. 33:12).

When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (Hab. 3:19).

When you feel worthless, God says: You are CALLED.
“Youare a chosen [woman], a royal [priest], a holy [daughter], God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

***

I’d love to know which of these promises speaks most to your heart today – and if you’re feeling brave – why does it resonate with you? Also, for those in my online study…what are some thoughts or verses you’ve underlined in Chapter 11? Are there certain things that you want to remember?

{ click “share your thoughts” and do just that…I love to hear from you!}

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. For every challenge, God has an answer. He is the answer!

  2. “God will use our lives to touch others, but our most important ministry will be within our homes.” That touched me….for years I was never sure where my husband stood on his relationship with God. Since our son passed away almost 7 years ago I have begun to see a change in him. Our other son was addicted to drugs and was sentenced to rehab….they found a faith based one for him to go to. He graduated that rehab in September, and seeing a drastic change in our son, really got my husband to thinking. For years I have tried to tell him, but found out living the ways that God calls us to live, has been a more effective tool in our home. I always minister to my family when they need me to, and they know that I will have a word for them from God. Now I realize how vital that has been, and I have been doing some of the work God has called me to do. I believe there is much more in store. And this study is giving me the confidence to carry that beyond the walls of my home….it is ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND FOR HIS PURPOSE FOR WHICH I HAVE BEEN CALLED. Thank you again Renee for this book, and your time and love to stand beside all of us who have been in this study. God bless you!!!

    • Thank you Sherri B!! I have loved having you in the online study and enjoyed reading your comments every time you posted. I have prayed for you and your husband and just love how you are seeing God move – in your home and as you sense Him preparing and calling you to keep stretching and growing as you allow HIm to minister through you – inside and outside of your home!!

      I have loved walking this journey with you. Stay in touch and hope to see you here whenever you have time to pop over!

      You bless me!

    • Janice E says:

      Sherri

      These words from the chapter resonated with me as well, reminding me of how important my ministry in my home is. It helps me to keep focussed and to rebound after bouts of discouragement when I do not see the fruit I am looking for or when I feel the need to be ministered to as well. I truly want to live out the declaration :’ As for me and my house , we will serve the Lord. The study has really helped to strengthen me and helped me to grow in areas that I need to. I do appreciate the addtional resources God bless you Renee.

  3. I am so very sorry to see this Bible Study end. Through this study I have learned to seek and to find the strength that God desires me to have. I can also be confident that when I do fall short God still loves me anyway. What a blessing and a gift. Thank you Renee for your book and this study. I will miss this a great deal.

    • Im not going anywhere and would love for you to stay around!! Be sure you’re signed up for email updates (in the sidebar) I’ll still be writing and sharing my heart and God’s word here and then I”ll be starting another study April 23rd of the book again. I will have a guest writer each week so there will be some new things and then things we’ve covered this time but God always speaks in new ways.

      Hugs,
      Renee

  4. I am two chapters away from the end, I am almost there. I am so slow it seems but I am sad to see that this is ending so soon. Ya, I know we started a way back but it feels like yesterday. I am excited to be doing this study again with you in April and praying that my husband will be along for the ride as well. He is considering it and I haven’t told him about the videos that you mentioned with you and your hubby that you maybe doing as well. Can you pray for him as well that we can do this together, to help us grow together, and to draw us closer to the heart of God. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing God to use you to minister to someone like me, someone in need of a good friend, with sound advice and a shoulder to cry on. Your a real sweetheart and it has been a pleasure to get to know you through this study. Praying God’s continued blessings over you. Hugs.

    • Absolutely Andi!! I

      would love for you to read through the book again with us in April. There will be many reading it again and then others who are jointing us for the first time. I have no doubt God will speak to us in new ways each week. Hope you will be there too!

      • I am finding the same – I am very slowly reading the last chapters as I don’t want it to end – so I have signed up for the next study – Glad you like “Frequent Fliers” Bless your heart for letting God work thru you! You are a huge blessing to all of us!! hugs – Kathy

  5. thank you, Renee! These are such common, nagging, fears/insecurities & it’s wonderful how you shared the WORD (which cannot lie & cannot change!) to address each lie and fear!! Yey!!! Such GOOD News! 🙂

    • His Word is alive and active – He wants us to let it be activated in our thoughts and minds each day. Jesus promises that when we know the Truth – the truth will set us free!!!

  6. Powerful stuff! The truth speaks such freedom as lies are called out and truth can be grabbed as a replacement plan. Through your obedience, I have been so encouraged by the many, many stories of women who can speak of their confident hearts through the unconditional love of our personal Savior. May you have a sense of His rich blessings as He is so proud of you my sister!

    • God’s word is power!! Love seeing your face and beautiful smile friend. Thank you for your constant encouragement and blessing. He’s so good to me!

  7. Timothy 1:7-10 These are my favorite verses. I went through a time in my life that I lived in constant fear. I did not just fear failure, I was emotionally abused daily into thinking I was the biggest failure on earth. I was brainwashed into thinking that my Christianity was “stupid” I was no good. God kept a small light in my hear through those dark years and fear and situational depression. Now I live by Love, Power and a Sound Mind. He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power love and self control… one version says. I spent 4 hours on Monday writing out all the promises from Chapter 12 for my two teenager daughters.
    I have had a lot of sleepless nights with them lately. They are really good girls, but sometimes it takes most of the night to work out life. As I wrote verses and the promises it spoke to my heart.
    I got the Proverbs 31 magazine yesterday. I am going to get Lysa book: ” What Happen’s when women say Yes to God”. I shared the blog I have started…I believe we will see in coming months what happens now that this woman has said, “Yes” to God. Pray for me. I have a lot of obstacles around me, but my God is bigger than the obstacles. He is helping me to overcome fear, dyslexia and He has a purpose and plan for me.
    Thanks you Jesus and thank you Renee, I know this online study has been a sacrifice for you.

