{Week 8} You are God’s Masterpiece

Our word for the week: MASTERPIECE

Be sure to print it and post it everywhere! You can download in a PDF or in MSWord.

According to Distionary.com, a masterpiece is:

  1. a person’s greatest piece of work, as in art
  2. anything done with masterly skill
  3. a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind

God’s WORD for US this week:
We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.“ Ephesians 2:10, NLT

Let’s Connect: As you read Chapter 8 , what are some sentences or verses you’ve underlined or highlighted so far? Click “Share Your Thoughts” below and do just that. Can’t wait to hear what God is showing you. {If you are reading this via EMAIL CLICK HERE to return to my website to leave comment.}

[The winner of my  “Living in God’s Promises” Gift pack Giveaway which includes a $10 Starbucks OR  Target Gift Card{you choose}, 2 copies of A Confident Heart, and a copy of my Letting God Fill the Empty Places in Your Heart message on CD is: Melissa S.   Congrats!! We’ll be emailing you for your mailing address.]

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. Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs in people who have come alive. Harold Thurman Whitman

    This struck me because I think have have come to such a point of burnout that I wonder how do you even figure out what would make you come alive? When you feel so tired, weary and empty and feel like you have nothing left to give to anyone how do you come alive?

    • I remember hearing a sermon once on Elijah (I Kings 17) and how he was just EXHAUSTED, and God provided a time of refreshment for him. And the same happened with Jesus after He was tempted in the desert (angels came!), and even the breakfast that He himself fixed for his disciples after the Resurrection. When you start searching the Scriptures, you find example after example of how lavishly God provides rest for those who are so weary. I really think I almost started crying in church that day because as a mother to MANY little ones, the idea of even ONE uninterrupted hour of rest seemed unlikely — downright impossible, really. (I was imagining how wonderful it would be for angels — I’d even take RAVENS — delivering some food for me!) I’m in a different season now… my youngest is three…. but I am so thankful that God showed me how there are times where he doesn’t expect anything from you — instead He wants you to receive the refreshment He’s ready to offer. THEN you will be more prepared for the next “assignment” when it comes. Praying for you, Shanna!

      • Oh Shanna, I too have been there — that place of empty and exhausted and sinking like Elijah into a place of deep sadness and burnout. I felt guilty for resting or doing something that gave me joy. And for a while I didn’t even know what that would be. So I asked Jesus to just show me. Surprisingly He led me to start planting pansies or take 15 mins to just go for a walk and just talk to Him. It brough refreshment in ways I had never known. I am praying you will try that or something else. Just ask Him to remind you of something that has made you smile or laugh in the past — music, a movie, drawing, writing, cooking, flowers, reading — and then go do that first. It doesn’t. God wants to fill you up before you continue pouring out.

        I love the wonderful wisdom Rachel shared, too! My heart felt a sense of calm and “yes” deep in my spirit as I read her words. Thank you both for sharing so openly. Love hearing your hearts!!

        • I’m so touched by that quote that Shanna posted. Bc for the 1st time ever I actually have the time to search my heart and “do what makes me come alive.” But geez I have no idea where I’m going or what it is I want to do. I have a good job and my degree so I also tend to feel guilty for being so blessed and now having this time. I know it’s rare but if any of you have experienced this at some time in your life, please share what you did to search your heart and find what made you come alive. Doesn’t hurt to ask 🙂 Praying for all of you on here.

          All love,
          May

          • Thank you all for your sweet words and prayers. I know God has a plan for me and have been very touched through your book Renee. I am so blessed that you were led to write it for the rest of us. And I am praying for all of the women who are participating in this study.

  2. Michele says:

    The sentences that hit me hardest were “I tried to be who others wanted,expected, or needed me to be. I was fairly good at it. But I also suffered symptoms common to those with the disease to please.
    This is definitely me. I don’t really know what my passions and dreams are. I just try; to do what pleases the other person, but it makes me miserable at times, because I’ve learned you can’t please everyone!

    • I pray as you keep reading Chapter 8, you will begin to see your passions and dreams start to surface 🙂

    • Oh Michele! How I suffer from the same disease…. Amazing thing, although it makes me feel miserale at times but then often its what brings me joy…. So I try to keep in mind the times that it gave me joy to overcome the times when I feel miserable…

  3. There are so many sentences and verses that move me in this chapter. I love this chapter. My favorite:

    “Another way God reveals His purpose is through our life experiences”. I don’t need to understand why I was sexually abused as a child or why my 8 year old son was stricken with cancer. God has a plan for me…and it IS a good one!

  4. “Rehearsing troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas I was meant to go through them only when they actually occur”. Oh how I wish I could turn off the tapes in my head that play and replay negative situations most of which have not even happened. But the Word says, Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, …My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

    • Brenda,
      I know just what you mean. I was doing that very same thing this afternoon. I wish I knew how to just shut off the tape. Get rid of it once and for all.

  5. Rita Walters says:

    You have no idea how this word masterpiece has changed me. I grew up with a Mom that always told me I was a mistake and should never have been born. I could go on and on about the verbal abuse I suffered as a child. My Mother was a Christian woman – at least I thought so and that made her telling me I was a mistake God had made was even worse for I believed it so. As I matured and got into His Word and became exposed to books such as yours, I began to hear the words “I am His masterpiece.” He told me that over and over in His Word. I am sorry that my Mom was such a hurting woman that she then hurt me. Now I listen to His Word and what it says about me and that is what I believe ….. and hopefully in heaven th she also now sees me as the “wonderful masterpiece He created when He created me” Thanks to all the people including you Renee that have helped me in this journey. And thank You God for blessing me with these inspiring people – and even moreso thank You God for Your inspiring Word where I can find how to truly define myself.