    • Lindsay R says:

      Wow, this is a powerful post to me. Thanks for posting it.

    • I love that you invested so much time – 2 hours! – writing down God’s promises for your daughters. I’ve got a download I”m going to share soon for those who have read the book and it will include chapter 12 so don’t scream when you see that and know you wrote it down by hand 🙂 I know that writing it down was powerful and God will seal those promises in your heart through your sacrifice. What a beautiful heart you have!!

      Praying for you and your daughters and for what GOD is going to do in and through and for you as you keep seeking HIM with such sweet surrender and passion. All that I have poured into the study is worth so much to me because of lives like yours and the stories of each woman who has shared how much she’s falling in love with Jesus through it. That is all I want!! Blessings to you and hope to se you here some times still. Will miss you if I don’t!

  8. Wow, what a video. Although a Hollywood depiction, it is so powerful to have a visual reference into a glimpse of Christ’s life and death. On KLove yesterday, they were saying that of those polled, adults feel the best age is 33. Watching this video, I think to myself what Christ did at 33. He died for our sins, He wrose again and defeated death. Although the reasons for the age choice were, “you know what you want, but you are still young enough to try new things; I cannot allow the irony to escape me. One could say that theses days just abbout any age as we are on average living longer, but no the choice of the “best age to be” is the same age as Christ died and wrose again to be our Savior…
    Blessing you all today.

  9. From Melissa’s comments, “Is GOD enough?” came to mind the letters, “I C E,” Is CHRIST Enough???

    So from that thought occurred to me “CHILL OUT” when things happen; Is CHRIST Enough?? Thanks for the study, Renee! : )

  10. Renee thank you so much for taking the time to prepare this awesome study and take this journey with us, your book will remain for us all something we refer back to and never finish reading. Thank you for your honesty and humility and for letting us into your life. You will never know the blessings and the help you have provided by being obedient to God and sharing your heart with us. I just want to encourage and thank you today, you have become one of my mentors and you have inspired my walk with the Lord, thank you

    • thank you Tammy!! Your words mean so much to me. I can’t deny that what God asked me to share in writing the book was scary and vulnerable. But I kept sensing Him promise it was what women needed – although I thought I’d just look like a mess from it all.I am a mess but not every one knew just how much of a mess I was til now. 🙂

      My mess became His message and because of Jesus – my brokeness became something HE could bring beauty from. Your lives are the beauty in my ashes. What an honor it truly is to walk beside so many women as they seek JEsus and His healing power in their hearts the way you all have. I am blessed by each of you so much!!

  11. I am sad to come to the end of this study but I know this book will be one that I go back to often. Right now we are facing some real uncertain situations. The country that borders Guinea where I serve is very unstable and the borders might close. We were to travel to Senegal via Mali. The rest of our SIM team are already in Senegal but 2 of us were to travel on Tuesday and now it looks like we might not get out of Guinea. We were going for a Spiritual Life Retreat and some vacation days at the beach which we really need after a busy time of moving several missionaries as well as life in Guinea. Please be praying that God will be ALL WE NEED FOR THESE DAYS

    • Praying for you Beth and for your ministry team. Praying God will make a way where there is no way right now. For renewal and refreshment and for this retreat to still take place. I know how much you each must need it now. May HE go before you, walk beside you and come behind you each and every step of the way. Amen!

    • Janice E says:

      Beth:

      I pray that God will indeed cover you and your team. That He will go before you, make the rough places smooth and the crooked paths straight.

  12. Powerful video. Wonderful chapter. This book is so amazing. Thank you Renee for the book and the encouragement. I have been so very blessed. My question is, can I go through it again? Still have some things I need to surrender and I’m afraid if I just put the book down, I will not finish what I need to accomplish. The postings from you and your readers help so much. Thank you again, it has been the most amazing journey.
    Praying God’s Blessings On You! 🙂

    • Denise – yes!! I would love for you to go through it again with us in late April! I ve been told by countless women that they’ve read it 2-3 times. Come on girlfriend. let’s keep on seeking Him and experiencing all He has for us!! Excited to have you along!

  13. Stephani says:

    This chapter is showing my true heart. I am a stay at home mom (another answered prayer!). I do have worries about money. I have started to do some side work, which hasnt really paid us anything. So, I decided to try something else thi week. One day I seriously couldn’t find God. I couldn’t feel Him there. It was the WORST feeling of my life. I never want to experience that again. Now I know it was a test. He already has been telling me “do not worry, you will be fine.” And, “I have something bigger planned for you”. I guess I thought I could do it better. HA! No way. One night I read in Chapter 11 p207: ” ..it would be worth it if others would see Him more fully in my life and eventually in my ministry.” MINISTRY! My minitry! I haven’t even thought of that. I have been rattling on about finances, children, my marriage…I haven’t even thought about my ministry. Do I have one? I now know God is going to reveal that to me one day. And, I need to be patient and trust Him in everything.
    Thank you Renee. And God bless you all!

    • Oh Stephani, He is writing your message right now. Right where you are. I encourage you to journal what you are struggling with and praying for. Write down scriptures and the things you see God doing and lessons you are learning. Each day is part of the message and ministry He has for you! And He will use all of it for the next steps when it’s time to take them. I started right where you are and did all these things — and some of those lessons are in the book now or woven into the radio shows or messages I share at events. He does’t waste a thing!

  14. God has taken my heart and turned it upside down to shake all the junk out of it and then turned it right side up again. To see the video and hear the music of God’s love for us, it is so amazing. He died for you and for me because He loves me that much, but He also lives in us. It is hard to take it all in and understand the depth of that love. He has restored my confidence and I know who I am in Him, a daughter of the King.

    I do know that He is preparing me for something big. He has a wonderful plan for me and I cannot wait to see what it is.

    • Kathy. Sturgis says:

      That is a great way of describing God,s work in our hearts. The cross is what will help us–we can position
      It,s power between Satan,s Wiley darts and the truth we are learning. It is our place of safety. Thank you Jesus!

  15. Wow! What a powerful video! As I was watching I asked God “why would you go through that for me” and He replied “because I love you” . What an awesome God we serve! Hard to understand the depth of His love but this study has helped me become more confident in whom I am in Christ. Thank you Renee for your book and study. Thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God to minister to so many people. You truly are a blessing!

  16. Vanessa Wynn says:

    VERY touching video! Reminder of how very blessed we are! Holy, Sanctified, Redeemed, Forgiven….Thank you our lovely Savior!

  17. Kristine says:

    When I read Chapter 11, the following sentence really stood out for me: ” . . . our most important ministry will be within our home.” I’ve thought about that for days. I knew my “work” was a ministry, but something about that sentence in Chapter 11 made me realize that it’s more than the tasks I perform. It’s my presence. My presence and everything about me should be my ministry, especially at home. I’m going to keep pondering this because I think it all goes much deeper than I ever knew.

  18. As in all the chapters, there is much in Chapter 11 I underlined and highlighted. My copy of your book is definitely broken in : ) I’m so glad I have gone through the book twice as I’ve found and underlined more after going through a second time. In this chapter, a sentence in particular jumped out at me. It was in the section where you talked about the rosebush on your fence and your feelings of sadness at the thought of a great mentor and friend moving away. Although you phrased it differently, I came away with asking myself this question, “Am I willing to let go of what I love so deeply in order for HIM to be seen more fully in my life?” It was a WOW moment and a question that continues to swirl around and around in my mind.

    God has used your words and your story to speak to my heart in powerful ways while going through this study. I really believe going through it a second time has been more than beneficial. Your book will be one I will refer to over and over and over reminding myself of HIS WORDS that can carry me through whatever I am facing with a confidence I never knew I had.

    You are scheduled to come to our church in November of this year and I am looking forward to meeting you. God bless you, Renee, as you continue to walk forward confidently in what HE has destined you to be and do!

    Sweet Blessings,
    Pam

    • Kathy. Sturgis says:

      Pam that question has been swirling in my heart also. I need to let go of what I desire so that God,s love will be seen also. God will work and walk with us as we seek Him. Praying with you and thanking God for the message He gave Renee the confidence to share!

  19. peggybythesea says:

    “When he spoke, she heard genteness in His voice. There was kindness and humility in His simple request for a drink. When she looked in His eyes she saw: acceptance, not judgement; love, not hate. She felt valuable in His presence, as though she had something to offer. There was something different in Him.”

    Page 36….The story behind and about Sam was the most profound message in this study for me. It was December and I had just been through one of the worst storms ever in my 55 years of life. God’s timing is so perfect. I felt so alone and afraid after a month of what I now call a sort of mental breakdown. I remember drivng home with my husband from our sons after visiting for Christmas. I was reading on the trip home. I still can think about it and remember the feelings of Jesus’ love for her and compassion even in all her shame and guilt. I was feeling so broken and these words were my comfort. I was hanging on by a thread to Jesus Robe. Sam was my friend, I felt her heart in my pain. Renee, you said “Jesus knew Sam’s suffering and He knows yours”…It is still with me, the memory of the pain I was in that Jesus took from me…

    Chapter 11 was great and sad at the same time…Sad it’s over, but I cherish it and thank you for all of your openness of your own heart…You are a special lady…I cherish the women I prayed for and the ones that prayed for and encouraged me…Thank you my dear sisters in Christ….

    • Dear peggybythesea, you have touch my heart with you comments in this blog. If you want to stay in touch I have started a blog. http://gis-butterfly.blogspot.com/ , You can catch me there, unless I have flown away to be with Jesus, but you can catch me there too.

      • peggybythesea says:

        Thank you Deena…i went on your blog, it’s beautiful…I tried to post something but nothing happened…I will keep trying…God Bless you and that undertaking…You are a beauiful woman of God…

  20. I’m reading Ch 11 now, but am looking forward to the 23rd when she does this study again.I’m getting a fresh new journal this weekend just for My Confident heart maybe I’ll see if I can find one with hearts….