    • Praise God that He opened the eyes of your heart for you to see that you ARE His Masterpiece!!

    • I am SOOOOO THANKFUL God has shown you just how wonderfully made you are — His masterpiece created in Christ Jesus. Woven together for HIS purposes. What a trophy of HIS grace you are Rita!!

  6. Rebecca Greene says:

    One of the things I believe is that in a healthy ME my gifts are a reflection of Jesus, but an unhealthy ME takes these attributes to an extreme and have a negative impact. For example, I am a nurturer, caring and compassionate, but when I get out of balance I neglect to take care of my own needs. God did create a masterpiece, but often I need to let the Master re-shape the piece.

  7. Christel says:

    The one sentence that resonated with me is: “I tried to be who others wanted,expected, or needed me to be. I’ve been doing this for so many years that I lost myself out there somewhere. I believe God is entering me into a new season; one where I will find me and rediscover my dreams, passions and talents.

    • So glad you are reading along with us!! Praying you experience the depth of God’s hope, freedom, encouragement, affirmation and direction as you get to know the woman HE created you to be!!

  8. hmmm…as I see the personality traits God deliberately gave me …reliable, organizer, needs stability, support, friendly (when not under pressure), perfectionist and stubborn I wonder what God is preparing me for in the ministry I currently volunteer/work at or if He will be calling me to another ministry.

    What would I do if neither time nor money was an issue?? I would give, give give! I would love to have my husband work along side of me traveling to serve in shelters, packing boxes for orphans and the destitute.

    • I love that!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Sharon,
      I have similar traits as you and all i want to do is also give, give, give. I was a missionary kid for a few years and I want to clothe and feed those that had nothing. I most recently felt that God was leading me to help those in my local area and part of it will be volunteering and serving in shelters and hospitals. It is comforting knowing that there are others with the same desire.

      Renee,
      I love art and that “masterpiece” is the word for the week is really speaking to me. God used many different mediums to create us uniquely different.

  9. Just the word Masterpiece resonates in my heart. What an honor, and if that is how God values us then I can’t devalue anyone else either.

    • Yes, you are right. And the more we love Him fully, and our selves as He loves us, the more we can love others with grace and acceptance. It’s such a beautiful transformation!!

  10. I am full of joy to receive this message! And I appreciate for explaining the definition, Jesus. I am glad to know the great new word ‘consummate’ today. Thanks, Renee, take a rest in the LORD and keep healthy!

    • Thanks for sharing how much this spoke to you!! Resting in Him this week. No event for three weeks and so far we are healthy here and my back is getting better!

  11. The “disease to please” hit close to home. That was me a few years ago. I’m finding my way out and this study is helping so much. A “work in progress” that is for sure. I have no idea what my true passion is. I will need to spend some time on this chapter.

    • So glad you are taking time to get to know the real you – the woman God created you to be. Praying you will identify, begin to understand and fully embrace her!!

  12. Jannaleen says:

    I can so relate to this. I also suffered for years from the disease to please. The last two years God has really worked on me in this area. It is so Freeing to start letting that go and to realize that I only need to concern myself with pleasing God and not others. This study has just cemented what has already been a work in progress so thanks!

    • Love that!! God always confirms what He wants us to know. Keep seeking, listening and following Him. You are on your way to living with lasting confidence in Christ!

  13. Okay, first of all…I LOVE this chapter! It is oh, so encouraging. I have many, many sentences and portions underlined. Why? Because I lived for so long feeling like I had nothing special to offer. At least, nothing that seemed as special as what I saw in so many others. So glad for the encouragement in this chapter NOT to compare. (Something I KNOW not to do, but can still use a good reminder to actually NOT do it.) And for the encouragement to discover our unique God-given personalities and gifts.

    One of my favorite quotes from this chapter…
    “God deliberately gave you the personality He wanted you to have so He could impact certain people through your life.”
    Wow! This tells me that there is nothing “wrong” with my personality. 🙂 AND that He does indeed have people He wants ME to impact. People I am DESIGNED to impact. That right there makes me feel special. And that means a whole lot to a gal who never did feel too special.

    Praying for everyone as we dig into this chapter and let God whisper sweet, sweet truth to our hearts!

  14. I am someone who has never had ‘goals’ or ‘dreams’ and have always felt less than others because of that. In fact my boyfreind broke up with me because i wasn’t ‘challenging’….that was 3 years ago but it has been something that has stuck with me because it cemented the self doubt I feel about myself….because by nature, I am not a goal orientated sort of person. I am struggling to still apply this study to myself and am desperately wanting a break through of some sort….but I wonder if Im expecting too much. Maybe it’s going to be a slow process instead of something that will happen in the shorter term. But I must say that i was encouraged to read that God gave me my personality so that I can impact certain people throughout my life. I may not be ‘challenging’ or have any great dreams or visions for my future but I do hope and pray that I can impact other people, simply be being me. Thanks Renee for that reminder.

  15. I am behind and so was glad to have the link take me to week 7 so I could get caught up with that word of the week and some of the posts. I haven’t been posting here much, seem to be out of steam for that by the end of my day, but read as I can and always look forward to the email messages. The study has been so good and the thing that has really stayed with me, that I am really using and incorporating into my daily walk is the When-Then statements. This has been such an excellent tool and the Holy Spirit is really making me aware of all the self-defeating talk I have with myself all day long. I’m going through such a tough time right now emotionally, relationally and physically; it’s such a wonderful way to remember that none of this defines me but only what God says about me. I also am really being blessed by and starting to use the prayers you put together from different Scripture. I’ve heard of praying Scripture before, but putting together many different verses is such a great way to do this. Thank you.

  16. Peggybythesea says:

    Hello my sweet sisters…I so identify with so much in all the chapters…It seems to me anyway, that I go up and down…Feel good and not so good throughout reading these chapters…I know for me in this chapter…Just “You are wanted and you belong!” is what I have gone back to and try to believe…Being a Caregiver to the elderly, I do believe that I am using my gifts of Mercy, Encouragement, Helps, Organizing…But is it where i belong? I hear so much wisdom and so many life lessonsare gained through their lives, I listen and learn.

    My life lessons and what I have been through are what many women my age go through..That feeling of what now? Where am I going? Where is God leading me resognates throughout my days…I know I am a blessing to the clients I have, I do believe i have learned much and do help them in so many ways…Is this God’s calling for me? I question it, I ponder it in my heart…

    I am two personality types and they are opposite each other in characteristics…So , the part of me that is melancholy is satisfied with what I do, but the Sanguine in me wants to be around women, people my age and I have none of that except behind a computer. I am not complaining at all, I have much to be grateful to God and so many for, but am I satisfied that I am where God wants me? No, and time is running out in my life…the older we get, the more pressed I feel to be all that God wants me to be…I fail forward (I know that because i am still alive) but when Lord, when will I find Peggy’s niche??? I am frustrated and very fragile and God knows it…Jesus never leaves me nor forsakes me and I am grateful for that…Will we ever be satisfied??? I think not, until Jesus comes back…I press on…

    I love reading younger women’s stories with children, who are lonely frustrated, feeling like kids and laundry and cooking and cleaning and pleasing others is what their lives are…I was there, and now I am alone…But God!! I want to encourage all of you there that you have beautiful hearts and you are blessed to have this and studies and women in youur life at church or work that help you through…I cherish the memories…It seems I have forgotton how much I couldnt wait until my boys were grown and I had “freedom”!! I remember the things I cherish about those “Golden Years”…God Bless!

  17. Been thinking about being His masterpiece…I am interested in art/creativity and bringing more of it back into the Body of Christ. I have dwelt on the thought that God says at the beginning of the Bible….”In the beginning God created…” How He declares Himself to be Creator God….and how we are created in His image. So, we are His masterpieces…created to create. Anyone who has created anything realizes how much care goes into their creation…so that they can display it for others to be touched by it. Is that how Creator God thinks of us…with skill and care He fashions each one according to the “message” He is looking to share with the world…that we might be enjoy being an extension of His creativity. If only we embrace His design (which can sometimes be the difficult part.) But Father knows best.

    • Carla, thank you for sharing your thoughts on ‘created to create’. Thinking down the path of ‘creating what God has given us’ to share with others, being an extension of His creativity gives me food for thought. Thank you Carla.

  18. barb rugani-kyser says:

    Hello Renee and everyone doing the Study, I’m doing this study at the same time I’m leading a 12 Step Study using Celebrate Recovery Material and it’s interesting to me how the Holy Spirit is weaving the material so beautifully together. I’ve been leading Recovery Groups for 8 years now having the honor and joy to witness modern day miracles right before my eyes as the Holy Spirit is transforming the lives of the women He’s asked me to shepherd over a 9 -12 month period of time. Each year I choose a gift to present to my sisters in Christ as they ‘Graduate’ from their First Year on the Road of Recovery and this year I’m going to purchase ‘The Confident Heart’ for each one. I’m so glad I listened to the Holy Spirits prompting to join the group and to do the study! As I’ve been on my own Road of Recovery for 8.5 years allowing the Holy Spirit, to peel off the layers of hurt, bad habits, compulsive behaviors, worldly thinking and acting to reveal to myself, my family and those in my sphere of influence the me God always intended me to be, I’m blown away. Thank you, Renee for hearing the prompting of the Holy Spirit, for shutting off the voices that most certainly were not the voice of the One who loves you and created you to be His Masterpiece… I’m still in process (as we all are) nevertheless, I’m so excited to be who I am in Him and doing what I’m doing for Him that life has real meaning even in through the storms of life – He is so GOOD. You’re such a blessing in my life I wish I could thank you personally for doing such a great job on this study… May our great God and loving Abba Father continue to use you in a mighty way for His Kingdom! with love, peace and lots of joy… barb :O)

    • Barb, do you have a website relative to your ‘recovery/recovering’ program?

    • Peggybythesea says:

      How I wish there was a Celebrate Recovery program near me!! I used to go and loved it!! I had a small group and did all the steps, it was so healing for me. Then we moved and the closest one is 40 minutes from me and it is at night. If it was daytime I would still go!! Its in a not so nice section of town and I am not good out at night as it is…I never thought to look back through the books and materials…Thank you for the reminder BARB…God Bless you for leading, it is I am sure so rewarding and what a testimony to people and to our Jesus…God Bless…Peggy

  19. I have been sitting at Starbucks this morning doing my Bible Study and waiting to head on the next stage of my journey. I take my son to school (10 miles), then I wait until my daughters have gotten to school before I finish the next 15 miles to school. The point between is a Starbucks (imagine that Renee).
    So, this morning as I am reading the blog (before it shut down), I am thinking how I have let “Jesus Take the Wheel” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcR8N_v0ymQ. In the past 27 years since I saw Florence Littauer in Redding, CA I have develop my personality a lot. I am still a Melancholy with a fight for second of Sanguine and Phlegmatic. I say it is a fight every day! Part of letting the Lord have control is between this little voice that says, “Party, Party, Party” and another that say, “Take it easy, you are moving way to fast”. The stronger Melancholy voice is saying, “Would you two make up your mind, I need to be getting going with the program…there is stuff that needs to be done and I mean done correctly.”
    Then I get a Hot Flash!!! These things are like false labor; you breathe through them and then go on. I remember not too long ago I had just pulled into the shopping center after driving the 20 miles from school on the freeway and one had hit about mile 18. I stopped and my heart was beating I was sweating and my “compassionate” teenagers says, “Mom just go get a Starbucks and get on with the program.”
    This chapter has been a reminder that when Jesus takes the wheel to our life, we don’t need to strive, worries or overdo. He knows what my mind can hold, He knows how much needs to be done and He knows what the outcome is. He knows the future. Today He knew the blog would have trouble, He knew the young man at the table next to me would come to Him as Lord and Savior and I would be here to rejoice with the great cloud of witnesses. He Knows the future and I know He hold my hand.