  21. I have been so Touched and Blessed by This online Study.I really am saddened in My Heart that it is ending.But Thankful that now this Woman of God can take all I have been given and Apply it to my Life and Be really The Woman of God He chose me to be.You Sister Renee and other Woman that have been through this study this Journey have helped me in your Videos and testimonies as well I have made a Point to Surrender Myself Heart mind and Soul to God daily and ask HIm to use me as He Wills.I know that His Plans are not our plans and His will is not our Will.That is when we truly mess up is When we get out of The will of God.His Word says He will Lead and Guide my Footsteps.But in the past I ran ahead of Him trying to do everything my own way not Listening to that still small Voice and Direction from God how He wanted it.That includes My Marriage my bringing up my Children and just my daily walk with Him.Now I have the Security Promises you have given us in your Book to apply to myself and speak them to exsistance in my Life.I will not allow the storms of Life sweep me under I will stand Strong and With Confidence that nomatter what I face in the rest of my Journey here on earth.I will make a Declaration by Faith to God to live in The Truth of God’s Word and to wait upon Him and His Timing.I will Pray God’s Promises and share them with my Daughters and others as well that cross my Path.Knowing that Doubt is the opposite of Faith.God requires us to Walk by Faith.He wants Obedience and I Love Every Chapter in A Confident Heart This I will Leave with you When We stand with God no raging storm shall ever shake us.When we stand with Him the cares of Life can never Break us.For when we cry He dries our tears when we are Frightened He hides us from our fears and all our Sorrows disappear.When we Stand with Him;Thank you for the Names of God and how Precious are these we can Pray in. Our Fathers name we can shake the Foundation.God Bless you my friend may God Continue using you to be a soul winner and the other Woman is this study as well.Friends and Sisters in Christ forever.May we all be Neighbors in Heaven.

  22. “He wanted me to depend solely on Him for my confidence.” “Empty your heart of all of you so you can be filled with all of Me” (p. 207). “God created us in His image to reveal His glory by giving visibility to His invisible character within us. Christ in us is the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) (p. 209).
    When I started this study, I was looking to have confidence in me, but I realized I have confidence in me because it is Jesus in me. He is my Source of confidence and just my Source.

    Renee, I plan on doing the study with you again. I have received so much out of this study. I haven’t memorized all the verses, but I want to be able to say, “His Word is planted deep in my heart, and I believe it all.” So I will continue to work on my scripture memorization as I go through the study again (p. 212).

  23. Caroline McGinnis says:

    Powerful video thanks for the jump start into my day.

  24. Renee thank you for starting this online study. I had your book and had read chapter one and put it down and not picked it back up until you decided to guide us through it. It has been fun to share and to read the comments from others. I realized that for a long time now I have been running away from God in some ways and not dealing with my feelings of doubt and feelings of being a failure. I decided I neede a little more help than just your book and have begun talking to friends more and sharing with them some of my struggles. This is helping and I know God has touched not just my heart through your book and online study, but the heart of some many others posting here and a lot who have not posted or shared. I am praying for each of you today and for Renee as she starts this again.

  25. Amazing video!!! It really hit home to me what Jesus did for us. I have learned so much with our study. Thank you for this blessing. I have not posted very much nor read many of the posts. I think I will sign up for your next on line class. I know that I will learn more and being committed to the class will help me put to practice what I learn.

  26. I am actually thinking of doing the study again. It will start the week I am suppose to have surgery and will be given the results of the biospy of the from the cyst being removed. I think if possible this study would be great for me to have while recovering for the six weeks after surgery.

    Thanks Renee for following God’s leading.

  27. Renee: What a powerful video! It brought tears to my eyes as I once again was brought face to face with what Christ suffered for me on the cross. How can we live a day without acknowledging His sacrifice?

    I, also, love that you shared the different names of God in your book. I have been studying the names of God this year in a different study and am preparing a chapel message for elementary students in our Christian school using them and in a devotional to missionary wives that I write. .Isn’t it neat how God works all those things together? Thank you for your ministry to women! Your book has been such a rich resouce for me. God bless you as you continue giving and showing your heart and love for Christ. Your desire to please Him and do the work He has called you is very evident.

    • I love how God speaks to us about a certain topic through different ways and we know it’s Him. So encouraging!!

      It’s been a huge blessing to walk through each chapter with you all too – so thankful we persevered and made it this far!! Can’t wait to start over in late April!!

  28. Ana Quiroz says:

    Yes!
    When you feel unloved, God says: You are LOVED.
    “You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you” (Isa. 43:4).

  29. When you feel insecure, God says: You are SECURE.
    “When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.
    “When you feel worthless, God says: You are CALLED.

    I am going through a very sad season of life and it never seems to end. Overwhelmed by feelings of being a huge failure and dysfunctional. I came so close to Christ, or so I thought but now feel like I have even failed at that. Not feeling strong and missing friends very much. Is there a place for a woman in her mid forties who has failed at relationships, at finding faith and has no dreams of a future left? I also took so much comfort from the story of Sam at the well. I never thought life could be so lonely but it is and the past two years have not only shown me my own failure but that no-one is truly your friend. Each one lives to themselves only. People say Christ will be your all and will fill all the empty places and gaps but somehow, this doesn’t seem to happen?

    • praying for you “M” – please hang in there and no that this to shall pass – and you are not a failure. God sees you has a chosen woman, a royal (priest), a holy daughter, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (1Peter 2:9)
      Keep crying out to him and do not let the enemy get ahold of your thoughts. Keeping you in my prayers. Blessings, Elaine

    • M there are so many things you share that make me wish so much we could sit and talk and you could tell me what all has happened and how you got to this place. So much of what you ask are things I’ve answered or shared from my own life in my book. I’m not sure you have it and would love to get a copy to you. Please let me know.

      Do you mind also if I pray for you for now?