    • Peggybythesea says:

      Wow…Deena…you sound great!! It is good when we are focused and know what we want to do…for me anyway! I feel so much better at the end of the day when I have let Jesus take the wheel…I fight it, as we women do, but it is a good day when I stay focused as you strive to do…I am struggling with it and it seems my addictive personality comes out when I am not focused. I start something and then something else and I (my bad habit) smoke to much and then it seems I have been eating, picking to much like an oral fixation is what I need…Not sure what that is about but it is what it is and I work on being better at this life daily…

      I am encouraged by what you have said and love that I am not the only one that struggles with the different parts of my personality…God Bless you my sweet sister…<3

      • Peggy, I will pray for you today. I am struggling all the time too. Some days, like yesterday, help me remember what I am focused on and the outcome of it all. When that boy was being witnessed to and he said, “Why is the flag at 1/2 mast?” and I was able to explain it was for the fireman that was killed last week. Then I shared how a fella at our church had stood up and said that he had been able to tell the man of God’s love for him just days before he was killed in the line of duty. I keep goosebumps every time I drive by the cross on the HWY with his fireman’s helmet on it. I don’t know where that fireman is today as far as the Lord, but the teenager will be with us in heaven.
        Today I struggle too. We are in the 4th year of a probate suit. Today we see the doctor to finally show that we took care of my mother-in-law and kept her out of State care for years before she went into the nursing home. I never thought it would come to this, I have wanted to just walk away and say take the whole thing, just leave me alone. BUT God had a bigger plan. I am still here and I am still in the fight. Whatever the outcome, I have to believe, He is in control.
        Love you too sister.

        • Peggybythesea says:

          Wow…you are dealing with huge stuff and yes you must let Jesus keep driving and sit back and let Him have control of the road ahead of you…I am speaking to myself also with the things I am dealing with in my life…i just so understand your feelings, maybe because we have the same struggles in our personality types…I really don’t like putting a category on who I am, i am a child of God, and he made us to be like Him…So I strive to do what Jesus would do, but we live in a crazy, broken world and sometimes I have to step out of my comfort zone and press on toward my goals, that lead to His goal of the Heavenly prize…Am I making any sense…Sometimes my hands write faster than they should…Thank you for your prayers as I pray for you…One thing, hang on to those precious teen years…My sons are 38, 33 and 28 now …all married and i so miss those years!!! I miss them!! So love on them and enjoy…Just like your teenager said…I love it, they are so wonderful to be around…My boys are doing so well, praise God, I am so proud of them…

          God’s plan was so different than I had planned or is it the choices I have made???? I live so far from my speciial two sons, by choice, following my husbands wants…now I am 1200 miles away from reaping the benefits of all we did by enjoying them and my grandchildren…Thank God for technology, but I wish I never moved away…Is that wrong thinking??? I guess I am venting to Jesus, and the recepiants of it are anyone here who will listen and possibly validate my truth…

          Thank you for sharing your heart Deena, which in turn has helped me share mine…God Bless!!

    • I learn so much from that age group!! My oldest son reminded me once he will be picking out my nursing home!!Yikes! They really do see what is going on esp in the car!!

      • Lou, i am chuckling here because that’s exactly what my youngest grandson told his mom a while back! You’re so right—-Yikes!!

    • One or two to remerbem, that is.

    • "From the perspectives of wild ecosystems, that may not matter much, since anthropogenic climate change is so abrupt compared to the normal rate of change prehistorically. But from the perspective of human-managed landscapes, it matters a lot, since humans can certainly do a lot of adaptation over the course of thirty years (different crops, new more drought-tolerant crops, irrigation in areas where it currently isn't used, etc)."I'm sure those advocating for systemic climate engineering will like this conclusion. Nature is screwed so carte blanche.

  20. To Renee and many others in this study, I admire your ability to listen for and hear God’s Word speaking directly to you. I have been in an emotional slump for a while now and have been praying for God to reveal His plan for me. While I am disappointed in how my life is going, I am trying to use this “waiting” period as a time for God to use me where he needs me most. (And I do need to feel “needed” )! I know it’s about God’s timeline, not mine, but I am feeling a bit weary after a couple of years of this. An idea that has resonated with me from a few chapters back is that He will not always make “something” happen, just because He can; I need to make something happen. I appreciate that because, as a sufferer of anxiety, I have been praying for God to “fix” me- He can do it, so why hasn’t He? I now understand that I need to participate in my own recovery (I’m still working on that!) But, as a single person (my husband left me due to the intensity of my anxiety) and childless (my life’s dream is to be a mom) I am seeking how God can use me with that desire and training (I work with special needs students), but I am not sure what that is. How do I descern what He is trying to do with me and not be so stubborn! That is what I hope to continue to learn about through this study! IT really helps to even communicate these thoughts and get it off my chest!
    God Bless you , my online sisters!
    PS- i wish I live near some you you weary moms- I’d love to offer you some respite! 🙂

    • Peggybythesea says:

      I so understand what you are saying Tina…I suffer with anxiety also and wonder what happened to the Fairy Tale life I dreamed of…it sure didn’t turn out as I had planned. But we began this study with my life verse…”For I know the plans I have for you…., ” So I am trusting that His plan is better for me than the one I dreamed of…God bless you and than you for sharing your heart…Love your sister in Christ…Peggy

  21. I heard Dr. Charles Stanley preach a sermon a few years ago that I have never forgotten. My daughter was a member of his church at the time and the sermon was on being God’s masterpiece. He described it as a tapestry. On the one side, it is so ugly with threads going in and out with no direction. It looks a mess and doesn’t appear that anything beautiful could come out of it. But if you turn the tapestry over, there is a beautiful picture that emerges. God knows all our “ugly threads” weaving in and out of our lives…our failures, mistakes and sin. But He also, sees the beautiful picture that emerges as we continue to study His Word, give Him our whole heart and walk in HIs will.

    • Peggybythesea says:

      I love that visual and Dr. Stanley…Thank you for sharing…Peggy

    • Sherri B says:

      Mabel, I too heard that sermon by Dr. Stanley and though it was a great visual of how God takes us, baggage and all, and creates in us a beautiful picture of our lives. The picture He had for us all along, He was just waiting for us to see ourselves the way He does…as a masterpiece. Wow…a masterpiece…we are truly loved.

  22. Katrina says:

    I am glad I am not the only one who doesn’t have a dream. Short and sweet {not} I am single, not by choice, I have no children,{four miscarriages, I look forward to meeting my sons in Heaven, doesn’t bring much peace here though}; I am the youngest of 5 yet we are not a close knit family. At 53 I don’t know what to look forward to very often. I do serve {in church and as my profession as a massage therapist}. I have a few friends but most of them are close to their families. I struggle to find balance so exercise gets put on the back burner. I keep going but sometimes I don’t know why.
    It is only when I truly look at this is my life that I get discouraged. I so need to find the God fidence to keep going so that I can be His salt and light. I want people to see the change. I know deep down God is enough but it is a challenge.

    • I understand your pain of lonlieness, Katrina. Sometimes I give all I can to just make it through the day. I like your use of the word “challenge” as we try to live a Godly life in this struggling and broken world. Maybe God is using us to minister to other brokenhearted women. I try to see how my life can be used to help others- some days are more optimistic than others, though. Keep your head up..remember, that way the shadows will fall behind you.
      Blessings,
      Tina

    • Katrina, I can relate to what you’re going through in a lot of ways. I’m 52, two years ago came home from work and found my husband had moved out and left the state. Took my beloved dog with him too, have never seen them again. Had all kinds of struggles since then, not only financially but in trying to find my confidence and identity again. My family lives close by but they are all doing their own thing most of the time, they do not “get” church at all and obviously feel uncomfortable when I bring it up…I started going to church again over a year ago (had been a believer for a long time but was not involved in church for some time) in an effort to become involved in the community aspect of church. I love it, but I still have a long way to go to be part of a circle of friends…I work with almost all men and really need women friends. Dating is a joke, everyone I know is married and besides, I don’t want to date anyone who is not a Christian…no one my age in the Singles group at church…thank goodness my dogs love me! Having said all that, I do enjoy being single, there really are a lot of good things about it, and I’ve learned through this study and a recent series at church that we are to rely on God to fill our needs (feel loved, cherished, valued, etc.), and so I’ve changed my way of thinking quite a bit, why do I think I even need to date someone? for instance. Anyway, there are some days too where I just can’t help but feel lonely but the way I handle that is to call people I haven’t talked to in a while, have something to look forward to like a movie or whatever. I also serve at church and have a lot of other things to do that I’m interested in (read, learn to play an instrument, etc.). Exercise is good too, but you have to force yourself to make it a habit, but then you’ll miss it when you don’t! I’m glad you found this study, please let the words sink in and I just know they’ll make a difference, even if you have to read the book more than once! :^)

    • Katrina, years ago when i was having a hard spot, someone suggested going to the hospital and spend time rocking a newborn. There was a mom who was sick and couldn’t take care of her baby. But that baby needed to be held, comforted, sang to, rocked, it needed a human’s warmth (our warmth). There’s a wonderful feeling of love in being a part of a baby’s little beginning world.

  23. Mabel’s word of tapestry brought me to a song weuse to maybe they still do in with the Women of the ELCA, called “Weave”. It speaks of different types of masterpieces tapestry, symophonies I know of for sure. I will have to utube it now to listen to it again. but it brings me to the verse about all being one body in Christ. I feel if we can celebrate our own niches (still working on that) but also sharing what we see in others as their strengths(FM) versus weakness(AM). Being an RN in obstetrics, I have learned first how to take care of emergencies, and after many years, have patience for the process and as much as I want to help these families, I have learned the skill of waiting and not being offended when offers of what I see as being helpful not always taken initially. I do not always know best. Being the past 6 months in a charge nurse position I have been able to help and encourage other nurses. Taking compliements isn’t always easy but learning to be confident and gracious is what I’m hoping to be modeling and passing on in a profession known for “eating it’s young” with high burnout.
    More later Thank you all!!

  24. I love contemplating how we are created in God’s image. That means we are splendid, truly a masterpiece meant to shine, inspire, to come alive and awaken others to come alive and see their greatness….because that will show you your own greatness. For some reason the thought ‘we are on the brink of greatness’ always inspires me and makes me feel like I’m full of potential…with no obstacles. I heard that phrase in a song. But the truth is we are at greatness…this is it….we’re already on stage. There is no getting ready to come on…this is it, we’re on! We are in the middle of the show. As I type on this blog, we are in the middle of the show. Which is why finding the time to get to know ourselves is essential, and do what is natural and feels good to us. Our culture has trained us to check off from the to do list as much as possible….so when do we take time to analyze, process? I have a feeling this ch. is going to be something for me. I hope it is for all of us. Let’s encourage each other to make the time to get to know ourselves so that we do what God Creator created us to do.