      Lord Jesus, you know the sadness and hollow places in M’s heart that have left her feeling so alone and empty. So confused and weighed down by pain and loneliness. Only YOU can be her comfort and speak into those hurting broken places. Only You can be ALL that she needs. Only You can send someone to be Jesus with skin on and help her feel your presence in a way that is tangible. Please lead her to a believer in Christ – a follower who knows your grace and truth and will help her break free from the lies that are defining her right now. Lord Jesus, you know we are so fragile and so vulnerable. Would you surround M with your angels and minister your comfort and peace to her heart today and just give her something to hold onto that tells her you are there – you see her – you know here – you love her and you will never leave her. Give her the strength and steadfastness in her mind to believe our promises and rely on the power of your Word that chases the enemy away. We speak Jesus, Jesus, Jesus over her now and thank you that there is healing in Your Name. We claim it now for our sister in Christ. Your beautiful daughter who You cherish and love. In the Name of Jesus we pray – Amen.

      • Renee, what a beautiful heartfelt prayer to our Lord that you have lifted up for M; i prayed this prayer for one of my daughters with similar feelings as M. May ‘there be healing in His Name’ for both of them. I shared the Shadow of the Cross video with all my grandchildren. I know they will be as blessed as i was. Thank you Renee, you are a dedicated, loyal, and loving servant of our Lord.

      • Kathy. Sturgis says:

        Amen.

        • Sherree says:

          I know a little of what M may be going through. My life seems over too with no future. Nothing in my life has ever worked out and not only not worked out but ended in such heartache…dreams that little girls have…all of the looking like they were going to happen and tragedy struck…and alone still. All I can do is picture Jesus right in front of my eyes at all times, personalize verses, listen to God’s Love Letter. There is a video on Youtube called God’s Love Letter. It is based on bible verses but in the format of a letter that Jesus is reading to you. Have to listen to it every day. Seems like there is no reason for me to be here. Counseling failed, people don’t understand, Christian pastors/counselors don’t understand. They’ve had everything in their lives go right…or at least if they went wrong, right came just right along behind…..all my life dreams have had dead ends. I don’t see any future or any hope. Honestly I wish I was not here anymore. All I can do to get through this life is picture Jesus in front of me, personalize verses, concentrate on Jesus constantly. It doesn’t even feel like my volunteer/working w/children/thinking of others and doing things for others is meaning anything anymore. I’m also thankful for Renee’s lists of “what I say about me” “what God says about me.” I will have to read those daily…maybe hourly just to get through this unhappy life. I am a Christian and I love the Lord with all my heart…but I’m not happy. People don’t understand that…if you are a Christian there is no reason you should not be happy. I am just thinking that everyone can say that because they’ve had all their happy life things happen so they can concentrate on being positive and they don’t really have to experience that God is all they have…they have family. Praying for you M. I am there with you.

          • Dear Sherree
            Praise to God that you have the sight to see Jesus standing in front of you and I pray that you come to the time just like in the book where the question: Is God enough? The answer of yes is understood. Although it seems like an easy question to answer yes with, I don’t find it easy to feel like yes even though I know its yes. Does that make sense? But the part of your post that really caught my attention was the not feeling like the volunteer/working with children is meaning anything. I work with children every day and I have learned by doing this for so very long that usually you don’t see the meaning until a long, long time when you catch the drift of information of what the children are doing later in their lives. No matter where the child comes from, every child needs as much loving, caring adults around them, that I have learned. Some days you may be the only kind adult who gives them a smile. Truly. So I can not but only imagine that you are very important to those to whom you are ministering. May God’s peace surround you now and always.

      • Renee, thank you so much for this prayer. It’s hard to accept doors have closed and to know I made such poor choices and caved in to fear. My life is being ruined by this fear and insecurity. I do have your book and found it a marvellous aid and of such comfort. There was so much in it that I identified
        with and it helps very much in making sense of things.
        Sheree – I have prayed for you too . Very grateful for these forums.

  30. Fran Bruno says:

    … I just saw the video…I can’t stop weeping…so much love…so undeserved.
    I must say thank you for sharing the video and the timing is amazing….as we all enter into ‘holy week’….I ask myself, what can I do for you, Lord Jesus?…what can I do for you?

    • He is so worthy of our praise – our love – so worthy of all we can offer. HE gave it all for us – His life and death wrapped in measureless grace and unending sacrifice. May we worship HIM with all our hearts and all that is within us. Happy Easter!

  31. I have underlined several favorite things in Chapter 11, but I love the part about “Is God Enough?” We all have struggles and I have struggled about having a strong faith. My head says he is enough, but sometimes it is hard to convince my heart. One day at a time…. Also I love that I am chosen and a holy daughter (1Peter 2:9). I love that you have already prayed over every woman that read this book and who will read this book. We will persevere. I am claiming Hebrew 10:35-36,39 in my life. Blessings to you Renee and thank you.

    • Elaine, blessings to YOU!!! I”m so glad you have been part of the study and that God is helping you move what you know in your head to that heart that has a hard time agreeing – I know we can all relate. That is why again and again I go back to what I share in…I think chapter 6 – that we have to change the way we think – or what we think – to change the way our heart “feels”. There is such a direct correlation 😀

      Praying for you still!! And hope to see you here time and again in the coming months.

  32. wow. what a powerful, crushing to my heart video. i get so caught up in the day to day worries that i forget how silly they are compared to the cross. thank you for reminding me and thank you from the bottom of my heart for this study and for the honor of letting me feel like your friend 🙂 you’re an amazing leader and sister to all of us..may God bless you in your work in Him.