    • Sherri B says:

      Taking time for ourselves, and taking time to be alone with God will bring us to a place where we can see ourselves as God sees us. I took some of that time today and am finding that He is working in me as a result of this study, and taking time to talk with Him, and praise and worship Him. My passion is to love Him, to be all I can be for Him, and to help others spark their relationship with God. Now I just need to take the baby steps one at a time, and let Him do the work. Question #3 I do belive in uniques desires and dreams…..I want to help people who struggle with their past….and people wo fell like they don’t belong, or those who feel alone and unloved. Our church went to the Winter Jam concert, and one of the young men who seems to be withdrawn, and unsure of himself got mixed in with my sons and me. During intermission I had the chance to talk with him, and he started to smile and interact with myself and my boys, and really enjoyed the concert. I have a heart for young people like that….i was bullied as a child, and know that sometimes other kids can really make it hard for those who are shy and with drawn. But that is one of my passions……God bless all of my sisters here in the bible study!! And sorry for rambling on.

  25. I just can’t get over how it seems like this book has been written JUST FOR ME and where I’m at in life. This is one time where I kind of think that the world DOES revolve around me ;^) Ha ha. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this study, and am continually amazed at how the words in each chapter speak RIGHT AT ME. Which is funny because I’ve been behind in reading, yet the timing of my reading each chapter has been perfect! As for chapter 8, I’m encouraged because I may soon becoming involved in a ministry that I think God is laying on my heart, so this chapter couldn’t have come at a better time! I don’t know about the rest of you but I already have grown so much spiritually since starting this study!

  26. I have often in my life struggled with being a people pleaser. Of late God has shown me that I need to be a God pleaser. As I serve the Lord here in Guinea there are many things that I could do and dily I need to seek God’s direction what He wants me to be doing. I am enjoying Chap 8…actually this morning I am doing a mini retreat to think more about this chapter. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us Renee. I am enjoying the book.

  27. The two sentences that really resonated with me this week:
    “I was 32 at the time, and didn’t know what I liked to do or what my dreams were”.
    “I was also a constant candidate for burnout and never felt like I measured up to other women.”
    I am now 33, my birthday was back in January, so at the beginning of this study, I was 32 and didn’t know what I like or what my dreams were; at 33, I still don’t. I stuggle each day trying to figure out my purpose. What is it that God is calling me to do. I want to do it, whatever it is, but I don’t hear His voice telling me what it is. Perhaps because the second sentence is so true in my life today. When I was younger, I compared myself to other women and men. I was constantly comparing my abilities, my wardrobe, and my relationships to those of others. I don’t believe I was ever myself. I was so busy trying to fit in, that I would do what others were doing even if it wasn’t what I wanted. The one exception was Roller Skating. I really enjoyed that, and even though there was a slight stigma to those that went, I just really enjoyed the experience. I also really enjoyed (and still do) education and learning. All of which I chose over partying even through college. Outside of those two however, I was never my own person. So even now, as I write this I am trying t fit into a mold of wife even though I have no idea how. I was so enthralled with others’ lives, that I didn’t live my own enough to know what living my life, the way God meant me to, was. I am planning on getting the same two books that are mentioned in this chapter. I need to know, as Renee did, what it is that I desire and what my purpose is in the Kingdom of God.

    • Peggybythesea says:

      Dearest Kim…I love reading what you wrote…I am 55 and feel like you do…I am so happy that you are able to write those feelings down and express them…The fact that you are seeing this now, feeling this way at this point of your life is so wonderful for you…You are searching for yourself at the beginning stages of married life before (I think) you have children and bring that factor into it…I did not allow myself that opportunity and I am searching for it now and it is so much harder. I had 3 sons and was married 5 years at your age and I never had the opprtunity to go to college. I chose a different route by default. I left my crazy home at 17 (my parents were both alcoholic and getting divorced at that crucial age of my life) so needless to say…no money nor the motivation or inspiration was taught to me about college or life was taught to me by them. So you have so much more than I did, and from that point of you…Hopefully you communicate well with your husband and he knows what you are feeling and you can pursue your dreams!!!!

      Just as a sister in Christ I can say you are doing great, you will figure out who you are and what you want if you stay on the path with Jesus as Deena above spoke about…Just Let Jesus take the wheel, and persevere, be patient, and obedient to Him…He will show you the Way, I see only your heart through one paragraph…He knows all about you and how you have tried to please others and fit into a mold of others…He loves you as you are…I pray in Jesus Name that you will see that and let Him love you…He is a beautiful Jesus who wants to know YOU better…I am praying for you my sweet sister…Love, Peggy

  28. I am so thankful God has brought me to this study. It is bringing me to a place of freedom. Each week God is showing me something new and bringing healing and wholeness. Comparison is how I have lived my entire life. I always saw myself as less than other people. God told me that I have to take off the clothes that the enemy has given me such as I am a failure and living in doubt and unbelief. I have to choose to wear the clothes that God has given me. I am More than a conqueror. I AM God’s masterpiece. I have the mind of Christ. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. I am tired of settling for what the enemy tells me and denying the power of Christ in my life. I don’t want to compare myself with anyone but to just become the woman God created me to be for Him.

    • Peggybythesea says:

      Sounds good Brenda…I am right there with you and need to remember throughout the day to say and live those Scriptures, I tend to read them and forget…Not good..It is like looking in the mirror and walking away and forgetting what we look like (paraphrasing what Scripture???)
      God bless my sweet sister…You are not alone…Peggy

  29. Oh, Wow. I read through out notes here as see so many common threads. This is one of the shortest blog/chat sessions and we all seem to have come here for the same purpose. I too and 52. At 32 I was starting my 20 years of child rearing. My youngest is 16 and there is still some “rearing” left, but in my wisdom I see that natural consequences are much more fitting than anything I could contrive.
    Yes, I am reinventing myself, again. The song from Fireflight “Unbreakable” has been my theme song. The line that says, “God I want to dream again, take me where I’ve never been, I wanna go there, this time I’m not scare”. The only reason I’m not scared is, because I am constantly reminding myself, Who is with me.
    I got the Proverbs 31 magazine yesterday in the mail and there is an article that tells us why “Worry” is something we should not do as believers. Worry is not obedience. Fear and doubt are not obedience.
    This time of year as the Spring begins to bloom we must let it remind us of our Gracious and loving Father and Savior. Put out a bird feeder, and remember “He watches the sparrow fall and He knows the number of hairs on your head”. (Even the gray ones)

  30. Sherri B says:

    The one thing I want to remember from Chapter 8 is “You do things the way you do because it is part of your unique, God shaped purpose. We are all unique and God has called us each for a purpose, one that He has given us from the time we were conceived as His creation in our mother’s womb. That to me sounds so special, so special that we each are His unique creation. A Masterpiece painted by The Father’s Hand…..wow!!

  31. Jennifer says:

    The sentence that struck me as significant in this chapter was a simple one, yet one that is really difficult to make part of my life on a consistent basis; “It is important to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have.”

    I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my life is not going to look like other women’s lives. In my early 40s I do not fit into the expected role of a woman as wife and mother. This week I decided to not look into single parent adoption for various reasons. Knowing that I will never be a parent leaves a huge hole in my heart, but I need to trust that God will show me other ways that my life can be just as meaningful and fulfilling as those who were chosen to be parents and spouses. God does not use a rating scale and give children to those who are better or deserve them. It is just how things happen in this world.

  32. I enjoyed this chapter so much. Sometimes, I wonder about my dream – I always say it’s to write a book – but is that it? Is that all – what if I write a book…then what? I dont know.
    I compare myself to my peers even though our lives couldnt be any more different. It’s not fair and I have to stop doing that. God created the me I am for a reason – just like he created the them they are for a reason. I need to fill my me shaped space in the world and fill it to the best of my ability.
    I have suffered for over 20 years with the disease to please and approval addiction – these too are things that I am learning that need to be eliminated from my life. I am to be living for Christ – not the approval of others. And as I type this, the AM thoughts are hitting me hard and heavy that Ill never recover, from these things – but thats NOT true. Nothing is impossible for God. I still struggle, but I know that God is still working on me.
    The word this week – I love it. I remember the first time I read Ephesians 2:10 – I stared at the word masterpiece for a long time. ME? A masterpiece…but Imma mess! I thought, but I heard a still small voice say, that may be, but youre still my masterpiece. How can you not love a God whose love for you knows no bounds.
    I also discovered my gift (or at least one of them) in this chapter! I couldnt believe it, I think Im still a little surpised. When answering thw questions I’d just unsurely written words wondering what was this thing I seemed to have was, and then in the next breath I read in the Bible what it is – I knew it was Gods gift, and I was floored, but I also felt – special. Like I saw even more proof of God’s love for me.
    How deep the Father’s love for us.
    Ill be honest, I dont know what to do with this gift. I ask for your prayers that God will show me.

  33. “Self-sacrifice? It sounds godly, but in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God’s dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed. It’s not self-seeking but God-seeking to intentionally get to know and become the woman God created you to be.” – Wow! I do believe this is the best point thus far in this study! (for me anyway… 🙂

    Seeking HIm more and more…

    Be blessed!

  34. I just love thinking I am God’s unique masterpiece……..especially when it is easy to lose ourselves in this world, with all our roles: wife, mother, caretaker, friend…. Being a stay at home mom, I sometimes feel as if I lost myself, that my life has changed so much (and so worth it), so lately I have been focusing on who I am IN Christ……and that apart from Him, I am nothing……In Him, I am this beautiful masterpiece that only I can be!!! How awesome is that??? Why try to be anything else??!!

    I am also guilty of trying to please others…..So I have to remind myself that Christ is the only approval I need… Daily, hourly!!! Thank God He is all we need……it really simplifies life!!!!

    • I agree so much that life becomes soooooooo simple once you realize what actually matters and that God all we need. Even though I have to go back to this thought very often when I start fretting/worrying, etc at least now I know the truth…and I can always bring my thoughts back to that. The truth shall set you free!!!!

  35. Laura Nesbitt says:

    Renee,

    I just have to share my story with you about this page (week 8). I am a 53 year old Grandma that God has called to preach. Wow!…That alone is a miracle story, but this particular story is awesome. I entered Liberty University Online to pursue my calling in obedience to my Father. I hate, and when I say hate, I mean hate school. After I graduated, I was done with school. All I wanted was to be a wife and mom. God allowed me to do just that, even though it lead me down many dark, lonely and hard paths we won’t talk about this time. After 2 years of school at Liberty and doing well by God’s amazing grace, I was really stuggling this last week finishing a paper for Eng. 101. Finally after praying and trusting and standing and all that I knew to do, I gave up. Not being able to complete the paper I went to bed crying and asking the Lord sincerely to forgive me for failing Him. The next morining after my time with the Lord, I opened by fb page and a friend of mind had this page posted right under a saying “Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now, doesn’t mean you’re not headed for sunshine.” I prayed for God to crush me down to dust and start molding me over again and make me a stronger vessel. Then right underneath that passage she had posted, ” Week 8″, You are Gods Masterpiece. And that is not the greatest thing about it. God is a God of numbers and order. When I saw week 8, I burst into tears for this was my final week, my final paper, and it was yes, WEEK 8. Today I am turning in my final paper and I am going to pass this course. Today March 8!!!!! Thank you for Your part in this miracle of God!!!!!