  33. Wow! Powerful video!

  34. What an awesome video, staying in the shadow of the cross, not in the shadow of doubts! It’s amazing that in question #1 that is the first image I saw when closing my eyes to think of how I view God. I saw Jesus on the cross, and almost like I heard Him say. “I love you this much!” I also said that I have come a long way through this study, but still not exactly where I want to be. I said I would continue praying the prayers and the scripture promises out loud and refer back to your book often. I may join again in April, but not sure yet, . I think question #4 hit me the hardest this time, because I have been praying for someone to come along and encourage me, but maybe I need to pray that God will show me someone who needs my encouragement!
    Thanks so much Renee for this study, It has truly changed the way I think about myself. Thanks again for being open and honest in all your teachings with us. And thanks to the LORD for loving us enough to die for us! He paid the price for me, I want to walk all my days in the shadow of the Cross!
    Blessings,

  35. The things HE says about me are ALWAYS soooooooooooooo much better than what I have to say about me! So glad that the words He speaks over me are not only nicer, not only more loving, but they are also the TRUTH!!!!

    The big one for me recently has been Him speaking the word CHOSEN over me. I did not choose Him, He CHOSE me. ME! The gal who feels so scattered most days. The gal who wrestles with her sharp tongue. The gal who some days just wants to run away instead of press on. He actually CHOSE me and has plans for me. Oh, the volumes of love and worth that speaks over this heart of mine.

    You point us to HIM, and that is always such a blessing, friend. Love you bunches!

    K

  36. I would like to read your book it looks good. I would like to try to be apart of the next study. i would like to be apart of your giveway. I think reading your book would help me be more confident in my journey.The video shawdow of the cross is AWESOME!

  37. These are great! Thank you so much! The one that speaks the most to me today is the one that reminds me that I am secure in God. I struggle with security and anxiety, so this truth is very touching to me! 🙂

  38. Brenda K says:

    I have LOVED doing this study! Renee, you have been such a blessing to me during this walk. ALL of your facebook comments and emails have caused me to continue to look to my saviour. I have learned sooo much from this book that my daughter (18 yrs) is going to participate in your next study. I really wanted to take the words of the week and all the “You are Chosen etc” to heart – I am in the process of cross stiching all the words in a mini quilt. Thank you again Renee for all that you have done to help all of us ladies become confident women in Christ.

    • Brenda,
      What a wonderful way to keep his word visible; I love the idea of your quilt, perhaps you could post a picture when its complete?! It also reminds me that His word is a covering for us. Praise God for all of you creative ladies and for Christ who made us what we are and what we are becoming.

  39. In one of the posts that you responded to Renee you said how God never wastes anything and I’ve always found that to be true. Romans 8:28 has been a favorite of mine for a long time–knowing that he can turn around even the bad things in our lives and use them for good. We just can’t lose when serving Christ.
    I join with all the ladies in thanking your for sharing your life with us through this book. I was able to relate and cringe and cry through it all–because I see me in those pages too.
    blessings to you and your family and with the next study as well,
    beth

  40. It’s nice to hear I’m chosen, called, not worthless. I feel that way today, worthless, and it’s good that I don’t need to go by my feelings but what God’s Word says about me. I’m so glad I am a special possession to the Lord. Those times like today when I know my husband I’m separated from is busy looking for someone else, and I feel such pain knowing I’ve lost him and my family, (so many problems/issues), that I will never lose my Lord. HE considers me worthy of love and HE is so worthy of my praises always.

  41. Kathy. Sturgis says:

    Resting between God,s shoulders is a placeI want to become very familiar with inthedays to come. I have struggled seeing God as anyone else but a judge to whom I wanted to prove. My worth. But recently I have realized that I have been trying to control God. Your book has been one of the things God has used to show me that. Now I am giving Him the control back, but Ihave to learn to trust Him is I have been asking Him to show me His character in His names. psalm 9:10 says that those who know His name can trust him and He never abandons thosewhoseek Him. so I am learning that HE is my Soveriegn andHabbukuk says that the Sovereign will bemy strength. Strength instead of fear is a GREAT trade off for control. 🙂

  42. I am also going to go through it again. God used it in such a powerful way. Everything I needed to hear, at the right moment. I’d tell Him I was afraid of something, then the next page I turned on the kindle was addressing it. I ve seen that He loves me even when I mess up, I don’t have to make it up to Him and I surely don’t avoid spending time with Him when I mess up for fear of His anger. I have all those perdection mentalities so grace is very freeing!! Truly understanding grace is one of the things I learned out of this study. He knows I’m going to mess up and He loves me anyway! Somehow, I used to think His love was conditional..wow, I’m thankful it isn’t! Is anyone on twittwr? Great way to keep in touch!

  43. Renee, this is the second study I did of your book, so I will sit out the next one! You need to write another one. 🙂 LOL! No pressure! You have been a blessing in my life. I cannot tell you how improved my life is now from last fall when I first began reading the book. November was my low point and I pray I never go back there again. God is doing marvelous things in my life right now, showing me my ministry and my calling and expanding both! And this is such a far cry from where I was before. He only has good things in store for me! Thank you and God bless you!

  44. Renee, I am profoundly grateful for this study. For the FIRST time since I started reading your book, I am beginning to understand what it means to turn away from doubt, fear and worry and to the Light. It involves Faith, Trust, Hope and Belief. This language does not come easily when one has experienced grave losses or disappointments. Thank you for the seeds you have planted. As you are able, please continue to pray for the women in this study, that our seeds will continue to take root and GROW. And that we would have a deeper understanding of Christ’s death and resurrection and what this means for us as children of God.

  45. Katrina says:

    I like knowing I am redeemed. I need not fear for I have been redeemed. God has summoned me by name. He has formed me in my mothers womb and He has a plan for my life.
    I heard Iyanla Vanzant say something interesting this week that I am mulling over and over in my head because it seems to go along with this so well.
    “How you treat yourself is how you treat God. You are the represenative of God in your life, if you put you last and put others ahead of you it means you are putting them ahead of God in your life. In my life I have to be as good to myself as I want to be to God in order to be of service to others in the world.” My cup has to be full and what comes out of the cup is for others, it comes from the overflow.
    Sure gives me something more to think on.

  46. Karen Halterman says:

    Renee-what really spoke to my heart in chapter 11 was that in the shadow of the Cross I am….I am His, I am loved, I am unique,etc… It seems that I (and others) seem to live in the shadow of the world too much..comparing myself to what the world thinks or agrees with,etc. But i must remember WHOSE I am, WHO it is that was on that cross for ME and live in THAT shadow continuously, rather than to let the world (my coworkers) dictate who I am, what I am able to do or not do and not let “them” dictate my attitude for the day, but rather to live in the shadow of His glorious cross daily, moment by moment to find my identity.

    Renee-I will miss this study too, but praise the Lord I have my underlined, written in book to have right handy as a great resource text for future reference!! You are marvelous….such a brave woman of God to be bold enough to tell your life story and how God released you from the grip it had on your life, so that we also can be helped in our stories. God bless and anoint your continued calling with Prov31 women’s ministry!! I can just “hear” that sweet Southern accent reading the words in my book now! I love it woman!

  47. The promises you are chosen and you are called speak loudest to me today, for I have felt inadequate and worthless today. I am certainly inadequate to change others, but God can. And while I cannot change the ones I’d like to change (to open themselves to accept my faith and be saved themselves), I can pray that this will happen for them and be ready to affect the lives God places before me to be a living example of Him. I tend to feel worthless, when others disapprove of something in or from me, but I must remember that Christ gives me perfect worth. If I keep my eye on the Father and what Jesus did, and who He says I am, how can I doubt my worth. I need my sisters and brothers in Christ to keep me mindful of this truth. Pray for me today. I feel weak, but I do hang on to truth. Thank you each and every one of you for your faith and prayers. Live love.

  48. Robin L. says:

    Deuteronomy 33:12 becausr I’m very insecure about what God is doing and moving in my life and in my families life please pray for us. Anybody. We need all the prayers we can get.

  49. Hi Renee and thank you so much for such an open and honest book! Much of my life I have been hiding my fearful feelings, all of my failures, feelings of worthlessness, insecurities, inadequacies, thinking that a “stiff upper lip” is best, and to keep doing positive things. Unfortunately that was predominantly my way of being a Christian. I have struggled being Beloved, but trying to “Do-loved”. So I thank you for sharing the Good News that God loves me despite my mistakes and failures, and that Jesus pursues me, (so I must not be worthless!) Forgiving myself and allowing myself to be forgiven and loved is so freeing (Thank You Jesus!!!!). He is soo Good! Thank you Renee, for your time, honesty in writing this book, and your love to us all. Much love to you tooo!!!

  50. Renee, Thank-you for the wonderful prayer we can join in together. This has been a wonderful study and a comfort for those times that struggles re-surface. There are so many promises from God that you pointed out so beautifully that I can say when needed….but I am wonderfully made, I am a masterpiece, and most of all I am Loved. Blessings to you and your family (and I thought of you and your son as my son and I sat in the Patient First today waiting to see if his leg was broken or not…it wasn’t Praise to God!) and I will definitely be checking back here as well as on the Facebook page.
    Thank-you again.

  51. KAY PARRISH says:

    WHAT A WONDERFUL SONG. I REALLY NEEDED IT TODAY. MARCH HAS BEEN ONE OF THE LONGEST MONTHS I HAVE EXPEREINCED IN A LONG TIME. THE MARCH 2ND TORNADOES IN SOUTHERN IN REALLY HIT HARD. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE DONE AS MUCH AS WE COULD. OUR CHURCH IS STILL OPEN FOR HELP WITH TORNDAO VICTIMS. PROBABLY WILL BE FOR A FEW MONTHS. I GO AT LEAST A FEW HOURS ONCED A WEEK. MY HUSBAND GOT VERY SICK WITH FLU FROM GETTING VERY HOT IN COLD WEATHER HELPING A FAMILY MOVE. WE ARE SO BLESSED WE HAD NO PROBLEMS. WE ARE 10 MILES FROM HENRYVILLE WHICH WAS HIT THE HARDEST. WE LIVED THERE 1966-1976 SO IT BREAKS OUR HEARTS. WE WANT TO DO WHAT WE CAN. FIBROMYLAGIA AND ALLERGIES SINUS HAVE KNOCKED ME ON MY BOTTOM THIS WEEK. I KNOW WE HAVE MADE THE DEVIL MAD SERVING GOD THE BEST WE CAN. I AM GLAD HE IS MAD BECAUSE I KNOW WE ARE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT. I HAVE READ YOUR BOOK BEFORE AND WAS DOING THE BIBLE STUDY WITH YOU BUT MARCH HAPPENED AND I DIDN’T GET FINISHED . I PLAN TO START AGAIN IN APRIL. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR US . GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS KAY

  52. Latrelle says:

    The promise I cling to is that He remembers me & that He has written my name on his palm. I am humanly forgotten & isolated & lonely.