    • Yeah! Laura, persistance PTL!!

      • Laura Nesbitt says:

        Thanks Lou, Sorry…PTL??? 🙂

        • Laura,
          PTL means Praise The Lord!

          I know exactly what you mean.

          I am 54 and also going back to school. I am taking classes with young girls who have sharper minds than I do at this stage of my life. I have felt very intimidated and out of place. I have struggled with comparing myself to these young people. But God has placed within me gifts they do not have. And he has plans for me that are different than the plans he has prepared for my classmates. It is not easy but God is helping me through it to accomplish his plans.

          Renee,
          Thank you so much for this study that has helped me to have new confidence in what God is calling me to.

          Connie

  36. Ephesians 2:10 was my verse for the year in 2011… I think it is becoming my life verse… just can’t let it go and it keeps ‘popping up’ everywhere… as I read through ‘A Confident Heart’ and other titles, I am finding different insights into this verse.

    Thank you!!!

  37. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs in people who have come alive.”
    Harold Thurman Whitman

    God led me to his will through something very “Spiritual,”…Planning and going on a trip to Disneyland…LOL!

    I know it sounds funny, but God confirmed to me through several people that it was His will that my daughter and I take this trip. He performed countless miracles to bring it about, (considering my husband will be unemployed in less than a month’s time). He beautifully orchestrated it so that I could take my daughter at the same time that a dear friend went with 4 of her daughters, and another friend went with her two daughters.

    God showed me many things while I was on that trip. He affirmed that I was worth lavishing gifts upon. I still don’t comprehend this, but am learning to accept His blessings. He also showed me that, as His princess, I can boldly approach the throne of grace. I have spent so much of my life hiding from an angry God, cowering in fear because of my sins. I still tend to do this, more often than not.

    Please pray for me. I am still in the learning (or RE-learning) process of what my identity is with God. I know that something powerful in the spirit took place last week, through much prayer and persistence, despite impossible odds. I KNOW that God has some great things in store for my family in the months to come, even with the challenges on the near horizon.

    Thank you.
    Rhea

  38. Really appreciated the video. It made me realize that as women we can be harsh on ourselves because of our physical appearances and neglect to affirm how beautiful we are inside and out. Thank God that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and beautiful!

  39. Natalie Suarez says:

    I am so thankful for this book and this chapter!! I have been in a season of transition in my life where many of the roles, responsibilities that have defined me for so long have been stripped away. There is grieving but also excitement in the possibilities of what lies ahead. I am so thankful for the confirmation from Renee about where our true purposes can be revealed — in our hearts and how they are revealed. Delight yourself in The lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart psalm 37:4. I know, I believe and have faith that when we seek His face our true selves our revealed. Comparison has been a huge area of bondage for me. It is no coincidence that I was just listening to Andy Stanley from north point churc speaking in his series Comparision Trap and that we were talking about fear, envy/ jealousy in my lfe group this week and then I opened chapter 8. Thank you Renee for the tools and truth you have provided in this chapter!

  40. Renee~ I am SO loving this Bible Study. I can’t get enough of it!!! Thank you SO much for ALL that you do, all the love and inspiration that you have given me and all the thousands of other people. You are definately a blessing!!! I am still on chapter 7, I always seem to be a chapter behind, no matter how I try to catch up! But I don’t want to rush — that is the last thing I would want … rush to keep up! Since I am talking about this, are there any plans for a “catch up week”? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I am loving this study and appreciate all that you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  41. Just wanted to add something…I have absolutely loved the scriptures of the week coupled with a picture or art of some sort! I don’t know if it has been just one lady or several but it has been wonderful! So far my favorite one was with our word, “Known”….LOVED it! I don’t know who is doing them but I just wanted to say THANK YOU!

    Be Blessed! – Tasha

  42. The last sentence of Chapter 8 really spoke to me when it said (I am paraphrasing) God loves me the way I am, but He only asks one thing: for me to become more like Him as I beome more like me. That is an awesome thought. Truth is God created me as He wanted and when I live and do as He wants, I’ll become the real person God created. Beautiful thing is I don’t have to do anything special or perform special rites or do anything but simply obey God and follow and trust. He leads the way; I just follow.

  43. “I believe comparison is one of woman’s worst enemies….’Every time I compare myself with someone else, I can never measure up because I am comparing my insides with their outsides’…He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be.” This passage really spoke to me. I definitely fall into the comparison trap and often times I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I want to be what others are and have what others have. Renee’s words and God’s remind me that God made me who I am to fulfill His purpose.

    I enjoyed the personality traits and re-reading about the spiritual gifts. I am committing “to get to know the woman God designed me to be”.

  44. I LOVE CHAPTER 8!!! What a true eye opener!!! Here I am 57 years old, and most of the time in my life I have done things I don’t want to do because of not following my HEART’S DESIRES! I have done it in my volunteering and other ways – but got carried away, and got burned out. I could go on an on BUT I won’t. I JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW PERSONALLY RENEE THAT CHAPTER 8 IS THE BEST CHAPTER and I PLAN ON SHARING IT WITH MANY (plus your book in general of course). YES, INDEED WOMAN YOU HAVE THE GIFT OF WRITING, ENCOURAGING, AND SO MUCH MORE!!! Thank you for following GOD’S DESIRES OF YOUR HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I know the job I want to find and NOT the job I did because I can or been “trained to do”. THANK YOU!!!

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