  53. Colette says:

    Thank you soooo much Renee for the free copy of your book!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!! I cant wait to read it!! And I just shared the email with some friends that would also love to read your book!!
    I pray God continues to bless you so you can continue to bless us!!!

  54. Just this past weekend I gave my copy of A Confidnet Heart away to someone who I felt would
    really benefit from the truths it holds. Now to receive a free copy just as I was about to order a new one for myself! What validation that giving it away was the right thing to do. Now I am praying that the give away copy will make an impact on the recipient as it has on me. This book has the power to radically change lives! Thank you Renee for every word.

  55. Caroline McGinnis says:

    Thank you so much Renee for the information on your free book I sent the email to some friends thet were interested in reading the book. And between the free and the deal for $2.99 a couple of them got the book. So your book has hit the Springs of Colorado. And the amazing stories and promises you have inside the book will now be shared with others. Isn’t it amazing how God totally answered your prayers?? We all (that is all the sisters doing this study and reading this book) serve an awesome GOD. I am so proud to be called His daughter, His child. I love Him so and He has brought me through so much and I know He will continue to do so. LOL to you all.

  56. I just opened the email from yesterday, and missed the deal to share with my cell sisters that I got together with again. But I am still so blessed for having taken advantage of this opportunity to hang out with you all for the past 3 months. At our meeting last night. in my head I kept refering to your text . I so want to share it, since no one else has it yet except for the annodoted quotes in emails, I am forced to learn this deeper, and continue working on memorization of verses.

    You asked about changes since we had been in the study, and I believe I am more confident in sharing with others the Good News of Jesus. Chapter 8,9,10 guided me through the enough questions and God’s promises. Asking for the support of others for specific things in prayer and your description of”in dependence” was huge light bulb going on. It felt like when I was at the dental office and they started the laughing gas. No one was in the room and I found myself smiling and starting to giggle saying “now I get it..this is why they call it laughing gas!!” I am living more in my given name and attempting to be a vessel for God’s Light to shine through.

    Thanks again, will drop in now and then on the next session, and hope to see you in person sometime so I can give you a real hug!!
    Lucinda

  57. Hi Renee, Thank you so much for the opportunity to be reading this book online. I am so grateful.

  58. I am amazed that we finished the book on Easter week. Let me tell you, something happened
    Inside of me. I sense that something marvelous it has resurrected in me, as well.

    I am so grateful to Jesus for led me to this online study.
    God is enough for me, I believe Him, now!

    I have been touched in every chapter, I can´t wait to see you again in later April.

    You are blessed
    Your are a blessing,
    and You bless Me
    ILU
    Midi

  59. Stephanie says:

    Thank you, Renee! This has been an amazing journey and I appreciate you sharing your story! I really felt God talking to me throughout your book! Thank you!

  60. I am really struggling with feeling loved and chosen right now. My husband is being pursued by a former girlfriend (someone I know has no qualms about being a cheater, as she took up with her own former husband when he was still married to someone else). I trust him, but I don’t trust her, and after four years she shows no signs of giving up. He despises jealousy, is quite scornful of it, and every time I’ve brought the subject up, or asked him for reassurance, it has ended badly. He insists he is not interested in this woman, but also insists that “no one will tell me who I can talk to” I have caught him in some falsehoods about how often they are in touch, and who initiates the contact, and I feel “managed” and deceived. I would be so much happier if he would simply cut off communication with her, but I can’t ask him for that. He sees it as an accusation or statement on him, and he won’t tolerate that. I know I could blow the whole relationship apart if I don’t handle this well.
    I know the “correct” response is to realize that his fidelity is between him and God, and that God will take care of me no matter what. I”know” this but have a hard time feeling it. I also have a hard time not feeling rage and hatred toward this woman, and these are unlovely feelings I do not want to harbor. I try to focus on the qualities in my husband that drew me to him in the first place — honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, and try to keep my misgivings between myself and God, but it feels insincere. This is a very special man, knowing what I know about him I know he would simply leave me and go to her if that is what he felt, and would never deceive me or go behind my back, but finding the self-confidence to truly rest on that is very very hard — my first husband was abusive, and his verdict on me was that I am “not the kind of person anyone could ever really love”, so that “training” gets in my way in this new marriage.
    Please pray that I will feel God’s love and assurance, that I can trust my husband as he deserves, and that I can have more charitable thoughts about this woman.

  61. Thank you, Renee, for this book. I needed it so much. I usually don’t write in my books so that I can pass them on to others who may need them. But this one, I marked it all up. This one, I need to keep so I can remind myself again and again of the lessons I have learned through it. If I had to only choose one, I would say chapter six really made the biggest impact. I left that chapter with a profound sadness. If a friend, or one of my daughters believed what I did about myself, it would utterly break my heart and I would rapidly refute those lies. And yet, here I have lived with them my whole life. And no matter what God has done thus far in my life, I still believed those lies in my heart. It made me so sad. Oh how my Father’s heart must have broken when he looked at me… yet he couldn’t force me to see truth and heal. I hope and pray that I will not believe them again, that I will refute the lies with truth when they come into my thoughts. It is so hard to break lifelong patterns though… I fear sliding back into those thoughts. But He won’t give up on me. He won’t leave me if I do. He will continue to fight for my heart and my healing. I will not be forgotten. I am chosen, I am sought, I am LOVED. Thank you for allowing God to use your life and write your story for his glory!

Share Your Thoughts

*